UK Travel Planning

Best Castles in Wales to explore (+ tips and map of locations)

By: Author Tracy Collins

Posted on Last updated: September 2, 2023

You really can’t visit Wales without including a castle (or two) in your itinerary. This article will introduce you to 10 of the best castles in Wales with tips and background history and information.

You will find a handy map showing the locations of these Welsh castles at the end of the article plus links to more information to help you plan your trip to Wales.

Caernarfon Castle

Beaumaris castle, cardiff castle, conwy castle, pembroke castle, criccieth castle, carreg cennen castle, raglan castle, caerphilly castle, harlech castle, map showing the locations of the welsh castles included in this article, the best castles in wales and planning your visit, guide to the best welsh castles to add into your itinerary.

In northwest Wales, on the banks of the River Seiont, architect James of St. George built Caernarfon Castle at the behest of King Edward I.

Construction started in the late 13th century and took 47 years to complete. The result is a grand castle with unparalleled architectural drama, making it one of the best castles in Wales to visit today.

Visitors will be awestruck by Eagle Tower — it has 18-foot-thick walls and three soaring turrets. You can also walk throughout the castle, up and down narrow and winding staircases and along the battlements.

Mind your step! The floors can be a little uneven but the climb up to the towers is more than worth it for the stunning views.

Caernarfon Castle

Beaumaris Castle in North Wales has the unique distinction of never having been finished. Begun in 1295 by James of St. George, the military architect extraordinaire of King Edward I, money troubles and Scottish skirmishes meant that by 1306, the castle was still incomplete.

By the 1320s, it was all but abandoned. It’s a shame, in that what exists today of the symmetrically designed concentric castle would have been extraordinary in its day.

Today, it’s a highly atmospheric place with plenty of half-constructed and crumbling walls, winding staircases and narrow passages, all surrounded by a moat.

The site also offers lovely views of the Snowdonia mountain range.

Beaumaris Castle

Cardiff Castle was built on the banks of the Taff River in the 11th century overtop a 3rd-century Roman fort.

It was originally a motte-and-bailey castle but was eventually reinforced with stone walls for defence. Like other castles during this era, it was traded back and forth between the English and the Welsh.

In the mid 18th century, Cardiff Castle was transformed by renown architect William Burges into the ornate gothic home of the third Marquess of Bute.

Today, this amazing castle is open to the public and visitors can tour the lovely grounds and landscaped parks or go inside to see the luxurious apartments.

Cardiff Castle one of the best castles in Wales to visit

In North Wales in Llandudno, on the River Conway, you’ll find Conway Castle. It was built for Edward I in the late 1200s on top of an imposing bed of solid rock, creating the ultimate show of English domination over the Welsh people.

The castle exhibited state-of-the-art military architecture of its day — with a defensive wall and imposing round towers.

Today, the walls and castle interior are largely preserved, making it one of the best Welsh castles to visit.

Take a tour and explore the eight towers, great hall and royal chambers. The view from the towers is amazing, but watch your step! The stairs are uneven and can be a little bit tricky.

Conwy Castle one of the best castles in Wales to visit

Out of all of the places to see in Wales, Pembroke Castle may be the most magnificent. It has seen over 1,000 years of history, is the birthplace of King Henry VII and holds the distinction of never having fallen to the Welsh.

Located in the southeast, today it is the largest privately owned castle in Wales. In the last 200 years, remarkable efforts have preserved much of the castle, including the 80 ft. Great Keep, grand entrances, the stunning stone outer walls and much of the Great Hall.

There are many exhibitions detailing the castle’s rich history and visitors should plan to spend at least a few hours to explore the entire complex.

Pembroke Castle

In the late 13th century, in Criccieth, Gwynedd, in North Wales, Llywelyn the Great stepped onto a rocky peninsula overlooking Tremaddog Bay and decided it would make the perfect place to build Criccieth Castle.

Throughout its life, this Welsh-built castle was occupied by both English and Welsh respectively, until the 15th century when it was destroyed by Welsh princes during the last Welsh rebellion.

Today, the picturesque ruins are one of the best places to visit in Wales. The views of the coastline and the town are second to none and the crumbling stone walls and historical exhibits on the grounds are thoroughly interesting.

Criccieth Castle

A few miles from Llandeilo in Carmarthenshire Wales are the ruins of Carreg Cennen Castle. Perched on a rocky hilltop with dramatic views of the valley and countryside beyond, the first Carreg Cennen castle was built in the 12th century but was rebuilt in the 13th century at the behest of Edward I.

Archeological evidence including Roman coins and prehistoric skeletons indicates that the location had probably been occupied long before either castle existed.

Visitors can park for free at the small farm on the grounds. Wear good shoes as the walk up to the castle can get slippery and boggy if there has been rain. Once at the castle, which is mostly ruined, the view is spectacular.

Carreg Cennen Castle one of the best castles in Wales to visit

In 1430, in the country of Gwent, Sir William ap Thomas began building Raglan Castle. Known as the Blue Night of Gwent, Thomas wanted a defensive fortress but also wanted his castle to showcase his wealth and prestige.

The result was unlike many medieval castles, it had luxury apartments that were built around a manicured courtyard. It’s six-sided gatehouses, which are still standing, are unique among Welsh castles.

Although Raglan Castle is ruined, it is in good condition. After exploring the grounds, the cellars and the castle’s long gallery, visitors should make time to climb the Great Tower and take in the gorgeous views of the countryside.

Raglan Castle

Not far from Cardiff, situated in the county of Gwent in South Wales, is Caerphilly Castle.

Built in 1268 on the site of an ancient Roman fort, it was a defensive fortress and featured a unique concentric design, a novelty among British castles of the time.

It had an inner circle with rounded towers that were surrounded by an outer wall and guard house. Those, in turn, were surrounded by artificial lakes. By the 16th century, the castle was in ruins.

Beginning in 1776, however, interested parties began to protect, preserve and restore the castle. Today, visitors agree that Caerphilly is one of the most beautiful castles in South Wales and well worth visiting.

Caerphilly Castle one of the best castles in Wales to visit

Among all of the castles in North Wales, Harlech Castle is one of the most popular and most scenic.

In 1283, the sandstone castle was built by James of St. George for Edward I. A rocky peninsula, overlooking Cardigan Bay was chosen as its site, the cliffs providing a natural barrier to protect the castle. It withstood centuries of battle but was eventually destroyed in the 1600s.

Visitors will be impressed by the views and the castle’s overall condition — it is not quite as far gone as some of the other castles in Wales. Walking the walls is great fun but might not be for those who are squeamish about heights.

Harlech Castle one of the best castles in Wales to visit

For more tips and inspiration for a variety of popular destinations in Wales pop over to my Wales Travel Guide which has all the information you need to plan your trip.

If you are still deciding where to visit (as well as all these amazing castles!) check out our guide to the best places to visit in Wales.

And finally, if you dream of spending the night in a castle you can! There are a number of castle hotel options in Wales. You can find them all in my guide to the best castle stays in Wales. (And if staying in a Scottish castle also appeals don’t miss my accommodation guide to 8 fairytale Scottish castles !)

Want more castles? Check out the best castles to visit in England , 18 Scottish castles that will take your breath away and the best castles to visit on a day trip from London!

Find more inspiration for your travels in my Wales Travel Guide which includes information about what to see, where to stay, how to get around, travel tips, recommended reading and more to make the most of your trip.

> CLICK HERE FOR MY STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO PLANNING YOUR UK TRIP !

How to budget for your UK trip

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castles to visit in wales uk

The Best Castles in Wales: A Guide To The Majestic Fortresses of Wales

Wales is a country steeped in history and the castles that dot its landscape are a testament to this rich heritage. From towering fortresses to romantic ruins, there are over 600 castles in Wales to explore. These castles offer a glimpse into the past and shed light on the myths and legends that shaped Wales into the country it is today.

With so many Welsh castles to explore, it’s difficult to know which ones to visit first. In this article, I round up the 20 best castles in my home country and outline what makes them truly special. Let’s get stuck in!

20 Top Castles in Wales to Visit

1. caernarfon castle.

Caernarfon Castle is one of the most iconic and well-preserved castles in Wales. Built by King Edward I in the 13th century, this grand fortress was designed to intimidate the Welsh and assert English rule. This World Heritage Site, situated on the River Seiont took 47 years to complete. Its impressive walls, towers, and battlements are a testament to its military heritage, and its unique polygonal towers and imposing gatehouses make it a must-see for any history buff.

castles to visit in wales uk

2. Conwy Castle

Another classic North Wales castle built by King Edward I, Conwy Castle is a magnificent fortress that dominates the town of Conwy. This castle is known for its eight towers and fortified walls that encircle the town, offering a stunning view over the River Conwy. UNESCO considers Conwy Castle one of the finest examples of military architecture in Europe.

Visitors can explore the castle’s many chambers, including the Great Hall, the chapel, and the King’s Apartments, and imagine what life was like for the castle’s residents in medieval times.

castles to visit in wales uk

3. Cardiff Castle

Cardiff Castle is a unique and fascinating castle located in the heart of the Welsh capital. The castle has a long history dating back to the Roman era, and has been transformed over the centuries to reflect the changing tastes and styles of each era.

Today, visitors can explore the castle’s many rooms, including the Gothic revival apartments, the medieval banqueting hall, and the magnificent Clock Tower, and discover the rich history of this one-of-a-kind castle.

The castle often hosts events such as live music shows and foodie festivals, so it’s worth keeping an eye on the line up during your visit. Cardiff itself it a top destination in South Wales and deserves a day or two to explore its main sites.

castles to visit in wales uk

4. Chepstow Castle

Chepstow Castle is the oldest castles in Wales, and is thought to have been built by the Normans in the 11th century. The castle is situated on a cliff overlooking the River Wye and is surrounded by well-preserved earthworks and ramparts. The castle’s great hall and private chambers are still visible today, and its walls are adorned with arrow slits and battlements.

In the summer Chepstow Castle hosts a weekend of live music which is well worth a visit if you can plan your trip at that time. The pretty town of Chepstow was my home during 2023 and has lots of interesting things to do. If you have more time on your visit be sure to check out all the places to visit in the Wye Valley.

castles to visit in wales uk

5. Pembroke Castle

Pembroke Castle is a Norman castle located in the town of Pembroke in western Wales. The castle was built by the Normans in the 11th century and was one of the first castles to be built in Wales. The castle’s great hall and private chambers are still visible today, and its walls are adorned with arrow slits and battlements.

6. Cilgerran Castle

Cilgerran Castle is a medieval castle located in the countryside near Cardigan. The castle was built by the Normans in the 12th century and was later expanded by the Welsh prince, Rhys ap Gruffydd. The castle’s walls are adorned with battlements and two great towers. Its location on a rocky outcropping overlooking the Teifi River provides stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

7. Beaumaris Castle

Beaumaris Castle is a magnificent castle located on the Isle of Anglesey in North Wales. This castle is known for its impressive architectural design and its beautiful location on the coast. Edward I had planned to make Beaumaris his masterpiece castle however a lack of money and troubles in Scotland meant this perfectly symmetrical fortress was never completed.

Visitors can explore the castle’s many rooms, including the Great Hall, the chapel, and the keep, and imagine what life was like for the castle’s residents in medieval times.

castles to visit in wales uk

8. Raglan Castle

Raglan Castle is a stunning example of medieval architecture, and its history is just as fascinating. The castle was built during the 15th century as a grand residence for one of the most powerful families in Wales, the Herbert family.

Today, visitors can tour the castle’s impressive ruins and imagine what life was like for its former residents. The castle’s great hall and private chambers are still visible and its walls are adorned with arrow slits and battlements.

9. Castell Coch

Castell Coch (Red Castle) is a 19th-century Gothic revival castle located in the countryside near Cardiff. This Fairytale castle was built by the wealthy March family as a summer home, and is known for its elaborate interiors and unique architectural style. The castle is surrounded by well-manicured gardens and offers pretty walks in the surrounding Fforest Fawr area.

castles to visit in wales uk

10. Carew Castle

Carew Castle is a medieval castle located in the Pembrokeshire coast in west Wales. The castle was built by the Normans in the 12th century and was later expanded by the Carew family. The castle is situated on a tidal millpond and is surrounded by well-preserved earthworks and ramparts. The castle’s great hall and private chambers are still visible today, and its walls are adorned with arrow slits and battlements.

castles to visit in wales uk

11. Kidwelly Castle

Any Monty Python fans out there should head straight to Kidwelly Castle, located in the town of Kidwelly in west Wales. The castle was built by the Normans in the 12th century and appears in the first scene of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The castle’s walls are adorned with battlements and towers, and its location on a hill overlooking the River Gwendraeth provides stunning views of the surrounding countryside. The castle is said to be haunted by the headless ghost of Princess Gwenllian.

12. Laugharne Castle

Laugharne Castle is a medieval castle located in the town of Laugharne in west Wales. The castle was built by the Normans in the 12th century and was later expanded by the de Brian family. The castle’s walls are adorned with battlements and towers, and its location on a hill overlooking the Tâf estuary provides stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Famed Welsh poet Dylan Thomas retreated to Laugharne Castle to escape his writers block amongst the gardens and at the boathouse.

13. Llansteffan Castle

Llansteffan Castle is a medieval castle located in the town of Llansteffan in west Wales. The castle was built by the Normans in the 12th century and was later expanded by the de Brian family. (?) The castle’s walls are adorned with battlements and towers, and its location on a hill overlooking the River Tywi provides stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

14. Manorbier Castle

Manorbier Castle is a medieval castle located in the town of Manorbier in west Wales. The castle was built by the Normans in the 12th century and was later expanded by the de Barri family. (?) The castle’s walls are adorned with battlements and towers, and its location on a hill overlooking the ocean provides stunning views of the surrounding coastline.

castles to visit in wales uk

15. Chirk Castle

Owned and run by the National Trust, this 13th century castle built by Roger Mortimer, is located along the Welsh-English border. This magnificent medieval fortress, perched atop a hill overlooking the Ceiriog Valley, offers a captivating glimpse into Wales’ rich heritage.

Step back in time as you explore the castle’s grand interiors, including the opulent State Rooms adorned with fine art and antique furniture. Marvel at the medieval tower, which boasts panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and the beautifully landscaped gardens below. Don’t miss the chance to wander through the tranquil woodland walks and discover hidden gems like the impressive wrought-iron gates, designed by renowned blacksmith Robert Bakewell.

castles to visit in wales uk

16. Harlech Castle

Harlech Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the finest examples of medieval military architecture in Europe. Perched atop a rocky outcrop overlooking the Irish Sea, the castle offers breathtaking views of Snowdonia and the Llyn Peninsula.

Built by King Edward I in the late 13th century, the castle played a key role in the Wars of the Roses and the English Civil War. Visitors can explore the castle’s massive walls, towers, and gatehouses, as well as the newly restored medieval gardens.

castles to visit in wales uk

17. Powis Castle

Situated in the picturesque Welsh countryside near the town of Welshpool, Powis Castle is renowned for its stunning architecture, meticulously manicured gardens, and impressive art collection. Explore the grand interiors of the castle, where opulent rooms adorned with lavish furnishings, tapestries, and paintings provide a glimpse into the lives of the aristocratic Herbert family who have owned the castle for over 400 years.

Marvel at the treasures of the Clive Museum, which houses one of the finest collections of Indian and Eastern art in the United Kingdom. Outside, wander through the enchanting terraced gardens, where intricately designed formal gardens, tranquil water features, and exotic plants create a haven of beauty and tranquility. With its rich history, exquisite art, and breathtaking gardens, Powis Castle offers a memorable experience for visitors of all ages.

18. Caerphilly Castle

As the largest castle in Wales, Caerphilly is a huge 30-acre site surrounded by an impressive moat. The castle features a concentric ring of walls, gatehouse, towers, a maze and even a dragon’s den. The castle was built during the 13th century by Gilbert de Clare and is famed for introducing concentric castles defences to Britain, the design which inspired Edward I’s castles of North Wales.

castles to visit in wales uk

19. Castell Dinefwr

This ancient Welsh fortress, nestled within the lush landscapes of Carmarthenshire, boasts a rich heritage dating back over 2,000 years. Explore the imposing ruins of the medieval castle, which stand proudly atop a hill overlooking the River Tywi. Wander through the atmospheric grounds and discover the remains of the Tudor mansion, once home to the powerful Lord Rhys and his descendants. Don’t miss the chance to stroll through the ancient deer park, where herds of fallow deer roam freely amidst ancient oaks and rolling meadows.

