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The 7 Best Castles In Wales


Modified: January 3, 2024

by Kalli Raleigh



Wales, known for its breathtaking landscapes and rich history, is home to some of the most magnificent castles in the world. These architectural marvels not only offer a glimpse into the country’s past but also provide visitors with a unique and immersive experience. From towering fortresses to picturesque ruins, each castle tells its own story and is a testament to Wales’ fascinating heritage.


Stepping foot inside these ancient structures is like entering a time machine, transporting you back to a bygone era of knights, royalty, and grandeur. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a castle aficionado, or simply looking for an awe-inspiring adventure, Wales has a castle that will captivate your imagination.


In this article, we will explore the seven best castles in Wales, each with its own distinct charm and allure. Prepare to be amazed as we delve into the impressive history and architectural beauty of these remarkable fortifications.


Caernarfon Castle

Perched on the banks of the River Seiont in the town of Caernarfon, this majestic fortress is not only an icon of Wales but also a UNESCO World Heritage site. Built by King Edward I in the late 13th century, Caernarfon Castle is a testament to the military might and dominance of the English crown during that era.


The castle’s formidable architecture is a sight to behold, with its polygonal towers, thick stone walls, and imposing gatehouses. The inner courtyard, known as the Upper Ward, housed grand halls and chambers where royal festivities and important ceremonies took place.


Another notable feature of Caernarfon Castle is its imposing Eagle Tower, which provides panoramic views of the surrounding area. This tower in particular offers a glimpse into the opulence and power of the medieval monarchy.


Caernarfon Castle played a significant role in Welsh history, serving as the site of the investiture of the current Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, in 1969. Today, the castle is a popular tourist attraction, offering guided tours and immersive exhibitions that bring the past to life.


Exploring the ancient walls and walking in the footsteps of knights and royalty, visitors can’t help but be transported back in time. Caernarfon Castle is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a truly unforgettable experience in Wales.


Conwy Castle

Located on the north coast of Wales, Conwy Castle is a magnificent medieval fortress that stands as a testament to the military might of King Edward I. Built between 1283 and 1289, this imposing structure was designed to command the surrounding landscape and control the town of Conwy.


The castle is surrounded by high stone walls and fortified towers, creating an impenetrable defense system. Its setting, on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Conwy Estuary, adds to its dramatic and awe-inspiring presence.


One of the most impressive features of Conwy Castle is its Great Hall, which once served as a majestic reception area for the king and his retinue. The hall boasts a stunning rib-vaulted ceiling and large windows that offer breathtaking views of the surroundings.


Another highlight of a visit to Conwy Castle is the opportunity to explore the medieval town walls. These well-preserved walls stretch for nearly three-quarters of a mile and provide panoramic views of the town, river, and mountains beyond.


Conwy Castle is not only a visual spectacle but also offers a glimpse into the past through its informative displays and exhibitions. Visitors can step back in time and learn about the castle’s rich history, from its construction to the various battles it endured.


A visit to Conwy Castle is an immersive experience that transports visitors to a medieval world of knights, royalty, and warfare. It is a must-see destination for history enthusiasts and anyone looking to appreciate the architectural marvels of Wales.


Cardiff Castle

Located in the heart of the capital city, Cardiff Castle is a unique blend of history, architectural splendor, and enchanting landscapes. Originally a Roman fort, the castle was transformed into an impressive Gothic revival mansion by the famed architect William Burges in the 19th century.


The striking exterior of Cardiff Castle combines elements of medieval fortifications with intricate Victorian detailing. The castle walls are adorned with ornate carvings, colorful murals, and captivating sculptures, showcasing the artistic vision of Burges.


Inside the castle, visitors can explore a range of opulent rooms, each with its own distinct character and purpose. The Banqueting Hall, with its stunning hammer-beam roof and intricate woodwork, stands as a testament to the castle’s grandeur during the Victorian era.


One of the most popular attractions within Cardiff Castle is the Clock Tower. Climbing to the top of the tower offers panoramic views of the city and surrounding parklands, providing a unique perspective on the castle’s strategic location.


Cardiff Castle is more than just a historic site; it also hosts a calendar of events and activities throughout the year. From medieval reenactments to outdoor concerts, there is always something exciting happening within the castle grounds.


Whether strolling through the beautifully landscaped gardens, exploring the lavish interiors, or simply enjoying the atmosphere of this iconic landmark, Cardiff Castle offers a memorable experience for visitors of all ages.


Pembroke Castle

Situated on the banks of the River Cleddau in Pembrokeshire, Pembroke Castle is a formidable fortress with a storied past. This medieval castle, originally built in the 11th century, played a significant role in Welsh history and witnessed numerous battles and sieges.


Pembroke Castle is known for its massive keep, which is the largest in Wales and one of the largest in Britain. Its towering walls and imposing towers stand as a testament to the castle’s defensive capabilities and its strategic importance in the region.


Exploring the castle’s interiors is like stepping into a medieval world, with its spiral staircases, atmospheric chambers, and soaring halls. Of particular interest is the Great Hall, which showcases intricate detailing and offers a glimpse into the luxurious lifestyle of the castle’s former inhabitants.


