A Wrexham Wander

Kev Neylon
7 min readApr 23, 2024

Wrexham is another place we had never been to before. I’m not even sure I’ve been through it, although we did skirt around the outskirts a few years ago when we were on holiday in North Wales. It has a much-raised profile recently, all to do with the football club and its (relatively) new celebrity owners. We are in town for the football, a Tuesday night away game for Crawley Town, which gives us a chance to have a look around the City (a newly awarded title, having become a city in the Queen’s platinum jubilee awards in 2022).

We had seen a fair bit of it on the small screen as Helen had started watching the Welcome To Wrexham docu-series on Disney about the takeover of the football club by Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney. There looked to be some nice buildings to have a look at, and so here we were.

The arrival was at the Wrexham General train station (I didn’t find out where the other army ranks get off their trains at). I had had a look at a map and saw that there were two places of interest to look at on the way into the city centre.

St Mary’s is the Cathedral. A Roman Catholic one, and it was not open to visitors, or even to worshippers, which is unusual, as Catholic cathedrals (and churches in general) are normally open, they just feel more awkward to wander around taking pictures of as there are always people in the church actually using it to pray.

Next to the cathedral is the museum. Which is also closed. It is being refurbished and improved to also include a new wing dedicated to the football club. So a wander around that is out of the question as well. The only things to see are some triangular display boards to the front of it.

It isn’t far into the centre of the city, and we are soon in amongst the shops. Some modern, some modern frontages in older buildings, and some as the original old buildings.

The closest anyone will get to Ryan and Rob on this day is the cardboard cutouts of them in the window of Waterstones.

There are a lot of Victorian buildings all around, as the town (as it was then) grew on the back of the local mining industry.

Along the main strip it is pedestrianised, and around the very centre it is set up to limit the traffic, or divert it around the shopping area.

We find a couple of narrow lanes and as usual are drawn into them to have a look around.

Out the other side and the grand looking red brick building is that most important of edifices, the public toilets.

Turning at the end of the road we head down the hill past the large hotel, and along a stretch where there are old pubs.

And where there used to be other pubs, such as this one on the corner, which is no longer a pub, but has been split into a couple of different businesses, so at least it isn’t an empty building.

Opposite it, the pub on the corner is a building that is deceptively large. It just looks like it is the small pub, but it continues out and the tall chimney behind isn’t from a separate mill or factory, but is part of the larger building the pub is a part of.

At the bottom of the hill there are gardens (or a park) laid out alongside the banks of the narrow River Gwenfro.

From down there is shows how far down we have come in a short walk, as the church of St Giles sits high above us on the hill.

We climb back up steps to the church and have a wander around the church — possible a building more cathedral like than the cathedral here, and I have done a separate piece on that below.

Coming out of the church, and through the ornamental gates we come out onto the High Street.

Which is lined by large former bank buildings. Pretty much all of which have been transformed into bars, a phenomenon that we see in most places we visit in the UK. The banks move out of these old grand buildings and into horrible looking modern builds.

From the High Street we continue along onto Charles Street which has a variety of buildings of different ages, and is lined with railings with planters upon.

At the end you are faced with the modern out of town shopping behemoths found everywhere. The Wrexham Brewery is hidden away behind the buildings of Charles Street. There was a thought of getting some beers from the brewery for our neighbours, but there is the small matter of we are going to a football game later, and we wouldn’t be able to take them in there. So another time perhaps.

We turn and follow Charles Street round to the Wrexham visitor information centre, which gives me the opportunity to get my usual collection of tat, with pen, guidebook, and fridge magnet all picked up.

Not wanting to stereotype, I do wonder why they have painted sheep in various places around the city.

Opposite the visitor information centre is the Xplore Science Discovery Centre. We walk past that and head around some other streets to Queen’s Square.

It has the Carnegie Library on the other side of the square,

And then around behind it is the Guildhall and Register Office.

It is trying to rain now, so we head back to the row of pubs and stop for a drink in the Wynnstay Arms Hotel to avoid the rain before heading for dinner at Safar.

After dinner it is a slow wander back up through the city, back past the train station and over the tracks to the stadium for the game.

Which involves a walk around all of it to find the away end, including past some of the university buildings.

The game wasn’t the best result (piece on that is here)

Then it was back to the station for the train back to Chester. I could see there were a lot of blue plaques on the wall on the other platform so went over to take pictures. There were six, but it was three pairs, with them having a plaque in Welsh,

and then the equivalent English version of them.

Which was different to the other plaques around the city which had both languages on the same plaque.

We had recognised bits and pieces of the city on our wander round from what we had seen on the docu-series. But there are plenty of other bits to see and it was overall a lovely place to visit.

For other stories of wandering around this year, check out my list

2024 Travels

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Kev Neylon

Writing fiction, travel, history, sport, & music blogs. Monthly e-zine with all kinds of writing at www.onetruekev.co.uk. All pictures used are my own.