20. Castell Carreg Cennen

Voted the most romantic ruin in Wales, Carreg Cennen is a ruined castle found on the western edge of the Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons) . Like many castles on this list, Carreg Cennen dates back to the 13th century, built during the conquest of Wales by King Edward I.

Perched on a limestone crag above the River Cennen, the castle offers incredible views over the surrounding countryside. Access to Carreg Cennen is via a steep but short walk from the car park. Be sure to take a torch so you can explore the underground passageway which burrow into the rock below.

castles to visit in wales uk

Frequently Asked Questions about the Best Castles in Wales

  • Q: How many castles are there in Wales?
  • A: There are over 600 castles in Wales, ranging from towering fortresses to romantic ruins.
  • Q: What is the most famous castle in Wales?
  • A: Caernarfon Castle is considered to be the most famous castle in Wales.
  • Q: When were the castles in Wales built?
  • A: Many of the castles in Wales were built in the 13th century by King Edward I as part of his efforts to assert English rule over the Welsh.
  • Q: What is the oldest castle in Wales?
  • A: The oldest castle in Wales is Cepstow Castle. The building was started in 1067 by Earl William FitzOsbern who was a friend of William the Conqueror.
  • Q: Are there any haunted castles in Wales?
  • A: Yes, there are several haunted castles in Wales, including Raglan Castle and Cardiff Castle.
  • Q: What is the biggest castle in Wales?
  • A: Caerphily Castle is the biggest castle in Wales and the second largest in the UK after Windsor Castle.

Final Thoughts On Castles In Wales

Wales’ castles are not just historic landmarks; they are living testament to the country’s rich and tumultuous past. Each fortress tells a story of conquest, rebellion, and resilience, offering visitors a glimpse into Wales’ medieval heritage.

Whether exploring the towering ramparts of Caernarfon Castle, wandering through the picturesque ruins of Conwy Castle, or admiring the Victorian splendor of Cardiff Castle, a visit to Wales’ castles is sure to leave a lasting impression. So pack your bags, embark on a journey through time, and discover the magic of Wales’ ancient fortresses for yourself.

Disclaimer:  Some links in this article are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase through them I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thank you! This helps cover the cost of running this blog and keep all resources free to access 🙂

Louise is an Adventure Tour Guide, Snowboard Instructor & Mountain Leader from South Wales. Through working as a tour guide and snowboard instructor, she has spent the last 15 years travelling Asia, Africa and the Americas. Louise is a published photographer and currently guides mountain trips in the UK.

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When it comes to experiencing awe-inspiring history, Wales' majestic castles offer a remarkable journey into the past. Moreover, Wales also boasts a wealth of diverse attractions , from exploring its stunning landscapes to immersing oneself in its vibrant culture. In this guide, we've focused on the ten best castles in Wales for you to visit.

  • 1. The "Iron Ring" Conwy Castle

2. Carreg Cennen Castle — for a romantic setting

3. the crumbling beauty of castell dinas brân, 4. the massive penrhyn castle, 5. caernarfon castle — one of the best castles in wales, 6. the restored moat of caerphilly castle, 7. the ornate raglan castle, 8. the impregnable pembroke castle, 9. the inspiring criccieth castle, 10. the unusually defended kidwelly castle.

The information in this article is inspired by The Rough Guide to Wales , your essential guide for visiting Wales .

Travel ideas for Wales, created by local experts

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The Great British Road Trip

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1. The "Iron Ring" Conwy Castle

For sheer grey-stone solidity, nothing beats Conwy Castle , with its eight massive round towers arranged squarely on the banks of the Conwy Estuary. Completed in 1287, this “Iron Ring” edifice was finished in less than five years, complete with associated bastide town.

The two worked in symbiosis: the castle was kept supplied by the merchants who were protected by the mile-long ring of town walls. A walk along the walls still gives the best views of both castle and town.

Where to stay near Conwy Castle

  • For the castle views: Number 18
  • For B&B: Gwynfryn

Find more accommodation options to stay near Conwy Castle.

conwy-castle-scotland-shutterstock_475118692

Conwy Castle has been standing strong since the 13th century © Trevla/Shutterstock

Carreg Cennen can be explored on one of the best road trips in the United Kingdom. It is the most romantically sited of all the best castles in Wales, perched on its craggy, limestone hill, often with mist swirling around the lower slopes.

There’s something wild and preternaturally Welsh about this isolated locale on the edge of the heather-purpled Black Mountains. On the south side, a steep cliff plummets down to the bucolic valley of the River Cennen below. You can descend the valley via a steep stairway tunnel cut into the cliff face.

Where to stay near Carreg Cennen Castle

  • For price and quality: Spilman Hotel
  • For a rustic feel: Melin Tregib

Find more accommodation options to stay near Carreg Cennen Castle.

carreg-cennen-castle-shutterstock_430550416

Carreg Cennen Castle, one of the best castles in Wales for atmospheric surroundings © Chris Goddard/Shutterstock

The ruinous state of Dinas Brân – or Crow’s Fortress Castle – high above the town of Llangollen, almost puts it out of contention as a castle. It is really just a short stretch of crumbling thirteenth-century masonry and a few vaulted arches, but there are few better places in Wales to watch the sunset.

As a golden glow settles over the bucolic Dee Valley you can ponder the English–Welsh power struggles that gave rise to this borderlands relic.

Where to stay near Castell Dinas Brân

  • For couples: Gamelin
  • For families: Panorama Cottages

Find more accommodation options to stay near Castell Dinas Brân.

llangollen-dinas-bran-shutterstock_1236605158

The ruins of Castell Dinas Brân near Llangollen © Henrykc/Shutterstock

More like a French chateau than a real castle, Penrhyn stands as a testament to nineteenth-century class divisions. While the workers hacked away at the nearby slate quarries, their masters created a compelling neo-Norman fancy, complete with a five-storey keep.

Everything here on a massive scale, from the 3ft-thick oak doors to the halls of fine art housing works by Canaletto, Gainsborough and Rembrandt. There's even an enormous slate bed, designed for Queen Victoria’s visit.

Where to stay near Penrhyn Castle

  • For a serene atmosphere: Brynteg Glamping
  • For a rural location: The Slate

Find more accommodation options to stay near Penrhyn Castle.

penrhyn-castle-shutterstock_421374067

Penrhyn Castle, one of the newest Welsh castles to be built © Condruzmf/Shutterstock

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 Cardiff Bay © Crown Copyright 2022 Visit Wales

Caernarfon Castle is both the most recognisable of the best castles in Wales and also the least typical. It eschews the ancient square form and rounded fortifications in favour of distinctive polygonal towers, the supreme development of “Iron Ring” architect James of St George.

The largely intact walls are riddled with passageways that eventually deliver you to the ramparts, offering fabulous views of the ancient town of Caernarfon and Snowdonia beyond.

Our tailor-made Great British Road Trip gives you an opportunity to explore Caernarfon Castle as well as the most iconic sites of the United Kingdom.

Where to stay near Caernarfon Castle

  • For budget stays: Totters Hostel
  • For families: Coed Helen Holiday Park

Find more accommodation options to stay near Caernarfon Castle.

caernarfon-castle-wales-uk-shutterstock_671525290

Caernarfon Castle with its unique octagonal towers © S-F/Shutterstock

Built on the site of a Roman fort and an earlier Norman fortification, the present Caerphilly Castle was begun in 1268. By the early twentieth century, the castle was in a sorry state, sitting amid a growing industrial town. In the late 1920s, the castle underwent an extensive period of restoration, followed, in 1958, by the demolition of houses and shops so that the moat could be re-flooded.

You enter the castle through the much-restored great gatehouse that punctuates the barbican wall by a lake. From here, a bridge crosses the moat, part of the wider lake, to the outer wall of the castle itself, behind which sits the hulking inner ward. Located here is the massive eastern gatehouse, which includes an impressive upper hall and oratory and, to its left, the wholly restored and reroofed Great Hall.

Where to stay near Caerphilly Castle

  • For stylish stays: Lanelay Hall Hotel & Spa
  • For city stays: Cardiff Sandringham Hotel

Find more accommodation options to stay near Caerphilly Castle.

caerphilly-castle-uk-shutterstock_5203321

Caerphilly Castle © Shutterstock

The village of Raglan (Rhaglan) is lorded over by one of the best castles in Wales, whose ornate style and comparative intactness set it apart from other more crumbling Wales castles. The late medieval castle was constructed on the site of a Norman motte in 1435 by Sir William ap Thomas.

The gatehouse is still used as the main entrance. The finest examples of the castle’s showy decoration appear in its heraldic shields, intricate stonework edging and gargoyles. Inside, stonemasons’ marks, used to identify how much work each man had done, can be seen on the walls.

Where to stay near Raglan Castle

  • For B&B: Art House B & B
  • For modern stays: Deri-Down Guest House

The Rough Guides to Wales and related travel guides

In-depth, easy-to-use travel guides filled with expert advice.

The Rough Guide to Wales

Find more accommodation options to stay near Raglan Castle.

Raglan Castle, Monmouthshire, Wales © Shutterstock

Raglan Castle, Monmouthshire, Wales © Shutterstock

Surrounded by water on three sides, Pembroke Castle proved impregnable for four centuries. During the Civil War, Pembroke was a Parliamentarian stronghold until switching to the Royalist side in 1648. Cromwell’s 48-day siege of the town only succeeded after he cut off its water supply.

Despite Cromwell’s battering and centuries of subsequent neglect, the castle’s sheer, bloody-minded bulk still inspires awe, even if it’s largely due to extensive restoration over the last century. You enter through the soaring gatehouse, home to some displays of the history of the castle. The walls and towers contain many walkways and dark passages that give ample chance to chase around spiral stairways into great oak-beamed halls.

Where to stay near Pembroke Castle

  • For luxury stays: Grove of Narberth
  • For price and quality: The Coach House Hotel

Find more accommodation options to stay near Pembroke Castle.

Pembroke Castle on the Pembroke River, Pembrokeshire, Wales © Shutterstock

Pembroke Castle on the Pembroke River, Pembrokeshire, Wales © Shutterstock

Criccieth’s only real sight is the battle-worn Criccieth Castle , dominating the coastline with what remains of its twin, D-shape towered gatehouse. This proved to be an irresistible subject for painter J.M.W. Turner, who captured it in several works.

Nowadays, it’s a great spot to sit and look over Cardigan Bay to Harlech or, in the late afternoon, to gaze down over the ripples of the Llŷn coast. There’s also an enlightening exhibition on Welsh princes just beyond the reception/shop area.

Where to stay near Criccieth Castle

  • For couples: Awel Mor
  • For gorgeous sea views: Marine Terrace Apartments

Find more accommodation options to stay near Criccieth Castle.

Criccieth Castle, Criccieth, North Wales © Shutterstock

Criccieth Castle, Criccieth, North Wales © Shutterstock

A wooden castle was built here around 1106, rebuilt in stone in the 1270s and extended in the fourteenth century. On Castle Street, the main road through Kidwelly, a fourteenth-century town gate marks the approach to Kidwelly Castle .

Continuing through the massive gatehouse, which forms the centrepiece of the impressively intact outer ward walls, you can still see portcullis slots and murder holes, through which noxious substances could be poured onto intruders. Views from the musty solar and hall, packed into the easternmost wall of the inner ward, show the castle’s defensive position at its best, with the river directly below.

Where to stay near Kidwelly Castle

  • For boutique stays: Stradey Park Hotel
  • For budget stays: Caulfields Hotel

Find more accommodation options to stay near Kidwelly Castle.

Kidwelly Castle, Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire, Wales © Shutterstock

Kidwelly Castle, Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire, Wales © Shutterstock

A trip to the many castles of Wales is sure to delight any traveller interested in history. Ready to travel to Wales? Check out the Rough Guides to Wales .

If you prefer to plan and book your trip to Wales without any effort and hassle, use the expertise of our local travel experts to make sure your trip will be just like you dream it to be.

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18 Most Beautiful Castles in Wales

By Jamie Gambetta · Last updated on March 3, 2024

With more ancient fortresses per square mile than anywhere else in Europe, Wales is Britain’s undisputed king of castles. Most of the structures date back to the reign of King Edward I, who built the castles to help him hold onto his newly acquired lands. Known today as Edwardian castles, the fortresses marked a new era in castle construction.

Instead of the classic motte-and-bailey design with its central keep and outer stockade, Edwardian castles feature rings of walls and multiple towers that make them look as if they were lifted out of a fairytale. That storybook quality makes castles in Wales particularly attractive as family vacation destinations, but people of all ages are sure to find them enchanting.

18. Dinefwr Castle

Dinefwr Castle

Overlooking the rolling River Towy, the Dinefwr Castle, is embellished in equally old nature. Old-growth forests wrap around the castle grounds, having been eloquently laid out in the 18th century.

The story of the castle returns us to the 1100s. The nearby forts hint at a domineering Roman presence. While on the estate, a 17th century manor house tells of the power of Dinefwr Castle held within Wales until recent times.

Such is the beauty of Dinefwr, it’s said if you were to squeeze the soil tight, out would flow the essence of Wales.

17. Laugharne Castle

Laugharne Castle

Inspiring poets and travelers alike, it’s easy to fall in love with the resplendent beauty of Laugharne Castle. The lush surrounding green, ancient bridge across the trickling stream all mark a heralded foreground.

Successive battles between the Normans and the Welsh left this 13th-century castle in near ruin. It was then transformed into a Renaissance mansion befitting of Sir John Perrot.

After his execution for high treason, Perrot’s castle returned to a ruinous state. Albeit, slightly. But today you can see the remnants of the Grand Hall and the resounding towers.

16. Bodelwyddan Castle

Bodelwyddan Castle

Surrounded by lush countryside and distant peaks, Bodelwyddan Castle is enveloped in charming scenery. The castle itself is remarkably well maintained, with its origins tracing to the middle of the 15th century.

On the edge of Snowdonia, with so much encompassing beauty, you may be thinking, I wish we could stay here. Well, the good news is you can.

Separating it from other ancient castles, Bodelwyddan Castle has been transformed into an elegant hotel, providing you with unique access to the Middle Ages but also the world around it.

15. Carew Castle

Carew Castle

On the Pembrokeshire Coast, Carew Castle’s rich past spans over 2,000 years. The first half tells the tales of knights, battles, and struggles. The second half features what we now see of the castle, from the late 1200s.

After the Norman conquest of England, Carew Castle became the center of their rule in the region. As you explore, you can learn about these stories, that of kingmakers and, later, civil war devastation.

Beyond the past is the castle’s present beauty. Set on the sprawling Millpond, the views are gorgeous. So too the Elizabethan mansion, and the 11th century Tidal Mill and ancient Celtic cross.

14. Margam Castle

Margam Castle

Unlike many of the ancient castles in Wales, Margam Castle is a relatively modern addition. Built in 1835, this Tudor-Gothic home represents the wishes of Christopher Mansell. He wished to mark the history of Margam with a grand residence of its own.

The fantasy castle-home features a bombardment of turrets, battlements, cupolas, towers and gables. The architect, who was asked to let his imagination run wild, certainly did his job.

After being used by troops in WWII, it now lies in the hands of the public who can explore the castle and surrounding grounds. Beware, however, the castle may be haunted!

13. Dolbadarn Castle

Dolbadarn Castle

Set in beautiful lonesomeness on the banks of Llyn Padarn, Dolbadarn Castle was a vital part of the defence of the ancient kingdom of Gwynedd. The castle dates back to the late 12th century, and was strategically placed to protect a route along the Llanberis Pass.

Today, this location marks the edge of Snowdonia National Park and offers visitors astounding views of the surrounding landscapes. Time has played its artistic hand on the castle, with its remains showing only the base and walls of Dolbadarn Castle.

Rather poignantly, however, is the striking tower that stands over the castle grounds as it has for centuries.

