8 Welsh Castles To Put on Your Travel Bucket List Immediately

There's nothing for us history fans quite a like a day out at an ancient castle. Sprawling thick stone walls,  heavy drawbridges and the stories we wish they could tell. 

Here are eight beautiful Welsh castles to put on your visit list...

Caernarfon Castle. Photo by Neil Mark Thomas on Unsplash

Caernarfon Castle

Caernarfon Castle sits on the North Western Welsh coast. There was a castle here in the eleventh century but it was Edward I who began major stone building work here in the thirteenth century. The castle was the site of a number of raids over the years and saw action during the English Civil War in the mid-seventeenth-century. 

Caernarfon Castle, Photo by Julian Rayar on Unsplash

Laugharne Castle

Dating from the twelfth century, Laugharne Castle in Camarthenshire was a Medieval stronghold and Tudor mansion. It was one of Elizabeth I's courtiers - Sir John Perrot - who made it into a luxurious home. Another casualty of the English Civil War, it never recovered after Sir John's death in the Tower of London and was never lived in again. 

Laugharne Castle, Photo by Stuart Smith on Unsplash

Cardiff Castle

You can't miss the thick, stone walls of Cardiff's castle - and there's a huge amount of history here. Accessible by train, just a short walk from the station, you can explore the lush nineteenth-century apartments inside the castle and climb the top of the tower, with views all over Cardiff. Cardiff Castle is on the site of a Roman fort but the first castle here was built in Norman times. During World War 2, the tunnels were made into air-raid shelters and you can walk through them today. 

Cardiff Castle, Photo by Peyton Wells on Unsplash

Aberystwyth Castle

A thirteenth-century structure, Aberystwyth Castle was a Medieval castle built by Edward I on the coast of Wales and is now a ruin. Charles I also made it into a mint in the seventeenth century, when it was demolished by Oliver Cromwell after the English Civil War. 

Aberystwyth Castle. Photo by Jordan Ling on Unsplash

Beaumaris Castle

Beaumaris Castle on the island of Anglesey was built in 1295 and was the final Welsh castle ordered to be built by Edward I. It was never finished. It has an imposing gatehouse and is surrounded by a moat filled with sea water.

Beaumaris Castle. Photo by Gabriel Kiener on Unsplash

Conwy Castle

Building started at Conwy Castle in 1283 and it's so well preserved today it's well worth a visit. Traces of lime on the Medieval walls reveal it was once a gleaming white castle that would have risen tall above the skyline. Edward I, Edward II and Richard II have been associated with the castle, but it sustained damage during the English Civil War. 

Conwy Castle. Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash

Caerphilly Castle

Building started at Caerphilly Castle in 1268. It was the home of Hugh Despenser - Edward II's favourite - and has a leaning tower, caused by a strike during (yes, you've guessed it) the English Civil War in the seventeenth century.  

Caerphilly Castle. Photo by Alexandru Silitra on Unsplash

Dolbadarn Castle 

Built by Llewelyn The Great in the late twelfth or early thirteenth century, Dolbadarn Castle has an imposing round tower, although the outer walls don't survive. It sits, in stunning surroundings, between Snowdonia and Caernarfon. 

Dolbadarn Castle. Photo by ian kelsall on Unsplash

Have you visited any of these incredible castles, or any others in Wales not listed here? Let me know about them in the comments below... 

During the research for my book I found links between Welsh women and the Wars of the Roses, including Ellen Gethin and Lady Gwladys Gam, 'The Star of Abergavenny'. Find out more about them and other women impacted by the conflict in my book Forgotten Women of the Wars of the Roses, published by Pen and Sword.  Order your copy here. 

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