The Welsh landscape is filled with fantastic castles. From Conwy castle, to cardiff castle, each are steeped in the country’s turbulent history. There are 641 castles in Wales in total, but there are some that simply cannot be missed! We’ve listed 6 of the must-see castles in Wales.
The 2000-year-old castle is situated in the heart of the capital. Throughout history, Cardiff Castle has been a Roman Fort, a Victorian Gothic mansion and Second World War Bomb shelter. Now, it’s one of Wales’ leading heritage attractions and a site of international significance. Guests can stroll along the beautiful parkland grounds and climb up to the top for a panoramic view of the city.
Located just north of Cardiff and surrounded by a series of moats and watery islands, sits Caerphilly Castle. Occupying 30 acres of land, this is Wales’ largest castle and Britain’s second largest. Caerphilly Castle is one of the earliest castles to use lakes and bridges as method of defence. It’s is steeped in history, having seen many battles between Gilbert de Clare who constructed the castle in the 13th century and his descendants, and the native Welsh rulers. The top of the castle offers a beautiful view of the Welsh countryside. Many celebrities have even paid a visit, including the latest Doctor Who and David Hasselhoff.
Caernarforn Castle is often considered as Wales’ most famous castle, as it’s the birthplace of the Price of Wales himself and has been given World Heritage status. The castle is almost a town in its own right. Construction took around forty years and resembles a figure of eight. The top of some of the castle’s towers are certainly not for the faint hearted, measuring more than 10m across its base. But the views at the top really are magnificent.
Surrounded by the picturesque town in North Wales, lies Conwy Castle. Built by Edward I in the late 1200s, Conwy Castle and the fortress wall surrounding the town was an expensive project for its time costing a little over £15,000 (this would be over £7.5 million in 2019) and was built rather quickly in just a mere four years. Conwy castle is mostly in ruin but there’s still evidence of its past life to absorb, like its grand stone fireplaces, arched ceiling beams and its restored spiralling staircases. Thanks to the restored spiral staircases, visitors can climb one of the eight towers for incredible views of the coastal town.
County Pembrokeshire in Southeast Wales is home to the largest privately-owned castle in all of Wales – Pembroke Castle. It’s one of the oldest and best-preserved castles in Wales, having been constructed around 1096, when the Earl of Shrewsbury took control of the town from the Welsh. Pembroke Castle is also best known as the place where Henry VII was born. Sadly, the castle began to fall into decay in the 17th century but was fully restored during the early 1900s. Now, tourists can visit the castle for guided tours, including ghost tours!
Harlech Castle almost grows naturally from the steep rock in which it sits on in the sleepy town of Harlech. Built by King Edward in 1283, Harlech Castle is one of ‘the finest examples of late 13th century and early 14th century military architecture in Europe’ according to UNESCO and is classed as a World Heritage site. Once upon a time, the castle was attacked by Madog ap Llewelyn, leader of the Welsh revolt against the English rule, but the natural strength of the castle rock and cliff made it hard for armies to attach. Today, visitors are invited in to learn more about Welsh heritage.
Check out our Castles Tour of Wales package which allows tourists to visit these amazing historical castles in Wales.
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