Posted on 05/04/2017 by David
2017 is Wales' Year of Legends - a year when we celebrate and share our rich and diverse cultural history with visitors. And history is one thing people come here in their thousands for.
The Middle Ages is one of the most significant periods in the development of early-modern Wales. An era of fiercely independent Welsh princes and opportunistic invaders, it's the time period that Wales - and the British Isles - began to resemble the map we recognise today.
Many visitors to Wales will see the medieval face of our country first - in the castles and churches that dot our landscape. Many of these were built, not by the Welsh, but by those who would rule us.
But the medieval period was also a time of cultural advancement in Wales. Some of our best-known myths and legends were preserved for eternity as learned monks transcribed our oral history onto manuscripts - King Arthur and his Knights, the heroes of the Mabinogion, the epic poems of Taliesin, the lives of Welsh saints. They are loved as much now as they were then.
To mark the Year of Legends, a very special event is planned for North Wales. A team of passionate and dedicated organisers, led by CADW, Conwy Council County Borough Council and Conwy Chamber of Trade, will be turning back the clock almost 1,000 years to hold The Tournament - a weekend-long celebration of Welsh history, myths and legends.
Step back in time
The event, the first of its kind in North Wales, will see the walled-town of Conwy besieged by thousands of historical reenactors and visitors for two days of magic, thrills, family fun and general medieval mayhem!
On the 24 and 25 of June 2017, Conwy will transform into a medieval encampment and hold a grand tourney - a competition of skill at arms to find the strongest, bravest and most talented warriors of the age.
Knights, princes and ne'er-do-wells are expected to try their luck in the lists, all hoping to win the day and the adoration of the crowds.
Of course, The Tournament will attract those who participated in (or profited from) the grand tourney too. As a sporting event, it transcended social class and was enjoyed by all sorts of medieval people.
Expect to see nobility, peasants, peddlars, tricksters, merchants, wenches, monks, jesters, swords-for-hire, poets and players about the town in their hundreds.
The festival atmosphere created by this diverse throng of people will transport visitors back to the days when Conwy was a magnificent medieval stronghold.
The sights, sounds and smells of the Middle Ages will be all around!
A banquet for the senses
A medieval market will take over the High Street, selling everything from handcrafted weaponry to homemade cakes.
Jesters, magicians and strolling players will be on hand to entertain and wow the crowds.
And if you're brave enough to linger after dark, when outlaws and bandits prowl the streets, you may choose to join the nobles of Conwy at the Banquet or gather around the bonfire to listen to tales of our glorious heroes.
Heroes are made
The Tournament itself will take place over the weekend with several competitions to crown the heroes of Conwy.
The Joust - perhaps the most thrilling sport ever - will see brave knights on horseback pitted against one another in a challenge of skill and courage. Long before horse racing, this was the sport of kings and the preserve of the wealthiest and noblest of warriors.
The tourney also gives would-be heroes a stab at fame and fortune too. A sword fighting competition and longbow archery contest will be thrown open to anyone who's handy with a sword or bow for a chance at glory!
You'll be competing alongside some of the best warriors in the kingdom - champions and felons alike - but this is an open competition so all you need are skill and guts.
The Tournament promises to be a dazzling spectacle on a scale rarely seen in the UK. It has already attracted the attention of some of the leading groups of historical reenactors in the country as well as some of the most authentic performers of medieval arts and music.
Set against a backdrop that would befit a Hollywood blockbuster, this two day feast for the senses is not to be missed.
The Tournament can be enjoyed absolutely free of charge but you may like to prebook tickets for the most popular events, such as the Joust and the Banquet.
Join the melee!
As it's a two-day event, you may be thinking about making a weekend of it. We have a small selection of properties close to Conwy that could serve as your very own castle for the weekend.
If you want the full-on medieval experience, you could stay within the castle walls - albeit in more luxurious surroundings than the reenactors! White o Morn cottage is an historic Grade II listed building that sleeps two (plus 1 child in an adjoining room).
Alternatively, venture outside the walls and stay at the nearby Conwy Marina. Awel y Mor sleeps five and is within easy walking distance of Conwy town - could be handy for walking off all that mead!
Finally, if you'd prefer to be lord of the manor for the weekend, you could opt to stay in the rural surroundings of Bryn Dowsi. This a beautiful farmhouse property that sleeps seven and is located just a mile outside Conwy.
We're really looking forward to The Tournament and we're already planning our costumes for the Banquet. It's going to be an epic occasion and an unforgettable way to mark the Year of Legends.