14 Top-Rated Things to Do in Conwy, Wales
A visit to the delightful town of Conwy in northern Wales can make you feel like time travel is possible. The fortress walls of the 13th-century Conwy Castle still wrap entirely around the town, so the ambience at every turn has a medieval flare. Taking an exploratory walk along the castle walls for the best views of the city and the River Conwy is just the beginning of things to do in Conwy.
You will do a lot of walking in Conwy, which is the best way to see the town. There are quirky finds, like The Smallest House in Britain, and tours of the town's centerpiece, the Conwy Castle. Plan some time to just stroll the old market streets and look for relics from the past, like antique letterboxes embedded into the stone parameters of homes.
Conwy sits right on the water, so indulge in at least one dinner of fish and chips on a grassy hillside near the castle, but watch out for the seagulls, as they love your fish and chips, too. Beyond the castle walls, you can experience stunning gardens, beaches, wildlife viewing, the National Zoo of Wales, and other tourist attractions.
Plan to stay in Conwy for several days, perhaps at a historic B&B, and plot your itinerary using our list of the top things to do in Conwy.
1. Go Back in Time at Conwy Castle
The imposing Conwy Castle is the heart of the town much as it has been for more than 700 years. This was one of several castles in Wales built under the direction of King Edward I and his master mason and architect, James of St. George.
Conwy Castle is renowned for its architecture, which includes the most comprehensive design of residential living space that was once inhabited by medieval monarchy anywhere in Wales or England.
While you can explore around the castle from the outside for free, you will need tickets to go inside. This is worth several hours of your time, but be prepared for plenty of stairs. The castle has eight towers, four turrets, and lots of hidden corridors and spiral staircases to navigate. Wear sturdy shoes, as some of the staircases are narrow with uneven stone steps.
The castle grounds are grassy and a perfect place to visit for a picnic, with the best views you might have on your entire trip.
Address: Rose Hill St, Conwy LL32 8AY
Official site: https://cadw.gov.wales/visit/places-to-visit/conwy-castle
2. Walk the Old Town Walls
One of the best free things to do in Conwy is walk along the old town walls that go all the way around the city, segmented by 21 towers. Walking along the perimeter stone walls is like playing in a fort as a kid, and it is the best vantage point over Conwy.
To avoid the crowds on busy days, try going early in the morning, when there are almost no people, and the light is coming over the harbor and Conwy Castle.
There are some sections of the wall that are not open to the public, but for the most part you can walk on top and go up and down at different points around the city. Be sure to read the signage by the staircases to keep tabs on your location and identify specific points of interest that you can look for along the way.
This is one of the best-preserved walls in all of Britain, so it is worth the thrill to explore this history so intimately. Wear comfortable and sturdy shoes to walk on the uneven surfaces and small staircases.
3. Squeeze into The Smallest House in Great Britain
It is hard to resist a novelty when you find one like The Smallest House in Great Britain that is tucked in between the Conwy Castle walls and other buildings near the harbor. The tiny cottage with the red door measures just 122 inches high, 72 inches wide, and only goes inside 120 inches.
The oddly placed home was originally built to fill in space between the rows of cottages on the street. Someone lived inside until about 1900, when the space was condemned. The home found new fame when it made it into the Guinness World Records, where it continues to hold its title. The tiny home is open daily for tours – if you can fit through the front door.
Address: 10 Lower Gate St, Conwy LL32 8BE
Official site: http://www.thesmallesthouse.co.uk
4. Walk through the Welsh Mountain Zoo
The Welsh Mountain Zoo, also known as the National Zoo of Wales, is also the oldest in the country. What started as a family-run business in 1963 evolved into one of Wales' most important institutions for wildlife conservation.
The zoo grounds are embedded in 37 acres of land, with views of Colwyn Bay and the mountains in the distance. The animal exhibits include Big Cats, with tigers and snow leopards; reptiles; birds; and primates.
