Conwy, Wales

Conwy is a coastal town in North Wales surrounded by a medieval wall and anchored by a massive, 13th century Edwardian castle. These UNESCO World Heritage Sites are the lure. Conwy’s scenery and activities will convince you to stay awhile.

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1 Medieval Town Walls in Conwy, Wales

Llywelyn ap Gruffudd was the Prince of Wales when he launched unsuccessful insurrections against Edward I of England. After he was killed at the Battle of Orewin Bridge in 1282, the king commissioned walls around Conwy to protect it from further Welsh rebellions. The citadel was finished in 1287. It was .81 mile long and had 21 towers plus three gatehouses. Fortunately, most of this defensive network remains intact. The majority of Conwy is still located within this 25 acre, medieval triangle.

5 Customs House Terrace, Conwy LL32 8BD, UK
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2 Southern Façade of Conwy Castle in Conwy, Wales

After King Edward I of England suppressed the Welsh in 1283, he demanded their Aberconwy Abbey be moved and this impressive castle be built on its site. Architect John Bonvillars and grand mason James St. George orchestrated hundreds of laborers to complete the Edwardian stronghold within four years. This perspective from across the River Conwy shows the castle’s southern curtain wall. It was constructed from sandstone and limestone. The four towers from left to right are the South-West, Prison, Bakehouse and King’s Towers.

Castle Square, Conwy LL32 8AY, UK
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3 Outer Ward Facing West at Conwy Castle in Conwy, Wales

In order to visit the Conwy Castle, you leave the tourist center and walk over the former drawbridge. Entry into the Outer Ward is through the arched portal in the background below the West Barbican. On the left is the South-West Tower and flanking the other side is the North-West Tower. Also on the right is the Kitchen Tower. This is where the garrison ate their meals and stabled their horses.

Castle Square, Conwy LL32 8AY, UK
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4 Great Hall at Conwy Castle in Conwy, Wales

This archway once served as the divider between the Chapel and the Great Hall. In lieu of the missing floor is a catwalk so you can tour the rooms and see down to the basement. After the Conwy Castle was finished in 1287, it survived several attacks in 1295, 1399, 1401 and 1642 until it was destroyed by Parliamentary troops in 1665. Several restoration projects have occurred since the late 19th century. However, the castle is still primarily in ruins. This popular tourist attraction was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986.

Castle Square, Conwy LL32 8AY, UK
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5 Outer Ward Facing East at Conwy Castle in Conwy, Wales

This perspective of the Outer Ward faces east towards the River Conwy seen in the background. On the left is the massive castellated Stockhouse Tower. Formerly there was a drawbridge below it leading into the Inner Ward and the private royal chambers designed for King Edward and Queen Eleanor. The archway on the right was the entrance to the Great Hall and Chapel. Behind it are the Bakehouse and King’s Tower.

Castle Square, Conwy LL32 8AY, UK
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6 Conwy Suspension Bridge in Conwy, Wales

The 326 foot Conwy Suspension Bridge was built over the River Conwy in 1826. It features four towers with battlements similar in design to the adjacent castle. After a new bridge was built next to it in 1958, this treasure of the National Trust became a footbridge. It was designed by civil engineer Thomas Telford. He was commissioned for so many highways and bridges in the United Kingdom during the early 19th century he was nicknamed the Colossus of Roads. In 2011, Telford was inducted into the Scottish Engineering Hall of Fame.

National Trust - Conwy Suspension Bridge, Castle St, Conwy LL32 8LD, UK
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7 Conwy Estuary in Conwy, Wales

The River Conwy flows for 27 miles in northern Wales before empting into the Irish Sea at the town of Conwy. The estuary widens in several places resembling lakes. The shores of the sheltered, tidal waters are an ideal location for building a home. Archeologists believe the first residents lived here during the Stone Age.

Castle Square, Conwy LL32 8AY, UK
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8 Fishing Alternatives in Conwy, Wales

The Conwy River is a popular spot among anglers. Favorite catches include Atlantic salmon, sea trout (called sewin) and brown trout. Both fly fishing and shore casting are successful techniques. Also consider chartering a boat for a ride in Liverpool Bay, part of the Irish Sea. Captains know the best reef and wreck fishing spots to help you hook pollack, mackerel, cod and bass. Crustacean fans enjoy crabbing from the quay or taking a lobster boat in search of the Black Gold of the sea. Yum!

Conwy Quay, Conwy LL32 8BB, UK
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9 Great Britain’s Smallest House in Conwy, Wales

The Guinness Book of World Records has verified this bright red building from the 16th century as The Smallest House in Great Britain. The humble abode with an upper loft is only six feet wide and 10.2 feet high. Its last resident at the end of the 19th century was a fisherman named Robert Jones. At 6’ 3”, he was unable to stand up inside. The woman in the period costume is your guide. Obviously, it is a quick tour but a novel one.

10 Lower Gate St, Conwy LL32 8BE, UK
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10 Sheep Grazing in Conwy, Wales

Conwy is part of the Conwy County Borough in north-central Wales. One third of this region, or approximately 823 square miles, is Snowdonia. In 1953, this became the country’s first national park. A large percent of the remaining landscape is devoted to sheep and dairy farms. The majority of the area’s 100,000 plus residents live in nine coastal towns. The primary language in many of these communities is Welsh.

7 Ashdown House, Riverside Business Park, Benarth Road, Conwy LL32 8UB, UK
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