Conwy - Wales in miniature
PUBLISHED: 00:16 14 March 2011 | UPDATED: 16:09 26 April 2016
All the charms of North Wales are within walking distance in Conwy Photography by John Cocks
So, you want to go to Wales. You’d like to see mountains, the coast, a castle and galleries and find great food and interesting places. Sounds like a lot of travelling, but not if you head for Conwy.
This little gem on the North Wales coast is a microcosm of the whole region - it has everything you’re looking for, and more besides. The town is full of character and is packed with fascinating sights along every higgledy-piggledy cobbled street and winding lane.
The townscape is dominated by the imposing 13th century castle and walls which surround the old town. Edward ordered the building work in 1283 after he had defeated the Welsh and established English control of the Conwy valley.
A series of Welsh rebellions had convinced him that a network of heavily fortified castles was needed to subdue the natives. The castle, which overlooks the Conwy Estuary, has massive walls and eight huge round towers.
As the Welsh became less rebellious, Edward turned his attentions to picking fights with the Scots. But in 1403, with the English distracted, Owain Glyndwr led a rebellion which took the castle but then he gave it back in exchange for a ransom. The perfectly preserved castle and walls remain an impressive sight and are visible from just about everywhere around the town.
Mountains apart, the castle is the biggest thing you’ll find round these parts, but on a more modest scale there’s Britain’s smallest house, a tiny red-walled cottage by the quayside.
And around the corner, Plas Mawr is one of the best preserved Elizabethan homes in the world, filled with original fixtures, fittings and furnishings and open to the public throughout the year.
And although Conwy stands on a compact site by the mouth of the river Conwy, it has lots of other attractions, including historic houses and museums, galleries and studios and the marina and nature reserve. The town also hosts a packed programme of events, fairs and festivals throughout the year and the wider Conwy Valley is scattered with pretty villages, wonderful walks and stunning scenery.
Every year hundreds of thousands of visitors come from all over the globe to savour the charming town’s many delights; as you admire the buildings, shops and breath-taking views, you'll hear all manner of accents and languages which highlight Conwy’s international appeal.
Location: The main roads into Conwy are the A55, A547 and, coming from the south, the B6106. Type LL32 8AY into your sat-nav to find the town centre. The town is also on the Crewe to Holyhead North Wales coastal rail line, with the station in the town centre.
Where to park: There are reasonably priced pay and display car parks around the town and all the attractions are within walking distance.
Where to eat: There are cafes, restaurants, pubs and delis all over the town, but make a point of visiting the multi award winning Edwards butcher's on the High Street.
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