Add the Conwy River Festival, which takes place from July 10 to October 18 to your calendar if you’re all about yacht life and love watersports. It has been running since 1993 and celebrates the little town of Conwy, which boasts a historic medieval castle and a majestic river. If you are not a sailor or particularly drawn to water-based activities, you can still find something to enjoy. Whether it’s your love for quaint towns, shoreside walks, or community spirit, Conwy knows how to keep its guests entertained and in awe.
History of Conwy River Festival
In 1289, after six years of building, King Edward officially established the walled town of Conwy at the mouth of the River Conwy in North Wales. It is known as such because it was built within a wall watched over by a colossal medieval castle. Little did the king know that centuries later, his quaint riverside town would become a popular tourist attraction for sailors from around the world.
The first-ever Conwy River Festival kicked off in 1993 and has in the years since become the premier yacht racing and social event in North Wales, growing in size and notoriety. But it’s not just the sailors and yacht enthusiasts that get their joy from this festival. The beautiful blue body of water has a special place in the hearts of the locals and those who return every year for the celebration, whether it is to take part in the sailing and boating festivities or to take in the scenery of this charming little town.
The festival runs for two consecutive weekends in the middle of summer, making it possible for competitive and leisurely sailors to cohabitate in the waters for the duration of the festivities. It offers various water-based activities for young and old and shoreside entertainment for those who prefer to be festive on land. The Conwy Quay Day, which takes place on the second Saturday, boasts a fancy dress competition for kids, a treasure hunt, clowns, and fun themed rides.
Conwy River Festival timeline
King Edward officially establishes the walled town of Conwy in North Wales.
The Conwy Suspension Bridge is built and spans the River Conwy next to the castle.
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution builds a lifeboat station.
The very first Conwy River Festival takes place.
Conwy River Festival FAQs
Is the Conwy River Festival a popular event?
The Conwy River Festival takes place in the summer season in Wales and draws thousands of tourists, of which some are sailors taking part in the festival’s racing events. It has been running for 29 years.
Can all boats take part in the Conwy River Festival Races?
While cruising yachts are the most popular when choosing racing vessels, medium, small, and classic boats can also be racing in the events. It is essential to make sure your chosen vessel is in working order and can handle medium to rough waters.
Can I bring my kids to the Conwy River Festival?
Children of all ages are welcome at the festival. There are various fun activities for the little ones to keep them entertained and out of trouble.
Conwy River Festival Activities
Hit the water
Take part in one of the racing events to show your sailing skills and experience the Conwy River waters. The races take place between Llandudno and the isle of Anglesey and are split into three classes to accommodate serious competitors, experienced sailors looking for fun, and amateurs.
Soak up the shoreside fun
Sailing is not the only way to have fun at the festival. There are various shore-based events, such as Conwy Quay Day, which involves a fancy dress competition for children, a treasure hunt, a medieval maritime weekend, and music and social events.
Explore the town
There are many activities for tourists looking to have different experiences from sailing; previous travelers will recommend visiting the Aberconwy House. Conwy’s last surviving 14th-century merchant's house. It was one of the first buildings built inside the walls of Conwy.
5 Historical Facts About Conwy
It has a medieval castle
Edward, I of England had it built from 1283 to 1289 as part of his plan to take over Wales.
There is an authentic Elizabethan house
It is known as ‘Plas Mawr’ and was built in 1576 by a wealthy family.
The founder king established parliament
King Edward actively formed English laws and institutions in Conway and England.
The Guinness Book of Records
It boasts the smallest house in all of Great Britain and can be found on the quay.
The name is a portmanteau
Conwy is from two old Welsh words; ‘cyn,’ meaning ‘chief,’ and ‘gwy,’ which means water.
Why We Love Conwy River Festival
It encourages water-based sports
Sailing is one of the few sports that require physical and mental strengths and the ability to stay afloat on a body of water. It is also a family sport as many teams of siblings or parent-sibling combinations. The festival also ensures that competitors of all classes get to take part, from amateurs to professional sailors.
Spending time near water is therapeutic
Scientists have proved that when people spend time by the water, whether it’s the ocean, a lake, or a river, it helps tremendously with their mental health. Large bodies of water are not just beautiful to look at; they are also very peaceful and can help relieve stress symptoms.
It takes place in a town with many architectural wonders
Thousands of tourists visit Conwy during the festival, and when there are breaks in-between events, they venture to the little places of intrigue. These include authentic medieval and Elizabethan-style buildings, the smallest house in Great Britain, and a monumental castle.
Conwy River Festival dates