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Conwy: A Glimpse into Medieval Wales

submitted on 9 July 2023 by

A Stroll through Time

Imagine yourself transported to a time when knights roamed the land, and castles stood guard over flourishing towns. You find yourself in Conwy, a charming coastal town in North Wales that remains a living testament to its medieval past. The cobblestone streets and well-preserved walls invite you to explore every nook and cranny of this time capsule. Founded in the 13th century by King Edward I, Conwy was designed to be a bastion of English power in the not-always-hospitable terrain of Welsh politics. Today, the town's rich history and architectural delights make it a must-visit destination for anyone with an interest in exploring the past or simply enjoying a picturesque slice of Welsh life.

Conwy Castle: Fortress of Dreams

The crowning glory of Conwy is undoubtedly its castle. Towering over the town like a moody giant, Conwy Castle is an impressive sight, even after eight centuries of weathering the elements. Built by Edward I, it was part of his "Iron Ring," a series of fortresses designed to keep Wales firmly under English control. In short, it's the architectural equivalent of a glowering bouncer at an exclusive nightclub. Once inside the castle, you can't help but be awed by the sheer scale and ingenuity of its design. The eight massive towers provide ample opportunity for visitors to indulge their inner Rapunzel or reenact scenes from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. And the views from the battlements are nothing short of breathtaking, offering sweeping vistas of the town, the surrounding countryside, and the sparkling blue waters of the River Conwy. It's worth taking a guided tour to fully appreciate the castle's storied past. The knowledgeable guides will regale you with tales of royals, rebels, and sieges that will leave you feeling as if you've stepped into a historical novel. Just try not to get too caught up in the romance of it all, lest you find yourself inquiring about the local blacksmith's availability to forge you a suit of armor.

The Smallest House in Britain

From the grandeur of Conwy Castle, it's time to shift gears and visit one of the town's quirkier attractions: the Smallest House in Britain. Situated on the picturesque quayside, this tiny abode is a testament to the human ability to make the most of limited space. Measuring just 10 feet by 6 feet, it's roughly the size of a generously proportioned cupboard if that cupboard were painted a cheerful shade of red and could accommodate a small family. It's hard to imagine that anyone could actually live in such cramped quarters, but the house was occupied right up until 1900, when the last resident a 6-foot-3 fisherman was forced to move out due to new housing regulations. It's tempting to wonder how he managed to fit inside, let alone find room for his fishing gear. Perhaps he slept standing up, like a particularly tall and accommodating umbrella stand. Today, the Smallest House is open to the public as a quirky museum, offering a glimpse into life in days gone by. Just be prepared to duck your head and watch your elbows as you explore its minuscule interior.

Conwy's Culinary Delights

After a busy day of exploring Conwy's historical attractions, you'll no doubt have worked up an appetite and the town is more than ready to cater to your needs. From traditional Welsh fare to international cuisine, there's a wealth of dining options to choose from. And if you're feeling particularly daring, why not sample Conwy's famous mussels, fresh from the river? Just be sure to leave room for dessert, as the local ice cream parlors offer a veritable smorgasbord of tempting treats.
  • For a hearty meal in a cozy, traditional setting, look no further than the Castle Hotel. With its roaring fire, exposed beams, and friendly staff, it's the perfect spot to enjoy a warming bowl of cawl, a traditional Welsh stew.
  • Craving something spicy? Head to the Raj, which offers a tantalizing array of Indian dishes, all served up with a distinctly Welsh twist. I recommend the "Edward I Korma," a fitting tribute to the town's founder and a much more palatable way to remember him than attempting to eat a suit of armor.
  • For those in search of lighter fare, the Conwy Morfa offers a delightful range of sandwiches, salads, and cakes, all served with a side of stunning views across the estuary. Just be prepared to fend off the local seagulls, who have a well-honed talent for stealing unsuspecting diners' scones.
As you stroll back to your accommodation, your belly full and your heart content, it's impossible not to be charmed by the timeless appeal of Conwy. This medieval town has truly stood the test of time, offering visitors an unforgettable glimpse into the past and a hearty helping of Welsh hospitality.
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