Not all the best castles are found on the European continent, we spent a wet, blustery Welsh day exploring Conwy’s UNESCO world heritage site. The Castle commands a rock above the Conwy estuary and demands as much attention as the Snowdonia landscape behind.
Conwy constructed by English monarch Edward I between 1283 and 1289 as one of the key fortresses in his ‘iron ring’ of castles built to “contain” the Welsh. The English lived inside its walls and the Welsh outside……..
It “only” cost £15,000 to build the Castle and the walls around the town! In 1283 that was a large fortune, you could rent a cottage for about 5 shillings a year. Some estimates have the cost at £150,000,000 at today’s values. Glad I didn’t have to foot the bill!
There are no concentric ‘walls within walls’ here, because they were not needed. Conwy’s massive military strength springs from the rock on which it stands. Soaring curtain walls and eight huge round towers give the castle an intimidating presence undimmed by the passage of time.
Climb the battlements for views looking out across mountains and sea and down to the roofless shell of the castles 125ft Great Hall. It is from these battlements that you can appreciate Conwy’s other great glory, its ring of town walls.
Conwy is the classic walled town. Its circuit of walls contained a Harp shaped town, the walls, mostly intact are over three quarters of a mile long and guarded by 22 towers, access to the top of the wall is through 10 of these towers with an average walk of about 10 minutes between each entry point.
Watch your footing along these walls especially if it is wet and blustery, as they can get slippery especially when on the incline. Exploring the walls is free and it costs £4.80 to enter the ruined castle itself. Well worth a visit even though we did not have our own tour guide as in this video we found.