In a nutshell. Handsome, historic town, ‘capital’ of the verdant Vale of Conwy.
[Discover more by watching this 5 minute video on Llanrwst and surrounding area]
Llanrwst’s three-arched bridge across the Conwy, thought to be the work of famed 16/17th-century architect Inigo Jones, is the first thing to catch the eye.
It leads across the clear-flowing waters to Tu Hwnt i’r Bont, a beautifully restored 15th-century house now operated as a tea room.
History is thick on the ground wherever you look.
The most prized of many treasures in Gwydir Chapel, St Grwst’s Church, is a weighty stone coffin said to have been that of Llywelyn the Great, the revered 13th-century Prince of Gwynedd.
Llywelyn died and was buried in 1240 at Aberconwy Abbey, but his mortal remains were not allowed to rest.
In 1283 Edward I forced the monks of Aberconwy to relocate to Maenan Abbey, north of Llanrwst, and they took Llywelyn’s body with them.
When Maenan was suppressed by Henry VIII, the coffin – minus the body – was brought to St Grwst’s.
Another chapel – Gwydir Uchaf – in woods close to the town is noted for its striking ceiling paintings.
The word ‘Gwydir’ crops up a lot locally.
A visit to Gwydir Castle, once home of the all-powerful Wynn family, is an authentic and atmospheric experience.
This grand Tudor manor, a rarity in Wales, was built on an historic site of great antiquity.
Then there’s the Gwydyr Forest, a lovely woodland latticed with numerous trails for all abilities.
These waymarked paths take in everything from hidden mountain lakes to industrial heritage, scenic viewpoints to local history trails like the Lady Mary Walk, which introduces you to characters like Dafydd ap Siencyn, the forest’s own ‘Robin Hood’.
Go onward and upward and eventually you’ll come to two lovely, little-visited lakes, Llyn Geirionydd and Llyn Crafnant.
Back in Llanrwst town, you’ll find an attractive range of independent shops selling everything from books to artisan and specialist foods.
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