Conwy is a lovely small town on the North Wales coast with a skyline dominated by Conwy Castle and the town walls which date from the 13th century and both of which will feature in a future post. On the banks of the Conwy estuary the town (and castle) had a good defensive position on rocky elevated ground and also where a narrowing of the river allowed for crossings at slack tide.
I based myself here for four nights before moving on to Llandudno for a further three nights. I’d originally only been going to stay in Conwy but then the rail strikes were announced so getting a bus to Llandudno seemed like a good option. Then of course the Queen died and the strikes were cancelled but I’d already made plans and I didn’t want to change them again, and besides I’d been to Llandudno before and enjoyed it and still had other things to see, which you’ll find in future posts. I actually ended up travelling home on the day of the Queen’s funeral which proved to be very quiet and largely hassle free. My accommodation in Conwy was Number 18, a charming B&B with some very fun and eclectic décor, great host and wonderful continental breakfast served to the room.
It’s impossible to get lost in Conwy, all you need to do is orientate yourself to the harbour (a future post) and four nights (with almost two full days using it as a base to explore elsewhere) was probably enough, certainly the way that I travel! There are still plenty of places to eat for such a small town – I’d definitely recommend the Erskine Arms – and an impressive selection of independent shops. There is also an annual honey fair which I happened to be around for (on or around the 13th September) – lots and lots of sellers of local honey (of course I bought a jar to bring back with me).
Conwy is also the town with the smallest house in Great Britain – 180cm x 300cm. I didn’t pay the £1.50 to stick my head inside and take a look around but I did take a photo one evening when it was closed. Houses were built from either end in the 16th century and when they didn’t quite meet up this house was built in the gap. The last tenant, a 6 foot 3 fisherman (!) lived there until 1900 but had to move out after the council declared it was unfit for human habitation. His landlord’s descendants are the current owners of the property.
Other interesting buildings included Conwy Guildhall which I could never tell if it was open or not but it is where the town council meets and was completed in 1863. It’s designed in an impressive Gothic Revival Style and certainly grabs the attention.
In the centre of Lancaster Square is this statue of Llywelyn the Great (Llywelyn ap Iorwerth) above a water fountain. Llywelyn was a king of Gwynedd in North Wales who came to be known as the Prince of Wales and did much to unite the country; he also founded Aberconwy Abbey in 1186 (which no longer exists). The statue was created in 1895 though in unpainted bronze – the colour was added in the 1950s. [He’ll pop up again later in a future post].
One fun little place is the Gnome House which I didn’t realise is listed as a tourist attraction on Google maps until I was back home. It is literally a group of gnomes on the steps of a house and I only took a quick photo as I was walking past because it caught my eye.
And so begins the first in what will be quite a long series about things to do in Conwy and North Wales.