12. Chepstow Castle

Chepstow Castle

It’s been almost 1,000 years since the last stone bricks were laid upon the Chepstow Castle. The 11th century stronghold lies in marvelous ruin today but remains one of the oldest stone castles in the entire UK.

Highlights from the ageless castle don’t end there. In fact, after admiring Chepstow from the surging River Wye, you’ll soon be standing in front of an ancient wooden door. At 800 years young, it’s the oldest of its kind in Wales.

Exploring the castle is akin to learning the history of stone. Such is the age of the castle, you can visually see how it evolved to handle improving armies and their weapons.

11. Powis Castle

Powis Castle

As renowned for its gardens as the castle itself, Powis Castle presents visitors with a multitude of opportunities. The castle’s story begins in the early years of the 13th century as a medieval fortress.

The warm colors of Powis Castle’s facade boast an elegant design that doesn’t hide the structure’s imposing presence. Passed through the hands of lords and rulers in the centuries since, the interior is adorned with lavish accents, decor and period furniture.

Its gorgeous French and Italian-style surrounding gardens have developed a world-class reputation and make exploring the surrounding grounds as memorable as the interior.

10. Criccieth Castle

Criccieth Castle

Resting atop a headland jutting out into Tremaddog Bay, Criccieth Castle demonstrates the influence that King Edward I had on Welsh fortress construction. Built by Llywelyn the Great in the late 13th century, the design included many features of Edwardian castles, including an outer wall, outward-facing arrow slits and murder holes in passageways.

The castle changed hands between the Welsh and English until the 15th century when it was burned during the last great Welsh rebellion. Visitors to Criccieth can wander through the ruins and explore exhibits about the history of Welsh castles.

9. Carreg Cennen

Carreg Cennen

Perched on a rocky limestone hill in the town of Llandeilo in Carmartenshire, Wales, Carreg Cennen Castle is prized for the views it offers as much as for its ancient history. The 12th-century Welsh structure was built by Rhys of Deheubarth and was rebuilt in the 13th century by John Giffard on behalf of Edward I.

Although much of the castle was destroyed during the Wars of Roses, the ruins are well worth a visit. Visitors who climb their way to the hill’s summit are rewarded with breathtaking views.

8. Cardiff Castle

Cardiff Castle

Built on the banks of the Taff River, Cardiff Castle has a history that dates back to Britain’s Roman occupation. Over the centuries, it has been transformed into a Norman keep, a medieval fortress and a Gothic residence. In the 1800s, the third Marquess of Bute turned the structure into a fairytale-like castle in the Gothic Revival style.

Today, the castle is operated by the city of Cardiff as a tourist attraction. Visitors can tour the castle’s sumptuous apartments, explore the Firing Line regimental museum and roam the beautifully landscaped parks around the castle grounds.

7. Raglan Castle

Raglan Castle

Raglan Castle in the county of Gwent was one of the last medieval castles in Wales, and the structure demonstrates how Britain’s fortresses eventually gave way to palaces. Although it was designed for defense when construction began in 1435, attention was also paid to human comfort with an array of luxurious apartments built around a scenic courtyard.

A climb to the top of the Great Tower offers views of the moat below and the surrounding countryside. Visitors can explore the cellars, which were built to hold hundreds of casks of wine, and can view medieval wood carvings still visible on the castle’s long gallery.

6. Pembroke Castle

Pembroke Castle

Located in the county of Pembrokeshire in Southeast Wales, Pembroke Castle is the largest privately owned castle in Wales. It’s also one of the oldest and best preserved. Construction dates back to 1093 when the Earl of Shrewsbury took control of the town from the Welsh.

Famed as the place where Henry VII was born, Pembroke began to fall into decay in the 17th century but was fully restored during the early 1900s. Open to the public, the castle features staged tableaux that depict events in the castle’s history, battle re-enactments and falconry displays.

5. Caerphilly Castle

Caerphilly Castle

Situated on an island on a massive estate in the county of Gwent, Caerphilly Castle is considered the first true concentric castle built in Wales. The inner ward with its rounded corner towers is surrounded by an outer wall with an attached guardhouse.

Construction of the fortress began in 1268 by Earl Gilbert de Clare, who built the castle on the site of an ancient Roman fort. Although stone from the castle was later taken to build homes in the region, Caerphilly was restored by a coal baron during the Victorian Era.

4. Beaumaris Castle

Beaumaris Castle

King Edward I and his favored architect James of St. George had perfected the art of castle building by the time they began construction of Beaumaris Castle in 1295. Located on the Isle Anglesey in the county of Gwynedd, the beautifully designed concentric castle features a moat connected to the sea, round towers on every corner and staggered entrances and portcullises between the inner ward and outer wall.

Although the inner apartments of the castle were never constructed, the castle remains an imposing sight. Visitors are free to explore the grounds and wander through passages in the walls.

3. Conwy Castle

Conwy Castle

Located in the picturesque town on Conwy on the North Coast of Wales, Conwy Castle was built by King Edward I between 1283 and 1289. The castle is considered one of the finest works by architect James of St. George. Built to take advantage of its location on a rocky hill on the banks of the Conwy Estuary, the well-preserved castle features two fortified gateways, eight gigantic towers and massive great hall.

Knowledgeable guides offer one-hour tours that take visitors from the castle’s royal chambers and chapel up to the top of the battlements.

2. Harlech Castle

Harlech Castle

Built on the summit of a 60 meter (200 foot) high hill overlooking Cardigan Bay and the Llŷn Peninsula, Harlech Castle may be marked by centuries of battle and decay, but it’s still one of the most popular castles in Wales.

Built for Edward I in 1283, architect James of St. George took advantage of the site’s sheer cliffs on the northern and western boundaries to strengthen the castle’s fortifications. The castle was attacked almost as soon as it was completed and served as a fortress well into the 1600s. Today, visitors can roam the castle ruins and enjoy one of the finest views on the Cambrian coast.

1. Caernarfon Castle

Caernarfon Castle

Located on the mouth of the River Seiont in the town of Caernarfon, Caernarfon Castle is beautiful example of the Edwardian style of castle. Designed by the era’s premier architect James of St. George, construction of the castle began in 1283 with the building of a huge outer wall that encircled the entire settlement, much of which still stands today.

A series of towers and gates built along the castle’s inner wall offered added protection. King Edward’s son was born in Caernarfon and was dubbed the Prince of Wales, a title that the heir to the throne has been awarded ever since.

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August 26, 2014 at 5:22 am

Amazing post and superb information of the castles in Wales. This is nice for someone who wants to visit Wales and just want to have a look at castles and their history. I like the ruins of Carreg Cennen. Conway Castle on the town of Conway is also not bad and looks like an imposing structure.

Thanks for the information.

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Home » Travel Guides » United Kingdom » Wales » 15 Best Castles in Wales

15 Best Castles in Wales

As the second smallest country in the United Kingdom (Northern Ireland is the smallest), Wales packs a punch despite its compact size. Castles form a significant part of Welsh history as well as landscape. There are well over 400 castles in Wales making it the country with most castles per square mile than any other country in the world.

Interestingly, most castles in Wales aren’t Welsh, as some would think but rather English as they were built with the purpose to not only overlook and protect the lands but also keep the Welsh subjugated.

Wales fell into England’s hands after Dafydd, the last Prince of Wales, was executed in 1283. Edward I of England had total control over Wales afterward and to ensure that people of Wales would be faithful to the English rule, he commanded the building of castles, many of them enormous stone structures so typical of Medieval architecture.

1. Raglan Castle

Raglan Castle

Raglan Castle located in south-east Wales is a late Medieval castle that dates back to 1430, when the construction began. The building of the castle was commissioned by Sir William ap Thomas, the Blue Knight of Gwent.

In the late 16th century the castle underwent noteworthy construction works, when additions like a new hammer-beam roof were built.

The sandstone castle wasn’t built for defensive purposes and its main goal was to portray and showcase powerful influence and wealth.

One of the main visual features of the castle are the polygonal structures, which make this castle rather unique in the overall Welsh castle landscape. Majority of other castles consist of a square or round structures rather than the six-sided gatehouse and towers featured in Raglan Castle. The castle also features a moat around the Yellow Tower of Gwent.

2. Caernarfon Castle

Caernarfon Castle

Located in the North west of Wales, Caernarfon Castle is a medieval fortress built in the late 13th century to replace an earlier motte-and-bailey castle that stood there from the 11th century. It is also one of the most widely-recognised Welsh castles.

The grand and mammoth appearance of the castle is directly linked to the fact that the town of Caernarfon served as the administrative center of North Wales during the reign of King Edward I of England.

Caernarfon Castle was besieged several times and after Tudors came to power and the relationship between England and Wales became more steady, many of Welsh castles lost their importance and Caernarfon Castle was one of the castles that slowly started falling into despair. It was neglected until the 19th century, when repair work finally began.

The castle features several polygonal towers, battlements, two entrances – one from the town and the other allowing entrance without having to go through the town. Unfortunately, the castle was never finished the way it was intended.

3. Conwy Castle

Conwy Castle

Another Welsh castle dating back to the time of King Edward I of England is the Conwy Castle which lies on the northern shores of Wales. The castle dates back to the late 13th century and it played an important role in forming the town of Conwy. The castle was also amid several wars undergoing sieges.

The castle is an impressive example of Welsh medieval defensive architecture – its defensive wall with massive round towers is instantly recognisable. Not only is the castle a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but it has also been classified by the organisation as one of the finest military architecture examples of that time period in Europe.

The castle’s rectangular plan includes inner and outer wards and altogether eight towers. The inner ward included all the master chambers while the outer ward was dedicated to kitchens, stables, prison, and garrison.

4. Cardiff Castle

Cardiff Castle

Located in the capital of Wales, Cardiff Castle was originally built in the 11th century as a motte and bailey castle atop an older Roman fort dating back to the 3rd century. A century later, the castle was slowly rebuilt into a stone structure with the additions of a shell keep and defensive walls. Over the next centuries, the castle underwent gradual changes, additions, and redesigns.

Just as other castles during the English Civil War, Cardiff Castle was also affected by it – first being taken by Parliamentary forces and then reclaimed by Royalist supporters.

In the mid-18th century the castle was transformed into a Georgian mansion and later redesigned in Gothic revival style. Since the renovations were done under the watchful eye of William Burges, the interiors were considered greatly accurate and exceptional examples of gothic revival. The lush interiors included beautiful murals, stained glass elements, delicate wood carvings, and marble.

During the Second World War the castle was turned into an air raid shelter.

5. Pembroke Castle

Pembroke Castle

Pembroke Castle is famously known as the birthplace of Henry VII and recently the castle came into attention again as archeologists found even more precise information about the first Tudor king’s birthplace.

The original castle was built at the very end of the 11th century and was rebuilt in stone a century later thus making it one of the most impressive examples of Norman stone castles in the country.

Pembroke Castle is built above Wogan’s Cavern or Wogan Cave. The cave is known to have been used by humans as far back as the Paleolithic and Mesolithic periods. In the 13th century the cave became a part of Pembroke Castle’s defences.

Oliver Cromwell’s forces attacked the castle in 1648 during the English Civil War and Cromwell was personally present during the taking of the castle after a 7-week siege.

6. Chirk Castle

Chirk Castle

Many of the impressive Welsh castles were built during the reign of Edward I and Chirk Castle is no exception. Completed in 1310, the castle held a strategic position overlooking the entry point to the Ceiriog Valley. Since it is located on the Welsh and English borders in the North of the country, it always had an important role in keeping the Welsh under English rule. Chirk Castle is the only castle from Edward I’s time that is still inhabited to this day.

Originally built as a military fortress, castle’s signature round drum towers were perfectly suited for archers who needed to be able to overlook and defend a wide area. The towers’ walls are 5 meters thick which made them impregnable.

Today the visitors can not only admire the impressive castle but also 5 acres of pristine gardens with awe-inspiring roses and manicured lawns.

7. Caerphilly Castle

Caerphilly Castle

Caerphilly Castle in South Wales, not far from the Welsh capital Cardiff, was built as a defensive castle against Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, who was the last prince of a united Wales before Edward I’s reign took over the country. The castle site measures approximately 30 acres making it the second largest in Britain.

The castle was built in the mid-to-late 13th century and to this day it is surrounded by an impressive fully-flooded moat. Caerphilly Castle featured a rather unique design for its time and it introduced concentric castle design to the rest of Britain’s castles.

The castle stood proudly for a couple of centuries and by the mid-16th century it was already described in writing as being in the state of ruin. Notably, the castle’s south-eastern tower is leaning by 10 degrees off its vertical axis.

8. Powis Castle

Powis Castle

Rather unique among the medieval castles in Wales, Powis Castle stands out not only due to its red stone exterior but also as one of the few castles that have survived the test of time, never really falling into despair. The castle was built in the early 13th century and over time has undergone several improvements and alterations.

In the 17th century the impressive state bedroom was added to the castle as well as the terraced gardens that make this property so unique. While originally intended as a defensive castle, it quickly became what it is today – a beautiful royal manor with a splendid art collection, exquisite interiors, and artefacts from India.

The breathtaking Baroque gardens at Powis Castle are one of the finest in the whole of the United Kingdom displaying unique landscaping and centuries-old yew trees.

9. Roch Castle

Roch Castle, Wales

Who wouldn’t love to stay in a 12th-century Norman castle and imagine what life was like in the medieval times? Roch Castle offers exactly that but in a modern upscale way since nowadays it has been turned into a luxury hotel with six rooms. The castle has a unique and dramatic appearance, extending and rising from a rock formation.

Originally Roch Castle served a defensive purpose protecting Flemish settlers from the independent Welsh in the North that were a threat to the anglicised part of the country.

The castle was a royalist stronghold during the English Civil War but was abandoned soon after thus leaving it forgotten and degrading until the 1900s, when it was rebuilt and brought back to its former glory.

10. Beaumaris Castle

Beaumaris Castle

The North Wales castle of Beaumaris is another remarkable example of the castles that were built during Edward I’s reign. The castle located on the Island of Anglesey was never finished due to lack of money and resources, yet its impressive exterior has stood through times as a majestic reminder of medieval architecture.

Beaumaris Castle has perfectly symmetric concentric walls and noteworthy round drum towers. Despite being a medieval stronghold with an impregnable appearance, the castle doesn’t have the typical menacing look that is so distinctive in quite a few other castles of the time. The castle sits harmoniously in the surrounding landscape and its architectonic precision cannot be overlooked.

11. Harlech Castle

Harlech Castle

Located in the north-west of the country, Harlech Castle is set amidst awe-inspiring landscape to which the concentric castle only contributes. The sandstone castle is yet another of King Edward I’s castles in Wales whose purpose was to establish the English rule. Funnily enough, in the 15th century a Welsh leader took over the castle for a brief moment until it was reclaimed by the English forces.

The castle was built in a way that took advantage of the natural landscape – making use of the sheer cliff as a natural barrier against attacks. On the other side dry moats were cut into the rock to add a defensive element.

The castle was besieged during the Wars of Roses in the 15th century and the damage caused during that time was never repaired. Two centuries later during the English Civil War the remaining parts of the castle were used for military purposes and after another siege, when the castle had served its purpose, the Parliamentary forces ordered the destruction of the castle, but these orders weren’t carried through fully and luckily parts of the castle have survived to modern times.

12. Castell Coch

Castell Coch

While the majority of Welsh castles have a slightly daunting appearance due to their fortress origins, Castell Coch stands out with its fairytale-like appearance. The cylindrical turrets seen on Castell Coch are rather unusual not only for Welsh castles but for medieval castles in Britain altogether; it’s a sight you are more likely to see in mainland Europe.

The reason for this, however, is that the castle was built in Gothic revival style only in the 1870s during the Victorian times. It is known, however, that there was a previous Norman castle on the site dating back to the 11th century.

John Crichton-Stuart, the 3rd Marquess of Bute, hired the renowned architect William Burges to reconstruct a castle based on the medieval remains. The interiors feature High Victorian elements and have been celebrated by historians and architects as triumphs in Victorian composition.

