Things to do in Conwy, North Wales
Conwy in North Wales is set on the Conwy River Estuary, dominated by the majesty of Conwy Castle. Fine views over the harbour and Snowdonia form the backdrop to this medieval walled town. It is no surprise that today Conwy is designated as a World Heritage Site.
Conwy is best known for its Castle, the most formidable link in 'The Iron Ring' of castles built by Edward I, to defend his newly won territory. Built between 1283 and 1287, the castle remains an impressive fortress appearing to grow from the rock on which it was built. Eight great round towers were built around the inner and outer wards, which are separated by a drawbridge and portcullis.
Although the bridge leading to the Castle gives the impression of a drawbridge, it only dates from 1826. This graceful suspension bridge designed by Thomas Telford, makes a delicate contrast with the mighty bulk of the ancient Castle.
The massive fifteen-foot thick walls guarded by twenty two towers stretch for three-quarters of a mile around the town, making Conwy one of the finest walled towns of the medieval period. Today visitors can still walk the Castle walls, enjoying views around the town and Harbour
In earlier years Conwy's Harbour was a busy port, which shipped slate brought by rail from Blaenau Ffestiniog around the world. The fishing fleet was a major contributor to Conwy's economy, so Conwy Harbour was a thriving place. Mussel gathering in the Conwy River Estuary was the largest industry in the town and brought extra rewards when pearls were found. One large and beautiful specimen which adorns the crown jewels, was found in the Conwy Estuary during the reign of Charles II.
The Harbour today is a pretty sight, busy with yachts, pleasure cruisers and home to Tall Ships Haven, where you will find the Zebu with its authentic rigging; one of the last sailing ships to trade in Europe.
Aberconwy House is another of Conwy's medieval gems. A 14th century merchant's house, it is thought to be one of the oldest houses in Wales.
The Elizabethan mansion house Plas Mawr, was built for built for Robert Wynn of Gwydir. The house is one of the best examples of the kind in Britain, and an important piece of Welsh Heritage.
On a different scale altogether, on Quayside is the Smallest House in Britain. Measuring 72 inches wide by 122 inches high, this unique house was occupied until 1900.
St. Mary's Church, once part of a Cistercian Abbey and mausoleum of Welsh Princes, is notable for its beautifully carved rood screen and monks stalls in the choir. The tomb of Nicholas Hakes in the chancel, proclaims him to be the 41st child of his father and father of 27 children. William Wordsworth much intrigued by the tomb's inscription was inspired to write the poem "We are Seven".
Conwy is a perfect base from which to explore the Welsh countryside, with its varied and spectacular scenery, its many heritage sites and lots of sporting and leisure opportunities.