Travel Guides

Conwy | Adventure Destination Guide

Like Wales, big castles, and getting active outdoors? Here's a guide to Conwy and its surrounding area

Everyone loves a good castle, right? Right. And every self respecting castle enthusiast should agree that Conwy’s is right up there at the top end of the good castle scale. If you haven’t seen it, give it a Google, it’s a monster. Anyway, the thing about Conwy is that there’s actually way, way more to it than just a good castle, especially when it comes to stuff for outdoor adventure enthusiasts to sink their teeth into in the surrounding area. This is the gateway town to the rocky mountains, gaping valleys and wild rivers of Snowdonia after all, not to mention the glorious north Wales coastline.

Pictured: Conwy Castle

How To Get There

While much of north Wales can be slightly tricky to access if you don’t have a car, Conwy is one of the exceptions. In fact, thanks to the train line that links London to the ferry to Ireland from Holyhead, it’s actually incredibly easy to reach. At 8am you could be sipping a mocha in a Pret a Manger and then enjoying something stronger in the Bank of Conwy Craft Beer Bar less than 3 and a half hours later. 

If you’re coming from further afield, as well as the option of flying to London and getting the train, you’ve also got the airports at Manchester and Liverpool which are both within two and a half hours travel by train from Conwy.

Pictured: Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales

Things To Do In Conwy

So we’ve mentioned the Snowdonia thing already but that deserves expanding on. Conwy is right at the foot of one of the national park’s finest mountain ranges, the Carneddau, where seven of the national park’s highest mountains reside. You can in fact stride right out of the town and head straight up to the mountain tops via the Cambrian Way, a wild trail that continues beyond the Carneddau and all the way south to Cardiff, Wales’s capital city.

If you’re looking to climb Wales’s highest mountain, Snowdon, in order to witness what’s been rated as the best view in Britain, the main trailhead at Pen y Pass is within 45 minutes drive from Conwy (via the legendary Pete’s Eats cafe) or you can get there within an hour and a half via public transport.

Pictured: Porth Trecastell Beach and Cable Bay

Once you’re done with hiking up mountains, you also have the option to hurtle 100mph off the top of one via the fastest zip line in the world (and the longest in Europe). As if one record breaking zip wire wasn’t enough, the same venue has the longest underground one as well. At risk of sounding like we’re starting to make things up, there’s also a cathedral-like cavern with a bloody gigantic trampoline in it. If this all sounds like you, head on over to Zip World

Then there’s the surfing. There are some quality beaches for catching a wave in north Wales; Porth Neigwl, on the Llŷn Peninsula for instance, and Porth Trecastell on Anglesey. When the conditions aren’t there for you, just stick in Conwy where you’ll find the world’s first inland surf wave at Surf Snowdonia. Prices for a session there start at £35 and go up to £50 if you’re looking to take on one of their ‘advanced waves’.

Pictured: The smallest house in Great Britain (left, red). You can stay here

Where To Stay

Britain’s smallest house, which is located on Conwy’s quayside, isn’t listed on Airbnb unfortunately, but if it’s a quirky abode that you’re after you could always stay in one of Cae Wennol’s yurts just 10 minutes drive away from Conwy in the village of Llangelynin.

For a somewhat more conventional stay, you could book into the Castle Hotel, a former coaching in from the 1830s which is perhaps one of the most distinctive buildings in the town – second to the castle of course. On a budget? There’s a YHA Conwy Hostel just 15 minutes walk from the quayside and centre of town.

Eating and Drinking 

Once you’re done with all the active stuff, Conwy is a great little place to settle down in for an evening. If you want a pub with a cosy fire in the winter, there’s plenty of choice for you. The same goes if it’s summer and you’re after a decent beer garden. Make sure to stop at the CAMRA award-winning Albion Ale House with its early twentieth century decor and abundance of local beers to choose from – we recommend the Welsh Pride by Conwy Brewery.

Good restaurants to consider include the Michelin recommended Signatures and The Mulberry, a smart gastro pub right on the harbour edge. Just don’t leave Conwy without trying the town’s main cuisine which they call ‘pysgod a sglodion’, a delicious combination of battered and deep fried fish served alongside chips. Come to think of it, it’s identical to fish and chips.

Check out our other adventure travel destinations for 2020.

This destination guide was brought to you in association with outdoor fashion retailer Blackleaf.

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