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The extensive remains of a large late medieval castle and associated town walls (including a fortified wharf). The town walls include the substantial remains of three major gateways as well as minor entrances and numerous towers.

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Castle is managed by CADW.


1. The other key fortresses surrounding Snowdonia were Beaumaris Castle, Caernarfon Castle, Harlech Castle and Ruthin Castle.

2.  In 1399 Richard II stayed here on his return from Ireland to discover Henry Bolingbroke's (the future Henry IV) attempt to depose him. Richard then went onto Flint Castle where he surrendered to Bolingbroke's agents and was taken to Pontefract Castle where he later died under suspicious circumstances.



Car Parking Option

LL32 8LD

53.280181N 3.827848W

Conwy Castle

LL32 8AY

53.280067N 3.825795W

Mill Gate

LL32 8LD

53.279956N 3.828993W

Upper Gate

LL32 8RF

53.280161N 3.832669W

Lower Gate / Quay

LL32 8DB

53.281938N 3.827985W

Notes:  The castle is a major tourist attraction and is well sign-posted but is very hard to miss especially if arriving from the east! Ample car parking is available directly by the castle (pay and display).  


One of the great fortresses designed to encircle Snowdonia and isolate the redoubt of the native Welsh Princes, Conwy Castle and the associated walled settlement was a garrison town. Captured briefly during the rebellion of Owain Glyndŵr, it next saw action during the Civil War.


When Edward I came to the throne in 1272, Wales was ruled by Llywelyn ap Gruffudd (Llywelyn the Last). He had had successfully exploited the weak and ineffective rule of Henry III to obtain complete control of the principality culminating in English recognition of his title of Prince of Wales at the Treaty of Montgomery (1267). Whilst Edward I was initially content to sustain the status-quo, relations between the two factions quickly deteriorated. The First War of Welsh Independence (1276-7) followed which saw LLywelyn stripped of all his lands to the east of Rhuddlan. Circumstances forced the Prince into a further conflict - the Second War of Welsh Independence (1282-3) - which resulted in his death and all of Wales coming under direct English rule. To sustain the subsequent occupation a chain of fortresses was constructed which included Conwy Castle.

The Conwy valley fell under English control in March 1283. Historically this area had been dominated by Deganwy Castle - a formidable fortress sited on a high volcanic rock overlooking the river. However, a siege of 126x had demonstrated the weakness of the site for its position on high ground meant it was relatively easy for the Welsh to cut off the garrison’s access to the waterfront. For the English army, heavily reliant on the shipping of supplies from the Royal depots at Chester, this made that site unsuitable. Accordingly Conwy Castle was built as its direct replacement located on the shores of the River Conwy. Built to a design by Master James of St George, the King's chief architect and mason, work started in 1283. A community of Maenan monks were forcibly relocated to create sufficient space for both the castle and the associated walled town. Like Denbigh and Caernarfon, occupation of the town was limited to English settlers; native Welsh were barred from entering Conwy which effectively functioned as garrison town. Primary construction work was completed in 1287.

Conwy Castle was attacked in 1294 during the rebellion of Madog ap Llywelyn. His rebellion had been prompted by excessive English taxation and quickly overran the Royal strongholds at Caernarfon, Castell y Bere and Harlech as well as Lordship castles at Denbigh, Hawarden and Ruthin. The scale of the revolt saw Edward I cancel a planned continental campaign and instead lead an army into North Wales. However he was ambushed by Madog's forces resulting in the King fleeing to Conwy Castle where he was besieged from December 1294 to February 1295. The castle's defences proved adequate and the Welsh were unable to penetrate them before an English relief force arrived. Madog's rebellion was defeated at the Battle of Maes Moydog (1295). Conwy Castle later hosted Edward, Prince of Wales (later Edward II) as he arrived to receive homage from the Welsh leaders.

A further serious Welsh rebellion broke out in 1400 under the leadership of Owain Glyndŵr. His revolt arose out of a territorial dispute with the Greys of Ruthin Castle and quickly engulfed much of Wales. In March 1401 agents of Owain successfully captured Conwy Castle using trickery; they gained entrance to the castle claiming to be workmen, killed the sentries and summoned in supporting forces. The English responded by besieging Conwy and the Welsh rebels held out for three months before negotiating a peaceful surrender.

Throughout the remainder of the fifteenth century, use of Conwy Castle declined although its preparedness for conflict was increased during the Wars of the Roses. However, with the arrival of the pro-Welsh Tudor regime in 1485, the need for such strongholds in Wales ceased and the castle was allowed to drift into ruin. Nevertheless it was hastily reactivated in 1642 with the outbreak of the Civil War. The castle was occupied by John Williams, Archbishop of York who brought it back into service and garrisoned it for the King. With Wales being predominantly Royalist, the castle saw no action until August 1646 when Conwy town was successfully seized by General Thomas Mytton on behalf of Parliament. The castle was besieged and ultimately surrendered in November 1646.

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