Wrexham is a town in North Wales, with a population of approximately 68,000. It was formerly mainly an industrial town with coal mining and brick making as the main industry, but employment has broadened in recent years. 2011 is the year of culture in Wrexham, including events such as the National Eisteddfod held between 30 July - 6 August 2011. The Olympic torch will pass through Wrexham town centre on May 30 2012. In 2013, the Racecourse Stadium, will host a group match and a quarter-final in the Rugby League World Cup, while Wrexham will also be a place for training and a team base camp.
The first known settlement was known as Wristleham Castle, a motte and bailey located in what is now known as Erddig Park, established in 1161. King Edward I of England is on record as having briefly stayed at Wrexham during his expedition to suppress the revolt of Madog ap Llywelyn in 1294. The town became part of the county of Denbighshire when it was created in 1536. Wrexham was divided into two distinct townships, Wrexham Regis (which was under the control of the King) and Wrexham Abbot (generally the older parts of the town, which originally belonged to Valle Crucis Abbey at nearby Llangollen)..
In the 18th century Wrexham was known for its leather industry. There were skinners and tanners in the town. The horns from cattle were used to make such items as combs and buttons. There was also a nail-making industry in Wrexham. In the mid-18th century Wrexham was no more than a small market town with a population of perhaps 2,000. However, in the late 18th century Wrexham grew rapidly as it became one of the pioneers of the Industrial Revolution.
The Industrial Revolution began in Wrexham in 1762 when the entrepreneur John Wilkinson (1728–1808) known as 'Iron Mad Wilkinson' opened Bersham Heritage Centre and Ironworks. In 1793 he opened a smelting plant at Brymbo. At the top end of the Clywedog Valley, about ten minutes' drive from Wrexham, Minera Lead Mines are the remains of the profitable lead industry that dates back to prehistoric times.
Wrexham gained its first newspaper in 1848. The Market Hall was built in 1848, and in 1863 a volunteer fire brigade was founded. Wrexham was also home to a large number of breweries, and tanning became one of Wrexham's main industries. In the mid 19th century Wrexham was granted borough status. Wrexham's mining heritage is nearly all gone. Most former mines have been converted into industrial and business parks - one such development at Bersham Colliery has the last surviving head gear in the north Wales coalfield. Just off the A483, on the edge of Wrexham, the Gresford Disaster Memorial stands witness to the 266 miners who lost their lives after a series of explosions at Gresford colliery in September 1934.
Just 2 miles (3 km) south of Wrexham town centre, Erddig, a National Trust property, was home to the Yorke family until 1973. Its last resident, Philip Yorke, handed over a house in need of restoration as years of subsidence caused by the workings of Bersham Colliery had caused a lot of damage. The house was voted one of the two most popular stately homes in the UK by a National Trust/Channel 5 publication.
In the mid to late 19th century Wrexham had over 35 breweries, and grew a proud tradition of brewing both ale and lager. In 1882 German immigrants set up Britain's first lager brewery under the name of Wrexham Lager. In 2000 the Wrexham Lager Brewery was the last one to close. A number of the original brewery buildings remain, most notably Wrexham Lager on Central Road (offices), Soames Brewery on Yorke Street (Nags Head) and Border Brewery on Tuttle Street (converted apartments). The famous Wrexham lager was re-launched on October 29 2011 at the Buck House in Bangor-on-dee and is now available in bars/pubs across the town centre and also the county including the Bank, the Golden Lion(Wrexham town centre) and the Holt Lodge. This will hopefully create jobs in the future with the support of the town.
The Wrexham industrial estate, which boasted many companies on its estate has drastically reduced, but is still home to major companies such as Kellogg's, Avox, Calypso, Hoya Lens, Wockhardt, and JCB. The link road to the Industrial estate is considered by many to be years too late has now started and is expected to be finished by August 2012. The county also boasts companies such as Cadbury's, Sharp, Grote, moneypenny and brother.
Nearest airports to Wrexham are Liverpool Airport and Manchester airport, they can take approx 45-60 minutes depending on traffic.
