Review of "Rhyl (Wales)"
My association with Rhyl goes back around 22 years. I first learned to ride a bike (without careering all over the pavement) here, used to come on holiday here a lot, and had my first kiss here. So when I moved here I wasn't dreading it by any means. So was I right or wrong? Read on, dear reader...So, we'll start at the front and work backwards. 'The Front' is what we locally call the promenade. It's about a mile and a half or so of uninterrupted beach, and the road that people use to avoid the town centre. It runs from Splash Point , near Prestatyn, down to the Harbour near Kinmel Bay. On the beach side of the road you have the 'children's village' (it's apparently meant to be shops and things for kids), the sun centre which is Rhyl's attempt at having a tropical swimming pool, a skatepark and a cinema. On the other side, you have about 1/2 mile of houses and guest houses until you get to Woolworths (assuming you're coming down from Splash Point) and then you get the usual arcades, tat shops and cafes punctuated by the odd bar and hotel until you get to the fair at the West End. Out of season these are usually closed apart from school holidays, and they're pretty quiet but come the tourist season and they are Hell., especially if the kids are off school. Rhyl is basically the capital of Liverpool, Birmingham and Manchester (they're all within two hours drive) and you can't move for them in season. The front is packed full of tourists and their screaming offspring in summer and they don't seem to display any of the common sensibilities when they're here. I lost count of the number of emergency stops we had to make last year due to some tourist deciding to cross the road without looking whether there were any cars moving in his direction.
So lets move into town a bit now. If you turn left at Woollies you come into a pedestrianised area. This is the main shopping bit at any time of the year. Out of season it's fairly quiet except for around Christmas. You can get from A to B with almost no fuss and it's relatively straight forward. You have the White Rose centre with the usual food shops such as Iceland, Sayers (a bakers which is also known as Bramptons in other areas of the north west), and some clothes shops, and the usual shops and small markets on this stretch. In summer, once again it is heaving. So much that it can be a total nightmare (don't worry I don't hate tourists, they're getting their own section soon). Locals will try and stay away during season and only enter the centre if we absolutely have to. We've discovered the best time is early on a Saturday morning as thats when the 'shift change' (one lot of tourists leave and another come in) occurs. If you go up a little further there is the train station and over the bridge a Morrisons to your right and a small retail partk with a Matalan and Brantano and a few other stores to your left.OK, back to the front and walk along until you get to Metro (a club which changes it's name about 3 times a year) and we come to our next port of call. Water Street and Queen's street are not very child friendly places. The reason for this is the fact that this is the main nightclub district and it also contains a cannabis cafe (no - you can't buy weed there so don't bother trying) and a sex shop. These are the most controversial areas of Rhyl with the locals due to these two shops and to be honest I have no idea why. You have them in most major towns and cities and this is only bringing Rhyl back into league with most of the other places. Anyway, if you have kids there is no need to go up here.
We'll now skip forward to the night time and concentrate on the nightscene in Rhyl. There aren't that many family orientated bars and pubs in Rhyl (thats what the holiday camp bars are for) and instead the area caters for the adults. For the twenty somethings you have Blu (on the main shopping drag), Chaplins, Eliiss's, Metro and Shooters in the main nightclub area or a few clubs such as Orange Peel down on the front.During out of season these aren't too bad, but in season once again they're full of fights. The main reason for this is p!$$ed up clubbers out on the town. One sign of trouble and you'll get jumped on by the bouncers. As you can appreciate this leads to a lot of trouble more often than not and the best advice I can give you is if you see trouble then move away as fast as possible. It won't be one bouncer, it will be every bouncer in the club diving on the main trouble causers and they're not too gentle with their approach. A factor in this is the typecasting by the media of Scousers, Mancs and Brummies that causes the over-reaction on their part. The police are also not very tolerant of trouble either so if their attention is drawn to someone being ejected from a nightclub then they'll step in and arrest them too. And these guys have CS spray.
