Though small in size, Wales is an absolutely striking country with uncountable picturesque attractions. And castles being one of the most important features of the country’s landscape are must-visits in Wales. Do you know that, with more than 600 castles, this is the country with more castles per mile than anywhere else on the planet? Crazy fact, right? Most of the Welsh Castles date back to the period of King Edward I and today they are fondly known as the Edwardian Castles. Castles in Wales are magnificent feats of architecture and many of them are inspirations behind the early stone buildings of the country. The Edwardian castles even helped a new architectural style known as military architecture where one generally gets to see three concentric stone walls and towers.
So if you are visiting this beautiful European country and want to explore its majestic scene of fortresses, below are some of the best castles in Wales that must be on your bucket list.
Most Beautiful And Grandest Castles in Wales You Must Visit:
One of the greatest examples of Edwardian style of castle, Caernarfon Castle is a medieval fortress located in the northwest of Wales. Until 1283, it was a motte-and-bailey castle before it got replaced by its today’s stone structure under the reign of Edward I. Most of the structures still stand today that is comprised of an outer wall encircling the whole settlement and another inner castle wall for stronger protection. There are towers and gates along the inner wall which are characteristic features of Edwardian castles.
A part of the World Heritage Site “Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd”, Caernarfon Castle is one of the best castles in Wales to visit.
Talking about Conwy Castle, this Welsh medieval fortification castle sitting in Conwy is a part of the Iron Ring of Castles in Wales. Built between 1283 and 1289 by King Edward I, during his conquest of Wales, this fortified castle on the northern coast of Wales, shows off a lovely architectural example. In fact, the grey sand and limestone that are the constituent materials of the rocky ridge on which the castle stands, have also been used to construct the caste.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site offers you several guided tours that make you explore the great hall, inner corridors, kitchen, and bedrooms. Climb up to the top to have a lovely view of the town and the ocean.
The beauty of this late medieval castle can’t be described in words. One of the late true castles built in Wales, the construction of Raglan Castle began in the 1430s by the Blue Knight of Gwent. The castle was mainly built to showcase the influential power and wealth and not for any defensive purpose. Its polygonal structure and its majestic six-sided gatehouse are breathtaking to visit. The most dominant feature of the castle is the Great Tower or the Yellow Tower of Gwent which is surrounded by a moat. Other than the Great Tower, there are the Closet Tower and Kitchen Tower which are equally impressive. One of the best castles in Wales for sure.
Located on the estuary of the River Tâf and established in 1116 Laugharne Castle is gorgeous. Today this castle has mostly been turned into ruin but it gives you an astonishing view across the estuary. With two giant medieval stone towers standing strong guarding the remains of an amazing Tudor mansion, Laugharne Castle was a perfect defensive fortress and today it is a must-visit. It was the welsh poet Dylan Thomas’ most loved castle and he wrote his “Portrait of an Artist” in the castle’s summerhouse. Get into the castle for some entry fee and view the towers and the summerhouse from very near.
Locating in South Wales, Caerphilly Castle is the second biggest castle in the UK and the third biggest one in Europe. And one of the most intriguing facts about this castle is that its South-Eastern tower is leaning at an angle of 10 degrees to the vertical which is due to subsidence. Fondly, this tower is also called ‘the Welsh Tower of Pisa’. One of the grandest fortresses in Western Europe, this castle is located in the heart of Caerphilly. Another must-note fact about this massive stone castle is that it was constructed in just 3 years, between 1268 and 1271 which, for such a massive stone palace is really a very less time. One of the best and grandest castles in Wales to visit for sure.
Looming high over a rocky knoll close to the Irish Sea, Harlech Castle is one of the most fantastic medieval fortifications in Wales. Again it was built in the year 1283 for Edward I. And due to its strategic location on the hill with sheer cliffs on two of its sides, it was considered one of the greatest castles built for fortification purposes of that time.
It has faced many battles and attacks and its crowning presence on the crag makes it such a fantastic sight to behold. According to many visitors, this castle has the most picturesque setting for all the Edwardian castles in Wales. You can access the castle through a footbridge and can enjoy a magnificent view of the Cambrian coast along with taking a tour of the castle remnants. Harlech Castle is surely one of the best castles in Wales to visit.