One cannot miss the stunning views from the top of the keep, overlooking the town of Pembroke and the surrounding countryside. The panoramic vistas from this vantage point are truly breathtaking and provide a sense of the castle’s commanding presence.


Throughout its history, Pembroke Castle has witnessed numerous transformations and additions, making it a unique architectural blend of different time periods. From the medieval fortification to the grandeur added during the Tudor era, each element tells a different chapter in the castle’s story.


Today, Pembroke Castle offers visitors a captivating experience through its guided tours, interactive displays, and events. From medieval reenactments to ghost tours, there is something to suit every interest and age group.


Pembroke Castle stands as a testament to Wales’ rich heritage and serves as a reminder of the country’s tumultuous past. It is a must-visit destination for history lovers, architecture enthusiasts, and those looking to step back in time and immerse themselves in the fascinating world of medieval Wales.


Harlech Castle

Rising majestically on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Irish Sea, Harlech Castle is a symbol of strength and fortitude. Built by Edward I in the late 13th century, this imposing fortress is a testament to the power of the English crown and its control over Wales.


Harlech Castle is renowned for its strategic location, perched atop a steep rock cliff that provides a commanding view of the surrounding landscape. Its formidable defenses, including its double-wall structure and numerous towers, made it virtually impregnable during medieval times.


The castle’s immense gatehouse, with its well-preserved towers and intricate carvings, stands as a testament to the architectural prowess of the period. Walking through the gatehouse and into the courtyard, visitors are transported back in time to a world of knights, heraldry, and medieval grandeur.


Inside the castle, visitors can explore the various chambers and rooms, including the Great Hall, which would have once played host to grand feasts and important gatherings. The views from the castle ramparts are truly breathtaking, offering panoramic vistas of the sea and the Snowdonia mountain range.


Harlech Castle has not only witnessed battles and sieges but has also played a role in Welsh history. It was the site of a notable siege during the Wars of the Roses, and it served as a rallying point for Welsh forces during the Glyndŵr Rising in the early 15th century.


Today, Harlech Castle stands as a UNESCO World Heritage site and welcomes visitors from around the world to explore its storied past. With its dramatic setting, rich history, and captivating architecture, Harlech Castle is a must-see destination for anyone seeking a glimpse into the medieval world of Wales.


Beaumaris Castle

Located on the Isle of Anglesey, Beaumaris Castle is a masterpiece of medieval military architecture. Constructed as part of King Edward I’s campaign to conquer Wales in the 13th century, this unfinished castle is a testament to the ambitions and ingenuity of the time.


Beaumaris Castle was designed to be a concentric fortress, with two sets of defensive walls and a moat surrounding the entire structure. The symmetrical layout and strategically positioned towers demonstrate the meticulous planning and engineering prowess that went into its construction.


Despite being incomplete, Beaumaris Castle showcases the architectural sophistication of the period. The intricately carved stonework, vaulted ceilings, and expansive inner courtyard offer a glimpse into the grandeur that was intended for this fortress.


One of the most fascinating aspects of Beaumaris Castle is its access to the sea. The castle’s location on the shore of the Menai Strait not only provided a strategic advantage but also allowed for easy resupply and reinforcement by sea.


Visitors to Beaumaris Castle can explore the various chambers, climb the towers for panoramic views, and even walk along the castle walls. The exhibitions and displays within the castle provide insight into its history and the challenges faced during its construction.


Beaumaris Castle serves as a reminder of the power struggles between England and Wales during the medieval period. Although it was never fully completed or used for its intended purpose, it stands today as a remarkable example of military architecture and a testament to the turbulent historical events of the time.


A visit to Beaumaris Castle is a journey back in time, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the world of medieval warfare and experience the majesty of one of Wales’ most iconic castles.



Wales is a land of enchanting beauty and rich history, and its castles are a testament to its captivating past. From the grandeur of Caernarfon Castle to the imposing walls of Conwy Castle, each fortress tells a unique story and offers visitors a glimpse into a bygone era.


These castles are not merely static structures; they are living testaments to the struggles, triumphs, and cultural heritage of Wales. They bear witness to centuries of power dynamics and reflect the architectural prowess of their time.


Exploring these castles is like embarking on a time-traveling adventure. Stepping through their gateways, visitors can imagine themselves in the midst of medieval feasts, royal ceremonies, and heroic sieges. The painstaking preservation and restoration efforts ensure that the essence and atmosphere of these ancient fortresses are maintained.


But these castles are more than just remnants of the past; they are thriving cultural assets that host events, exhibitions, and activities throughout the year. From medieval reenactments to interactive educational displays, these castles continue to captivate and inspire visitors of all ages.


Whether you are a history enthusiast, an architecture lover, or simply seeking awe-inspiring experiences, Wales’ castles offer a treasure trove of adventure. Each castle has its own unique allure, with its architectural features, historical significance, and breathtaking surroundings.


So, set foot on the ancient walls, explore the stone chambers, and let the stories of these castles transport you to a time of chivalry, royalty, and intrigue. Embark on a journey through Wales’ rich history and create memories that will last a lifetime.


Plan your visit to Wales and discover the wonders of these magnificent castles – reminders of a captivating past and symbols of the enduring spirit of this remarkable country.