If you're outside the main clubbing ages then the best places to go are any of the pubs (Garfields and Chaplins spring to mind) in the area. The fayre is usually karaoke/disco pap or the odd live band occasionally. Not bad if you don't want to party to the max.If you like dining out then there are a few places to get food. You have the usual fast food places like chippies, KFC, Maccy D's and a SubWay (at last!). You then have a few pubs such as Wethers or the Harbour on the other side of the blue-bridge. There are also a handful of restuarants and these range from the generic pseudo-international fare, to 'proper' chinese and indians. Prices are average to reasonable and the food is pretty decent in most of them and I think the seagull content in most of the food is a lot lower than certain media stories would have you believe.
A word of advice to tourists. We respect that you're on holiday here and we appreciate that you're spending your hard earned in our town, but please be respectful of us. While you are off work, we have jobs to attend in the meantime so it would be greatly appreciated if you and your tribe didn't fill the entire pavement as you walk at a slower pace than a sedated snail and then suddenly hurtle into the road like a herd of startled antelope oblivious of any vehicles that may be on it. Secondly, if you want to cause trouble then save it for home. We don't want it and we don't need it.OK, if you're not planning on moving here then skip to the end paragraph of the op, otherwise keep reading.I assume if you're reading this then you want to know what it's like for a resident. That all depends on the area you're living in. If you're up in the Prestatyn end then it's not too bad. The property prices there are average and it's relatively quiet, but in the West End it's a different story.
The West end if the main bedsit land and this is fuelled by adverts being sent to papers in Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham by the landlords that basically say "Come and collect your dole in the sun!". It's full of drug users and the general detritus of society. House prices understandably are pretty cheap down here with a four bedroom house going for around £75K.Another factor is the type of job you want to do. There are a few factories around here and the usual shops and offices jobs, combined with the touristy related stuff in season, but if you are looking for IT or white collar jobs then you won't get them. You are within an hour of Chester though (either by car or train) so it could be handy as a base if you don't mind travelling, but you will be hard pressed to find anything local.
Rhyl as a town is OK in regards to shops, but the atmosphere of a night is eery. The lighting in some areas seems to be out of a Dickensian novel and this can make it a haven for muggers Crime is probably about average for an area like this, but it is aided by the police preferring to catch motorists who are 1mph over the speed limit than any proper criminals.Yes, North Wales is the land of speed cameras. Our moronic Richard Brunstrom, chief constable of North Wales, has decided to have a scheme called 'Arrive Alive!' which means the coppers will turn up en masse at a random location and proceed to nick any drivers who go above the allotted speed limit. This can be frustrating especially if you have an open road and no one in sight. But then again, what do you expect from a copper who reckons heroin should be legalised.
Winter it's quiet, summer it's heaving. If you come from a big city then you'll deal with it, but if you're from a little country village then the adaptation is quite large.If you're of a homosexual persuasion then Rhyl is probably not the best place to move either as there is very little in the way of gay or lesbian venues (although there is Offa's Tavern in Prestatyn that is gay/lesbian/bi/transgendered friendly and even has specific nights in the week for them). The locals aren't too tolerant of it and although there is also a gay night in Llandudno and Prestatyn during the week it's not that much and you'll probably end up taking a trip to Manchester.
One part that really lets the area down badly is the railway station. For something as essential as that you'd expect it to be all clean and shiny, but considering for a lot of tourists here it's their welcoming mat to the area, it's grotty and dingy. The security of it is also quite poor and of an evening you get groups of kids hanging around causing trouble and drunks being generally antisocial. It's also in the papers weekly for crime (some lad was put in intensive care not so long ago by some lads mugging him) and for the state of it. A lot has been said and promised by the council and the station owners, but nothing has been done.Recently, the Denbighshire council have also been cutting back on funding to various things as they're heavily in debt so I've got a feeling that all the general things in the area are going to get a lot worse before they get better.
My overall opinion? Mixed. It has it's good and bad points and these change with the seasons. I can't say I wouldn't move here as I have, and I've adapted, but I think if I'd had the choice of going elsewhere then I may have changed my mind. Horses for courses comes to mind. Great if you're a tourist, but I'd check the place out in person if you're planning to move here.
Product Information : Rhyl (Wales)
Manufacturer's product description
Listed on Ciao since: 09/04/2004