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Report 2114: A Few Days Around Conwy, Northeast Wales

By Eleanor from UK, Spring 2014

Trip Description: We spent a few days in May exploring the area around Conwy with ruined castles, stately homes, churches and the delightful Brynbella Gardens.

Destinations: Countries - United Kingdom; Regions/Cities - Wales

Categories: Hotels/B&Bs; Day Tours; Garden Visits; Sightseeing; Independent Travel; 2 People

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Page 1 of 19: Introduction

photo by MAW

The Vale of Clwyd, seen from Brynbella Gardens

Both grandsons are train mad and love the Ffestiniog Railway in North Wales. Daughter had booked a week’s self catering holiday near Porthmadog and the two boys were desperate for us to spend a couple of days with them, so they could take us on the railway. Who were we to refuse?

We had spent several days the previous year revisiting old haunts in the Llyn peninsula (Trip Report 2053) so decided to base ourselves around Conwy for four nights afterwards. We booked into the Premier Inn between Conwy and Llandudno. This is just off the A55 and a good location for exploring this part of North Wales. Standards in all Premier Inns are consistently high and this was no exception.

I first visited Conwy when I was fifteen and fell in love with the castle. I shall always remember the first time I walked through the gateway and being over awed by the internal buildings still standing to their full height. I really could imagine myself as chatelaine. This would be welcome opportunity to revisit.

Conwy Castle was one of a series of castles built by Edward I to subjugate the Welsh. From our base we could also visit the ruined castles at Beaumaris, Rhuddlan and Denbigh. All of these were built by James of St George for Edward and show the development of the castle into an impregnable fortress. When fed up of ruined castles, there was Plas Mawr, one of the best preserved Elizabethan town houses in Britain as well as the National Trust properties of Plas Newydd and Penrhyn Castle. Throw in a few churches like the Marble Church and Penmon Priory as well as the gardens at Brynbella and we had the makings of a varied and interesting break.

We decided to visit Speke Hall on the way across to North Wales. This has been on the 'to do' list for years. We spent three days on the Ffestiniog Railway with the grandsons. I planned a day to explore Conwy. Another day we would head to Anglesey doing Penmon Priory, Beaumaris Castle, Plas Newydd and Penrhyn Castle on the way back to the Premier Inn. The third day we would visit St Asaph, Denbigh, Brynbella Gardens, Rhuddlan Castle and the Marble Church. On the way home we would visit Holywell and St Winifred’s Well. More pictures can be found on Eleanor’s Pages.

It was a busy itinerary and ideally we could have done with spending half a day at Penrhyn Castle. Brynbella Gardens were a delight and must rank as one of the nicest gardens we have visited. And yes, Conwy Castle lived up to the memories.

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