Famous for its market and industry, Wrexham is one of the liveliest cities in North Wales. It flourished during the Industrial Revolution, and many of its most famous monuments — including the striking Pontcysllte Aqueduct — were built during this period. After the year 2024, visitors to Wrexham travelling will need to apply for the UK’s new ETA. Read on to discover how the new ETA system may affect your trip to the United Kingdom.
Battles for Wrexham
Wrexham’s location in the northeast of Wales led to it often being the centre of border disputes. In the 8th century, Offa’s Dyke — the historical boundary between England and Wales — was constructed. It lies to the west of Wrexham, suggesting that the settlement was under English control at the time. However, the 11th-century rise of Gruffydd ap Llewellyn, King of Wales, led to Wrexham being claimed by the Welsh. Tensions remained high in the area, with many conflicts taking place until Wales lost its independence in 1282. Some historians believe that King Edward I stayed in Wrexham while subduing the Welsh.
The most important part of Wrexham’s history began in the 18th century. At this time, Wrexham was a small market town and best known for its leather industry. Then the industrialist John “Iron Mad” Wilkinson came to the town, opening the Bersham Ironworks, followed by a smelting plant. Industrialisation had come to Wrexham. Soon, the town had its own newspaper and a large market hall. In fifty years, its population increased sixfold, and by 1849, it had its own railway station. From a sleepy town largely populated by skinners and tanners, Wrexham boomed. It became particularly well-known for its brewing industry and had the first brewery in the UK that produced lager.
At the same time, the mining industry was growing in prominence in Wales. The area surrounding Wrexham proved to be fertile for coal, and many coal mines were built. Wrexham did not have city status yet, but it had become one of Wales’ key industrial hubs.
Wrexham’s Decline and Revival
Wrexham’s industrial success did not last forever. Towards the end of the 20th century, the coal mines closed, followed by many other industries. By the 1980s, even the once-mighty steelworks had shut its doors, leaving mass unemployment in its wake. However, the 1990s led to a turnaround in Wrexham’s fortunes. The Wrexham Industrial Estate became a major manufacturing centre, with over 250 businesses setting up there. The growth of manufacturing, along with major regeneration projects in the centre, has helped to revive Wrexham. As the largest settlement in North Wales, it bid for city status many times, finally achieving the goal in 2022.
Things To See in and Around Wrexham
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Pontcysyllte Aqueduct was completed in 1805. This navigable aqueduct carries canal boats across the River Dee and is the highest canal aqueduct in the world. Built as part of Wrexham’s industrialisation, it is mostly used by leisure boats today. Visitors can enjoy a boat trip across the aqueduct, which offers panoramic views across the surrounding valley. It was intended to be part of a much larger system of waterways, linking North Wales to cities in western England, but the full project was never completed.
Dating back to 1295, Chirk Castle was a private residence. It was initially designed to house the local Marcher Lord, who oversaw the borderlands between England and Wales. It has extensive gardens featuring a variety of different styles. Within the grounds, the remains of Offa’s Dyke, the historical boundary between Wales and England, can be seen.
The Oak at the Gate of the Dead
This oak tree, also known as the Crogen Oak, is over 1,000 years old and stands alongside Offa’s Dyke. Its unusual name derives from the fact that it stood here in 1165 during the Battle of Crogen. In this key engagement, Owain Gwynedd’s Welsh army scored a decisive victory over the English, led by Henry II. After the battle, the dead were buried in ditches in the area, leading the surrounding land to be known as Tir y Beddau, “land of the graves” in Welsh. The tree has become a famous local landmark and is sometimes referred to as the only living witness to the Battle of Crogen.
The UK ETA for Wrexham
From the year 2024 onwards, the UK’s new ETA programme will be in place. The ETA, which stands for Electronic Travel Authorisation, is similar to systems such as the ESTA in the United States or the ETA in Canada. It helps the government achieve its goal of digitalising the country’s borders, giving more oversight into the comings and goings of UK visitors.
The travellers affected by the new system will be those who currently do not require a visa to enter the UK. The present visa waiver programme lets citizens of 92 countries enter the UK without a visa or any other form of paperwork. These travellers will need to apply for an ETA if they wish to travel to the UK when the new system is in place. The visa waiver programme will be abolished completely.
Travellers will need to apply for a UK ETA for Wrexham if they intend to visit for a holiday, a business trip, short-term studies or visiting friends and family. The ETA lets them stay in the country for up to six months. Those who wish to work in the UK, or stay for a period of longer than six months, will need to go through a separate visa application process.
The UK ETA for Wrexham Application Process
Travellers must apply for the ETA online. This is a completely digital system, so no paper-based alternatives are available. It is essential that travellers begin their application with plenty of time to spare. Many carriers may consider an approved ETA a condition of carriage, so passengers who do not have one before beginning their journey could be denied boarding.
When starting their ETA applications, travellers are advised to look at the list of requirements and ensure that they are prepared. As well as being in possession of a valid biometric passport, they will need to answer questions about personal information. For example, they will have to give their date of birth, contact details, employment status and so on.
In addition to this personal information, applicants are expected to disclose any past transgressions. These details may include a criminal record, immigration offences and membership (past or present) of any proscribed groups or organisations. In addition, applicants will need to provide information about their trip to the UK. They may be asked for the purpose of their visit, for the address at which they will be staying, and for a brief itinerary that outlines their plans.
When completing the ETA application, applicants will need to pay a fee. This is non-refundable and must be fully paid before the application can be processed. The processing period is expected to take up to 72 hours before an application can be approved or denied. With this in mind, it is important for travellers to plan carefully and apply for their ETA with at least 72 hours to spare before they begin their journey.
Travelling With the UK ETA for Wrexham
Once a traveller has been approved for the UK ETA for Wrexham, they can stay in the UK for up to six months. The United Kingdom consists of four constituent countries: Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. There is no internal border control between these countries, so a traveller with a valid ETA can move freely between them and will not require any additional forms or paperwork. However, the ETA only allows this freedom of movement within the United Kingdom. A visitor who wishes to travel to the Republic of Ireland or any other independent European country will need to look up the entry requirements.
Your Trip to Wrexham
Apply for your UK ETA well in advance, and make the most of your time in Wrexham. Explore the historical boundary between England and Wales, go for a leisurely cruise along the aqueduct or enjoy the wealth of walking trails that you can find in the green countryside of North Wales. Your approved ETA is your key to unlocking a world of adventure.