Conwy Things to Do

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    Conwy Castle
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    Behind City Walls
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    Wooden Knight
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Most Recent Things to Do in Conwy

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    Conwy Castle

    by Balam Updated Dec 7, 2009

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    Conwy Castle
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    Conwy Castle is certainly one of the most impressive castles in Wales and is my favorite, overlooking the Conwy estuary it's 8 towers soar above what is one of the finest examples of medieval walled towns in Europe. Both the castle and it's adjacent town walls were built for King Edward I between 1283 and 1287 and it proved to be the most expensive of the chain of castles (The Iron Fist) that King Edward I had built in order to subjugate the Welsh.

    The layout of the castle had to follow the shape of the rock on which it was constructed and the interior was divided into two separate wards with the outer containing buildings such as The Guard houses, Kitchens and the Great Hall and the inner ward housing the Royal apartments.

    Unfortunatly the castle had started to fall into disrepair within 60 years and some repairs and modifications were made in 1346 by Edward the Black Prince (Father of King Richard II) but no other major work was done to the castle and although it did see some activity during the Civil War (1642 - 1651) but at the end of the war the castle was stripped of saleable materials leaving an empty shell as happened to many castles in this period

    Adult - £4.60, Concession - £4.10, Family - £13.30

    A joint ticket for Conwy Castle and Plas Mawr is available:
    Adult £6.85, Concession £5.85, Family £19.55

    Entry is free for Welsh residents aged 60 and over or 16 and under who have a valid pass.

    Opening times
    01.04.09 - 31.10.09: Monday - Sunday 9.00 - 17.00

    01.11.09 - 31.03.10: Monday - Saturday 9.30 - 16.00, Sunday 11.00 - 16.00

    Entrance Times and Fees Updated 08/12/09

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    Plas Mawr

    by Balam Updated Dec 7, 2009

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    Plas Mawr
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    Plas Mawr (Great Hall) was built between 1576 and 1585 for the influential Welsh merchant, Robert Wynn. (His tomb is in the Parish Church)

    The tall lime rendered walls of Plas Mawr tower majesticaly over the high street and reflect the status of its builder as does the richly decorated interior. Plas Mawr is an architectural gem and the finest surviving town house of the Elizabethan era in Wales and England.
    Robert Wynn was a remarkable and well travelled courtier (who would have made a great member for VT if only it had been going then)He was a trader who rose to great import amongst the Welsh gentry of the time. The house is especially noted for its ornamental plasterwork which is of an exceptional quality and has been fully restored to its original splendour and has The initials RW and his coat of arms incorporated into the plaster in many places.
    Probably the best example of this is the plaster overmantel in the hall (Picture 5) which has been repainted in its original vivid colours

    Another great feature is the houses furnishings, many of which are original to the house and others are real period furniture from the local area. The furniture has been placed based on an inventory of the contents made in 1665.

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    Visitors can take an audio-tour of the house which describes the restoration and the life of the Tudor gentry (not just Wynn's generous entertaining and feasting, but also the work of the servants which underpinned such a lavish lifestyle).

    Adult - £4.95, Concession - £4.60, Family - £14.50

    A joint ticket for Conwy Castle and Plas Mawr is available:
    Adult £6.85, Concession £5.85, Family £19.55

    Entry is free for Welsh residents aged 60 and over or 16 and under who have a valid pass.

    Opening Times:
    01.04.09 - 30.09.09: 9.00 - 17.00 Tuesday to Sunday, closed on Mondays except Bank Holidays

    01.10.09 - 31.10.09: 9.30 - 16.00 Tuesday to Sunday, closed on Mondays except Bank Holidays

    01.11.09 - 31.03.10: Closed

    Opening times and entrance Fees updated 08/12/09

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    Aberconwy House.

    by Balam Updated Dec 7, 2009

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    Aberconwy House
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    This 14th-century merchant’s house is the only medieval merchant’s house to have survived the somewhat turbulent history of this fantastic walled town for over six centuries. It is said to have been built by the same craftsmen that constructed the Castle and is indeed built from the same staone.
    Furnished rooms and an audio-visual presentation show daily life from different periods in its history.

    Entrance is free to members of the National Trust
    £3 to non members

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    St Mary's Church

    by Myfanwe Written Sep 3, 2009

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    St Mary and All Saints Church, Conwy was founded in the 12th Century as the abbey church of the Cistercian Abbey of Aberconwy. This was the burial place of many of the Princes of Gwynedd, including Gruffydd ap Cynan, Llewelyn ap Maelgwyn, Llywelyn the Great (Llywelyn Fawr), and his sons Dafydd and Gruffydd. After King Edward 1's conquest of Wales in 1283 Edward chose to build Conwy Castle and it's fortified town on the site and forced removal of the Abbey to Maenan in the Conwy valley. Llywelyn the Great's body, buried in 1240 AD was removed to Maenan and then, on the dissolution of the monasteries, to Llanrwst Church, where the coffin can still be seen.

