Britannia Bridge Stone Lion
Photo : Tim Snow

Britannia Bridge Stone Lions

When the Britannia Bridge was built in 1850 it was decorated with 4 lions sculptured out of local Limestone, two on the Anglesey side and two on the mainland side.

Prior to the A55 road deck being built, the Britannia Bridge lions were very visible, now these magnificent stone lions are quite hard to find and certainly not visible from the A55. Wouldn’t it be great to be welcomed on to Anglesey by these magnificent stone creatures?

The four Britannia bridge lions were carved from locally sourced Limestone, which probably came from the Limestone quarries at Penmon, the same location the stone came from to build the central pillars on the bridge. Each lion is made up of several different sections and then fitted together. Three of the stone lions are on National Rail property behind metal fencing.

John Thomas - Sculptor

John Thomas (1813–1862) was a British sculptor and architect, who was responsible for sculpting the four Britannia lions, he would have probably had a team of sculptors working with him. John Thomas also worked on Buckingham Palace and the Palace of Westminster.

The Britannia limestone Lion on the Anglesey side

The Anglesey Lions

The Britannia bridge lions on the Anglesey side are probably easier to get to than the Treborth ones, there is certainly less to walk! The Anglesey lions are situated on the Anglesey Coastal Path so there are one of two ways to approach them.

From Carreg Bran Hotel (shortest route)

If you turn down towards the Carreg Bran Hotel (off the A5) and carry on under the metal railway bridge and park in the car park next to St. Mary’s church. Walk back up the hill under the railway bridge, turn right leaving the Carreg Bran hotel to your left. Go over the metal gate and carry on for approximately 200 meters, you will start to hear the humming sound of the Traffic on the A55. As you travel towards the underneath of the A55 turn right up a hill underneath the road bridge and you will see the lions on the left and right.

The lion on the left is much easier to reach, especially if you want to take photographs or selfies! Be careful its a steep drop on the left hand side.

From Anglesey Coastal Path (Menai Bridge direction)

If you are walking on the Anglesey Coastal Path that travels from Menai Bridge direction along the Menai Strait, follow the coastal path signs up the huge hill that runs parallel with the Britannia bridge. As you travel under the road section bear round to the left up another hill (small compared to the one you’ve just walked up!) and you will see the lions on the left and right.

The Britannia limestone Lion on the mainland side

The Treborth Lions

To see the Britannia Bridge lions from the mainland side, there is also one of two directions you can approach them from. Either from Treborth Botanic gardens or Treborth village.

From Treborth Botanic Gardens (LL57 2RQ)

If you travel over the Menai Suspension bridge from Anglesey and turn immediately to the right, before the left hand bend you will travel down a small road with speed bumps. Carry on down there for approximately three quarters of a mile and you will see a place to park on the left hand side, about enough space for 5 or 6 cars. Park there and walk along to path opposite that goes down through the trees for about a mile. About half way along you might be able to see the Island of Ynys Gorad Goch in the middle of the Menai Strait on your right hand side.

As you come under the Britannia bridge follow the path that bears round to the right and up the hill. On your left hand side there will be a small gap in the foliage, enough room to fit a car, carry on up there for about 15 meters and you will see the left hand lion. If you then carry on up the hill you can just about see the right hand lion through the railway railings.

From Treborth Village (Use postcode LL57 2NX)

If you turn down to Treborth village from the A487 through Glan Menai housing estate continue along Ffordd Bronwydd, eventually you will see a big white house on the right, this is the veterinary surgeons so please keep it clear and park somewhere sensible, tucked in tidily. (There is very little room here!)

You will need to walk from this point on wards! There is a sort of fork at this point, so take the left hand lane, you should be able to here the traffic on the A55 which is to your left. The road you will walk on sort of runs parallel with it for a short while. Carry on for about a good half a mile and eventually you will come underneath the A55. You will see the lions through the railway railings and if you carry on walking down the hill you will see a fairly large gap in the foliage on the right hand side, go up there and you will be able to see the left hand lion very clearly.