The town of Conwy is a popular tourist destination in North Wales, primarily for one major reason: it is home to the rather impressive stone structure that is Conwy Castle, as well as the town walls that accompany it.
The town itself is found on the estuary of the River Conwy, right on the northern edge of Wales, just a little to the south of Llandudno. It is a lovely town to visit in itself, a busy market town filled with wonderful shops and beautiful architecture.
The castle and the walls were built towards the end of the 13th century under the instruction of King Edward I. During his conquest of Wales, it was put up as a show of English military might, in an attempt to ward off a retaliation by remaining Welsh forces.
The fortress is impressive, considered by UNESCO (who designated it as a World Heritage Site) as one of the finest examples of late 13th-century military architecture in Europe. It is built on a ridge so that it overlooks the town and an important river crossing point, and it commands respect and awe from visitors to this day.
You have to cross a bridge to reach it, something which made it a truly impenetrable fortress, and this seeming invulnerability was only amplified further by the twin barbicans and the huge towers, of which there are no fewer than eight.
Easily one of the most impressive of the Welsh castles, Conwy is a spectacular sight. It is in a remarkably good state of preservation, with its medieval royal chambers worth the entrance fee alone.
As for the walls, these encircle the town completely. They make for a pleasant and mostly unchallenging walk, though certain sections are steep enough to prohibit wheelchair and pushchair access. The views are breath-taking, especially from one of the 21 towers. Look out to the west to take in another regal and imposing sight: Conwy Mountain.
Conwy is more than just a large castle, however. It is also home to a very small house – the smallest house in Britain, in fact! The Quay House is predictably tiny, measuring 10’ high and 6’ wide, and is painted in a lurid red. Sadly, due to structural damage, visitors are unable to walk about on the first floor; nevertheless, due to it not being a very tall building, the top floor is fully visible from a step ladder!
You’ll also find Plas Mawr (the “Great Hall”) in Conwy. This Elizabethan townhouse is a real gem, built in 1585 and is in incredibly good condition more than 400 years later. It has been extensively restored, with beautiful Renaissance gardens outside and pristine ornamental plasterwork inside. The only modern thing about the house is the touchscreen technology; this is here to teach you a little more about Plas Mawr’s fascinating history.
We’ve barely scratched the surface of Conwy’s myriad attraction, so here’s a quick list of some more: the lush Bodnant Gardens, the bountiful RSPB Nature Reserve, the medieval Aberconwy House, the marina, and the Royal Cambrian Academy of Art gallery. There are also a series of events throughout the year including the Food Festival, Pirate Festival, Honey Fair and Bluegrass Festival.
Click here for accommodation in the area, and start enjoying Conwy’s many pleasures for yourself.
The town is reached by the A55 coast road which also gives quick access to Anglesey and the Llyn Peninsula or into Snowdonia via the A470. If you are luck there is limited free roadside parking in the town centre but otherwise there are several car parks in and around Conwy. Inside the town walls are more expensive with £1 for an hour to £4.50 for 8 hours, outside the walls (a short walk) prices start from £1 for 2 hours, for more details click here.
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Conwy Castle is easily the most spectacular of all the castles in North Wales (and cost the most to build, too!). The castle was built for Edward I by Master James of St George, and is one of the most impressive surviving medieval fortifications in Britain.
The town walls of Conwy are a major tourist attraction for the town, and with good reason: they are regarded as one of the most impressive and most intact walled circuits in all of Europe. Dating back to the late 13th century, they are as old as the town itself, and constructed by Edward I to pair with the equally impressive Conwy Castle, they form a foreboding defensive installation.
Plas Mawr, which translates to “Great Hall” in English is an Elizabethan townhouse located within the walls of Conwy. Plas Mawr dates back to the 16th century, was built by the merchant Robert Wynn and completed in 1585.
Enjoy everything Conwy has to offer by staying in a cottage in and around the town or Conwy Marina. Attractions include Conwy Castle, the town walls, Plas Mawr Elizabethan House, The Royal Cambrian Academy of Art, pleasure cruises and a wide range of shops and restaurants.
Find somewhere to let in town. Towns offer the convenience of shops, restaurants and other ammenities whilst you're never far from the countryside.
A popular area for holiday makers this has something for everyone - beaches, scenery and plenty of things to do.