13. Bodelwyddan Castle

Bodelwyddan Castle

Bodelwyddan Castle in North Wales dates back to the 15th century. This castle, unlike many others in Wales, was never meant to serve a defensive purpose as it was built as a manor house for the Humphreys family of Anglesey. The castle that we see today was actually constructed during the 1830s when the previous manor house was extended.

Today the castle has been turned into a luxury hotel. During World War I the castle housed a hospital wing and in the 1980s it was home to a college.

14. Rhuddlan Castle

Rhuddlan Castle

Rhuddlan Castle was built shortly after the First Welsh War and it was one of the many castles commissioned by King Edward I of England. The building of the castle took over ten years and it was completed in 1282.

The castle was planned as a concentric castle. It features a twin tower gatehouse and the outer ward is enclosed by a curtain wall. Currently the castle is in a state of legible ruin.

15. Penrhyn Castle

Penrhyn Castle, Wales

Upon first look, Penrhyn Castle looks like it could easily belong to an English landscape and it looks rather different than most Welsh castles the majority of which were fortresses or strongholds. Penrhyn Castle on the other hand was built as a medieval fortified manor house.

The original stone castle and tower house that stood on the property was built in the 15th century. It was reconstructed in the late 18th century but the current building dates back to the 19th century. The latter reconstruction completely transformed the building. Some features from the original building were incorporated in the last design and these include a vaulted basement and a spiral staircase.

15 Best Castles in Wales:

  • Raglan Castle
  • Caernarfon Castle
  • Conwy Castle
  • Cardiff Castle
  • Pembroke Castle
  • Chirk Castle
  • Caerphilly Castle
  • Powis Castle
  • Roch Castle
  • Beaumaris Castle
  • Harlech Castle
  • Castell Coch
  • Bodelwyddan Castle
  • Rhuddlan Castle
  • Penrhyn Castle

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castles to visit in wales uk

Rory Fuller/Travel+Leisure

Sometimes called the "Land of Castles" and "Castle Capital of the World," Wales once had about 600 castles. Many of these Welsh castles are now in ruins, while others are open for tours or even overnight stays . Visitors to Wales might notice the seemingly unusual spellings of the castle and city names, so here's a little information about the fascinating ancient language of the country. The Welsh language (Cymraeg in Welsh) is Celtic in origin and dates back to 600 B.C. The alphabet uses 29 letters that include "ll," "ff," and "dd" which explains why these are often seen in Welsh words, including the names of castles ("castells" in Welsh). The language is still spoken in Wales, along with English, and it is taught in most Welsh schools to support its survival. When you travel to Wales to enjoy its scenery, beaches, forests, and of course, its castles, you might also notice its national emblem of daffodils.

Here, find 16 beautiful castles in Wales to inspire your next trip.

Castell Coch

Rory Fuller/Travel+Leisure

Thought to have been constructed by the Normans in the late 11th century to defend Cardiff, Castell Coch ("Red Castle") overlooks the Taff Gorge on the northern boundary of the city. The original castle was destroyed, probably during the Welsh rebellion of 1314, and many centuries later, it was rebuilt in the Victorian style on its medieval site. Today, visitors can explore the restored interior of the castle as well as the surrounding areas on the Taff Trail, surrounded by ancient beech trees of the Fforest Fawr.

Cardigan Castle

This 11th-century castle , located on the River Teifi, combines ten centuries of history with the present day. Visitors can tour the remains of the original castle and then stay for the night or dine on traditional Welsh dishes in its restaurant, Cegin 1176 Kitchen, built into the castle walls. The first National Eisteddfod , now an annual celebration of Welsh culture, was held in 1176 to mark the completion of the castle by Lord Rhys.

Caerphilly Castle

Set on an expansive 30-acre site, Caerphilly Castle is the largest castle in Wales and the second-largest in Britain after Windsor . Built during the 13th century by Norman nobleman Gilbert de Clare to protect his land from Welsh Prince Llewellyn Gruffudd, the castle features a concentric ring of walls as well as gatehouses, towers, a maze, a dragon's den, and a great hall, giving visitors much to explore during tours of the castle and grounds.

Conwy Castle

This well-preserved castle , built in the late 13th century for England's King Edward I, is located on the north coast of Wales on a hill overlooking the Conwy Estuary. The walls surrounding the town are still standing, and guided tours are available. Views of the mountains, river, and medieval town can be seen with a climb to the top of the towers.

Caernarfon Castle

This magnificent castle was built in the 13th century on the site of a Roman fort at the mouth of the River Seiont. Much of the outer wall that surrounded the town still stands, along with a series of towers, including two that house The Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum . King Edward's son was born in the castle and named the Prince of Wales, the title given to the eldest son of the reigning monarch since that time. In 1969, Prince Charles' investiture was held in Caernarfon Castle.

Cardiff Castle

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Wales, Cardiff Castle dates back to ancient Rome, and archaeological remains from that era can be seen today, despite changes over the years. Additions and redesigns have transformed it into a Norman keep (fortified tower), a medieval fortress, and a Gothic Revival-style residence. Located on the Taff River, the castle is in the middle of the city, and visitors can enter for a guided tour or enjoy the castle with a stroll through town.

Kidwelly Castle

Overlooking the River Gwendraeth in southwest Wales, Kidwelly Castle was first constructed in the early 12th century by the Normans and then was later rebuilt in stone as seen today. One of its legends tells of the brave Princess Gwenllian who went to battle against the Normans and whose headless ghost is said to haunt the castle grounds. A monument to the princess stands near the castle gatehouse. The castle has the distinction of appearing in the first scene of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."

Laugharne Castle

Located in South Wales in the town of Carmarthenshire, the castle has been destroyed and rebuilt several times since it was founded by the Normans in 1116. Later, the castle was captured by Lord Rhys of Wales and after changing hands many times, it was eventually rebuilt as a Tudor manor house in the 16th century. Visitors can see the remains of the original stone wall and towers as well as the gardens and places that inspired writer Dylan Thomas.

Raglan Castle

Welsh nobleman Sir William ap Thomas is credited with building the moated Great Tower of the castle in 1435, and his son Sir William Herbert created the gatehouse. Sadly, much of the castle was destroyed in battles, but it was later transformed into an opulent residence. Today, visitors can still see the restored Grand Staircase, medieval wood carvings, hidden rooms, a moat, a garden, and stunning views of the countryside.

Dinefwr Castle

A visit to the ruins of Dinefwr Castle set along the River Tywi provides beautiful views of the Tywi Valley. Thought to have been built under the rule of Lord Rhys during the 12th century, the castle was mostly destroyed by the end of the Middle Ages, but was later partially restored. Today, the area is home to the historic Newton House surrounded by a National Nature Reserve and an 18th-century deer park.

Pembroke Castle

Located in Pembrokeshire in South Wales, the castle was first built of wood, but when William Marshal became Earl of Pembroke in 1189, he reconstructed it in stone. Today, visitors can explore the grounds, towers, battlements, and a prison in the subterranean cave under the castle as well as enjoy the view from the top — after ascending a narrow staircase. Known as the birthplace of King Henry VII, the castle stages historic reenactments, falconry displays, and a Christmas market.

Roch Castle

Also in Pembrokeshire, Roch Castle was built in the late 12th century. Norman Knight Adam de Rupe was the first named inhabitant. His name in French is "de la Roche," hence the name of the castle. After many ownership changes through the years, the castle has been extensively renovated, and it reopened in 2013 as a six-bedroom luxury hotel. Its original footprint remains intact, and guests stay in rooms named for de Rupe, ap Gruffydd, and other historic inhabitants. The art-filled property features stunning views, a dining room, and a reception team to help arrange local experiences.

Chepstow Castle

Construction on this castle (Castell Cas-gwent in Welsh) began in 1067 by Norman Lord William Fitz Osbern, a close friend of William the Conqueror. One of the first Norman castles built in Wales, it is the oldest surviving post-Roman stone fortification in Britain. Set on a limestone cliff above the River Wye in Monmouthshire , the castle is well preserved, and it is open for tours and offers lovely views of the surrounding area.

Harlech Castle

One of Edward I's four World Heritage Site castles in North Wales overlooking Cardigan Bay, Harlech is an example of the "walls within walls" designs of architect Master James of St. George. Its many battles through the centuries inspired the popular rugby anthem, "Men of Harlech." Today, visitors can tour the castle, entering through a floating footbridge.

Llancaiach Fawr

Actually a Tudor manor house built on the site of an earlier medieval structure in South Wales, Llancaiach Fawr has been restored and now presents an experience that represents life during the 17th century. Costumed servants create the scene, and guests are immersed in the manor's history, learning about the lives of people during the Civil Wars.

Bodelwyddan Castle

Stay in a historic manor house when you book a room at Bodelwyddan Castle , located near the North Wales coast near Snowdonia. Guests at this regal hotel can enjoy modern amenities, a spa, entertainment, dining, and the hotel's romantic grounds.

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Many Other Roads

The Best Wales Castle Tours To Book 2024 (By A Local)

castles to visit in wales uk

Want to visit the best Castles in Wales?

You’ve come to the right place for information because I am Welsh!

I have toured plenty of Welsh Castles through multiple companies and on my own for 20+ years.

I was raised in South Wales so have been lucky enough to have hundreds of castles on my doorstep. From the ruins of Coity Castle to the magnificent Harlech Castle, I have done them all.

Whether you looking to visit UNESCO medieval castles or discover Welsh history through its ancient ruins- t here are plenty of Welsh castle tours to make this possible!

To help you find the best castles in Wales to visit , this guide explores the best Wales castle tours for all budgets and needs.

So let’s dive in so you know exactly what to expect when booking any Wales castle tour and experiences for your next trip!

Vsiting Wales From London Tour

5-DAY DISCOVER WALES SMALL GROUP TOUR

✔️ Leaves From London

✔️ Amazing Local Guide

✔️ Accommodation Included

castles in South Wales to tour and visit, Ogmore

Wandering Bard Tour of South Wales

THIS TOUR has 100 plus 5-star reviews 😍

✔️ Guide Is A Welsh Historian

✔️ Private Transport

✔️ Hotel Pick-Up & Drop-Off

The Best North Wales Castle Tours

⭐ RATING: This tour has a 5/5 star rating ⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 1 Day

▶︎ Check Itinerary & Availability Here

touring castles and historical sites in North Wales

Are you looking for an immersive experience of North Wales? Look no further than the PORTMEIRION, CASTLES AND SNOWDONIA TOUR!

You’ll get to explore some of the must-see sites in the region with a dedicated driver and local guide taking care of you every step of the way.

What makes this tour so great is that it includes visiting the most amazing Castles in North Wales , Conwy and Caernarfon.

✅ Check Reviews & Book Your Tour Here!

Fantastic full day excursion to see the area. Great fun informative guide and visiting a variety of locations. Fantastic value for money. Would definitely recommend. -Jonathan ( READ MORE REVIEWS )

Plus, this tour isn’t only about the popular attractions; you will also get to discover some off the beaten track spots that are truly unique to the area.

For an amazing experience of North Wales and Snowdonia National Park that is a great value for money package , book the Portmeirion, Castles and Snowdonia Tour when you travel to Wales.

I love visiting North Wales because of their unique stays with hot tubs , so make sure you book one too!

The Best South Wales Castle Tours

⭐ RATING: This tour has a 5/5 star rating ⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 8-9 hours

best historical and castle tours in South Wales

THE WANDERING BARD TOUR OF SOUTH WALES is one of the ultimate Wales castle tours you can book!

Your tour will allow you to explore all the best sites and attractions in one of the most beautiful and historically-rich regions of Britain.

✅ Check the Itinerary & Availability For The Wandering Bard Tour Here

Gareth was very knowledgeable and made the history come alive as well as Welsh culture and language. I recommend this tour very highly. -Ann ( READ MORE REVIEWS )

You’ll be guided by an experienced historian, who is also a native Welsh speaker – so you can get even more out of this incredible tour. Plus, your driver can pick you up from your hotel if you’re staying in Cardiff .

The tour takes you to a range of fascinating places, including Caerphilly Castle – one of the biggest castles in Britain – as well as Tintern Abbey and Chepstow Castle. You’ll also visit some incredible Neolithic sites, Roman ruins, and atmospheric valleys.

The Wandering Bard Tour of South Wales is a must-do for anyone looking to uncover the secrets of this stunning region and It’s the perfect way to explore South Wales and its great castles!

This is a stunning part of Wales so make sure you make the most of your trip and book yourself a log cabin with a hot tub .

Best Tour For Visiting Welsh Castles From London

Wales is an incredibly popular destination to visit all year round , especially from London. There is no better way to escape the crowds and explore ancient landscapes, than touring the very best castles in Wales.

And if you want to go on the ultimate Wales tour with a local guide, THIS is the one for you!

⭐ RATING: This tour has a 5/5 star rating ⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 5 Days

Visiting Wales From London Tour

Are you ready to immerse yourself in the beautiful Welsh countryside? With a 5-DAY DISCOVER WALES SMALL GROUP TOUR from London, you can do just that!

Not only will you get to explore national parks, castles and other historic sites alongside an experienced local tour guide, but all your transport and accommodation needs are taken care of.

And with this tour including hotels in Aberystwyth, you are promised the most incredible sea views to wake up to !

✅ Check Out The Itinerary & Availability Here

Absolutely a wonderful tour with our guide Nick. He was very knowledgeable and a great and very personable guide. The scenery in Wales was magnificent….I would definitely recommend this tour to anyone going to Wales -Luci ( READ MORE REVIEWS )

This tour makes it easy to experience the best that Wales has to offer without all the hassle of organizing and planning everything, so you can just enjoy the very best Wales tour filled with castles and historic sites.

And you don’t even need your passport!

And with a knowledgeable local guide leading the way, you can be sure that your tour will be packed with interesting facts and experiences.

So don’t worry – book the 5-Day Discover Wales Small-Group Tour from London with confidence! With all the planning done for you, it’s easier than ever to experience the amazing beauty of Wales.

Best Castles in Wales to Visit

Best Castles in Wales to visit

Wales is famous for being the land of castles and dragons. And no matter how many castles you visit, you will not be able to get enough of them. So if you are flying into Cardiff , make the most of the nearby Castles!

There are hundreds of castles in Wales that you can book tours to. There are also many more ancient ruins that you can explore completely free!

But with 427 Castles throughout Wales – which ones are the best to visit?!

To help you see the very best Castles on your trip to Wales, here are the Castles you should add to your itinerary:

A dark blue banner saying Got no time or just don’t know where to start planning your trip?

1. Caerphilly Castle:

This imposing 13th-century castle in South Wales is one of the country’s most iconic medieval landmarks.

It’s surrounded by a large moat, and visitors can explore towers, battlements and even secret passageways!

2. Conwy Castle:

This vast castle in North Wales is one of Wales’ most visited World Heritage Sites.

Built by Edward I, it now stands tall above the town of Conwy, and offers the most spectacular views across the landscape.

3. Cardiff Castle:

This castle in Wales’ capital city has been around since Roman times and has seen many changes over its history.

Today, it’s home to beautifully -preserved Victorian interiors, as well as a Norman keep and Roman walls.

4. Harlech Castle:

This castle on the coast of Snowdonia is yet another World Heritage Site, thanks to its beautifully-preserved medieval architecture.

Built by Edward I, It’s also known for its links with Welsh history – it was here that the famous anthem ‘Men of Harlech’ was written!

5. Beaumaris Castle: This castle on Anglesey is the perfect combination of a stunning location and intricate medieval design.

Built by Edward I13th century, it’s one of Wales’ most impressive structures and well worth the visit.

Are castles in Wales free entry?

There are many breathtaking castles and other historic monuments in Wales that are free to visit.

If you’re looking for a great day out, you’ll be spoiled for choice with some of the most beautiful castles in Britain to explore like Ogmore By Sea Castle in South Wales .

Places like Ogmore castle are free to visit but more popular castle tours require payment

However, many of the more popular castles in Wales are not free and you have to pay for tours.

There are many wales castle tours available for all budgets and needs for a great day out .

You will know if you have to pay for the Castle you want to visit in Wales when you arrive but the majority of popular castles like Cardiff, Harlech, Castle Coch and Conwy all require an entry fee.