    Parts of the walls, notably on the north side, survive from the original 12th century Abbey church. While the lower stages of the tower, the south transept and the porches, were erected in the 14th century. In the 15th century the tower was completed, and the aisle roofs were raised in the 16th century. Parts of the interior to note are the 15th Century rood screen, once probably the finest in North Wales, and the medieval chancel stalls.

    There are many interesting slate gravestones in the churchyard and one tomb in particular containing seven brothers and sisters is marked "We Are Seven." It is said to have inspired the poet William Wordsworth to write his poem of the same name.

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    Sightseeing Cruises

    by Myfanwe Updated Sep 2, 2009

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    All aboard..

    From the quayside at Conwy you can take a sightseeing cruise upstream to the Conwy Valley, or out on to the estuary for wonderful views of Anglesey, Puffin Island, the mainland coast and the Irish Sea.

    I haven't done this yet but is on my list of 'things to do' for my next visit to Conwy. I can tell you a bit more about it then!

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    • Sailing and Boating

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    Conwy Suspension Bridge and Toll House

    by Myfanwe Updated Sep 2, 2009

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    The Suspension Bridge leading to the castle.
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    Conwy Suspension Bridge was one of the first road suspension bridges in the world. It was built by Thomas Telford in 1826 with the same technology used for his much larger masterpiece, the Menai Suspension Bridge. The bridge at Conwy spans the River from the Castle, Telford cleverly designed the supporting towers to match with those of the Castle turrets. The suspension bridge runs alongside the wrought iron tubular railway bridge built by Robert Stephenson. Until the new bridge was built, Telford's bridge was the only crossing of the river, and therefore the only way to get to the ferry that leaves for Ireland.
    Built into the rock on which Conwy Castle stands, it is very close to the castle and very small (only about 2 1/2 meters across). Part of the castle had to be demolished during construction in order for the suspension cables to be anchored into the rock.

    Nowadays the bridge is used solely for pedestrians and is owned and managed by the National Trust. You can take a stroll along the bridge and for a small fee you can visit the furnished Toll house in the style of the 1890's. The Gentleman working for the National Trust at the Toll House was very friendly and told us everything there was to know about the Toll House and the Bridge. There is also a very nice herb garden to the side of the house where you can take a look at the lovely aromatic plants. You are not allowed to take photographs in the House.

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    The Smallest tip.. I mean House

    by Myfanwe Written Sep 1, 2009

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    Conwy is the proud owner of the Smallest House in Great Britain. It has a fabulous Quayside location and is indeed very, very small. For an admission fee of £1 you can explore every nook and cranny of this house in minutes. It is by far a very interesting (and speedy) experience. You are greeted by a lady adorned in the full Welsh Costume who will let you into the house via a curtain (no room for doors). The downstairs consists of a fireplace and chair and there is a loft which contains a very small bed. It was once occupied by a Fisherman who was 6ft tall who probably kept most of his belongings aboard his boat!

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    Plas Mawr

    by Myfanwe Written Sep 1, 2009

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    The rear of Plas Mawr from the Garden
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    Plas Mawr, (Welsh meaning - Big Mansion) is the finest example of an Elizabethan House in Britain. It was built between 1576 and 1585 for the influential Welsh merchant, Robert Wynn. The lavishly designed interior and ornamental plasterwork is a joy to see, once inside keep a look out for the 'R W' coat of arms - it can be seen many times in a number of different rooms. The rooms are decorated and laid out with furnishings of the Elizabethan era. The Kitchen was one of my favourite rooms, it had a huge stone grate together with a cast iron cooking pots and utensils laid out ready for the preparation of dinner. I also enjoyed the plasterwork and vivid colours on the friezes in the great hall which also had a great fireplace. At the rear of the house you can enjoy the splendour of the Elizabethan garden which has been re-created to portray the plants and herbs which would have been grown by the Wynn family.

    This is definitely another of the highlights of Conwy for me, I thorougly enjoyed looking around and would highly recommend it.

    As Plas Mawr is now in the care of Cadw, you can buy a joint entrance ticket for both the Castle and Plas Mawr as long as you will be visiting them both on the same day. (See website below for details)

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    Crabbing

    by Balam Written Sep 1, 2009

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    Crabbing
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    on the Quay at Conwy you will see many people 'fishing' for crabs, you can buy crab lines bait and buckets from shops on the Quay like the one at the mussel museum.
    Crabs are caught put in buckets admired and most are put back so they can have a meal take a ride to a bucket and then get dropped back in the sea. I would imagine that Conwys crab population is quite well fed.

