Snuggled into the mouth of a river that shares its name is Conwy, a medieval walled town that’s steeped in history. Here are our top ten things to do when you visit the town.
On the northernmost coast of Snowdonia is Conwy, a delightful and friendly medieval walled town that sits on the River Conwy estuary.
Conwy is the perfect base for exploring the northern reaches of Snowdonia: it’s a short journey away (by bus, train or car) from many of Snowdonia’s top attractions – both indoor and outdoor – and is also close to other North Wales towns, beyond the boundaries of Snowdonia Mountains and Coast, like Llandudno, St Asaph and Denbigh.
Here are ten things to do when you visit Conwy.
1. Conwy Castle
One of the English king Edward I’s castles which formed an ‘iron ring’ around north Wales, Conwy Castle is usually the first item on people’s to-do lists when they visit Conwy. Perched on a rocky outcrop so that it dominates the town – as is a medieval castle’s wont – Conwy Castle does have a habit of taking one’s breath away. There are often special events – like battle re-enactments or displays of medieval courtly life – taking place within the castle’s walls, which make visits that little bit more special.
2. Town walls
Walking atop Conwy’s town walls is a great way to see the town. And it’s free, too, which is always a bonus these days! You can see for miles around, on a clear day, so the town walls are a good place to enjoy a spot of photography or painting.
3. The Royal Cambrian Academy
The Royal Cambrian Academy of Art, according to its website, is “an independent institution, led by distinguished artists, whose purpose is to promote the creation, enjoyment and appreciation of visual art through exhibitions and education”. Which means that when you visit Conwy, chances are there’ll be a great exhibition or other event taking place at the Academy which, if you’re a lover of the Arts, you definitely won’t want to miss!
4. Plas Mawr
This fantastic Elizabethan townhouse in the centre of Conwy – the best in Britain, some say – is one of the town’s top attractions, and with very good reason. Faithfully preserved and renovated, Plas Mawr is a real gem which imparts a unique sense of place and time. The period architecture and decoration – especially the painted plaster mouldings – will take your breath away.
5. Aberconwy House
This 14th century merchant’s house is the oldest in Conwy, and it looks ever so slightly out of place sandwiched between newer buildings. But Aberconwy House is really gorgeous, and very much worth a visit; inside there are displays that explain the history of the house and how people lived from medieval to Victorian times, among other things.
6. The Smallest House in Britain
It won’t take long to explore the Smallest House in Britain, because it only has one up, one down, and both of these rooms aren’t much bigger than cupboards! But if you’re walking through the harbour, do stop off and have a little look inside this teeny tiny oddity, because it’s really quite fascinating, despite its diminutive size!
7. Boat trips: cruises
While you’re at Conwy Harbour, you might fancy taking a little sightseeing trip on a boat around the Conwy estuary. A half-hour cruise will usually cost in the region of £5 for adults. Sightseeing Cruises Conwy offer a variety of options, including picnic trips, half-hour and one-hour trips, and even private hire if you need it.
8. Boat trips: fishing
If you’re more interested in fishing than sightseeing, not to worry – there’s plenty of that available at Conwy Harbour, too! During the main season it’s usually easy enough to walk along the quayside and find any number of boats offering fishing trips. Or, you could do something a bit more specialised, with Sea Fishing Trips Conwy; you could try one of their wreck fishing trips, perhaps, or even a lobster safari!
9. RSPB Conwy Reserve
Now, if our suggestions so far have been very in-town or on-water focussed and you’d like to do something a bit gentler and more peaceful when you visit Conwy, we heartily recommend the RSPB Conwy Reserve. Peace and quiet are almost guaranteed, with the only noise coming from the birds you’ll see during your visit.
You can’t really visit Conwy without visiting a few of the shops. There really is very little in the way of high street giants when you visit Conwy; it’s all about the wonderful, quirky little independent shops selling gifts, arts and crafts, and award-winning sausages. Yes, that’s right: award-winning sausages. Until you’ve tried an Edwards of Conwy sausage, you haven’t lived, so make sure you pop in and pick up a few tasty nibbles during your visit!