If you are wanting to see multiple castles when you travel through Wales, the best way is to ▶︎BOOK A TOUR . This will save you a lot of money and provide you with a local guide!

The best Wales Castle Tours final thoughts

The next time you find yourself in Wales, make sure to explore some of the incredible castles dotted around the country.

From imposing fortresses to Spooky ruins , there’s something for everyone. And with so many stunning castles to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start.

But hopefully, this guide looking at the best tours of castles in Wales helps!

So whether you’re a history buff or just want to enjoy some of the most breathtaking views Welsh has on offer, use this guide to book the perfect castle tour for your next trip.

👉 And if you still are struggling to decide, THE WANDERING BARD TOUR OF SOUTH WALES is a fantastic option to consider!

No matter how many days you spend in Wales, you are guaranteed the best trip full of castles, Celtic culture and ancient landscapes.

I hope you found this article useful! To make your trip to Wales and the rest of the UK the best, here are some more relevant posts:

✔️ The Best Dog-Friendly Log Cabins With Hot Tubs In Snowdonia You Need To Book

✔️ The Best Pembrokeshire Road Trip 2022

✔️ Can Americans Drive In The UK?

✔️ Can You Drink Tap Water In The UK? Everything You Need To Know

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Lowri Thomas

Lowri Thomas is the founder of Many Other Roads. She lives and travels in Europe and has explored more than 40 countries. She is joined on her travels with her dog Scout and they explore Europe mostly by road. Born in Wales, she also shares the best things to do in Wales, UK and beyond. She helps over 50,000 people per month plan epic Europe adventures and road trips.

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13 BEST Castles in South Wales

Are you looking for the best castles in south wales from cardiff castle to pembroke castle, check out these amazing cadw sites to visit this year..

best castles in south wales

If there’s one thing Wales has a lot of (apart from sheep!) it’s castles. No matter where you are in the country, you’re never far from a castle.

In fact, Wales is often called “the land of castles” as there are over of 600 of them. Yes, you read that right – 600! This makes is the most densely populated place in the world with castles (nice little fact for you there).

As there are so many castles to visit, I wanted to show you the best castles in South Wales to help plan your trip here. These are among the best Cadw sites and the ones I’d really recommend visiting.

cadw sites in south wales

Obviously no trip to the capital of Cardiff would be complete without seeing Cardiff Castle. That’s probable the most accessible on the list.

Personally, I love Caerphilly Castle and Carreg Cennen Castle. The landscape surrounding Carreg Cennen Castle is just stunning, especially if you get to see it on a misty day. It just adds to the mystery and magic of the place.

For those of you planning a day out with the kids, Fonmon Castle and Swansea Castle are two of the best Welsh castles to visit. With dressing up and interatice games, there’s always something to keep the kids entertained.

Hopefully you’ll find our list of the best castles in South Wales useful when planning your next trip here!

If you’re heading to North Wales, then check out of list of best castles in North Wales . Also, you might like to visit a few waterfalls in the Brecon Beacons too!

13 Beautiful Castles in South Wales

Cardiff castle.

castles in south wales

Sat in the heart of the city is Cardiff Castle , holding 2000 years of history. The great stone walls have survived Roman occupation, civil war and World War II, and the castle is now one of Wales’ leading heritage attractions. 

There are so many unique elements to spot at Cardiff Castle, from the apartments where Lord Bute once lived, to the wartime shelters. I love seeing the Trebuchet in action. The 13th century military machine is fascinating! 

Head to the Firing Line museum to learn all about The Queen’s Dragoon Guards and The Royal Welsh. This includes items from the Battle of Waterloo to modern conflicts like Afghanistan, so it’s a cool display to see.

Caerphilly Castle

One of my favourite castles by far is Caerphilly Castle . The mediaeval castle spans a whopping 30 acres – that’s three times the size of the Principality Stadium – and is the biggest castle in Wales!

Come and marvel at the refilled lakes and navigate the hidden passageways that make up the castle’s unique defence system. And don’t forget to spot the castle’s best loved feature, its leaning tower. 

If you’re feeling romantic, you can get married beneath the tall stone walls. I can’t think of a more gorgeous setting for my wedding ceremony (not too sure Chloe would agree though…)

Caldicot Castle

caldicot castle

Caldicot Castle is a wonderful family day out. Set amongst serene gardens and a large country park, there’s lots to explore. Travel back in time and discover what life was like in the castle through the ages.

At Caldicot Castle you can enjoy a self guided tour where you can explore history through the ages, from the mediaeval times to the Victorian renovations. Check out the incredible Foudrayant’s cannon in the courtyard before 

The castle’s tower is the perfect place to get a good view of the River Estuary. On a clear day you can even see all the way to Bristol too!

Ogmore Castle

castles to visit in south wales

Hop across the series of stepping stones over the gorgeous river next to Ogmore Castle . Once part of a trio of castles built to defend Glamorgan, the ruins now stand proud against the landscape.

Ogmore Castle was originally built out of earth and wood in the 12th century and was quickly fortified in stone. You can still spot many of the original features, including the deep ditch around the inner ward that was built to fill with sea water at high tide.

We love to imagine what life would have been like as we walk through the stone walls and tackle the strategically placed stepping stones.

Carreg Cennen Castle

carreg cennen castle

Carreg Cennen Castle is one of the most interesting Welsh castles. With a farm, tea rooms and gift shop, this visit is a fun family day out.

Carreg Cennen Castle has a rich history of occupation. Today you can see the complex defence systems that engulf the entire fortress. Entry to the castle was only granted if you could cross the small and complex walkways which could be pulled away at any moment! Now you can look into the deep pits below from a much safer wooden walkway.

No day out is complete without a trip to the working farm to marvel at the pedigree Longhorn cows. Finish off your day in the tea rooms. I’d recommend the hot rhubarb crumble cake.

White Castle

best south wales castles

White Castle , also known as Llantilio Castle, is part of the ‘Three Castles’ built to protect Monmouthshire and control the border, and is the best preserved today. 

Its mediaeval name might derive from the white masonry used to build the castle walls, which are magnificent to look at. The pear-shaped inner ward once sat behind a deep moat. 

Now you can explore the castle and its large grounds without worrying about defending the castle from attackers. Check out the ruins as you overlook the landscapes from the top of the hill.

Pembroke Castle

pembroke castle

Pembroke Castle is a fun day out for all the family. From guided tours and exhibitions to delicious cakes in the Castle Kitchen, there’s so much to do and see.

The castle was first built around 1093 by Arnulf de Montgomery and it continued to have a fascinating history, being the only castle in Britain to be built over a natural cavern. Visit Wogan’s cavern on your guided tour and spot the Pipistrelle bats. It’s even rumoured to be home to a dragon so watch out!

In the exhibition rooms you can see a replica model of the castle throughout the centuries, demonstrating how it has changed over time, a dramatic recreation of the Civil War and The William Marshal Tapestry. Don’t forget to step on the largest map of Wales!

Swansea Castle

swansea castle

Swansea Castle is the true heart of the city. Withstanding war, murder, the Blitz and more, the ruins now stand proud amongst the modern architecture. 

The castle was first made of timber in 1106 to defend the city from knoll above the River Tawe. Now you can admire the dressed stonework carved from a quarry near Ogmore, and see the arrowloops and gun-ports which were used to defend Swansea castle.

Family’s can follow the Swansea Castle family trail and immerse themselves in hundreds of years of history. Follow the trail to discover key components of the castle and learn all about the different people that once occupied it.

Kidwelly Castle

kidwelly castle

Kidwelly Castle is a breathtaking Norman castle overlooking the River Gwendraeth and the town of Kidwelly. The castle is also known as Cygweli which means ‘swan’, perfectly encapsulating the elegant structure.

Kidwelly is a castle within a castle, making it difficult for people to conquer. First you had to get through the gatehouse next to the river before tackling the four inner towers. Today you can explore the stunning stone structure that remains.

Did you know, Kidwelly Castle appears in Monty Python and the Holy Grail? Keep an eye out for the castle in the first scene!

Chepstow Castle

south wales castles

Chepstow Castle sits upon the limestone cliff above the River Wye – one of the longest rivers in the UK . History is kept within the perfectly preserved stone walls. The grade I listed building is one of the best castles in South Wales and was even used for filming in the Doctor Who 50th anniversary episode!

See how the castle adapted to destruction and battle weapons over the years, being owned by some of the most powerful figures of the mediaeval and Tudor ages. See if you can spot the prison, 12th century door to the gatehouse and the Great Tower.

I definitely recommend attending one of the special events where you can walk along the battlements and into the Marten’s Tower. 

Castle Coch

castle coch

Castle Coch , also known as the ‘Red Castle’, sits upon Fforest Fawr and is surrounded by ancient beech trees like something out of a fairytale. There’s a good reason it’s voted as the public’s favourite building in Wales.

Castle Coch is an incredible example of a mediaeval castle combined with 19th century Gothic revivals. The castle has a beautifully decorated interior and rich furnishings to represent the castle in the Victorian era. 

Check out the red sandstone and grey limestone exterior and the interior rooms, including the banqueting hall and Lady Bute’s bedroom, which are designed as they would have looked. 

Coity Castle

coity castle

Coity Castle showcases the stunning remains of a once romantic castle with a rich history. It was originally built as an earth castle around 1100 AD by Sir Payn ‘the Demon’ de Turberville, who was one of the legendary Twelve Knights of Glamorgan!

As you walk towards the castle you will discover the stone keep and curtain walls which were added towards the end of the 12th century. Each stone tells the story of many sieges and reconstruction to strengthen its defences. 

Try and spot the remains of the central octagonal pier for the vaults of Coity Castle, which were a part of the reworks in the 14th century, or look out for the remains of the ground floor service room.

Fonmon Castle

fonmon castle

Rounding off our list of the best castles in South Wales is Fonmon Castle . From dinosaurs and a mediaeval farm to the Victorian gardens and the Grade II listed castle, this is a fantastic day out for all the family. 

Step back in time to learn what life was like in the mediaeval age. Discover the pirate adventure and take on the Boudica challenge. You can even milk the goats, which is why kids love this place so much.

There’s woodland walks and wildlife lookouts for green fingered friends, the elegant castle for history buffs, and dinosaur dig pits for little ones and big kids alike. Honestly, this is such an amazing place to visit as a family – I have no doubt you’ll love it here.

What’s your favourite castle in Wales to visit? You can let us know in the comments below!

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Dunluce Castle

The 13 best castles in the UK

Enjoy a royally good day out and transport yourself back in time at one of the best castles in the UK

Photograph: Shutterstock

Liv Kelly

In the UK , we take our castles a bit for granted. They’re like our curio-packed museums and idyllic seaside towns , like our lush rolling hills and countless characterful pubs – our castles are sort of just there . But they’re also amongst the most majestic and fascinating historic structures in the entire world – when you stop to think about them, they really are quite something. 

Dotted with dramatic drawbridges, towering turrets and winding dungeons, Britain’s castles are packed with centuries of unique stories. Whether you’re looking for winding political histories or spectacular architecture, they come in all shapes, sizes, and locations, from slap-bang in the city centre to perched on stormy clifftops. So, head this way. Here are the 13 best castles in the UK.

RECOMMENDED: 🌈The most colourful places in the UK 🌤️The best places to visit in the UK   🏔️The most scenic hikes in the UK 🏖️The most  beautiful hidden beaches in the UK

Been there, done that? Think again, my friend.

Best castles in the UK

1.  warwick castle, england.

Warwick Castle, England

Warwick Castle makes for a proper day out. As well as all the towers, rooms and gardens to explore, there are plenty of attractions for small kids and big kids alike, all with the noble aim of making history fun. Spend the day exploring the ‘Horrible Histories’ maze, the castle dungeon and the Princess Tower, while in the grounds, there’s a bird of prey display  and a knight school. Never want to leave? You can stay the night in style with suitably decked-out glamping tents, lodges or suites in the castle itself.

From £22. Warwick Castle , Warwick, CV34 4QU.

2.  Cardiff Castle, Wales

Cardiff Castle, Wales

Set in the middle of the city and surrounded by Bute Park, Cardiff Castle looks like a normal stronghold from the outside, but set foot inside and things start to get really jazzy. During its long history, the castle has been decked out with all the trappings you’d expect of a lavish palace: stained-glass windows, murals, marble and wood carvings. The opulent interiors have been described as a ‘Victorian medieval dream world’, and it’s well worth taking a tour to marvel at the banqueting hall, library and the ceiling of the famous Arab room.

From £15.50.  Cardiff Castle , Cardiff, CF10 3RB.

📍 Discover the best things to do in Cardiff

3.  The Tower of London, England

The Tower of London, England

Despite its deceptive name, the Tower of London is most definitely a castle. Not only that, it’s the most secure castle in the land. No surprise that the Crown Jewels are stashed here. Visit for a glimpse of said sparklers, and pick up lots of great historical facts while you’re at it. Like, did you know that the Tower used to make all the coins in the realm, or that it has been a fortress, a palace and a prison? Or that if the six resident ravens ever leave the castle, the kingdom will fall into ruin? That’s your next dinner party convo sorted. 

From £34.80. The Tower of London , London, EC3N 4AB.

📍 Discover the best things to do in London

4.  Alnwick Castle, England

Alnwick Castle, England

Dating back to the Norman era, Alnwick Castle in Northumberland has been lots of things, from a family home to a refuge for evacuees. Most famously, though, it’s been a film set. With activities such as broomstick training and dragon quests, you can probably guess which franchise the castle is associated with. Grab your Nimbus 2000 and head to the exact location a certain boy wizard had his first quidditch lesson. If all that sounds like nonsense to you, there are plenty of muggle activities too, like jousting, fine dining and outdoor cinema screenings.

From £20.50.  Alnwick Castle , Alnwick, Northumberland, NE66 1NG.

5.  Caernarfon Castle, Wales

Caernarfon Castle, Wales

Wales has a curious relationship with its many castles. Some are proud to hold them up as beautiful examples of medieval architecture that represent a major pull for tourists, while others see the so-called Iron Ring as a painful reminder of King Edward I’s conquest of Wales in the twelfth century. Of all the castles, Caernarfon’s is possibly the most arresting, a UNESCO World Heritage site that was said to be designed on the famous walls of Constantinople (today’s Istanbul). Caernarfon is a charming town with plenty of attractions but few come close to matching the might of its eponymous castle.

From £13. Caernarfon Castle . Castle Ditch, Caernarfon, LL55 2AY

6.  Dunnottar Castle, Scotland

Dunnottar Castle, Scotland

Nothing says drama quite like a ruined fortress perched on a precipice above the sea, and that’s exactly what you get with a visit to Dunnottar Castle in Scotland . The castle was saved from being completely lost by restoration work in 1925. It’s still kind of a ruin, but in a good, haunting way that suits its location. History buffs will love its ties to famous historical figures (shout out to Mary Queen of Scots, who visited for the first time in 1562), and photographers will love the striking figure it cuts against the sea – rain or shine, it’s practically impossible to take a bad photo of it.

From £11.50.  Dunnottar Castle , Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, AB39 2TL. 

7.  Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

Popped on a peak like the proverbial cherry, this striking urban castle dominates the Edinburgh skyline, making itself the Scottish capital’s most iconic landmark. Once you’re done admiring it from afar, march your way up the Royal Mile to the front gates, then there’s plenty to do and see inside the castle itself. Plan your visit around lunch to hear the firing of the one o’clock gun, and leave time to check out the enigmatically named Stone of Destiny. It’s displayed next to the Scottish Crown Jewels, which gives you some idea of its value, but, to preserve the air of mystery, we won’t tell you what it’s for.

From £19.50. Edinburgh Castle , Edinburgh, EH1 2NG.

📍   Discover the best things to do in Edinburgh

8.  Castle Ward, Northern Ireland

Castle Ward, Northern Ireland

Game of Thrones   is over, but that doesn’t mean our fascination with its filming locations is going anywhere. If you’re up for a little set-jetting, Northern Ireland has plenty of  Thrones gems, including Castle Ward, aka Winterfell, where the baby Starks began their adventures way back in season one.  Not a GOT fan? Explore the eighteenth-century mansion, woodlands, gardens, the tea room and secondhand bookshop, with not a dragon in sight.

