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Conwy Castle

Conwy, Caernarfonshire, Wales

Featured Location Guide

"A part of the World Heritage Site Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd"

Conwy Castle

Conwy Castle can be seen and photographed from a number of places, including the RSPB Conwy reserve just across the river, from the side of the A470 road going south looking over the reserve, (there is Layby SH802766 multimap ), from the side of the river north of the bridge off the A546 (see below), where there is a raised walkway, then a path that goes alongside the bay, from the main road and from the back of the castle across a river, as well as a from slightly further along the same road south.

The most published images are from the opposite side of the river north of the bridge, to get to this location start from the A546 turn into Glan Y Mor Road, and you will find a set of modern steps going up on your right at SH790778 multimap onto a path that runs alongside the main road, and from this you can get a view of the castle and access to the path SH789778 multimap that runs up the side of the river/bay. From this path you have a view of the castle, and some of the popular views of the castle with boats in front, and the Snowdon mountain range behind are taken from further along this path to the north. You can also see a stretch of the town wall across the river.

Another position with good views and often better light is from much nearer the castle. After crossing the road bridge by car and going just past the castle, you can take a left that takes you through a very narrow railway bridge and then left again into Penarth road multimap , from the road and places you can access including the side of the river, you can get several good views of the castle. Multimap aerial One of the views you can get is shown above.

The castle is floodlit at night. Many say that Conwy in the north and St David's in the south of Wales, are the two places that time has passed by and you can get a glimpse of what it would have been like at the time these buildings were created.

Conwy Castle

Conwy is a walled town on the north Wales coast by the side of the river with the castle sitting on a lump of rock. It is a part of a group of castles built for Edward I between 1283 and 1289. It is a structurally solid castle that does not have a series of concentric defences as some did in this period, simply because its location and size did not need it. It was built by James of St. George, who also built or strengthened 12 of the 17 castles in Wales that Edward I had developed including Harlech and Beaumaris.  Caernarfon Castle also has a walled town but the walls are not so complete and easy to see today as Conwy. The town walls are 1400 yards long, have 21 towers and 3 double tower gateways.

The 8 towers and curtain wall of the castle is rectangular in shape and is still fully intact, with almost all of the castle preserved and accessible to visitors including battlement walks and towers, you may feel you could put back a few floors and a roof and it would be fit for habitation again. There are good views from the top of the towers and walk ways both of the inside of the castle and surrounding scenery.

Today we see this castle as grey stone, while when built it was rendered with white plaster. Some traces of the plaster can still be seen.

Conwy Castle from the road
Most traffic is now taken under a tunnel.

The castle is divided into two wards, with the outer ward and inner ward surrounded by four towers each, with turrets. The towers are over 70ft high and 30ft in diameter, with walls 15ft thick. The original entrance to the outer ward was up a long stepped ramp up to the west barbican, which was defended by a drawbridge and portcullis. Inside the ward, the four towers provided some accommodation for the garrison, and in the base of the Prison Tower is the gloomy dungeon. On the left the foundations mark the site of the kitchens and stables. To the right, the unusual bowed plan of the Great Hall 125ft long was made necessary by the rocky foundations.

At the far end of the ward is the castle wall, and beyond this a further drawbridge protected the entrance to the inner ward. This was the heart of the castle, the area occupied by the private apartments of the King and Queen. They included a hall and a sumptuous presence chamber, though only the shells of the windows remain. The King's Tower provided further private rooms.

King Edward 1st was  besieged at Conwy during the rebellion of Madog ap Llywelyn in 1295. Though food ran low, the walls stood firm. Some alterations were carried out later under Edward, the Black Prince in the 14th century. In 1403 the castle fell by trickery to the forces of Owain Glyndwr, it was held by his men and later ransomed back to the English. Conwy saw some action in the Civil War, but afterwards was left to the elements.  In 1665 the timber, iron and lead was removed from the castle by William Milward on behalf of the third Lord Conway.

Town walls at Conwy

Next to the castle runs the main railway line that is in use, and across the river beside the railway is a suspension bridge that is no longer in use and a modern road, most of the traffic now is diverted slightly north and under the river by a tunnel.

The history of the developments in Wales that brought about the need for this and the other castles is covered in the article Wales - a potted history

a gallery is available for this castle, which links back to this page.


Further information Grid

 

Location:

 Conwy Castle, Caernarfonshire, Wales

Ceremonial County: Caernarfonshire

Grid Reference:

SH783774                Conwy RSPB reserve SH797773

Map Link:

multimap

Aerial photo: multimap   Aerial View

Route(s):

 

Best Times to Visit:

 

E-mail:

 

Website:

Cadw Cadw Conwy Town Walls

Other useful websites:

Wiki

Castles of Wales

conwy.com

Castle Xplorer

Castle UK

ecastles

Nearby Locations:

Plas Mawr Elizabethan Townhouse

Conwy Town Walls

Beaumaris Castle

Harlech Castle       Harlech Castle

Caernarfon Castle   Caernarfon Castle

Other Relevant pages:

Gallery for this castle

Castles of Wales

How to photograph a castle

World Heritage Sites     

World Heritage Sites - Further Information

World Heritage Sites in the UK

 

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Planning Grid

Location:

Conwy Castle, Caernarfonshire, Wales

Grid Reference:

SH783774

Getting there:

In Conwy North Wales

Access:

 

Parking:

Parking next to castle and in town, roadside parking across river where you can access the steps to get to the north viewpoints.

Facilities:

 

Things To Do, See and Photograph:

Castle, town walls, town, views, wildlife, suspension bridge, railway, boats.

What to take:

Range of lenses, longer lenses to take from more distant positions across the river, wide angle for close to the castle or within it.

Nature highlights:

Wading birds, coastal wildlife

Address:

Conwy

Postcode:

LL32 8AY

Telephone:

01492 592358

Opening times:

01.11.08-31.03.09: Mon-Sat 9.30am-4pm, Sun 11am-4pm

01.04.09-31.10.09: Mon-Sun 9am-5pm

01.11.09-31.03.10: Mon- Sat 9.30am-4pm, Sun 11am-4pm

Last admission 30 minutes before closing.

Closed 24, 25, 26th Dec and 1st January.

Charges:

Entrance FREE to CADW members and English Heritage members in 2nd and subsequent years of membership, 50% in first year.

Entry is FREE for Welsh residents aged 60 and over or 16 and under who have a valid pass.

Adult 4.60, Concession 4.10, Family 13.30

A joint ticket for Conwy Castle and Plas Mawr is available:
Adult 6.85, Concession 5.85, Family 19.55

Photo Restrictions:

None known

Other Restrictions: None known
Special Needs Access: Like most castles, access is available to the ground floor and exterior without much difficulty but climbing old circular towers and accessing higher areas may present more difficulties for some.
Special Needs Facilities:  
Children Facilities:  
Dogs Allowed: From April 2009, dogs on leads will be also welcome at these Cadw monuments:  See information

Please let us know any other information that we can add to the Further information and Planning Grids or page and any errors that you discover. Before making a long trip to any location it is always wise to double check the current information, websites like magazines may be correct at the time the information is written, but things change and it is of course impossible to double check all entries on a regular basis. If you have any good photographs that you feel would improve the illustration of this page then please let us have copies. In referring to this page it is helpful if you quote both the Page Ref and Classification from the Grids above. To print the planning grid select it then right click and print the selected area.

Please submit information on locations you discover so that this system continues to grow.

 


By: Keith Park Section: Castles Key:
Page Ref: Conwy_Castle Topic: Castles Last Updated: 03/2009

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