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Last year Dave and I decided to join the National Trust using the money that his mom had given him for his birthday.
During the Mayday weekend this year we decided to visit the Conwy Suspension Bridge and the lock keepers cottage. Llandudno was very busy as it was the weekend for the Victorian Extravaganza and we thought it would be nice to get away and do something quieter for a while. We had been meaning to visit the bridge for some time so that was where we headed.
Obviously being members of the National Trust we didn't have to pay but the visit would have cost just £1 for adults and 50p for children.
To find the bridge you just need to head for Conwy in North Wales by taking the turning off the A55 and you will travel across the modern bridge with the suspension bridge on your left hand side. If you are using the Sat Nav the postcode to enter is LL32 8LD.
The bridge is also easily accessible by public transport as the buses also cross the modern bridge into Conwy.
There is limited parking at the end of the bridge farthest away from Conwy or you can drive into Conwy, park there and walk back to the bridge.
The Conwy Suspension Bridge was built by Thomas Telford in 1826 and is a stunning work of engineering. It spans the River Conwy, not unsurprisingly, and is in the shadow of Conwy Castle. The battlements on the supporting towers of the bridge actually match the turrets of the castle.
As we normally drive across the modern bridge into Conwy it was really fascinating to be able to walk across the beautiful suspension bridge. Traffic is not allowed on the suspension bridge. In fact there are actually three bridges over the river at that point the suspension bridge, the modern bridge and a rail bridge. The A55 travels under the river by means of a tunnel.
The lock keeper's cottage is really interesting and has been refurbished and furnished in the style of the 1890's. There are four very small rooms - a bedroom, a kitchen and two living rooms for you to walk round. The furnishings were great for me to look at as I remembered some of the things from my grandmother's old house - the old metal bed, the flat irons, the old sideboard etc.
The garden had also been set out as it would have been in the 1890's so there were a few flowers and also some vegetables. I never did find the toilet but I am guessing there must have been an outside loo in those days!
On the outside of the cottage, on the wall above the door, is a sign showing a list of charges for the various things that could be taken across the bridge such as pigs, sheep, horses - with or without carts, gigs, landaus and all sorts of other modes of old transport and livestock! It made fascinating reading - I hadn't even heard of some of the horse drawn carts!
It is also possible to buy a guide book which will give you information about the story of both the bridge and the town.
The house and the bridge are both accessible to disabled visitors being on a flat surface although there are also steps down to lower parts of the bridge for those who wish to explore further.
The whole visit took us about an hour. We spent about 20 minutes looking at the cottage and talking to the National Trust guy there; who was very interesting to talk to I might add. We spent a fair bit of time walking across the bridge and looking at the river and the castle from a perspective that we hadn't seen before.
It is possible to leave the bridge from the castle end as well as the cottage end so you could walk from there into town and then come back across the bridge later in the day if you have left your car by the cottage.
All in all I found it a really enjoyable visit and it was nice to get away from the crowds in Llandudno for a while. Obviously this is not a place to spend a whole day, but rather somewhere to visit on the way to somewhere else or as part of a day's visit to Conwy. We actually went from the suspension bridge into Conwy and visited Aberconwy House, another National Trust property in the centre of Conwy. I shall be writing a review about that shortly.
Designed and built by Thomas Telford in 1826.