Families visiting with children will want to take advantage of the hands-on Children's Farm, where they can interact with animals like rabbits and chickens.
Time your visit to catch some of the daily programs, like the sea lion feeding and species talks.
Address: Colwyn Bay LL28 5UY, United Kingdom
Official site: https://www.welshmountainzoo.org
5. Visit the Elizabethan Townhouse, Plas Mawr
For history buffs, the Plas Mawr home is a treat to visit. Namely, because it is noted as being one of the most well-preserved Elizabethan townhouses in Great Britain. The residence still exudes the wealth that it came from when it was a 16th-century merchant's home.
The unassuming façade from High Street hides the lavish living space that has been restored for visitors. You can go inside to see the 17 decorated rooms and walk the gardens that have been restored to their original appearance.
The property is a fine example of how the wealthy lived, displaying the period details that decorated mansions, like ornamental plasterwork and the powerful heraldic emblems that remain. The home and gardens once served as the backdrop for lavish entertainment for the Conwy elite.
Address: High Street, Conwy, LL32 8DE
Official site: https://cadw.gov.wales/visit/places-to-visit/plas-mawr
6. Hike Volcanic Remnants at Conwy Mountain
You will surely log plenty of walking steps while visiting the town of Conwy, but if you want to add in a little more exercise, plan for a hike on Conwy Mountain. The jagged hill that you see in the skyline is part of what is left from a volcanic eruption 450 million years ago. There are several types of trails to accommodate every fitness level, so you can adjust your hike for longer or shorter distances.
Conwy Mountain harbors several treasures beyond just the peaceful walk. It is one of the best spots in the area to observe wildlife, including the rare choughs that live on the mountain.
On the summit is an Iron Age hill fort and a Neolithic Hut Circle that identifies the ancient civilization that once existed here.
7. Learn a New Skill at Adventure Parc Snowdonia
Just 15 minutes from Conwy is Adventure Parc Snowdonia, where you can walk in with ambition and leave knowing how to surf, zipline, mountain bike, skateboard, or complete a climbing wall.
It is free to walk around and watch the brave tackle the waves in the man-made surf pool, which is powered by six million gallons of rainwater pumped in from Snowdonia National Park.
There is an adventure for every desire and age level, with indoor and outdoor sporting opportunities that come with instruction and equipment. From the surf academy to the mini-wheels area with skateboarding in the carver bowls and the indoor adrenaline park with caving and ropes course experiences, this will make a full day.
It's an all-encompassing location, with nearby lodging or glamping pods on-site. You can grab a bite to eat from the Surf Side Deli, or pack a picnic and find a spot at one of the public picnic tables.
8. Traverse the Conwy Suspension Bridge
The Conwy Suspension Bridge is one of many spectacular bridges in Wales designed by Thomas Telford. The bridge was built in 1822 across the River Conwy, stretching 326 feet (99.5-meters). It was one of the first road suspension bridges in the world, and was important for importing and exporting goods from Conwy.
Now, it is a designated pedestrian and bicycle bridge that is nice to walk across, especially at sunset, with great views of Conwy Castle, the harbor, and the river.
Walking the pedestrian bridge, flanked by modern bridges on either side, offers a nice chance to see the intricate construction and tiers of massive chains integrated into the design. These are some of the construction details that makes Telford's designs so famous, and you will likely see others during your visit to Wales.
Address: Conwy LL32 8LD
Official site: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/conwy-suspension-bridge
9. Get Close to Aquatic Life at the Conwy Water Gardens
It is easy to spend a half day at Conwy Water Gardens walking the nature trails, photographing the waterfalls, and just watching the ducks and otters in the multiple ponds on the property. The best part is that the gardens are free to enjoy.
The gardens are settled in Snowdonia National Park, so the views are tranquil and enhanced by the many water features and wildlife that live there.
