In a nutshell. One of Britain’s best-preserved medieval towns. Conwy is a true one-off.
Well-preserved ancient walls, the most intact in Europe, enclose a town of narrow cobbled streets, nooks and crannies chock-full of historic buildings. And that’s just the half of it.
The walls radiate out from a gritty, dark-stoned castle that, even after all these years, still preserves an authentic medieval atmosphere – and still has the power to dominate and intimidate.
Conwy Castle, a World Heritage Site, was a key part of the ‘iron ring’ of fortresses built around Snowdonia in the 13th century by Edward I to contain the Welsh. The views from the battlements, with the mountains of Snowdonia one way, the Conwy Estuary the other, are stunning.
And it’s from here that the entire town comes into perspective, ringed by a circuit of walls over three-quarters of a mile long and guarded by no less than 22 towers. A Conwy ‘must-do’ is a walk along these walls, before venturing into the streets below to visit places like Aberconwy House (a rare 14th-century merchant’s dwelling), Plas Mawr (the UK’s best-preserved Elizabethan town house) and the dinky Smallest House (see if you can fit inside).
And complete your history lesson by calling into Conwy’s Tourist Information Centre to see the flagship exhibition that tells the story of the Princes of Gwynedd. Maritime Conwy lives on along the quay – especially when the summer River Festival is in full nautical swing.
And back in town there’s a unique mix of shops to delight and entice – everything from award-winning butchers to trendy boutiques and galleries.
Conwy is a town rich in history, which much of it still preserved within the walls and traditional structures of its buildings. In the heart of it is the mighty 13th-century castle, whose walls encapsulate this remarkable medieval town.
The Quay is host to a number of amenities and is a particularly stunning place to visit during the warm summer months. Whether you’d prefer to sit with a refreshing drink outside of the cosy quayside pub, take an exciting boat tour around the coastal area or hike upon the many surrounding mountains – it’s all possible in the quaint town of Conwy.
Conwy offers a whole host of places to eat and drink. Fine dining restaurants, traditional pubs and snug cafes can be found throughout the town. It’s not every day that you wake up five minutes away from a medieval castle – but in Conwy, it’s the norm for many.
With its traditional and quaint appearance, you may be fooled into thinking that this town is hard to access. It’s worth exploring further afield in the rest of Conwy County which includes equally impressive coastal towns.
You’ll also find that Conwy is very proud of its culture and history, and is often host to a number of cultural events throughout the year. Each year, you’ll find an abundance of festivals, art galleries and local markets, which are primarily hosted in the name of supporting and displaying their local talent and produce.
If you adventure into some of the smaller towns, you might even hear the Celtic Welsh language being spoken first hand. The survival of this language is another testament to the preservation of this spectacular region’s heritage . If you do find yourself asking for a drink or meal in a primarily Welsh spoken area, a polite ‘os gwelwch yn dda’ (os gwel-ooch un thar) – which translates to ‘if you please’ won’t go amiss at the end of your request!