I didn’t know much about Conwy. Make that, I didn’t know anything about Conwy, but I wanted to stop off somewhere on my way home from Snowdonia and so was on the lookout for somewhere interesting where I could spend a few hours. As I drove past Conwy it winked enticingly at me from down below the road. I turned off and followed signs for the harbour. This, I realised once there, was completely separate from the main town. I parked up (free) and went for a wander. It was quite pleasant with lots of yachts gently bobbing and a restaurant, but not a lot else.
After a quick wander round the harbour I got back in my van and found the old town fairly easily. I parked in a pay and display car park at the base of the old walls and went for a walk along the top of the walls and a look round the old castle.
The castle, a World Heritage site, dates from 1283 and was commissioned by Edward I. It’s built on a rock and has eight huge round towers protruding from it’s curtain walls. It gained its strength from its position atop the rock and so lacks concentric walls (an inner layer of walls) as they were not considered necessary.
The inner parts of the castle lie in ruins, but enough can be seen to imagine how it would have looked in days gone by. From the battlements I got good views over the town of Conwy lying inside the old town walls, the suspension bridge designed by Thomas Telford and opened in 1826, and of the course the inside of the castle. The Great Hall is 125ft long and fills the main space inside the castle. Apart from this there is a chapel, cellars, dungeons, kitchens and so on.
Leaving the castle, I walked a bit further along the walls before dropping into the town. The town walls are over 3\4 mile long and have 22 towers scattered along their length. It’s possible to walk the full way along the walls but I cut it short as I wanted to have time to look at the town as well.
I had a quick look at the smallest house in Britain which is on the shore front. It measures 1.8m wide and stands 3.05m high. I didn’t go in as there were already a few people inside and so I would have had to wait – its size obviously limits the amount of people who can go in at any one time. I could see pretty much everything there was to see from the doorway anyway.
I popped into Plas Mawr which is an Elizabethan town house known for its fine decorative plasterwork and also visited Aberconwy House which is a 14th century merchant’s house. The houses are in the care of Cadw and the National Trust respectively and so I didn’t need to pay to get in. I would have liked to have spent longer in both places but was aware of the time ticking away on my parking ticket; indeed when I mentioned to the lady behind the desk in Aberconwy House that I would have liked to have spent longer there but couldn’t because my parking ticket was running out, she advised me to hurry as the parking attendants can be very keen.
At least I got to see what Conwy has to offer; enough to know I’d like to go back and spend a bit more time there, and I had a very pleasant afternoon exploring a new place and breaking my journey home.