On our last full day in Wales, we had to go see Conwy castle. Conwy is all about the castle – Lonely Planet said so and it was right. The castle is another great fortress in Edward I’s Welsh defences – a dramatic one too. It was built in just 5 years (1282 – 87) on an elongated rock, with eight huge drum towers punctuating the soaring walls. Very cool.

Overlooking Conwy Castle

Unike Caernarfon and Beaumaris castles, this spectacular castle didn’t need the ‘walls within walls’ defence structure. The outcrop it sat on and towering walls were defensive enough. Again, it was another freezing day so our heavy jackets were certainly required!

Outside Conwy Castle

Inside the castle, it actually has some internal walls and windows of its old chapel (to the right of me below).

Inside Conwy Castle

At Conwy Castle

Like the other castles, many of the towers are available to climb. There are great views from the top over the estuary and the town.

On top of a tower at Conwy Castle

The town also has a great 1200m long town wall you can walk around with pokey doorways and ups and downs. It was built at the same time as the castle, guarding Conwy’s residents at night.

Crammed in a doorway on the Conwy city walls Conwy city walls

The other reason the walls were built in the 13th century were to keep the Welsh ‘natives’ from entering the walled town. The English within the walls lived as an effective garrison town along with the other walled towns constructed as part of the ‘iron ring’.

Wandering up Conwy city walls

Finally, using our Cadw 3 day pass, we went to see one of Britain’s finest surviving Elizabethan town houses – Plas Mawr.

Outside Plas Mawr

When we heard the description ‘Elizabethan house’, we weren’t quite sure what to think. Well, think Tudor period, but add a lot of plaster work decorations.

Plas Mawr entryway

Plas Mawr doorway Plas Mawr toilet

The house’s owner, Robert Wynn, was an influential merchant of great repute and liked entertaining. So, he built a grand house between 1576 and 1585 in the heart of medieval Conwy’s narrow cobbled streets.

Plas Mawr bedroom

Plas Mawr plaster lion Plas Mawr plaster dragon

Every major room in the house was decorated, and we assume would’ve all been painted in bright colours like the decorative women below. The initials ‘ER’ were for Queen Elizabeth I, ‘Elizabeth Regina’. The royal symbol of the Knights of the Garter is in blue in the centre. Robert Wynn made sure to show his acknowledgement of Queen, particularly when he was entertaining his guests.

Plas Mawr painted plaster

The top of the house’s tower certainly had an amazing view.

Plas Mawr view of Conwy Castle

A brilliant last day in Wales. What a spectacular trip. I’d highly recommend a long weekend in North Wales to anyone.

Until next time,

Liz and Rob

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