Conwy Tourist Guide


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Conwy (formerly anglicised as Conway) is a town in Conwy county borough in North Wales, which faces Deganwy across the River Conwy. The town lies in the ancient county of Caernarfonshire.

Conwy Castle and the History of Conwy
Conwy Castle and the town walls were built on the instructions of Edward I between 1283 and 1289, as part of his conquest of the principality of Wales. Conwy was the original site of Aberconwy Abbey, founded by Llywelyn the Great. Edward and his troops took over the abbey site and moved the monks down the Conwy valley to a new site at Maenan. The parish church still retains some parts of the original abbey church in the east and west walls. Settlers were given incentives to move to the walled garrison town, which for decades the local people were forbidden from entering.

Across the estuary is Bodysgallen Hall, which incorporates a medieval watchtower that was later used as a signal place for Conwy Castle.

Conwy Morfa, a marshy spit of land on the west side of the estuary, and was probably the location where golf was first played on Welsh soil. It was also where Hugh Iorys Hughes developed and later built the famous floating Mulberry Harbour, used in the invasion of Europe in World War II.

Attractions in Conwy
Conwy has other tourist attractions that help draw visitors to the town. Thomas Telford built the Conwy Suspension Bridge, which spans the River Conwy next to the castle. It was completed in 1826 and replaced the ferry at the same point. Telford matched the bridge's supporting towers with the castle's turrets. The bridge, which is now open to pedestrians only, together with the toll-keeper's house, is in the care of the National Trust.

Robert Stephenson built the Conwy Railway Bridge, a tubular bridge for the Chester and Holyhead Railway in 1849. This is still in main-line use with a station on the North Wales Coast Line within the town walls. The crossing of the River Conwy has always been a problem and today, in addition to a modern bridge serving the town, the A55 road goes under the river by tunnel, built between 1986 and 1991. The old mountain road to Penmaenmawr runs through the Sychnant Pass, at the foot of Conwy Mountain.

The National Trust owns Aberconwy House, which is Conwy's only surviving 14th century merchant's house. Another fine house open to the public is Plas Mawr (great mansion) built in 1576 by the Wynn family and now in the care of Cadw. The Smallest House in Great Britain can be found on the quay. It is in the Guinness Book of Records with dimensions of 3.05 metres x 1.8 metres. It was lived in since the 1500's (it was even inhabited by a family at one point) and lived in until 1900 when the owner a (6ft fisherman – Robert Jones) was forced to move out on the grounds of hygiene. The rooms were too small for him to stand up in fully. The house is still owned by his descendants today.

Conwy lies within easy reach of the Snowdonia National Park and thus makes an excellent base for a holiday or short break.

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Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015