Learn more about the UK ETA before your visit to Bangor City

As the oldest city in Wales, Bangor has a rich history and sought-after views over the Menai Strait, making it a city of interest for travellers to the UK. Its coastal location and local landmarks, including Garth Pier and Bangor Cathedral, draw visitors and travellers passing through on route to Ireland via the Holyhead to Dublin ferry. For those planning a trip to Bangor, a guide to the city and important information regarding the new UK ETA requirements can be found below.

The History of Bangor

With origins that date back to the early 6th century, Bangor, a cathedral city in Gwynedd, is the original site of St Deiniol’s Monastery, founded by Celtic Saint Deiniol. Until the 18th century, Bangor remained a small settlement. It wasn’t until 1718 that it became a post town after the desire to establish better communications between England and Ireland via the London-Holyhead-Dublin corridor.

Bangor saw major growth beginning in the 1770s due to the slate quarrying industry in the nearby town of Bethesda, which became one of the largest slate quarries in the world. Improvements to the route between London and Holyhead in 1826 by way of the A5 road that runs through the city centre and over the Menai Suspension Bridge also helped boost growth.[1]

Bangor’s city status

Because of its long-standing cathedral, Bangor uses the title of “city” by ancient prescriptive rights. Though future government surveys determined Bangor’s city corporation had become extinct, local interest garnered enough support to obtain a charter of incorporation in 1883, which helped to preserve its ancient status. The Queen reaffirmed this “city” status in 1974. By most metrics, Bangor is considered to be one of the smallest cities in the UK.[1]

Bangor today

Today, Bangor has a population of over 18,000 and is best known for its local historical landmarks, such as the Menai Suspension Bridge, Garth Pier and Bangor Cathedral. Bangor is also the location of the longest High Street in Wales at 1.265 km.

The city is home to Bangor University, which has helped establish Bangor as the most cosmopolitan settlement in Gwynedd due to the large student population.[1]

Bangor City landmarks to visit

Bangor Cathedral


The namesake of this cathedral city and the original site of St Deiniol’s Monastery, Bangor Cathedral is among the most important landmarks in Bangor. Its history dates back to the 6th century, while the Cathedral itself dates back to the 12th century. It underwent a series of restorations after being damaged by invasions from Normans, the English King John and Owain Glyn Dŵr, the early 15th-century rebel Welsh leader.

Bangor Cathedral is designated as a Grade I Listed Building, making it a building of exceptional interest.[2]

Garth Pier


Despite the city’s small size, Bangor is home to the 2nd longest pier in Wales. At 460 m in length, Garth Pier also holds the title of 9th longest pier in the British Isles. Opened on 14 May 1896, Garth Pier was designed as a promenade pier with holidaymakers in mind.

Today, the pier is free to access and remains open until 9 pm during summer. Its prime location and length allow visitors to view local seabirds like oystercatchers, curlews, redshanks and little egrets at low tide.

Garth Pier also features several kiosks rented out to local small businesses, including cafes, artist studios and a traditional seaside tearoom. Memorial benches and seating line the promenade, where visitors stroll and walk their dogs.[3]

Menai Suspension Bridge


Bangor is home to the world’s first major suspension bridge, the Menai Suspension Bridge. Built in 1826, the 417-metre-long bridge connects the Isle of Anglesey and the Wales mainland and continues to carry road traffic to this day.

Visitors wishing to cross the Grade II Listed bridge will find that driving slowly is the best way to take in the scenery on either side.[4]

The new UK ETA for Bangor City

Beginning in 2023, the UK will be implementing a new digital travel authorisation system called the UK ETA, or Electronic Travel Authorisation, which will require an application from travellers currently able to enter the UK without a visa. This new system will require a UK ETA for Bangor and affect travellers looking to visit all other parts of Great Britain from outside the UK.

What is the UK ETA?

The UK Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA)[5] is a British entry permit required by all foreign travellers entering the UK. Similar to the American Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA), the UK ETA checks an applicant’s details against several security databases before an electronic travel authorisation can be issued.

Who needs to apply for a UK ETA?

All foreign travellers currently able to enter the UK without a visa will be required to apply for a UK ETA before visiting the United Kingdom in any capacity, including for business, studies, medical treatment or tourism.

A UK ETA for Bangor is required for travellers visiting the city from an eligible foreign country for less than 6 months.

Who is exempt from needing a UK ETA?

British passport holders and Irish passport holders will be exempt from needing to apply for a UK ETA.

How long does it take to apply for the UK ETA?

Applying for an Electronic Travel Authorisation can be done online before travelling to the UK. The ETA application is expected to be processed within 48-72 hours.

To apply, applicants will need a valid biometric passport from an eligible country, a valid email address, a credit or debit card for fee payment and certain personal and travel details.[6]

When will the UK ETA system come into effect?

The United Kingdom will begin rolling out the new Electronic Travel Authorisation system in 2023 or 2024. From the date the programme begins, travellers from 92 different countries will require a UK ETA before entering the United Kingdom.

How does the UK ETA system affect people who travel with or without a visa to the UK?

For travellers who currently do not need a visa to travel to the UK, the new Electronic Travel Authorisation system will require an application for a UK ETA when visiting for any length of time up to 6 months. A visa application will still be required for travellers who plan to stay in the UK for longer than 6 months or wish to work there.

Where can I find the latest UK ETA developments?

For the latest UK Electronic Travel Authorisation system updates, travellers can visit the Government of the United Kingdom website.[7]

Before travelling to the historic cathedral city of Bangor to explore its landmarks and main attractions first-hand, travellers need to take time to review the most current UK travel requirements. From 2024, applying for a UK ETA for Bangor will be standard for all foreign travellers wishing to visit the oldest city in Wales.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangor,_Gwynedd
[2] https://www.visitsnowdonia.info/bangor
[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garth_Pier
[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menai_Suspension_Bridge
[5] https://www.gov.uk/guidance/electronic-travel-authorisation-eta
[6] https://www.etauk.uk/
[7] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nationality-and-borders-bill-electronic-travel-authorisation-factsheet/nationality-and-borders-bill-electronic-travel-authorisation-factsheet