Wrexham Central station (as the name suggests) is right in the town centre, and is very handy for visitors. Wrexham General station is a 5-10 minute walk from the town centre, General station is the largest in North Wales and is well served by regular direct intercity trains from Birmingham, Manchester, Cardiff and London.
There are buses operated by Arriva from Chester to Wrexham bus station and G.H.A operates buses from Oswestry and Rhyl to Wrexham bus station.
The train services from Wrexham Central station and Wrexham General station is a fast and useful way of travelling to see the surrounding area.
There is also an extensive bus service from the Wrexham bus station to all the local villages such as Coedpoeth and to towns such as Oswestry and cities such as Chester.
Taxi offices are located throughout the town centre and can be contacted day and night.
The town centre boasts a market on Monday's and Friday's with the traditional indoor markets still in existence. The main shopping streets are Bank Street, Henblas Street, High Street, King Street, Regent Street, Overton Arcade, Hope Street and Queen Street. The variety of shops has increased over the years and now includes TK Maxx, Peacocks, Laura Ashley, New Look, Game and HMV. Eagles Meadow shopping centre's main anchor is Debenhams and includes many other popular stores such as Topshop, JD Sports, River Island, H&M and M&S. Independent designer boutiques include Ragazzi, Origin Menswear, Chevron and Serutti. Wrexham’s independent retailer's are amongst the best in Britain according to mystery shopping visits, which rated them highly.
A Free Parking Scheme began on October 31st 2011 to boost the local economy meaning that council owned car parks on crescent road and the People's Market (Multi-storey) car parks are now free of charge after midday.
Recommended eateries in the Wrexham county include Pant-Yr-Ochain in Gresford, The Boat, Erbistock, the Croes Howell in Llay, The Ffrwd Inn and The Hollybush both in Cefn-y-Bedd.
There is an excellent Chinese & Oriental restaurant called The Bridge Inn a one minute walk from Caergwrle train station. It doubles as a peaceful pub with outside tables in front of the bar which are nice on a sunny day.
Chain Restaurants mostly located in the Eagles Meadow Shopping Centre includes Pizza Express, Nandos, and Frankie and Benny's. Many popular fast food chains such as Subway, McDonald's, Burger King, KFC, Chicken Cottage, Domino's, Pizza Hut and Try Tai are located in Wrexham.
Pubs in the area such as Plas Coch and Nags Head, serve popular favorites such as steak and chips and fish and chips on a budget, but at the same time offering a good standard of food and service. There's two Wetherepoons in the town centre which offers food and drink at reasonable prices.
Wrexham has excellent local produce in the forms of Village Bakery and Gerrard's, which compete with national chains such as Sayer's and Gregg's. The Butcher's Market and also butcher's located in various places around the town centre serve to offer local produce and serve to protect the community and heritage.
Some of the more popular bars include Horse & Jockey, Bar Cuprum, Yates's, Lloyds No1 bar, Yales Cafe Bar, Voodoo Moon, The Bank, Fat Cat Cafe Bar, Bar 1-5, Honky Tonks, The Commercial, Golden Lion, Cross Foxes, The Old Swan, Ironworks. Nighclubs include Liquid/Envy, Chicago Rock Cafe and Central Station. The latter showcases many local bands and popular musicians from the UK and overseas while also hosting local DJ's mainly on Saturday nights.
The Turf is also a popular bar next to the Racecourse ground - especially on match days. This was the birthplace of Wrexham FC. The Wynnstay Arms in the Town Centre was where the Football Association of Wales (FAW) was founded at a meeting held on 2 February 1876.
The Bridge End Inn in Ruabon, Wrexham is currently the Camra pub of year
Telephone boxes are located throughout town, and there is an internet cafe on Vicarage Hill. McDonald's, Pizza Express, The Old Swan Pub, Nags Head, Lemon Tree, Costa and Starbucks all offer free Wi-Fi.
There is plenty to do in the surrounding area, including: