The best things to do in Conwy

Penned on the 13th February 2024

The best things to do in Conwy

On the coast of North Wales lies Conwy County Borough, an area rich in heritage, culture and natural beauty. Whilst perhaps a lesser-known staycation destination than its mountainous neighbour Snowdonia, there are plenty of wonderful adventures to be had here, from stunning hikes and cable car rides to days spent at the beach or exploring castles.

The small but picturesque market town of Conwy is at the heart of the county and is a beautiful place to wander the quaint streets, historic town walls and vibrant marina, stopping along the way to enjoy local food and drink. It’s home to Britain’s smallest house too – squeezing inside makes for a memorable activity!

If you’re looking for some inspiration for your North Wales escape, here’s our list of the best things to do in Conwy County. 


Wander the Conwy Town Walls

View of woodland from Conwy town walls

The Conwy Town Walls have enveloped this Welsh town since their construction by King Edward I in the late 1200s. Part of a UNESCO World Heritage site, they are still extraordinarily well-preserved, making them one of the finest and most complete examples of town walls in the whole of Europe. If you don’t mind heights you can stroll along the top of these impressive nine-metre-tall medieval structures in a loop that’s almost three-quarters of a mile long. Take your time to soak up the fascinating heritage, admire the towers and original gateways and enjoy the gorgeous views of the surrounding streets, castle, river and surrounding rolling countryside.


Explore the medieval past at Conwy Castle

Looking down from a tower of Conwy Castle

Conwy Castle is one of the most iconic castles in Wales and, indeed, Europe. Another part of Wales’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, this awe-inspiring medieval fortress was built over 700 years ago and, like the Town Wall, the castle is in remarkably good condition considering its age and the military action that’s taken place here over the centuries. Today, thanks to some brilliant restoration work on its spiral staircases, during your visit you can climb the castle’s eight striking towers and experience its captivating past. Reach the top and you’ll be rewarded with amazing views over Conwy and a backdrop of Snowdonia’s craggy mountains too.


Take a sightseeing boat trip

A group of peope on a boat enjoying a Conwy sightseeing cruise

To see Conway from a different perspective, hop aboard the Queen Victoria or Princess Christine for a gentle tour along the river. Sightseeing Cruises Conwy is a small family-run business that’s been taking its passenger boats up and down the River Conwy since 1946. They offer 30-minute, 1-hour and 1.5-hour cruises, either up river or towards the sea at Conwy Bay. All offer wonderful opportunities to relax, admire the town’s castle and architecture, and look out for wildlife along the way. You’ll get excellent views from the water of the surrounding landscapes of Conwy Valley, Snowdonia and more, as well as glimpses of Anglesey and Puffin Island in the distance.


Hike to the summit of Conwy Mountain

The ruin of a hillfort on Conwy Mountain surrounded by heather

If you’re looking for a memorable outdoor adventure, Conwy Mountain or ‘Mynydd y Dref’ offers excellent hiking opportunities – and at 244 metres tall, you can reach the summit and climb back down in a moderate half-day walk. The mountain is made up of the remains of a volcanic eruption some 450 million years ago, and you can still see remnants of this in its rocky ridges and network of pathways. There are the remains of an Iron-Age Hillfort and roundhouses at the summit too, as well as breathtaking views of the coastline, Great Orme Headland and the Carneddau Mountains. You can plan your walk here.


Squeeze inside the smallest house in Britain

The smallest house in Britain

During your visit to Conwy you mustn’t miss one of the town’s most well-loved and quirky attractions, The Smallest House in Britain, a bright red one-up-one-down measuring just 10 foot tall by 6 foot wide! Known as Quay House, the property was lived in between 1841 and 1900 – the last owner, Robert Jones, who was 6 foot 3 inches tall funnily enough, bought the place for £20. When the council declared it unfit for habitation he toured the country to see if it was the smallest house, before it was entered into the Guinness Book of Records where it gained its title, and opened as a tourist attraction. Now, for a small entry fee you can squeeze inside and get a feel for what life would have been like living in such a tiny space in the 1800s.


Enjoy a peaceful stroll at Bodnant Garden

The laburnam arch at Bodnant GardenBodnant Garden is a National Trust property near Tal-y-Cafn overlooking the Conwy Valley. Developed by five generations of the McLaren family over the past 150 years, it’s one of Wales’ most beautiful gardens and the perfect place for a peaceful stroll amongst nature. Around the gardens you’ll find expansive green lawns, wonderful (and rare) plant life, grand ponds and terraces, and a steep wooded valley and stream, all with a stunning backdrop of the mountains. There are magnificent displays of colour to enjoy all year round here – but it’s particularly lovely when the Laburnum Arch comes into bloom in June, attracting thousands of visitors to marvel at its golden splendour. 


Soak up the sea air at Conwy Marina and Quay

A view of the boats at Conwy Marina

Conwy Marina and Quay is a picturesque place for a gentle walk beside the water, or just to sit and watch the bobbing masts for a while after you’ve spent a few hours on your feet exploring Conwy town. It’s a great spot for a delicious lunch too. If you’re after some hearty pub food, head to The Mulberry and enjoy your meal with lovely views of the waterfront. Or for the ultimate seaside classic, pick up a mouthwatering portion of fish and chips to savour alfresco. If you happen to tie in your visit with one of the marina’s sailing regattas or other water events, you’ll be treated to a particularly buzzing atmosphere – The Conwy River Festival is one of its most popular.  


Go back in time at Plas Mawr

The rear view of Plas Mawr

Described as ‘the finest surviving Elizabethan townhouse in Britain’, history buffs and interior design fans alike will love Plas Mawr (meaning ‘Great Hall’) on Conwy High Street. This splendid property was bought by travelling merchant and Tudor Diplomat, Robert Wynn, in the late 1500s and turned into a celebration of his life and wealth – you can still see his initials in much of the decor. Over the centuries Plaw Mawr has also become a courthouse, a school and even an art gallery. Now it’s been painstakingly restored to its former glory and welcomes visitors to explore the 17 luxurious, light-filled rooms and original Elizabethan furniture.


Have a beach day at Conwy Morfa

The sun setting over Conway Morfa

Conwy’s coastal location means there are multiple glorious beaches to choose from if you fancy a day relaxing beside the sea. Conwy Morfa is a vast, golden sand beach that’s a great all-round choice. There’s plenty of space for families (and dogs) who want to run around and play (although there are no lifeguards here so be extra careful if you’re going in the sea). The beach is backed by wild sand dunes and has glorious views of the surrounding landscape too, so it’s a picturesque spot to settle down to read a book or enjoy a picnic. Interestingly, it’s a partly designated Site of Special Scientific Interest too, thanks to it being home to the rare belted beauty moth – so make sure you keep your eyes peeled during your visit!


Admire the views from the Llandudno Cable Car

An aerial view of Llandudno Cable Car

For jaw-dropping views without a strenuous walk, ride the Llandudno Cable Car to the summit of Great Orme, a stunning limestone headland on Conwy’s coast. This unique experience opened in 1969 as the longest passenger cable car system in Britain and remains one of the county’s most popular attractions. The gentle journey begins from Happy Valley before travelling just over a mile to Great Orme, where the views of the Bay of Llandudno, the Little Orme, Conwy Estuary and the Irish Sea will take your breath away. It takes around nine minutes to reach the top – and once you’re there you can either ride back down again or stay for a stroll along one of the many footpaths around the stunning headland. There’s a visitor centre where you can learn all about the area’s fascinating history, geology and wildlife too. 


Go bird-watching at RSPB Conwy Nature Reserve

The water at Conwy Nature Reserve

The RSPB Conwy Nature Reserve on the east bank of the Conwy Estuary is a wetland area that’s home to a wonderful variety of wildlife and birds. The network of trails lead you to various watchpoints over the lagoons and estuary where you might spot Reed Warblers, Water Rails, Curlews and other wading birds. And there are shallow pools beside the estuary that provide the ideal feeding and roosting sites for the waders and ducks – so it’s a wonderful, accessible place to introduce young children to bird-watching. There’s a Waterside Coffee Shop too, which provides the perfect spot to sit and enjoy a hot drink and a piece of homemade cake whilst you recall your day’s wildlife sightings. 


Drink real ale at Albion Ale House

The bar at Albion Ale House

 Built within Conwy’s town walls, Albion Ale House is a unique pub rich in heritage and cultural significance. It was built in the 1920s and is regarded as one of the UK’s finest examples of a public house of this era. You can still find many of the original features inside too, including four of the original 1920s hand pulls on the bar. Nowadays it’s run by four local breweries who have joined together to showcase their excellent local beer and lager – and real ale purists will be pleased to hear that they have numerous CAMRA awards to show for it. It really is the perfect place to settle into a cosy corner with a thirst-quenching pint and a board game, with the hum of friendly pub chatter and the jukebox in the background.


Enjoy traditional seaside fun at Llandudno Pier

The full length of Llandudno Pier over the sea

The iconic, Grade II-listed Llandudno Pier was built in the 1800s and still features many of the attractions you’d expect on a traditional British seaside pier, including bustling amusement arcades, a striking ferris wheel (that lights up at night) and other children’s funfair rides. It’s the longest pier in Wales too, stretching 2,925 feet out over the Irish Sea with stunning views of the bay, Great Orme and beyond. Enjoy a few leisurely hours wandering the length of the pier, revelling in the nostalgia and fresh sea air, dipping in and out of retro gift shops, and stopping for a delicious ice cream along the way.


Visit Snowdonia National Park

A view of the mountains at Snowdonia National Park

With such close proximity to Snowdonia National Park, Conwy makes an excellent base if you’re looking to explore this area. Snowdonia is often described as the outdoor adventure capital of Wales thanks to its awe-inspiring mountains, and is a real haven for adrenaline-seekers who want to spend their holiday hiking, climbing, cycling or white water rafting. But Snowdonia’s breathtaking landscape can be enjoyed by those who like a slightly slower pace too, with plenty of opportunity to switch off from the busyness of everyday life and connect with nature. Read our guide to the best things to do in Snowdonia if you’re looking for inspiration.


Staying in Conwy

A shepherd's hut in Conwy

At Unique Hideaways we have a magical collection of hideaways to choose from in the beautiful county of Conwy. How does a peaceful shepherd’s hut with views of the Irish Sea sound? Or how about an idyllic cabin with a hot tub in the foothills of the mountains? Take a look at our full collection of Conwy hideaways and plan your North Wales adventure.


Contact Us

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