Conwy is a popular tourist destination in North Wales. The city boasts one of the most dramatic castles of Edward I’s Iron Ring and the best-preserved medieval town walls in Europe. And with the town rich in history, it isn’t surprising that there are numerous things to do when you visit Conwy. Here are the top 14 things to do in Conwy.
Conwy Castle is one of four castles in Edward I’s Iron Ring. And as a UNESCO world heritage site, it is an impressive castle to explore. The entrance is through the gift shop by the Castle. The views from the top of the castle walls are wonderful, so make sure you bring your good camera with a wide-angle lens. You can see the whole town, and there are fantastic views of Deganwy Morfa. The rectangular Castle consists of eight towers, two barbicans, and a postern gate leading down to the river for the Castle. Conwy Castle has the earliest surviving stone machicolations (murder holes) in Britain and the best-preserved unaltered suite of medieval royal apartments in Wales. If you are a member of Cadw, you can get in free. Otherwise, admission is £7.95.
Plas Mawr built between 1576 and 1585 by Robert Wynn, Cadw preserves the Elizabethan townhouse, and you can take a self-guided tour through the home. You will see the beautiful original plasterwork on the ceilings, fireplace, and walls, in the bedrooms and the Great Chamber, You can also explore the Tudor technology used in the kitchen, explore the garden and courtyard, and climb the steps to the tower for beautiful views of Conwy. If you are a member of Cadw, you can get in free. Otherwise, admission is £7.30.
Conwy’s town walls surround the city. There are several entrances for you to climb the stirs to be able to walk along the top of the medieval walls. I entered in the middle by The Albion and walked toward the beach. You will be able to see over the houses to the Castle in the distance and Llandudno. Plus, there are several places of interest to see along the castle walls, including St. Michael’s Church marble statues and the Stations of the Cross built into the walls.
Completed in 1826, the suspension bridge connects Conwy and Llandudno. This pedestrian-only bridge is designed to match the towers of Conwy Castle. You can purchase a combined ticket with the Aberconwy House for £6.40 or a single Toll House ticket for £1.80. You can walk across the bridge and find out about Thomas Telford and how he and his wife kept the bridge open every day no matter what the weather was like. Also, you will be able to explore the vegetable garden they kept by the toll house.
The Aberconwy House is one of the first Conwy buildings built inside the walls. This is the only surviving 14th-century merchant’s house. Protected by the National Trust, it is a Grade 1 listed building. You can find the home at the corner of Castle and High Streets, and it is only a 2-mute walk from the Suspension Bridge. The admission to explore the furnished rooms is £5.
When the tide is low, you can walk along the vast span of the sandy beach. The beach is dog-friendly, and when you are driving up to Conwy, you can see people out with their dogs running around the beach and water. The portion by the Castle is the marina. And when the water comes in, it goes all the way to the pier walls where families are crab fishing. I got a kick out of watching the tide come in quickly and surround the boats moored in the center of the river. If you like taking landscape photographs, hanging out by the Quay in the morning and late afternoon will give you different viewpoints around the river.
The art of Crab fishing in Wales is passed down generation to generation. You can see that on display at the Conwy Quay. Kids are learning how to crab from their parents and grandparents on bright sunny days. They are sitting on the pier, legs dangling to the river, with their buckets and string hanging down, hoping to catch a bucket full of crabs. There are shops along the pier that will sell you all your crab fishing gear. So, nothing is stopping you from grabbing a bucket and having some fun!
The Quay House also is known as the Smallest House in Great Britain, is on the Quay. Its dimensions of 3.05 meters by 1.8 meters helped it land into the Guinness Book of Records. There has been a family living here from the 16th-century until the 1900s. Now you can tour this tiny home for £1. The Quay House’s open hours during the summer are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and it closes at 4 p.m. during the rest of the year.
In 1186, this site was the home of the Aberconwy Abbey until it moved in 1283. Now it is the parish church of Conwy, Wales, where the register has the beginning date of 1541. The church grounds connect from the Castle to the main road, High Street. Spend some time wandering and perusing the old gravestones. There is a lot of history on these hallowed grounds.
You can always find a hub of activity in the town square. And that was evident on all my numerous visits to Conwy over the summer. I have seen performers in the square trying to mystify crowds. Although I have now seen how the person makes it look like he is sitting on a chair when none exists under him. Takes some of the shine off of the mystique. I have also seen parades finish in Lancaster Square. Town squares are always a vibrant part of the town and everyday life.
Lancaster Square has the fountain with the Statue of Llewelyn. Llewelyn founded Aberconwy Abbey, so he has played a prominent part in Conwy’s history. But, on my first visit to Conwy, the fountain was filled with none other than bubbles. I think someone was playing a practical joke on the town.
The Albion is a favorite among the locals that I know in Wales. And they frequent here often. Built-in 1921 in the Art Nouveau style, it is a Grade II listed building. Four breweries in North Wales co-operate in the pub. Don’t expect food here as this is a drink only pub. They want you to come in and have a drink, relax, have conversations, read the paper, and be at home in this wonderfully restored pub.
You can’t walk around all day without stopping in for a snack. And is there a better snack to have than ice cream? Parisella’s can be found on High Street, and they run a kiosk on the Quay. There are over 60-flavors to choose from, and each one is delicious. Give it a try, and you might say it is the best ice cream in Wales, which I already know.
I have no idea why I have never tried a meringue before, but now I love them! Without a doubt, this was the one place I kept coming back to Conwy for. I would pick up three or four lemon or strawberry meringues at a time. One would be gone as soon as I stepped out of the shop. The Press Room Cafe is the place to buy several other Wales specialties such as cheese and jam. You can even have lunch here before or after visiting the Castle.
Street art murals can be found under the pedestrian overpass on the Llandudno side of the Conwy Suspension Bridge. These murals are impressive and look like paintings that should be in art galleries showcasing Conwy’s history. I wish that other people wouldn’t graffiti over this beautiful rendition of Conwy Castle.
With so many things to see and explore within Conwy, you will need to visit several times to do everything. Conwy is one of my favorite cities in North Wales, and every time I visit, I find new places to explore. Have you been to Conwy? What is your favorite thing to do in Conwy? If you see something I should add to the list, let me know in the comments.
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