I only found one place worth mentioning for tea and coffee in Wrexham.
After an early start from home and a very clear run down the M6, I was there just as most shops opened up in town. But Just Tea and Coffee in High Street only open at 9.30am, so I was banging on the door, desperate for my first cuppa.
Unless I’m somewhere like Spain or Italy, where it’s really hard to find good tea, the first cups of the day in our household are all tea. And after the early start I’d had, tea was still on my mind when I got inside Just Tea and Coffee.
Their Wrexham Blend, served in a pot that’s constantly refilled – Chinese-style – was excellent. And Kim, the owner, a great conversationalist. Mind you, I quickly learnt how lucky I was that I had delayed my visit by a few weeks: they only opened the café section of the shop 3 weeks ago, so before that I could have had my pound of tea, but not sat down and had a pot!
I also got lucky with the Olympic Torch. Having preceded it by a few days in Shrewsbury, I missed it by a day in Wrexham and, judging by the local paper, this was the event of the year in town.
The crowds lining the streets on Wednesday were nowhere to be seen on Thursday in Wrexham, which is no bad thing when you’re trying to navigate round a one-way system and then wander round town sniffing out the highlights.
Busiest place in Wrexham seemed to be the Yale campus…
Yes, this is named after the same guy as the Ivy League college in the States. He’s buried in Wrexham and they swapped a stone from a local church for one of the stones of Yale University to mark the link, though I think the connections end there.
After a bit of a wander, I was back to Just Tea and Coffee for… my coffee of course. By now, end of the morning, this place was busy (mind you, it only seats 6 so that doesn’t take long!). And what a pleasure coffee was. I could have tried the Kopi Luwak for about £15 a cup, but I opted instead for Kim’s basic brew and was well-satisfied.
This will make an excellent entry in the reviews section (once I’ve caught up with my backlog…) and THE place to go for anyone visiting town.
The Cathedral, which is of course the reason I was here, is one of the many Catholic churches built after they freed up religious practice in the 19th century. There is a Welsh Saint called Richard Gwyn, who was executed in Wrexham in the 16th century, and there is actually a relic (a little piece of arm bone) stored in the wall of the place.
Sadly, the spot where he was hung, drawn and quartered is now a car park, without even a blue plaque to mark the area. Ah, the 1960s and 70s have so much to answer for…
Thankfully, nobody thought to demolish the area’s most magnificent architectural wonder: the Aqueduct at Pontcysyllyte (and yes, I didn’t enjoy asking directions either: “Where’s that aqueduct thingy” was the best I could manage). Over 200 years old, it was built for the canal boats to ship coal, steel, bricks, lead and whatever else they found in these Welsh hills.
And it’s still totally in one piece now (you’ll have to watch the video below to see it; I was too busy holding on for dear life to juggle two pieces of camera equipment…)
The Tourist Information office in Wrexham said that there used to be a steady flow of Yale graduates coming through town, but this had dwindled since 9/11. Well now, with the canal aqueduct to see AND a great cup of tea or coffee to be had, come on you preppies, it’s time to return to Yale’s roots!