Conwy

Conwy quay and castle

So – as advertised we’re exploring Britain a couple of days at a time.

After our weekend at Elterwater we had a day at home, washed a load of clothes, re-packed the car and off we went again. This time we were taking advantage of the YHA’s Winter Feast offer – a family room and an evening meal for thirty quid at selected hostels. From the ones on offer, we chose Conwy: every summer we drive past this area on our way down to Tudweiliog and I’ve long fancied having a bit of a poke around. The hostel was comfortable and friendly. It sits on a little hill at the back of the town and the dining room has stunning views of the the castle and the estuary.

Conwy Castle 

The castle – well there had to be a castle involved somewhere didn’t there? When I started this little blog, just over 4 years ago, it was my intention to keep a record of my local walks on our home patch. I suppose if anybody could be arsed to analyse the content they would find that most posts have done exactly that; but some other themes have emerged, one of which is a bit of an obsession with castles, particularly Welsh ones. I make no apologies – castles are great fun.

Conwy’s castle is very fine. It has eight towers, most of which can be climbed, and it has many rooms and battlements to wander around. For the kids Cadw have created a sort of detective puzzle to solve – in the course of which they learn the story of the 1401 capture of the castle by a small Welsh band led by the Tudur brothers (yes, relatives of those Tudors) who held the castle for three months before their demands were met by the English on the condition that they surrendered nine of their own to be executed by hanging. I can see it now: “Listen lads, I’ve got some good news and some bad news…”

The layout of the castle seems to me to be very similar to those of Caernarvon and Chepstow (though it’s many years since I was there). Caernarvon and Conwy castles were both built by Edward Longshanks in his efforts to conquer Wales.

Conwy Castle and Telford's Bridge 

After lunch in one of the town’s many cafes, our party split into two factions – whilst TBH and the boys opted for the warm and dry environs of the hostel, A wanted to tour the castle again. So we did. Twice. We also had a gander at Thomas Telford’s suspension bridge, had a wander along the quay…

Interesting ship in the harbour 

…posed for photos outside Britain’s smallest house…

Britain's smallest house.

…and did a complete circuit of the town walls. Oh, did I forget to mention the walls? Conwy, a World Heritage Site, has remarkably complete walls with a battlement walkway along the top. Superb if you like that kind of thing. And we do. By the time we walked back up to the hostel at the end of the afternoon, A was exhausted.

Herring gulls

The following day we sampled the delights of Llandudno. It was mostly closed, but we found things to keep us occupied – a walk along the pier and a cup of tea in the cafe at its end, a picnic with a grand view, a bit of beachcombing, and a happy hour with the tuppeny cascades in an amusement arcade. It was too cold and damp for a stroll on the Great Orme, so we shall have to come back another time to try that. It’s actually less far away than I would have guessed, so a return visit at some point is a strong possibility – we only scratched the surface this time.

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Conwy