Top 10 things to do in Conwy
The beautiful Welsh town of Conwy offers a diverse mix of history, seaside fun and city break all rolled into one.
Packed with plenty to do and scattered with relics and ruins to discover – it’s an unmissable town and a fantastic weekender to boot. Here are my top 10 things to do in Conwy.
Top 10 things to do in Conwy, Wales
1) Explore Conwy Castle
Conwy Castle is by far one of my favourite things to do in Conwy! I love everything from its complicated history and medieval tales to its beautiful sea views. It is a must-see place when visiting Conwy!
The castle was built by King Edward I of England, during his conquest of Wales between 1283 and 1289. It’s because of this desire to establish English rule that led Wales to having more castles per square mile than anywhere else in Europe!
It’s an absolute masterpiece of medieval engineering. The round towers were specially designed to make breaking through the castle walls even harder without corners for the enemy to hit. Its unique “castle within a castle” design gave soldiers defending the castle a place to retreat and wait for reinforcements. Whilst the sea access ensured that supplies could be brought from England more easily and gave the inhabitants of the castle a convenient escape route.
When you enter Conwy Castle you can almost smell the lingering smoke coming from the great fireplaces and imagine royalty strolling between their chambers through the purpose-built open-air courtyards.
2) Walk along the Conwy town walls
The Conwy town walls are among the best and most complete walls in Europe. Built as part of a larger fortification project along with Conwy Castle, the walls run for three quarters of a mile and incorporate 21 towers and three original gateways.
Take a walk along the walls and get a whole new perspective of Conwy as they loop around the town’s medieval streets whilst enjoying views of the towering castle and Snowdonia.
3) Enjoy a chippy lunch by Conwy Quay
Conwy can be visited at any time in the year but is particularly lovely during Spring and Summer time. The weather is nicer and it’s warm enough to sit out – which is all we want when visiting a seaside town let’s face it! And nowhere is nicer to sit out and enjoy some chips and an ice cream than Conwy Quay.
It’s a short walk down the road from Conwy Castle and is a great place to sit, relax and watch the boats sailing in the marina. Once you’re fed and watered, take a tour on the Conwy River Cruise which offers unrivalled views of Conwy, the castle and estuary.
4) Visit the ‘Smallest House in Great Britain’
Whilst you’re chilling at Conwy Quay, make sure to check out one of the cutest and quirkiest things to do in Conwy, ‘The Smallest House in Great Britain’.
Nestled amongst a row of terrace houses on the quayside, this national treasure in just 72 inches wide and 122 inches high, it’s tiiiiiiny! However, the house has got a really special and homely feel to it. It’s practical too, with just enough room for a single bed, a fireplace and a coal bunker.
The house was occupied right up until 1900 by a local fisherman but is now visited by thousands of people around the world every year.
5) Visit Plas Mawr
The historic star of Conwy is definitely the castle but it’s also home to a lesser-known treasure, Plas Mawr.
Plas Mawr, meaning ‘Great Hall’ in Welsh is a beautifully preserved townhouse dating from the 16th century. It was built by Robert Wynn, the son of a wealthy landowner. He entered the service of Tudor diplomats and travelled to royal courts all over Europe.
It features extravagant interior design which was highly fashionable amongst nobility at the time (especially for ambitious merchants like Robert Wynn!). Look out for the Tudor roses and coat of arms centre piece above the fireplace in the entrance hall which shows the family’s allegiance to the crown.
Other notable symbols in the house belong to the princes of Gwynedd from who Robert Wynn and his wife Dorothy claimed to descend from. Which includes the grisly emblem of the Griffith family – a severed Englishman’s head!
Over the centuries it became a courthouse, a school and even an art gallery. It was the continual use of the hall that undoubtedly enabled it to survive. In recent years has been restored along with its recreated Elizabethan garden to its original glory.
6) Go hiking up Conwy Mountain
If you fancy getting your heart rate up and walking off all those seaside treats, I highly recommend going hiking up Conwy Mountain. It has stunning views over Conwy Bay and a really cool history. The mountain itself is actually the remains of an ancient volcano that erupted about 450 million years ago!
At the summit, you will find the Neolithic Hut Circles and the Iron Age hillfort of Castell Caer Seion. Remains show that it was part of an extensive site which incorporated 50 hut circles, houses, a citadel and outposts!
It only takes two to three hours to complete and you get to enjoy discovering some rare ruins from the Iron Age on the way. You can’t ask for more!
7) Go walking in the Conwy RSPB Nature Reserve
Conwy RSPB Nature Reserve is a nature reserve of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds on the east side of the Conwy estuary. It’s a great alternative if you’re not up for hiking. You still get to stretch your legs and enjoy some time in nature but without the exertion!
The nature reserve protects a variety of habitats including: grassland, scrubland, reedbeds, salt marsh and mudflats. As well as wildlife such as birds, otters, weasels, stoats and dragonflies and butterflies.
It’s a great place to spend a quiet afternoon relaxing in nature and spotting the wide variety of wildlife.
8) Check out the art exhibits at The Royal Cambrian Academy
The Royal Cambrian Academy has been an independent charity supporting and showcasing the work of Welsh artists since 1882. They have over 100 artist members whose work is exhibited and sold at the gallery, helping the artists to grow and flourish.
It’s a great place to appreciate the works of local artists and the original pieces make wonderful souvenirs.
9) Step back in time at the Aberconwy House
So many time capsules in Conwy, so little time! Another must-see historical gem in Conwy is Aberconwy House. It’s the only medieval merchant’s house in Conwy to have survived its turbulent history (over 600 years!).
Following the English conquest of Wales, Conwy became an important strategic and commercial centre. After the town was granted a Royal charter in 1284, English merchants began settling and trading in here.
Tree-ring analysis dates the roof timbers between 1417 and 1420, making Aberconwy House the oldest dateable house in Wales and a rare survivor of its time.
Over the centuries it has had many incarnations but was eventually left to the National Trust in 1934. Since then extensive restorations have taken place so that future generations can continue to enjoy a window into Conwy’s history.
10) Soak up the sun on Colwyn Bay Beach
How can you spend time visiting a seaside town and not go to the beach?
Colwyn Bay boasts a longer stretch of beach than Rio de Janeiro’s famous Copacabana beach (at over three miles!).
It’s both a pebble and sandy beach and has a lovely promenade that stretches the length of the beach.
So, grab a towel, your sun cream and some sunnies and enjoy a day of soaking up some sun.*
*British summertime weather permitting!
For more on Conwy, check out my YouTube video:
Have you ever visited Conwy or wanted to go? What staycations would you like me to cover next? Let me know in the comments below 😊