Family Travel Guide
Site: Conwy castle
Location: Conwy North Wales United Kingdom
Conwy Castle holds a special place in my heart and memories. You see Conwy was the first castle I ever visited. In May of 1999, I first laid my eyes on Conwy Castle. Being Australian, I was awe of this behemoth of a structure that stood before me. I had never seen a castle before let alone one that was still standing tall and proud 700 years after it was built. This for me started a fascination with castles that still burns strong in me today. In June of 2015, I was able to return to Conwy once again with my family in tow to experience one of the finest looking castles I have ever seen. Conwy epitomises what historically castles are portrayed like in movies that you would have seen. It’s not hard to imagine the archers on the walls of Conwy. Canons firing on encroaching forces sieges underway. It’s often said that Conwy is the greatest and most magnificent of the Edwardian castle’s ever built. I can not disagree.
The giant walls of Conwy castle that greet you
Conwy dominates the landscape like nothing else. As the town of Conwy comes into view the castle rises up from the rock it sits on to greet you as you enter the small seaside village. Conwy the township is actually still enclosed by the walls that were built with the castle as a protection for the town.
View of the castle with Thomas Telford’s suspension bridge in the foreground
Intellectual Property Office © Crown copyright 2015 www.cadw.gov.wales
One of king Edwards greatest castle’s is Conwy
History: The medieval castle that is Conwy was built by Edward 1st between 1283-1289. Conwy was one of a handful of castle’s Edward 1st built during his conquest of the welsh lands. The castle was built to intimidate any potential uprisings by the welsh people. Conwy played a part in several wars over the years following its construction. It withstood a siege by the Welsh in 1294-1295. It was used by Richard 111 for safety in his ongoing dispute over the English crown with Henry Bolingbroke ( Bolingbroke went on to be Henry IV king of England after Richards abdication). In 1401 two Welshmen pretending to be carpenters gained entry to Conwy and took control letting the welsh Rebels occupy the castle for 3 months.
The most famous King of them all Henry V111 conducted restoration work on Conwy twice during his reign. At this period in time, the castle was being used from everything from a prison to a depot to a guest residence. In 1642, The English civil war broke out between parliament and Charles 11 loyalists. A Charles loyalist defected to the parliament and the town and castle fell under their control. After the civil war ended the council of state ordered the castle to be slighted to be put in a state where it could no longer be used for military use. In the next decade, all the iron and lead was removed from the castle, In the 18th century, the castle appealed to artists who pianted picturesque landscapes. Tourist once again became aware of Conwy and started visiting the castle. Restoration work has been ongoing for the last 150 years. Conwy was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1986. In 2015, 180,00 people visited Conwy castle.
The Conwy River which flows into the Irish sea
Features: Entry to the castle is via the tourist centre that is located adjacent to the castle. As you make you way out of the tourist centre you walk along a path that runs adjacent to the walls of the castle. This walk is truly amazing. You feel so small with walls towering up like a vertical cliff face intimidating all that dare enter through the Barbican ( fortified gate). Once inside the castle, all the old building and rooms are almost completely destroyed. The castle is well signed posted with information. The signs tell you what the parts of the castles were used for. Our kids really enjoyed exploring the towers of the castle. There were races to the top happening. I must say I don’t recommend this it could be pretty dangerous There are 8 towers in all that can be accessed with different levels that can be explored on your way to the top.The views from the top of the castle are stunning looking inland down the river or out to sea over the Conwy bay Conwy walls extend to enclose the whole town The walls stretch for 1 km around the town and can also be walked. Time has not diminished the impressiveness of Conwy. Conwy outer ward contains what was once a great hall, chambers and kitchen. The castle was made up of two inner wards or areas of its original design. This area now is just lawn as the building that was present in the medieval days are long gone. In its day, this area would have been much narrower with building on each side that contributed to Conwy’s day to day activities. It would have been a busy area with soldiers, servants and craftsmen working. The inner ward at the far end of the castle was much smaller and more personal. This area was the domain of the King, Queen and any important members of the royal family. This area featured the private chambers of the royal family and a royal chapel.
The Great hall of Conwy Castle. The location of Royal banquets
The great hall which lies in the outer ward would have been an amazing sight in its time. It was easy to imagine parties, dinners of state, the king and Queen being introduced to their guests. Feasts would have been served with a huge fireplace that is still present in the side wall keeping guests warm on those freezing Wesh night. Conwy layout and rooms structure lies unaltered from its original design 800 years ago. The floors may be gone the roof may be gone, but its still easy to see the layout of this grand castle. Conwy is giant among Castles and should be on all castle lovers lists.
Pro’s for Children: Plenty of exploring to do. There are towers to be climbed. Some rooms have 3D projections (a fire in a fireplace). The gift shop plenty of pens, pencils, costumes, books all the things kids love
A family moment at Conwy
Cons for children: Paved areas can be slippery. Stairways up the towers and steep and dark. Pram and Stroller access are limited to the ground floor area.
Facilities: Gift shop, Toilets, baby change room, parking
Road Conwy via A55 or B5106.
Rail 2km/1.6mls Llandudno Junction or 0.6km/0.4mls Conwy Station, on the Crewe-Llandudno Junction/Holyhead route.
Bus 200m/220yards, route No 5, Llandudno-Conwy-Bangor/Caernarfon
Accommodation: For all your all your options click the image
Stay in Conwy
Great Britain’s smallest house
is located in Conwy.