Location: Rose Hill St, Conwy LL32 8AY
History: Built for Edward I, by Master James of St George, the castle is amongst the finest surviving medieval fortifications in Britain. In a word, exceptional. You can’t fault it, from the grandeur of its high towers and curtain walls to its excellent state of preservation. An estimated £15,000 was spent building the castle, the largest sum Edward spent in such a short time on any of his Welsh castles between 1277 and 1307. Money well spent.
Two barbicans (fortified gateways), eight massive towers and a great bow-shaped hall all sit within its distinctive elongated shape, due in part to the narrow rocky outcrop on which the castle stands. You won’t find Edward’s concentric ‘walls within walls’ here. They weren’t needed. The rock base was enough security in itself.
Some say it is the most magnificent of Edward I’s Welsh fortresses. To get the full picture, head for the battlements. Breathtaking views of mountains and sea.
If the outside impresses (and it will), wait until you go in. With an outer ward containing a great hall, chambers and kitchen, and a more secluded inner ward with private chambers and a royal chapel, it is very easy to imagine how Conwy functioned when the royal entourage was in town.
Along with Harlech Castle, Caernarfon Castle, and Beaumaris Castle, this monument has been part of the Castles and Town Walls of Edward 1 World Heritage Site since 1986.
Review: You can definitely see just how impressive this castle is, even before you enter. The drive up to the castle is just awe-inspiring, and as the history of the castle explained, this is one castle that had a lot of money spent on it (and you can tell).
I always feel like I compare this castle to Caernarfon (which is very easy to understand) because both castles are huge and very impressive/monumental. I would say that Caernarfon has more towers to explore, so Conwy’s not as huge in that sense.
However, Conwy castle is still very well preserved, which gives this castle a very real feel to it. This is something which I love when exploring castles because you get a sense for what it could have been like back in the day (I mean it’s no wonder that these castles are filled with families – I don’t think a child would be hugely entertained if they were just looking at a brick wall).
The castle is very well looked after, and there are plenty of signs placed all around to help give you a history of what happened at this castle. You can definitely get a feel for what life was like back then.
What’s more, if you happen to be staying nearby and are in the area when the sun goes down, this castle is beautifully lit up and just looks incredibily magical (what with the bridge and the lights reflecting on the water).
This is a castle that is perfect for a family trip out, there is plenty to do inside the castle, and also outside the castle walls, so you can really make the day special and fun.
This castle is one that I would class as a perfect ruin. It’s old and interesting, with most of its features still intact. You should definitely put this on your list of castles to see, and even if you’ve already seen it, then you should go again because going once is not enough time to truly marvel at this historic site.
The feature picture was taken from https://www.celticos.com/castles-north-wales-tour-norman-princes-gwynedd-romans-celts
The history notes are taken from http://cadw.gov.wales/daysout/conwycastle/?lang=en