From £13. Castle Ward , Downpatrick, County Down, BT30 7BA.

9.  Tintagel Castle, England

Tintagel Castle, England

Said to be the birthplace of King Arthur, the romantic castle of Tintagel has long been connected to myths and legends. It appears  to have been constructed for its legendary location alone, as its site on the north Cornwall coast offers no obvious military value. Part of the castle is built on the mainland and the other on an island with a footbridge linking the two. Visit for the Arthurian legends and mysterious spots like Merlin’s Cave if that’s your thing. If not, the rocky beachside location is a stunning destination in itself.

From £14.50.  Tintagel Castle , Tintagel, Cornwall, PL34 0HE.

📍 Discover the best things to do in Cornwall

10.  Dunluce Castle, Northern Ireland

Dunluce Castle, Northern Ireland

Touring along the Causeway Coast? Dunluce Castle is well worth a stop. This striking cliffside ruin perches on the edge of the Antrim coast. And there are some pretty dramatic stories to go with its location. Forget actual history, like Scottish sieges, we’re here for the mythical tales of hauntings, banshees and how the entire castle kitchen crashed into the sea one stormy night. Ooh, we’ve got goosebumps.

From £6. Dunluce Castle , Bushmills, County Antrim, BT57 8UY.

11.  Dunrobin Castle, Scotland

Dunrobin Castle, Scotland

For a castle that looks like it’s been lifted straight from a fairy tale, head for this turreted wonder in the Scottish Highlands . With the vibe of a fancy French chateau, you’ll find pointy spires and vast windows galore overlooking the walled, formal gardens below and Moray Firth beyond. The castle dates back to the 1300s and has been continuously inhabited since then by a long line of earls and dukes. Unfortunately, you can’t stay overnight, but you can take a tour of the interior and the gardens. There’s a tearoom and a falconry, too.

Open March 29-Oct 31. From £14.50.  Dunrobin Castle , Golspie, Sutherland, KW10 6SF.

12.  Beaumaris Castle, Wales

Beaumaris Castle, Wales

Viewed from above, Beaumaris Castle on Anglesey is a symmetrical work of art. With its concentric ‘walls within walls’ design, it’s one of the most perfect castles in Britain… However, when it was being built, Edward I ran out of money (hey, we’ve all been there), and so the walls never reached their intended full height. The result? An unfinished but perfectly formed, tranquil-looking fortress set against a scenic, seaside backdrop. And as if it couldn’t get any more photogenic, there’s a moat. Serious castle credentials.

From £6. Beaumaris Castle , Beaumaris LL58 8AP

13.  Windsor Castle, England

Windsor Castle, England

The oldest and largest occupied castle in the world, Windsor is likely best known as the fave castle of the late  Queen Elizabeth II. Y ou can take a tour of the plush red-and-gold state apartments (walk the historic or ceremonial route depending on your mood), explore the castle’s treasures and visit the chapel where (most of) your favourite royal weddings have taken place.

From £30.  Windsor Castle , Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 1NJ.

📍  Discover the best things to do in Windsor

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12 Best Castles In Wales To Visit

Epic Things To Do In Wales (25)

Wales is an incredible country to explore, with some of the prettiest places dotted all around the country. It really is a gem of a place, with so many stunning places to see . That being said, it can be tough to whittle down just a few on your trip across the country. Especially when it comes to exploring the best castles in Wales to explore. 

14 Very Best Things To Do In Wales (18)

You see, Wales is steeped in history and there are so many castles that you honestly can’t miss as you explore. Even if you’re heading to visit the capital city, Cardiff , there’s still a fair few you can pop into. 

With that in mind, I wanted to share some of my very favourite and best castles in Wales. Some are vast complexes, whilst others are in ruins. Though, whatever the case, they’re all still incredible to see. 

wales castles

Take a look, below, at the best castles in Wales to visit. Have the best time.

1.) Beaumaris Castle

15 Best Castles In Wales To Visit (20)

Perched on the island of Anglesey, Beaumaris Castle is easily one of the best castles in Wales to see when travelling across the northern coastline. Built almost 800 years ago, it’s a castle that is totally steeped in history and well worth an explore when on the island. 

On you arrive, head inside the grounds, learn more about the turbulent history of the region and cross the water moat. It really is a special place. 

15 Best Castles In Wales To Visit (17)

Plus, being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s been protected and looked after for us all to enjoy today.

Read more: Best things to do in Wales

2.) Caernarfon Castle

15 Best Castles In Wales To Visit (29)

Another one of Wales’s oldest castles, Caernarfon Castle dates back to the thirteenth century and is so beautiful to see. It’s one of the most significant castles that still exists in Wales with it being used as the place for the investiture of the Prince of Wales.

Once here, make sure to see the King and Queen’s Gates and walk around the Ward itself. It really is one of the best castles in Wales to explore. 

Read more: Best castles in England

3.) Caerphilly Castle

15 Best Castles In Wales To Visit (22)

Perched in the south of Wales, Caerphilly Castle is another beautiful example of a historic castle that has stood for centuries. 

Built way back in the thirteenth century, it was actually used as a way to conquer the Glamorgan populations that were from this area of Wales. Nowadays, there’s no need to conquer, but you can still go inside for a stroll around. 

15 Best Castles In Wales To Visit (23)

Also, if you’ve got time, make sure to pop into the Great Hall. It’s so iconic and feels like you’ve gone back 800 years in time. 

Read more: Best castles in Ireland to visit

4.) Castell Coch

15 Best Castles In Wales To Visit (27)

Nestled on the hills just outside of Cardiff , Castle Coch is one of the best castles in Wales to visit that’s really easy to get to. 

Now, it might not be as old as some of the other castles in Wales, but it certainly has a charm of its own. Once here, head inside the rooms, wander around the kitchens and explore the grounds of this fairytale-like setting. 

Afterwards, pop over to the museum of life, St Fagans that is pretty close by (15-minute drive).

Read more: Best things to do in Cardiff

5.) Chepstow Castle

15 Best Castles In Wales To Visit (25)

Chepstow Castle is one of the oldest surviving stone castles in all of the UK.  Built in the 11th Century, it’s almost 1,000 years old and has stood in the same place overlooking this beautiful region of Wales.

Today, you can still see the oldest wooden door on any castle in the UK, dating back almost 800 years. Plus, you can take a wander around the Great Tower and explore the historic ruins itself. 

It really is one of the best castles in Wales if you love history. 

Read more: Best castles in Scotland

6.) Conwy Castle

Epic Things To Do In Wales (25)

Built-in the 1200s, Conwy Castle was erected by Edward I who completed the site within a decade.

Nowadays, the rooms themselves might have gone, but the ruins of the castle are still so incredible to see. 

Once here, make sure to spend a few hours exploring the outer and inner wards, walk the walls themselves and explore the grounds. 

15 Best Castles In Wales To Visit (21)

For a great photo spot, head across the road bridge (next to the castle) and see the castle from afar. You’ll easily see why this is one of the best castles in Wales to visit. 

Read more: Best castles in Cornwall to visit

7.) Criccieth Castle

15 Best Castles In Wales To Visit (28)

Perched on a rocky outcrop, Criccieth Castle is one of the best castles in Wales to visit that’s right on the coast. Take a wander around the grounds, enjoy a little beach time and learn more about the long history of this stunning area.

14 Very Best Things To Do In Wales (1)

Afterwards, take a short drive (20-minutes) to the stunning Italian town of Portmeirion. It’s so beautiful and you’ll feel like you’ve been whisked away to the south of Italy. 

Read more: Best things to do in the UK

8.) Dolwyddelan Castle

15 Best Castles In Wales To Visit (18)

Built in the thirteenth century, the ruins of Dolwyddelan Castle is easily one of the more isolated but still the best castles in Wales to visit. Now, this is especially true if you’re already going to be in Snowdonia National Park. 

14 Very Best Things To Do In Wales (18)

After heading for a stroll to see the castle, make sure to leave plenty of time to reach the summit of Snowdon too. Though don’t fret, you can actually take a historic train to the top (or hike, if you feel like).

9.) Harlech Castle

15 Best Castles In Wales To Visit (19)

Another one of the best castles in Wales that is perfect if you’re in the north of the country, Harlech Castle is totally gorgeous. 

Being almost 800 years old, the castle has had a long history in the region. Better still, it hasn’t changed too much during the last 500 years or so. It really is so great to explore. 

10.) Kidwelly Castle

15 Best Castles In Wales To Visit (26)

Overlooking the River Gwendraeth, Kidwelly Castle is one of the best castles in Wales to visit if you’re in the south-west of the country. 

Once here, take time to explore the grounds and learn more about the history of this part of Wales. Just watch out for some ghoulish residents of the region. It’s said that Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd haunts this area after being beheaded way back in the twelfth century. 

11.) Raglan Castle

The medieval Raglan Castle is easily one of the best castles in Wales to visit when you’re in Monmouthshire. Standing proudly, this castle is totally beautiful to see. 

It’s totally gorgeous and not too far from the border with England too (if you fancy a little trip).

Read more: Best cities in England to visit

 12.) Cardiff Castle

15 Best Castles In Wales To Visit (24)

Nestled right within the city centre of Cardiff, Cardiff Castle is one of the best castles in Wales to visit whilst on a city break. Once here, make sure to explore the grounds, see inside the rooms and marvel at the incredible ceilings inside. It really is so beautiful to see and can’t be missed when in Cardiff .

Fun Things To Do In Cardiff (8)

For a great hotel, check into Voco St David’s , that’s just outside the centre and within the Bay area itself. 

14 Very Best Things To Do In Wales

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10 Best Castles to Visit in England

castles to visit in wales uk

England's 10 best castles include magical settings for legendary stories and early Medieval ruins connected to powerful families. There are castles with romantic stories and others that are the Victorian fantasies of wealthy aristocrats. These are among the best.

Leeds Castle, the Most Romantic Castle in England

Leeds Castle, near Maidstone in Kent, is often called the most romantic castle in England because of its beautiful setting, surrounded by a moat. There is another good reason to think of romance here. For most of its 1,000-year history, it has been a lady's castle. The first woman to own it, Eleanor of Castile, the wife of King Edward I, bought it for herself from the Norman noble who went broke building it. Eventually, it was the dower house of six queens, and Henry VIII added luxury touches to make it ready for his newest wife, Anne Boleyn. Sadly, she lost her head before she had much time to enjoy it.

Today the castle combines original medieval rooms and features with 20th-century areas created for the last private resident, an Anglo-American heiress who entertained celebrities like Charlie Chaplin and the young Winston Churchill. Among the highlights are the Gloriette, the oldest part of the castle, and the many family-oriented events that take place throughout the year. There's a hedge maze that ends in a magical hidden grotto and extensive gardens to explore.

Arundel Castle, a Fairytale Castle and a Nest of Conspirators

Arundel Castle was begun within a year of the Norman Conquest in 1067. Some parts of that early castle—the keep, the gatehouse, and the barbican (defensive tower above the gate)—remain. Still, most of what you see is a Victorian fantasy of what a castle should look like, added during renovations in the 1880s and 1890s.

It is still a fabulous place to visit in its position high above the West Sussex town of Arundel and the river Arun, about two hours by car or train south of London.

It's the family seat of the Dukes of Norfolk, who is still in residence. Learning about this once politically powerful family and the ups and downs of their fortunes is the highlight of any visit. The family included several cardinals, a saint, a hero of the Spanish Armada, and the uncle of both Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard. He conspired to marry both of them to Henry VIII, and both lost their heads as a result. So, by the way, did many Dukes of Norfolk.

The house is crammed with Tudor-era furniture, tapestries, and clocks as well as portraits by Van Dyck, Gainsborough, and others. While there, you can also see some of the personal possessions of Mary, Queen of Scots—the fourth Duke plotted to marry her and was beheaded for it.

Dover Castle, Guarding England Since William the Conqueror

Dover Castle commands the shortest crossing of the English Channel to France, the reason William the Conqueror himself chose it. He directed the building of a stockade there almost immediately after the Battle of Hastings in 1066. He wasn't the first to recognize this hill's importance. The Romans and the Anglo Saxons also fortified the spot, and you can see evidence of them when you visit. The castle remained a garrisoned fortress from these early days right up to the late 1950s.

Among the highlights of a visit, see the Great Tower, where six rooms of the Medieval castle of Henry II, William's grandson, have been recreated. Then tour the World War I Fire Command Post and take a guided tour of the World War II tunnels that housed a hospital and Operation Dynamo, the planning HQ for the evacuation of thousands of British soldiers from Dunkirk. Some of the costumes from the 2017 film, "Dunkirk," are on exhibit there.

Hever Castle, Anne Boleyn's Childhood Home

Anne Boleyn's childhood home is a mere 30 miles southeast of London, near Edenbridge in Kent. It's surrounded by 125 acres of gardens and includes 28 rooms where you can stay.

The Tudor house, built by the Boleyn family, sits within the 13th century, medieval castle, filled with Tudor rooms—including a bedroom reputed to be Anne's. The castle was restored by American millionaire William Waldorf Astor who created a family home in part of the castle while indulging his interest in history by renovating the house. The heavily carved paneling and furniture in the Tudor rooms are worth a visit alone.

Hever Castle is an active family attraction with events happening in the gardens and grounds throughout the summer. Don't miss the jousting and heavy horse events that take place regularly within an authentic Medieval jousting arena, complete with a royal box.

Alnwick Castle, Learn to Fly from Harry Potter's Professor

Alnwick Castle (pronounced Annick), the family seat of the Dukes of Northumberland, is the second-largest inhabited castle in England (Windsor is the largest). It's on England's northeast coast, about halfway between Newcastle upon Tyne and the Scottish border.

For more than 700 years, the castle has been home to the Percys, once an influential political family in the late Middle Ages. Today this castle is probably more famous as the location of Hogwarts in "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" and "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets."

Today you can learn broomstick flying and the rules of Quiddich in Outer Bailey, where Harry and friends learned to fly. Free 25-minute broomstick training sessions are available to castle ticket holders throughout the day. And the "Professors" share the secret of taking airborne photos with "graduates."

In the Artisan's Courtyard, the family can dress up in Medieval costumes and join in with the villagers in trying traditional crafts and games. You can also go on a quest to conquer a dragon.

The castle has impressive staterooms, and about a mile down the road, the Duchess of Northumberland has created new gardens that include a gated and locked poison garden that can only be visited by guided tour.

Bolsover Castle, a Party House of the Stuart Era

Sir William Cavendish built Bolsover Castle, within the ruins of a Norman castle, in the 17th century during the reign of the Stuart king, Charles II. He was a playboy, poet, and adventurer who designed his house to resemble a Medieval castle. But it was a place for him to entertain and impress his friends. During the English Civil War, Cavendish, who was a Royalist or Cavalier fought on the losing side and fled into exile in 1644. When he returned, about 16 years later, his house was severely damaged. He set about restoring some of it into what is now the Little Castle.

A highlight of a visit is the chance to see the Cavalier Horses perform in the indoor Riding School at Bolsover Castle. The horses perform to Baroque music with riders in Cavalier costumes, every weekend from early April to early October.

This Derbyshire house is about 25 miles north of Nottingham and about 12 miles east of the Peak District National Park.

Bodiam Castle, Ruined Splendor Behind a 14th Century Moat

 Duncan George/Getty Images

Visit Bodiam Castle in East Sussex to walk the long bridge across its magnificent moat and to enter a ruined 14th century castle left much as it was the last time it saw battle. You might find that Bodiam Castle resembles the castle you may have built with a pail and shovel on the beaches of your childhood. You can climb ancient spiral staircases and see a very rare and original portcullis in the gatehouse. Picnic on the grounds or join a free archery session.

Bodiam is about 11 miles from the south coast at Hastings and only around 7 miles from Battle, the site of the Battle of Hastings, and well worth a visit.

Kenilworth, a Castle to Woo a Queen

Kenilworth started as a Norman country house. It was fortified into a castle by Henry II, William the Conqueror's grandson, who needed a stronghold to protect his throne from his many warring brothers. It was finally reduced to ruins by Oliver Cromwell's men after the English Civil War in the 17th century. But before that Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, extensively renovated the castle to please a special visitor, Queen Elizabeth I.

