Wales is home to more than 600 castles, and is rumoured to have more strongholds per square mile than anywhere else in the world. In the northern region of the Welsh nation are some of the most spectacular, well-preserved fortresses you will ever see. Here are five of the best for you to visit…
The largest citadel in North Wales, Caernarfon Castle’s intimidating presence contrasts with its architectural mastery. The colossal structure features impressive polygonal towers, with the Eagle Tower being the most remarkable of them all.
Its imposing position on the peninsula of the River Seiont gives Caernarfon Castle prominence and showcases the structure’s power. The fortress is home to the Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum, which you will discover as you tour the castle’s towers. With a maze of passageways and alcoves to explore, this mighty bastion is a must-see attraction.
Before you event set foot in Conwy Castle, you will be blown away by its striking entrance. Two fortified gateways, featuring eight enormous towers, rise out of the ground at the end of a magnificent bridge that stretches over the River Conwy, in a display of epic grandeur. Considered one of the finest fortresses in North Wales, the walls within have a story to tell.
Discover the grandeur of the grand hall before stepping into the private chambers and royal chapel of this magnificent medieval stronghold. For breathtaking views across mountains and sea, ascend the battlement towers and gaze out as far as the eye can see over an unforgettable landscape.
Rumoured to have been built on the oldest rock in the world, Harlech Castle is an immense fortress with distinct battlements that rise out of a near-vertical cliff-face. An incredible 61 metre long staircase stretches from the castle to the cliff base, taking you right down to the breathtaking sea front, and Harlech Beach, with its golden sands.
A floating bridge connects the castle to an amazing visitor centre where you can discover the illustrious history of this once impenetrable fortress. Meanwhile, the prominent position of Harlech Castle gives you unimaginable views of the surrounding landscape.
The beautiful Beaurmaris Castle is an architectural masterpiece characterised by its perfect symmetry, seamless integration with the surrounding landscape and a moat, despite the fortress never being finished! With a backdrop of monumental mountains, the castle sits at the centre of the Island of Anglesey and holds World Heritage status.
You can tour the castle, walking the walls of this perfectly preserved ruin, beholding breathtaking views of the sea and mountainous landscape. Discover the history of this once formidable fortress in its heyday, when it was considered the most hi-tech castle structure of its time.
Perched on the crest of high-rise headland overlooking the sea, Criccieth Castle is a jewel of the North Wales coastline. Characterised by unforgettable views, this once mighty fortress is a monument to the golden age of castles in Wales. The ruined walls of Criccieth Castle tell stories of sieges and bloody battles as many sought to seize this coveted stronghold.
The well-preserved twin tower gatehouse is an impressive sight to behold as you approach the fortress, while at the foot of the castle sits Tremadog Bay, with its sweeping sand and shingle beach and stunning views over the horizon.
No Snowdonia camping trip is complete without a visit to a North Wales castle. Once the heartbeat of Welsh communities, the nation’s castles give you an insight into the rich history and heritage of these ancient lands. A Welsh castle visit is a must-have activity on your Snowdonia camping trip bucket list.
To plan your visit, go to: www.cadw.gov.wales
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