The formidable Conwy castle dominates the skyline of this small Welsh town, the medieval walls, still largely intact, snaking around its border. The castle and walls were built in the same major feat of construction by Edward I during his conquest of Wales in the late thirteenth century.
There’s a remarkable amount of castle left considering the wars it has witnessed, being the site of several revolts between the thirteenth and fifteenth century, and continuing to be a stronghold in many conflicts beyond. It was damaged by the Parliamentarians after they took control in 1646 in the hopes that it would prevent use during future wars. Further damage was inflicted in 1665 when it was stripped for its valuable materials. With its eight towers and heavy defences it is clear the structure would have been an intimidating prospect for invaders. Most terrifying of all, for me at least, is the twelve-foot deep prison – a dungeon with no way out and no easy way down. Staring down into its dank darkness conjures images of the unfortunates who fell out of favour, flung down remorselessly to rot with the remains of previous inmates, a harrowing thought.
Thankfully, even disobedient modern visitors do not face such a fate, and can enjoy the atmosphere of this impressive piece of history. The views from the towers are worth the climb, although you may feel a little queasy if you’re not a fan of heights. The history of Conwy castle is palpable as you explore the ruins of this great fortress and is bound to ignite interest. Well worth a visit.