The story of Elizabeth and Dudley is one of the great unresolved romances of history. The childhood friends were reacquainted when both were imprisoned in the Tower by Elizabeth's sister, Queen Mary. Dudley became her favorite, and there was even talk of marriage. Then scandal over the mysterious death of his wife Amy made marriage impossible. Instead, he virtual rebuilt Kenilworth to please Elizabeth, who visited often.

Since 2014, new enclosed staircases let visitors enjoy views last seen by Elizabeth more than 400 years ago, while 21st-century gardeners recreated the privy garden created for her. And in the Leicester Gatehouse, see an Elizabethan bedroom and an exhibition about the romantic story.

Kenilworth is in Warwickshire, 105 miles from London but only 15 miles from Stratford-upon-Avon, making it an excellent add-on to a short break in Shakespeare's England.

Tintagel, Echoes of King Arthur

Legend has it that King Arthur was conceived here. What is much more likely is that Richard, Earl of Cornwall, and brother of King Henry III picked this strategic headland to build his castle in the 13th century and connected it to the popular Morte d'Arthur, a "bestseller" of the early middle ages. To strengthen his claim and attachment to Cornwall, Richard clothed himself in the popular legends. Tintagel's astonishing position, perched on rocks above a beach and Merlin's cave, makes it easy to imagine legendary romances happened here.

You need a head for heights for the long steep staircases and the narrow bridge that connects the castle to the mainland. It's worth the effort. Tintagel Head is on the north coast of Cornwall between Boscastle and Port Isaac.

Warkworth Castle, the Seat of Medieval Power

Warkworth Castle, near the Northumberland coast and the Scottish border, was built by the colorful Percy family who arrived in Britain with William the Conqueror and became power players and intriguers through the Middle Ages. As the Dukes of Northumberland, they also built nearby Alnwick Castle, which is still the family seat.

The castle's position, a ruin at the top of its small English village, is dramatic. Today's visitors can explore the unusual cruciform castle keep, designed in the shape of a Greek cross. Its rooms and floors can be explored as can the Duke's chambers, two rooms roofed and floored in the 19th century for the private use of the Duke and his family. The gatehouse is the oldest part of the castle, and beyond it, the Bailey is a flat, grassy area great as a picnic and children's play area.

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Woman&Home

Woman&Home

10 impressive UK castles to visit for a historical and memorable getaway

Posted: September 5, 2023 | Last updated: September 5, 2023

<p>                     <strong>UK castles are some of the most impressive and beautiful in the world, so why not pay a visit to one this year? Whether you're booking a getaway to see what the UK has to offer or are a UK resident planning a day trip, these culturally and historically significant castles should definitely be on your must-see list.</strong>                   </p>                                      <p>                     The castles of the British Isles tower over some of our most spectacular landscapes, from castles in Scotland steeped in grandeur to pretty châteaus straight from a French fairytale, and each has a unique story. When visiting some of these majestic castles, you'll get insight into some of the most fascinating history England has to offer.                    </p>

UK castles are some of the most impressive and beautiful in the world, so why not pay a visit to one this year? Whether you're booking a getaway to see what the UK has to offer or are a UK resident planning a day trip, these culturally and historically significant castles should definitely be on your must-see list.

The castles of the British Isles tower over some of our most spectacular landscapes, from castles in Scotland steeped in grandeur to pretty châteaus straight from a French fairytale, and each has a unique story. When visiting some of these majestic castles, you'll get insight into some of the most fascinating history England has to offer.

Click through to read the full story... By Helena Cartwright

<p>                     <strong>Location: </strong>Hampshire, RG20 9RN |<strong> Website:</strong> highclerecastle.co.uk                   </p>                                      <p>                     Downton Abbey fans will recognize Highclere Castle as the stately home of the aristocratic Crawley family. The Grade I-listed house was once the site of a medieval palace but was transformed in the 19th century by Sir Charles Barry—architect of London’s Houses of Parliament. The castle is set in 1,000 acres of parkland that was designed by landscape gardener Capability Brown and is also home to an impressive exhibition of Egyptian artifacts.                    </p>                                      <p>                     For a real treat, book in for the castle’s delightful afternoon tea, with sandwiches, scones, and a glass of bubbly.                   </p>

1. HIGHCLERE CASTLE

Location:  Hampshire, RG20 9RN |  Website:  highclerecastle.co.uk

Downton Abbey fans will recognize Highclere Castle as the stately home of the aristocratic Crawley family. The Grade I-listed house was once the site of a medieval palace but was transformed in the 19th century by Sir Charles Barry—architect of London’s Houses of Parliament. The castle is set in 1,000 acres of parkland that was designed by landscape gardener Capability Brown and is also home to an impressive exhibition of Egyptian artifacts. 

For a real treat, book in for the castle’s delightful afternoon tea, with sandwiches, scones, and a glass of bubbly.

<p>                     <strong>Location: </strong>Berkshire, SL4 1NJ |<strong> Website:</strong> rct.uk/visit/windsor-castle                   </p>                                      <p>                     A royal residence for more than 900 years, Windsor Castle is the world’s oldest and largest inhabited castle. To marvel at the castle’s full regal splendor, approach from the Long Walk, a three-mile tree-lined avenue that runs to the castle through Windsor Great Park, where 500 red deer roam.                   </p>                                      <p>                     Look out for the castle’s iconic Round Tower, which flies the Royal Standard when the Queen is in residence, and visit the elegant gothic masterpiece of St George’s Chapel in the Castle’s lower ward, where the Duke and Duchess of Sussex tied the knot in 2018.                   </p>

2. WINDSOR CASTLE

Location:  Berkshire, SL4 1NJ |  Website:  rct.uk/visit/windsor-castle

A royal residence for more than 900 years, Windsor Castle is the world’s oldest and largest inhabited castle. To marvel at the castle’s full regal splendor, approach from the Long Walk, a three-mile tree-lined avenue that runs to the castle through Windsor Great Park, where 500 red deer roam.

Look out for the castle’s iconic Round Tower, which flies the Royal Standard when the Queen is in residence, and visit the elegant gothic masterpiece of St George’s Chapel in the Castle’s lower ward, where the Duke and Duchess of Sussex tied the knot in 2018.

<p>                     <strong>Location:</strong> Derbyshire, S44 6PR | <strong>Website: </strong>english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/bolsover-castle/                   </p>                                      <p>                     Built on the site of a medieval fortress, the grand halls, fountains, and gardens of Bolsover Castle were always meant to impress. The Stuart mansion sits high on a ridge above the Vale of Scarsdale, with sweeping views across the Derbyshire countryside. Its interior is lavishly decorated, but Bolsover has also been voted English Heritage’s spookiest site, with staff reporting mysterious footsteps, slamming doors, muffled voices, and the ghost of a boy holding visitors’ hands.                    </p>                                      <p>                     The castle is home to an indoor riding school, where regular performances of classical dressage take place.                   </p>

3. BOLSOVER CASTLE

Location:  Derbyshire, S44 6PR |  Website:  english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/bolsover-castle/

Built on the site of a medieval fortress, the grand halls, fountains, and gardens of Bolsover Castle were always meant to impress. The Stuart mansion sits high on a ridge above the Vale of Scarsdale, with sweeping views across the Derbyshire countryside. Its interior is lavishly decorated, but Bolsover has also been voted English Heritage’s spookiest site, with staff reporting mysterious footsteps, slamming doors, muffled voices, and the ghost of a boy holding visitors’ hands. 

The castle is home to an indoor riding school, where regular performances of classical dressage take place.

<p>                     <strong>Location: </strong>Cornwall, PL34 0HE<strong> | Website:</strong> https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/tintagel-castle/                   </p>                                      <p>                     Tintagel Castle is shrouded in magic and mystery. Teetering on the windswept north Cornwall coast, the castle’s ruins sprawl from the mainland across a rocky precipice above the Atlantic Ocean.                   </p>                                      <p>                     From the early Middle Ages, the headland was a stronghold of Cornish kings, and their tales inspired the legend that King Arthur was born here. This led medieval nobleman Richard, Earl of Cornwall, to build a castle at the site. After exploring the castle, head down to the secluded sandy beach below, where kids can paddle in rock pools and explore the magical Merlin’s Cave.                    </p>

4. TINTAGEL CASTLE

Location:  Cornwall, PL34 0HE  | Website:  https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/tintagel-castle/

Tintagel Castle is shrouded in magic and mystery. Teetering on the windswept north Cornwall coast, the castle’s ruins sprawl from the mainland across a rocky precipice above the Atlantic Ocean.

From the early Middle Ages, the headland was a stronghold of Cornish kings, and their tales inspired the legend that King Arthur was born here. This led medieval nobleman Richard, Earl of Cornwall, to build a castle at the site. After exploring the castle, head down to the secluded sandy beach below, where kids can paddle in rock pools and explore the magical Merlin’s Cave. 

<p>                     <strong>Location: </strong>Midlothian, EH1 2NG<strong> | Website: </strong>edinburghcastle.scot                   </p>                                      <p>                     Perched upon a mighty volcanic rock in the heart of the Scottish capital, the towering walls of Edinburgh Castle cut a striking silhouette against the skyline. The 12th-century castle was a key fortress of the Scottish Kingdom and has the dubious honor of being the most besieged place in Britain.                   </p>                                      <p>                     The castle’s lofty position provides spectacular views that stretch to the wild hills beyond Edinburgh, while the castle is also home to the nation’s crown jewels, the Honours of Scotland. Finish a visit at the castle tea rooms, to enjoy cakes or local specialties such as haggis and cured Scottish salmon. Grab a window seat for views across the city.                    </p>

5. EDINBURGH CASTLE

Location:  Midlothian, EH1 2NG  | Website:  edinburghcastle.scot

Perched upon a mighty volcanic rock in the heart of the Scottish capital, the towering walls of Edinburgh Castle cut a striking silhouette against the skyline. The 12th-century castle was a key fortress of the Scottish Kingdom and has the dubious honor of being the most besieged place in Britain.

The castle’s lofty position provides spectacular views that stretch to the wild hills beyond Edinburgh, while the castle is also home to the nation’s crown jewels, the Honours of Scotland. Finish a visit at the castle tea rooms, to enjoy cakes or local specialties such as haggis and cured Scottish salmon. Grab a window seat for views across the city. 

<p>                     <strong>Location: </strong>Kent, TN8 7NG |<strong> Website:</strong> hevercastle.co.uk                   </p>                                      <p>                     Set within 125 acres of Kent countryside, Hever ticks all the ‘fairytale castle’ boxes—and it's a great place for a UK staycation too.                   </p>                                      <p>                     The 13th-century building is surrounded by a large medieval moat, with a wooden drawbridge leading to a towering stone gatehouse. The castle was the childhood home of Henry VIII’s second wife, Anne Boleyn, and Tudor tapestries and portraits decorate its grand halls. The gardens feature a 100-year-old yew maze, boating lake, and mock Tudor village. Guests can stay overnight in a luxurious 5-star B&B within the castle grounds.                    </p>

6. HEVER CASTLE

Location:  Kent, TN8 7NG |  Website:  hevercastle.co.uk

Set within 125 acres of Kent countryside, Hever ticks all the ‘fairytale castle’ boxes—and it's a great place for a UK staycation too.

The 13th-century building is surrounded by a large medieval moat, with a wooden drawbridge leading to a towering stone gatehouse. The castle was the childhood home of Henry VIII’s second wife, Anne Boleyn, and Tudor tapestries and portraits decorate its grand halls. The gardens feature a 100-year-old yew maze, boating lake, and mock Tudor village. Guests can stay overnight in a luxurious 5-star B&B within the castle grounds. 

<p>                     <strong>Location: </strong>Isle of Anglesey, LL59 5NS |<strong> Website:</strong> chateaurhianfa.co.uk                   </p>                                      <p>                     The pointed turrets of Château Rhianfa emerge in glorious fashion from the hills of north Wales and are inspired by the chateaux of France’s Loire Valley.                   </p>                                      <p>                     Its ornate architecture, built in the mid 19th century, seems curiously at home on the Welsh island of Anglesey. The chateau enjoys spectacular views across the Menai Strait to the towering peaks of Snowdonia and has been tastefully converted into a stylish hotel and B&B, with 27 bedrooms and an award-winning restaurant too.                   </p>

7. CHATEAU RHIANFA

Location:  Isle of Anglesey, LL59 5NS |  Website:  chateaurhianfa.co.uk

The pointed turrets of Château Rhianfa emerge in glorious fashion from the hills of north Wales and are inspired by the chateaux of France’s Loire Valley.

Its ornate architecture, built in the mid 19th century, seems curiously at home on the Welsh island of Anglesey. The chateau enjoys spectacular views across the Menai Strait to the towering peaks of Snowdonia and has been tastefully converted into a stylish hotel and B&B, with 27 bedrooms and an award-winning restaurant too.

<p>                     <strong>Location: </strong>Western Highlands, IV40 8DX | <strong>Website:</strong> eileandonancastle.com                   </p>                                      <p>                     This picturesque castle is one of the most iconic sights in the Scottish Highlands. Perched on a tiny island at the meeting point of three great lochs, the castle looks out to the Isle of Skye and over the wild, forested mountains of Kintail. It's without a doubt one of the most beautiful places in Scotland.                   </p>                                      <p>                     The original 13th-century castle was all but destroyed during the 1719 Jacobite uprising, but was restored to its former glory in the early 20th century, with the addition of a magnificent stone bridge that connects the island to the mainland.                    </p>                                      <p>                     Book into the charming Eilean Donan Cottage that overlooks the castle, an ideal base for exploring the spectacular Highland surroundings.                   </p>

8. EILEAN DONAN CASTLE

Location:  Western Highlands, IV40 8DX |  Website:  eileandonancastle.com

This picturesque castle is one of the most iconic sights in the Scottish Highlands. Perched on a tiny island at the meeting point of three great lochs, the castle looks out to the Isle of Skye and over the wild, forested mountains of Kintail. It's without a doubt one of the most beautiful places in Scotland.

The original 13th-century castle was all but destroyed during the 1719 Jacobite uprising, but was restored to its former glory in the early 20th century, with the addition of a magnificent stone bridge that connects the island to the mainland. 

Book into the charming Eilean Donan Cottage that overlooks the castle, an ideal base for exploring the spectacular Highland surroundings.

<p>                     <strong>Location: </strong>Northumbria, NE69 7DF | <strong>Website: </strong>bamburghcastle.com                   </p>                                      <p>                     Once the royal seat of the Kingdom of Northumbria, Bamburgh was a fearsome stronghold throughout the Middle Ages. The Norman-built fortress spans nine acres, and rests upon a rocky volcanic crag, with views stretching down the windswept Northumberland coast and across the North Sea to the Farne Islands.                   </p>                                      <p>                     Its fortified walls—11ft thick at points—were a formidable line of defense against marauding armies. Today, you can enjoy a more serene stay in the castle’s elegant, turreted guard towers, 150ft above the white sands of Bamburgh Beach.                   </p>

9. BAMBURGH CASTLE

Location:  Northumbria, NE69 7DF |  Website:  bamburghcastle.com

Once the royal seat of the Kingdom of Northumbria, Bamburgh was a fearsome stronghold throughout the Middle Ages. The Norman-built fortress spans nine acres, and rests upon a rocky volcanic crag, with views stretching down the windswept Northumberland coast and across the North Sea to the Farne Islands.

Its fortified walls—11ft thick at points—were a formidable line of defense against marauding armies. Today, you can enjoy a more serene stay in the castle’s elegant, turreted guard towers, 150ft above the white sands of Bamburgh Beach.