Some of the things to enjoy during your visit are the lakes that are stocked for coarse fishing and an Aquatic Centre and Aquarium with more than 100 species of fish. After your visit, be sure to stop by the Dutch pancake house, where you can refuel with one of 65 varieties of pancakes.
Address: Glyn Isa, Rowen, Conwy, North Wales, LL32 8TP
Official site: http://www.conwywatergardens.co.uk
10. Take a Sightseeing Cruise from Conwy Quay
Taking a sightseeing cruise from Conwy Quay is a great way to see Conwy from a different perspective, especially with the castle backdrop. This is a great excuse to get out on the water for a day or evening and experience the local wildlife and take in the coastal scene. There are several types of boat cruises available depending on your time and interest.
You can take a half hour sightseeing cruise to get a nice view of the castle and harbor, or take a longer sunset cruise. After your boat trip, stick around the Quay, as it is a place of lively energy and activity. This is often where festivals are held in Conwy, and it is a perfect spot to grab an ice cream and sit by the water.
11. Find Rare Plants at Bodnant Garden
The Bodnant Garden was considered grand when it was designed in 1874 and remains one of the most spectacular gardens in Wales today. It is noted for several firsts, and collections that are now under the preservation of the National Trust.
As you walk the 80 acres of grounds, keep your eyes open for the rare and exotic plants, like the fire brush and the blue poppy. Be sure to take note of the magnolias and hybrid varieties of rhododendron that were some of the earliest of their kinds in Britain.
True green thumbs come here to experience the largest collection of UK Champion Trees, as well as other extensive collections of plants. The garden center, gift shop, craft center, and art gallery are free to visit, but there is admission to tour the gardens.
Address: Tal-y-Cafn, Colwyn Bay, LL28 5RE
Official site: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/bodnant-garden
12. Bird-Watch at the RSPB Conservancy Nature Reserve Conwy
Nature enthusiasts and especially birders will enjoy visiting the RSPB Conservancy Nature Reserve Conwy. It sits on a wetland, and is one of 218 RSPB reserves across the UK. You can take a leisurely stroll around the wetlands and around the Conwy estuary to look for species like the sedge warbler, lapwing, and black-tailed godwit.
Some of the best times to visit are during the winter, when thousands of starlings arrive to roost. True birding enthusiasts can contact the reserve ahead of time to get an estimate on when to come to experience this incredible display of nature.
While the star tourist attraction is the wildlife in this pristine natural habitat, look closely at the plants and flowers, too. You are likely to see a variety of orchids, especially in June, when you might see the rare early marsh orchid, which is only found in a few locations in Wales.
Address: Llandudno Junction, Conwy, LL31 9XZ
13. Relax at Conwy Morfa Beach
Pack the beach blanket and umbrella and head to Conwy Morfa Beach, which is a large public beach in Conwy. There is a long stretch of sand ideal for activities like sandcastle building and flying kites. The water here is calmer, so this is a good beach for paddleboarding.
Bordered by dunes covered in small plants and flowers, this is a nice beach to walk along and enjoy the scenery. For those who love to forage in tide pools, head to Conwy Morfa Beach at low tide to find oversized pockets to explore with washed up remnants of shells and other items.
14. Take a Tour through Gwrych Castle
A nice partial day excursion from Conwy is a 20-minute drive to Gwrych Castle, one of the most sprawling and stunning castles in Wales. That's why it also served as the set for the television show I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! for several seasons.
Construction on the medieval fortress started in 1812 and took nearly a decade on the 250 acres of land. You can reserve day passes to tour through some of the rooms in the castle, where you will see set props that remain from the TV production. Additional buildings on the grounds are also open to visitors.
For a more in-depth experience, you can plan your visit around one of the scheduled Guided History Tours to learn about the efforts to preserve what is left of the castle. During the busy summer season, you will want to pre-book your tickets.
Address: Llanddulas, Abergele, Conwy, North Wales, LL22 8ET
Official site: https://www.gwrychcastle.co.uk