Llanrwst

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Llanrwst is a fine old market town reached across the River Conwy from Trefriw by a famous bridge, probably designed by Inigo Jones, and built in 1636.

It is known as Pont y Pen (the bridge of the pearl) because an exquisite pearl was found when the foundation stone was being laid. Near the bridge is a 15th century cottage, Tu Hwnt i’r Bout, once a courthouse and now a tea room owned by the National Trust.

On the west bank of the Conwy stands Gwydir Castle and Park (listen out for the peacocks in the grounds), for centuries the seat of the influential Wynn family. The house has a fine sequence of Tudor rooms, though much of the house was rebuilt in the 19th century. Gwydir Uchaf Chapel, which has lovely ceiling paintings, is open to the public -the key is available at the forestry office next door.

Llanrwst also has an indoor swimming pool and there are lovely walks along the river bank and around the recreation grounds. In Llanrwst itself the church of St Grwst, built in the 15th century, is one of the finest in Wales. Particularly precious is the rood screen taken there from the suppressed Maenan Abbey, four miles north of the town. The chapel contains the large stone coffin of Llywelyn the Great. On the chapel walls hang the spurs of Dafydd ap Jenkin who was a North Wales Robin Hood. By the church are a group of almshouses founded in 1610. There is a market in Ancaster Square most Tuesdays. In the countryside above Llanrwst are the pretty villages of Llangemyw and Gwytherin.

Gwydir Castle is situated in the beautiful Conwy Valley and is set within a Grade 1 listed, 10-acre garden. Built by the illustrious Wynn family c1500, Gwydir is a fine example of a Tudor courtyard house, incorporating re-used medieval material from the dissolved Abbey of Maenan. Further additions date from c1600 and c1826. The important 1640s panelled Dining Room has now been reinstated, following its repatriation from the New York Metropolitan Museum.

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