<p>                     <strong>Location:</strong> Warwick, CV34 4QU| <strong>Website:</strong> warwick-castle.com                   </p>                                      <p>                     On the banks of the winding Avon sits the towering medieval fortress of Warwick Castle. With a history dating back 1,000 years, the Midlands site was first home to a wooden fort built by William the Conqueror and was redesigned with stone ramparts and portcullis during the 12th century.                    </p>                                      <p>                     Today, the castle’s medieval history has been brought vividly to life, and kids will love exploring the Horrible Histories Maze, castle dungeons, replica trebuchet, and impressive archery exhibition. There’s even medieval-themed glamping—perfect for a family getaway on site.                   </p>

10. WARWICK CASTLE

Location:  Warwick, CV34 4QU|  Website:  warwick-castle.com

On the banks of the winding Avon sits the towering medieval fortress of Warwick Castle. With a history dating back 1,000 years, the Midlands site was first home to a wooden fort built by William the Conqueror and was redesigned with stone ramparts and portcullis during the 12th century. 

Today, the castle’s medieval history has been brought vividly to life, and kids will love exploring the Horrible Histories Maze, castle dungeons, replica trebuchet, and impressive archery exhibition. There’s even medieval-themed glamping—perfect for a family getaway on site.

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8 House of the Dragon Filming Locations You’ll Want to Visit

By Christopher A. Daniel and Rachel Davies

Image may contain Land Outdoors Nature Water Sea Ocean Shoreline Coast and Island house of the dragon filming locations

The breathtaking House of the Dragon filming locations present something of a cinematic passport. The Game of Thrones prequel, adapted from George R.R. Martin’s 2018 novel Fire & Blood, may take place in a different world entirely, but for its production the cast and crew travel to real centuries-old cities across Europe. Now in its second season, the show chronicles the family drama, political climate, and war around the House Targaryen of Dragonstone 172 years prior to the birth of Queen Daenerys Targaryen.

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Milly Alcock as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen in House of the Dragon

So far, crews have hit four different European countries—England and Spain for both seasons, Portugal for the first, and Wales for the second. While the art department might add the Westeros spin to these spots, the show offers glimpses of real-world places that are stuck in time.

So come along with Architectural Digest as we take you on a tour to explore some of the destinations featured in House of the Dragon , which airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and Max.

Castleton, Derbyshire, England

Image may contain Nature Outdoors Mountain Slope Hill Countryside Mountain Range and Scenery

Cave Dale in Castleton.

Castleton is a village in high-peaked Derbyshire, home to one of the oldest lead mines, and it became The Vale of Arryn in the show’s first season. ( Game of Thrones fans may remember this as the home of House Arryn and the Eyrie, a castle where enemies can be pushed to their death through a moon door.) The area first settled by Celtic people is known for its classic English hamlets and its central national park that’s home to Cave Dale, a limestone valley.

St. Michael’s Mount in Mount’s Bay, Cornwall, England

Image may contain Outdoors Nature Land Ocean Water Sea Shoreline Coast and Island

St. Michaels Mount.

The rocky tidal island of St. Michael’s Mount features a medieval church from the 12th century and an intimate living community that is linked to the island of Marazion by a causeway that tourists can reach by foot when the tide is low. The island’s main castle serves as House of the Dragon ’s fictional Driftmark (home of House Velaryon) in Blackwater Bay, the large body of water at the edge of Kings Landing. Driftmark was previously featured in Game of Thrones during the Battle of the Blackwater.

St. Michael’s Mount’s neighboring Kynance Cove is located on the east side of Mount’s Bay and is known for its beaches, blue water, white sands, and many caves. Kynance Cove’s beach is used in House of the Dragon for a Velaryon camp.

Various English beaches

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Hartland Quay.

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The seaside Hill at the Hartland Quay in Devon; Holywell Bay’s golden sand beaches; and nearby St. Cuthbert’s Well, a cave etched into a cliff that was formed out of ocean waves, additionally gave the first season of House of the Dragon its aquatic scenes.

Monsanto, Portugal

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Monsanto, Portugal.

This remote and historical hill town in central Portugal —its name means “Holy Mountain”—is the doppelgänger for Dragonstone, the ancestral home for House Targaryen, in House of the Dragon ’s first season. Its landscape features hilltop prehistoric rock formations, a medieval clock tower, lush green landscape, and granite cottages that sit between giant boulders. Its streets are carved out of tiny cobbled rocks and climb up a very steep hill, also known as Mons Sanctus. One of 12 historical villages in Portugal, Monsanto sits close to the Spanish border and was first carved over 500 years ago. In 1938, the village was voted most Portuguese town in Portugal and currently maintains building restrictions to preserve its classical aesthetic. It is blanketed with burnt red- and orange-colored roofs atop houses carved directly into the rock formations.

La Calahorra, Granada, Spain

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Castillo de La Calahorra.

The municipality La Calahorra in eastern Granada is reimagined as Pentos, one of the cities adjacent to the seas of Westeros, the fictional continent at the center of the Game of Thrones world. One of its staple landmarks, Castillo de La Calahorra, is a medieval castle that’s situated on the area’s only hill at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Acting as the seat of House Targaryen on House of the Dragon, the castle’s exterior defies the conventions of Gothic architecture, making it one the first Renaissance-inspired structures built in Spain between 1509-1512. Its gorgeous split-level interior includes marble, four corner towers, and a central courtyard.

Cáceres, Extremadura, Spain

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An aerial view of Plasencia, Cáceres, Extremadura, Spain.

Located in Western Spain, the province of Cáceres is a total time capsule. Centuries-old buildings appear much as they did hundreds and hundreds of years ago, showcasing a range of architectural styles which include Roman, Moorish, and Gothic influences. King’s Landing scenes have been filmed in a few different cities in the province, including the walled city of Plasencia for the first season, Trujillo for the second season, and the capital city of Cáceres for both.

The Old Town of Cáceres, a walled section of the capital, was founded in 25 BC by the Romans. Its untouched medieval cobblestone streets give the city a particularly transportive quality, begging visitors to imagine life hundreds and hundreds of years ago. In honor of its rich history that includes Roman, Moorish, and Christian occupation and architectural styles, it was named a World Heritage City by UNESCO in 1986.

While Dubrovnik, Croatia was used in prior seasons, Cáceres was used for King’s Landing in the last two seasons of Game of Thrones and for both seasons of House of the Dragon . The city even hosts an annual festival for Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon fans to experience the city alongside other obsessives.

Bourne Wood in Farnham, England

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Boure Wood in Farnham, England

Bourne Wood might look like any other forest setting to some, but eagle-eyed action and fantasy fans are likely to recognize the area. Countless movies have been shot in the conifer-filled forest, including the Gladiator opening sequence, three Harry Potter films, and Avengers: Age of Ultron .

Image may contain Helmet Person Animal Horse Mammal People Gun and Weapon

A scene from the movie Gladiator being filmed at Bourne Wood

One of House of the Dragon season two’s massive battle scenes was filmed in Bourne Wood. The forest’s large clearings make it ideal for large fight scenes and huge film crews, and the lack of added modern structures or power lines make the area feel timeless. As documented by London Cult , the forest was furnished with a tent camp, and fake snow was added to certain sections.

The location is particularly convenient for productions based out of the Warner Bros. Leavesden studio, as House of the Dragon is, since the forest is only an hour away by car. Unlike many of the other House of the Dragon locations, Bourne Wood was never used in the making of Game of Thrones .

North Wales, United Kingdom

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A view of Llyn Peris below Dinorwig quarry in Gwynedd County, Wales

North Wales might not be the most popular tourist destination for North Americans, but the area’s dramatic landscapes definitely deserve the Hollywood treatment. Its collection of remarkably aged castles are second only to the unmitigated beauty of the coastal cliffs, valleys, and sprawling grasslands.

This natural splendor was employed for the second season of House of the Dragon , which used the North Wales landscape for scenes in the Vale, the Riverlands, and Dragonstone. Old quarries were reimagined for exterior shots of the Dragonstone and Harrenhal castles.

Though specifics have not been confirmed by the production, some viewers have speculated that the Trefor granite quarry and Dinorwic quarry, both in Gwynedd county, are the particular quarries used. Fans also claim that the cast and crew were spotted filming the second season on a few beaches on the Wales island of Anglesey, including Llanddwyn Beach, Beaumaris Beach, and Penmon Point.

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COMMENTS

  1. Great castles in Wales

    Conwy is one of the castles in north Wales that forms a UNESCO world heritage site. It's quite amazing to stand in this castle and consider how it was built in only four years between 1283 and 1287. Conwy remains the most complete set of residential rooms inhabited by the medieval monarchy anywhere in Wales or England.

  2. 32 BEST Castles in Wales to Visit [With Map]

    Being quite small, it's one of the cheaper castles in West Wales to visit and is well worth your time. You can explore the well-preserved ruins, climb to the top of the ancient towers for breathtaking panoramic views and wander among the castle gardens where you'll find the summerhouse. ... Registered in England and Wales, company number ...

  3. THE 10 BEST Wales Castles to Visit (Updated 2024)

    By Quotequeen. Fabulous historical place to visit and Dog Friendly on the ground floor of the house and the grounds & castle ruins. 26. Laugharne Castle. 313. Castles. By rexbarker. Although a ruin, iy has been preserved with care and you get a real sensation of how it would have been. 2023.

  4. THE 10 BEST Wales Castles to Visit (Updated 2024)

    Beaumaris Castle. 2,171. Points of Interest & Landmarks • Castles. By RicardoBowie. ... moat on the coastal town of Beaumaris, the castle has the best views of Snowdonia and the coast line of North Wales. See tours. 2023. 6. Powis Castle and Garden.

  5. Best Castles in Wales to explore (+ tips and map of locations)

    In northwest Wales, on the banks of the River Seiont, architect James of St. George built Caernarfon Castle at the behest of King Edward I. Construction started in the late 13th century and took 47 years to complete. The result is a grand castle with unparalleled architectural drama, making it one of the best castles in Wales to visit today.

  6. Castles of Wales

    Castles of Wales. Wales is often called 'the land of castles' - there are 427 of them! If you visit Wales you're almost certain to see one. If you live here you're probably familiar with quite a few. Cadw looks after 44 castles — each one is unique. Click on the links to learn how castle building in Wales developed over the years.

  7. 10 Best Castles in Wales

    Phone +44 300 025 2239. Web Visit website. Caerphilly is the second largest castle in Britain. Only Windsor is bigger. It was built by a Norman lord, Gilbert de Clare, to protect himself from the powerful Prince of Wales, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd (who did his best to knock it down). The castle covers more than 30 acres.

  8. Castles and forts in Wales

    Explore some of the finest and most famous castles in Wales, from the Victorian extravagance of Penrhyn Castle to the home of the Welsh princes at Powis Castle. ... Castles and forts to visit in North Wales ... Explore the ruins of a 13th-century fortress built by the Normans to command one of the main routes from England. near Abergavenny ...

  9. The Best Castles In Wales to Visit

    20 Top Castles in Wales to Visit 1. Caernarfon Castle. Caernarfon Castle is one of the most iconic and well-preserved castles in Wales. Built by King Edward I in the 13th century, this grand fortress was designed to intimidate the Welsh and assert English rule. This World Heritage Site, situated on the River Seiont took 47 years to complete.

  10. 10 Best Castles In Wales To Visit

    The ornate Raglan Castle. 8. The impregnable Pembroke Castle. 9. The inspiring Criccieth Castle. 10. The unusually defended Kidwelly Castle. The information in this article is inspired by The Rough Guide to Wales, your essential guide for visiting Wales. Travel ideas for Wales, created by local experts.

  11. 18 Most Beautiful Castles in Wales (+Map)

    Visitors are free to explore the grounds and wander through passages in the walls. 3. Conwy Castle. Located in the picturesque town on Conwy on the North Coast of Wales, Conwy Castle was built by King Edward I between 1283 and 1289. The castle is considered one of the finest works by architect James of St. George.

  12. 15 Best Castles in Wales

    3. Conwy Castle. Source: Samot / shutterstock. Conwy Castle. Another Welsh castle dating back to the time of King Edward I of England is the Conwy Castle which lies on the northern shores of Wales. The castle dates back to the late 13th century and it played an important role in forming the town of Conwy.

  13. 21 Castles in Wales That a Local Says You Should Visit

    Raglan Castle. 📍 Google Maps | Hours: 9.30 am - 5 pm daily, changes seasonally | Entrance: £8.70, adults, £6.10 aged 5 - 17 and students. Raglan Castle is a grand, beautiful castle in South East Wales built by Welshmen. Raglan Castle has an iconic silhouette and many turrets.

  14. Castles and heritage

    Find out more about historic Wales - castles, historic homes, pirates and steam trains on our coast. Hear fascinating stories from the past at the best of our Welsh castles, monuments and museums. The county of Gwynedd, in North Wales, provides a trail of majestic castles to explore. With over 400 castles, wherever you go on holiday in Wales ...

  15. 16 Fairy-tale Castles in Wales to Inspire Your Next Trip

    Here are 16 of the best castles in Wales. ... 5 Places in Wales Locals Visit for Gorgeous Hikes, Epic Stargazing, Castles, and Rugby ... The 13 Most Beautiful Castles in England.

  16. 18 Best Castles in Wales to Visit

    Best Castles in Wales to Visit. 1. Raglan Castle. The first on our list of the best castles in Wales was the late medieval royal home of Welshman Sir William ap Thomas, the Blue Knight of Gwent. Commissioned in 1430, the Raglan Castle was built to display family wealth and stature.

  17. 17 BEST Castles in North Wales To Visit [With Map]

    13. Bodelwyddan Castle. If visiting isn't enough and you want to stay in a castle in Wales, then Bodelwyddan Castle near Snowdonia in North Wales is my top pick. The castle is a Grade II listed Victorian folly set within its own peaceful estate, complete with a luxury hotel, more on that later.

  18. THE 10 BEST South Wales Castles to Visit (Updated 2024)

    Oystermouth Castle ruins sit majestically on the hill in Mumbles, with stunning views overlooking Swansea Bay. 9. Cyfarthfa Castle. Wonderful museum if s little dated Excellent section on the politics of the area and the struggles of the local peopl... 10. White Castle.

  19. The Best Wales Castle Tours To Book 2024 (By A Local)

    This imposing 13th-century castle in South Wales is one of the country's most iconic medieval landmarks. It's surrounded by a large moat, and visitors can explore towers, battlements and even secret passageways! 2. Conwy Castle: This vast castle in North Wales is one of Wales' most visited World Heritage Sites.

  20. 13 BEST Castles in South Wales You Have To Visit: 2024 Guide

    If you're heading to North Wales, then check out of list of best castles in North Wales. Also, you might like to visit a few waterfalls in the Brecon Beacons too! Contents: 13 Beautiful Castles in South Wales. Cardiff Castle. Caerphilly Castle. Caldicot Castle. Ogmore Castle. Carreg Cennen Castle.

  21. 13 Best Castles in the UK for a Royal Day Out

    From £22. Warwick Castle, Warwick, CV34 4QU. Book now. 2. Cardiff Castle, Wales. Photograph: Shutterstock. Set in the middle of the city and surrounded by Bute Park, Cardiff Castle looks like a ...

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    Once here, make sure to see the King and Queen's Gates and walk around the Ward itself. It really is one of the best castles in Wales to explore. Read more: Best castles in England. 3.) Caerphilly Castle. Perched in the south of Wales, Caerphilly Castle is another beautiful example of a historic castle that has stood for centuries.

  23. 10 Best Castles to Visit in England

    Broomfield, Maidstone ME17 1PL, UK. Phone +44 1622 765400. Web Visit website. Leeds Castle, near Maidstone in Kent, is often called the most romantic castle in England because of its beautiful setting, surrounded by a moat. There is another good reason to think of romance here. For most of its 1,000-year history, it has been a lady's castle.

  24. 10 impressive UK castles to visit for a historical and memorable ...

    Look out for the castle's iconic Round Tower, which flies the Royal Standard when the Queen is in residence, and visit the elegant gothic masterpiece of St George's Chapel in the Castle's ...

  25. 8 House of the Dragon Filming Locations You'll Want to Visit

    So far, crews have hit four different European countries—England and Spain for both seasons, Portugal for the first, and Wales for the second. While the art department might add the Westeros ...

  26. Clash at the Castle

    It was held in Cardiff, Wales at the Principality Stadium and its name was in reference to the Cardiff Castle, situated near the stadium. This marked the company's first major stadium event to be held in the UK in 30 years. Although WWE's last major event to take place in the UK was the 2003 Insurrextion, the promotion's last major event to be ...