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One of the great fortresses of medieval Europe....
Conwy Castle (Conwy)
Member Name: Sarah_Louise
Conwy Castle (Conwy)
Date: 14/08/03, updated on 19/08/03 (1387 review reads)
Advantages: It may be haunted!, Great views, Educational
Disadvantages: Not ideal for disabled access, CADW don't allow paranormal investigations!
Words cannot do justice to Conwy Castle. The simple description of "Conwy is, by any standards, one of the great fortresses of medieval Europe" found in the CADW guidebook sums it up well I feel.
= = = History = = =
Conwy Castle was designed by Edward I’s Castle builder James of St George. Conwy Castle and the town of Conwy is surrounded by its original wall that is still, to this day, well preserved. The only similar town/Castle is that of Caernarfon whereby its walls still exist, however, Conwy’s well-preserved wall helps the town maintain a medieval character lost by other Welsh castle towns.
Construction of Conwy began in 1283, Conwy Castle being an important part of Kind Edward I’s plan of surrounding Wales in “an iron ring of castles”.
The wall built around Conwy was intended to protect the English colony planted in Conwy. The native Welsh population were violently opposed to English occupation on their homeland!
= = = Getting here = = =
The easiest way to find the Castle (and you can’t really fail to miss it no matter which way you come into Conwy) is from the A55. The main route into Conwy is over the road running alongside the old suspension bridge connecting the castle with the main peninsula.
NB. The suspension bridge was designed by Thomas Telford and was the first bridge to span the river at Conwy (the Afon Conwy, naturally!), and it’s opening in 1826 marked the end of a long monopoly held by the ferrymen. Telford’s bridge has recently been restored and the tollhouse furnished as it would have been a century ago.
= = = The Castle = = =
The Castle itself, now run by CADW (the Welsh Historic Trust) is open to the public.
Attracting many visitors throughout the year, you’d be a fool not to take a look around whilst you’re in Conwy! The Castle is given 5/5 star rating on the CADW site (l
inks found at the end of this review).
The Castle has eight towers all connected through the walls, which form a rectangle as opposed to the more traditional concentric layouts of Edward’s other castles in Wales.
Although the Castle is typically derelict it’s all preserved as a controlled ruin and is safe enough (hence its open to the public!). You can tour the interior, consisting of the Inner Ward, Great Hall, King’s Hall and Cellars. Exterior tours are also ideal if you’re lucky with the weather with courtyards and grassed areas to admire the views from…. to admire the views fully though I recommend you do a walk of the towns’ walls and climb a tower or two.
Wheelchair access is suitable in some areas of the Castle but due to the nature of the Castle (and its many towers and staircases), it isn’t suitable in all areas.
You will of course be greeted by your average gift shop that is typical of the National Trusts’ properties.
= = = My visit = = =
In all honesty I can’t remember a great deal about my actual visit to the Castle. I’ve only been once and that was when I was 14 on a Year 9 history school trip. So I wasn’t just there for a fun day out, I was there to do work! (Or that was the plan anyway….)
Anyway, what I do recall though is they did put a bit of a show on for us, re-enactments and the likes. I’m not sure whether this has to be arranged prior to your visit or not (e.g. for group bookings like school trips). I suspect these are put on, on a regular basis, during the summer season anyway.
= = = Admission = = =
~ Opening hours ~
Last admission is half an hour before closing.
1st April to 1st June: 09:30-17:00 daily
2nd June to 28th September: 09:30-18:00 daily
29th September to 26th October: 09:30-17:00 daily
27th October to 31st March: 09:30-16:00 Mo
nday to Saturday
Closed: 24th, 25th, 26th December, 1st January.
~ Admission charge ~
Family ticket: £10.00 – admits 2 adults and up to 3 children under 16 years.
You can also get three or seven-day ‘explorer’ passes which give you free admission to the historic sites in the care of CADW.
I went as part of a History trip in year 9 in school so I can’t remember how much I paid. Not only would I be under 16, I suspect they offer group booking discounts to schools.
You can walk the walls and climb a tower or two for free if you’re skint (or if you’re a student, like me!!) I recommend you do this; you get great views of the marina from up there. Also, you don’t get quite as pestered by the seagulls up there if you’re eating anything (unlike down by the marina itself!).
= = = Ghosts of Conwy Castle = = =
You thought I was going to write an opinion with no reference to ghosts then didn’t you? HAHA. How wrong were you!? You should’ve known better! Sarah_Louise can’t simply post a review with no reference to ghosts.
Located on the outer rim of Conwy Castle are the eight towers. These are said to be haunted by eight ghosts. It all started the day the castle was built when there used to be a legend not to leave your working tools our during the night or they would be entranced by the ghosts. On the third night of constructing the towers, a fire broke out in the Great Hall. All workers were alerted to leave the castle at once. They duly did and forgot their tools. So, during the night, it’s said that eight ghosts entranced their tools. So, for the rest of the construction, weird things started happening like things collapsing and tools going missing.
There have been a few reported incidents of people seeing ghosts and having other strange occurrences in the Castle. Sad
ly, as it’s owned by CADW we can’t go in to investigate ourselves. (CADW don’t allow such things to occur which is a shame because they own loads of really haunted locations in Wales…. further reviews of some of these coming up over the following weeks!)
= = = Links = = =
(In order of preference in my opinion!)