A Weekend in Wales

A group of us decided to go see Conwy Castle in Northern Wales for the weekend. The trip started on Friday with a train ride up to Conwy. Normally train rides are uneventful, which is a good thing. But when we got on the train up to Conwy, there were only 10 people total on the train car including two guys who were celebrating a 51st birthday. One way that the guys were celebrating was bringing a fresh pack of cider and giving out a can to everyone. So there the five of us are getting onto a train to Wales being handed a cider as we get on by a guy with a thick accent who had clearly had a few himself. Have I mentioned I like this place yet?

We arrive in Conwy around 11:30pm and have to get to our hotel about 5km away. We elect to get a taxi, but don’t know where to get one. So we head to the closest bar and politely ask if they can call a taxi for us. They do but it wont be there for another hour, so we stick around for a drink. Not a bad deal for either party. We get the cab and head up to the hotel. I knew the hotel was in the town called Llandudno and that the hotel was close to the ocean. But once we arrive we are on the main strip that is right across from the beach and the hotel is in the fancy classical style (remember this is an architecture blog) row buildings. Next morning everyone wakes up and we are greeted by this outside the hotel window.

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Upon seeing this and having discussed it last night we decide to walk to Conwy along the more picturesque route. And it was.

The walk was beside a golf course, then the side of the river mouth overlooking the mountains on three sides. As you approached closer the castle came into view, as it was intended by the creator of the castle King Edward I.

King Edward I built the castle to help secure his hold on the Welsh. It worked for a period, but eventually the castle fell, then it got retaken, then taken back. It is a complex history and one I am not too familiar with, so i’ll stick to the pretty pictures.

And some more…

And may as well have some fun while i’m there,

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It was great to see a full fledged castle and to be able to climb up all the towers and go into all the rooms. You got incredible views of the area, which is I guess why the castle was built in that spot. After the castle we went and had some lunch. Where being that I was in North Wales decided to have the fish and chips.

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After lunch came the part of the trip I was actually looking forward to more than the castle. The next stop was to Plas Mawr which is an Elizabethan manor. The reason for my excitement about going there rather than a castle are two things. One is I have studied it in class and fell in love with it then, and two, the restoration of the decoration is incredible for a 16th C. house.

This is the inside of the house,

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And this is the inside,

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Lets start with who built this house. The house was built by Robert Wynn, thus the R W in white and blue. Robert was the son of a local land owner and was a member of parliament for Queen Elizabeth. The connection with the queen is the reason for the Tudor roses. The crest in the middle is the family crest. The painted Caryatids are to showcase the knowledge and prestige of Robert by him knowing about the classical world.

There are the other parts of the house, such as the kitchen, sitting rooms, gardens, bedrooms, but they are more or less typical style of the age.

The other more decorated parts of the house are the master bedrooms, the great hall, and the attic. The attic may be strange to fit into the decorated category, but the craftsmanship in it is great.

Master bedroom with all the amenities.

The Great Hall.

This was his dining and entertaining space. Decorated with Caryatids all around with Tudor roses and crests on the plastered ceiling. An interesting crest that is seen in other places of the house in the one on the bottom right. It is the family crest of  Roberts wife Dorothy Griffith.

The attic is the one place in the house where you can see the restoration work that has been done to the house. The house was in really bed shape until recently when it was restored as a museum. All the beams in the attic show what they did for the restoration.

The reason for an attic to have this much extravagance was because t was meant to be the ceiling of the great hall. However as the carpenter was building the trusses, the masons kept on building up, including two towers. Once it came to putting the roof on, the towers got in way of the trusses, so they had to be cut and this spoiled the view of the trusses, so a flat ceiling was put in with the plaster ornamentation.

You could also get great views of the castle from the towers.

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That night was spent wandering around where our hotel was in Llandudno.

Sunday was just a relaxing day spent reading the new Harry Potter book and travelling back to Coventry. So to sum it up it was; castle, glorious  16th C. house, North Wales, ocean breeze, serenity, Harry Potter.

 

 

 

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