When you think of top UK tourism locations, the walled town of Conwy is probably not the first place that comes to mind. But perhaps that’s just because it’s been unfairly overlooked in the past. The town has recently been declared the most picturesque place in the United Kingdom
by the Team Europe Tourism Promotion Council in Japan
- which means that it will feature alongside a small handful of other European destinations at the country’s tourism expo, coming up this November. Last year almost 160,000 visitors attended the Tokyo event, so it’s not hard to imagine the impact this could have for a small town like Conwy.
Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates said, “This increased profile for Conwy in Japan is fantastic news for Conwy and for Wales. This recognition is an excellent way for us to promote Wales in a relatively untapped market and for us to spread the word on what Wales has to offer.”
Conwy Castle, built between 1283 and 1289 and now classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, is a major draw for many visitors, but it’s far from the only historic structure in the town. The church is even older and one section of the town wall stretches back to the time of Llewellyn the Great in the early 13th century. There are very few places in Britain where you can witness buildings this ancient still in use. But if you’re going to head to Conwy to discover what all the fuss is about, it would be a shame to miss out on the rest of what North Wales has to offer.
A mountain, a garden and awe-inspiring caverns
The best spot to pick up a car rental for your North Wales odyssey is probably across the border in Liverpool
- from there it’s just over an hour to the stone-walled Conwy, leaving you poised to delve further into the region’s treasures. No journey to the north of Wales can be complete without a visit to Snowdonia National Park. The park covers more than 2,000 square kilometres - a fair chunk of north-western Wales - and is legendary for its lush and brooding vistas. Snowdon, the peak for which the park is named, isn’t the highest mountain in Britain but it certainly vies for the most beautiful. The view from the top is an absolute must-see, so if you’re the active type don’t miss the opportunity to hike to the summit - it’s not terribly demanding, but it does require a bit of exertion so be prepared. If that all sounds like a bit too much hard work for a holiday, don’t despair - there’s also a rustic rack-and-pinion railway that takes visitors to the top. Incidentally, the caves and tunnels under the mountain are also well worth a look. Make sure you pencil in a whole day for your Snowdon experience.
For those after a more serene experience, the Bodnant Garden at Tal-y-cafn is the ideal spot to wander with a loved one or just to be alone with your own thoughts. Be prepared to lose yourself for at least half a day in this 32 hectare garden paradise - pack a picnic lunch to enjoy in the shade of Champion Trees before strolling through laburnum arches and along scenic terraces.
If you’ve got the kids along for the ride, Llanfair Caverns and Farm Park will keep the little ones happy, while still offering you the chance to see lofty cathedral caverns and winding tunnels and caves carved by hand over 100 years ago by candlelight.
Thanks to Conwy’s recent recognition as a top tourism pick, it won’t be long before far more people realise just how incredible North Wales is. Beat them to it - start planning your adventure today. For the History buffs, it is possible to extend your stay by discovering some of the United Kingdom's most historic cities including Birmingham