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    Town Walls

    by Balam Updated Sep 1, 2009

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    Conwy Town Walls
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    Conwy has over three quarters of a mile (1.2 km) of Medievil town walls, They are certainly among the finest and most complete sets in Europe,
    There are 21 towers at regular intervals of about 46m. The walls are 1.68m thick and 9m high, The towers are15m high iat their highest and externally it would have presented a continuous stone face and would have been formidable to any would be invaders.
    The towers were open backed and the wall walkway was suported across them by a series of removable wooden bridges.which ensured that each section could be isolated if it was attacked and scaled.
    At the wall walk level each tower had a floor that was set back from the bridge giving access to the lower arrowslits and to a stair going to the battlements. not all the towers would have been roofed.
    The construction of the town walls went hand in hand with the castles construction and both were esentialy complete by 1286.

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    Climb the Walls!

    by Myfanwe Written Sep 1, 2009

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    The Town Walls of Conwy are judged as the finest in Britain. The construction of the Walls went hand in hand with that of the Castle and were completed by 1287. They are really well preserved and together with the Castle have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    You can take the steps up to the walkway at the top of the walls from various points in the town. The views from the top are incredible allowing you a great vantage point over the town, estuary and beyond.

    You are allowed to wander around the Town Walls for FREE. Some parts of the pathway is uneven and there are a few inclines but you will be rewarded with some great views and photo opportunities once you get there.

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    Climb the towers of the Castle

    by Myfanwe Updated Sep 1, 2009

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    Conwy Castle
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    Conwy Castle is a splendid example of medeival military architecture. It stands on the banks of the River Conwy comandeering a fine vantage point over the land and sea. Conwy Castle was part of the 'Iron Ring' of Castles which were created by King Edward I to quell the Welsh uprisings with the others being at Ruthin, Caernarfon, Beaumaris and Harlech. The Castle and borough were constructed between 1283 and 1287, they were built by a workforce of over 15,000 men under the supervision of Master James of St George, an architect who acted on instructions from the King.

    The Castle as it stands now is looked after by Cadw (Welsh meaning: to keep), who look after and preserve Welsh Historic Monuments. It is a fascinating place to look around & explore, you can climb to the top of the towers to get glorious views of the town, sea and mountains. I especially liked the stonework of the Chapel in the North East tower.

    I would highly recommend a look around the Castle. There are various information boards for you to read as you go around and a very good gift shop near the entrance.

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    RSPB Bird Sanctuary

    by Balam Updated Sep 1, 2009

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    RSPB Bird Sanctuary
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    This RSPB bird sanctuary is situated on the banks of the River Conwy estuary and it has some magnificent views of Conwy Castle and Snowdonia, there are birds to see at any time of the year. The reserve was created following the construction of the Conwy A55 road tunnel in order to provide a safe haven for waders at high tide throughout the year and for many other birds.

    Birds can always be seen from the the coffee shop which is open from 10am-4.30pm (to 4pm from November to March). and there are telescopes set up to help you identify them, if your struggling a bit the visitors centre sells a wide range of books and charts to aid in spotting which kind of Sparrow or duck is wading flying overhead or wading through the water and the RSPB experts can help you spot that they are in fact godwits, shelducks, Oyster catchers or any of more than 200 different species of bird that have been seen at this reserve.
    There is a network of paths and hides, and guided walks are available and even if the birds do not interest you that much it is a lovely place for a walk on a nice day

    Hot and cold drinks some lovely looking lunches, sandwiches, cakes and Traditional Welsh snacks are available from the Coffee Shop.

    RSPB Members free
    Non-members: adults £2.50
    concessions £1.50
    children £1

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    • Birdwatching
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Church of St Marys & All Saints

    by Balam Written Sep 1, 2009

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    Church of St Marys & All Saints
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    The Church of St Marys & All Saints is situated in the heart of the walled town of Conwy.
    Conwy Parish church was Founded in the Honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary and All Saints and was originally the Cistercian Abbey of Aberconwy with building starting in 1172 AD being completed in 1186, The welsh Prince Llewelyn the Great granted the Abbey a charter in 1198.
    The abbey was a depository for welsh records and a mausoleum for native welsh princes (which were since removed).
    in 1245 an English army under King Henry III ransacked the Abbey stealing books and chalices and burning the buildings.

    It was in 1283 that king Edward I moved the Abbey to Maenan rebuilding the church (many parts of the old one remain such as The east and west buttresses and parts of the walls (mostly on the north side). The lower stages of the tower and the porches were built in the 14th C with the Tower being completed in the 15th C and the Rood screen errected and the font was installed. During the 16th C the aisle roofs were raised and then the nave roof in 1872.

    the Clock in the tower was a gift from Lord Penrhyn in the 19th C.

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    Lifeboat Station

    by Balam Written Sep 1, 2009

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    Lifeboat Station
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    The RNLI Lifeboat house was established in 1966 and is of course situated on The Quay, The doors are sometimes left open so you can see the current lifeboat a D class Lifeboat which is a D-627 Arthur Bate II and has been in service since 2004 when it replaced the D-482 Arthur Bate which had been in service since 1995 provided from the bequest of the late Arthur Charles Bate.

    There is a shop were you can buy Lifeboat and RNLI themed items.

    Donations are always apreciated. RNLI Registered Charity Number 209603

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    • Sailing and Boating

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