Top 10 Beautiful Castles in Wales to Visit (The UK)
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When it comes to considering the list of castles, no other place can beat Wales. Some believed some of the best castles in Britain found in Wales. From defensive strongholds showing conflicts of Civil War to Victorian monuments and decadence, these castles in Wales have the architectural splendor which truly stirs the soul.
Wales is the undisputed king of castles in Britain by merely having more ancient fortresses per sq. miles than any other country in Europe. A lot of the structures in Wales date back to the rule of King Edward I, who built castles in Wales to monitor his lands. These castles are also known as Edwardian castles as they have marked a new era of construction of villas.
How many castles in Wales?
According to the locals, Wales has around 600 castles, and dozens of them are preserved magnificently in the surroundings that visit a great experience.
In short, Wales is a modern country with a great heritage. No matter where you go, there is a castle in Wales to recall the moments of thrilling 200 years of history. Wales was a nation to fight for, and you will never regret visiting the place. Without further ado, let’s have a look at some of the best castles in Wales.
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Table of Contents
- 1 Where to stay in Wales?
- 2 Short in time? Go sightseeing in Wales on tour!
- 3 Top 10 List of castles to visit in Wales
- 4 Plan your trip to The UK
- 5 Other destinations to visit in Europe
- 6 Are you on Pinterest? Pin these for later read!
Where to stay in Wales?
Short in time? Go sightseeing in Wales on tour!
Top 10 List of castles to visit in Wales
Stretched over 30 acres (12.2 hectares), Caerphilly is the biggest castle in Wales that survived since the medieval Western world. In the medieval defensive architecture, it was a high point with its significant water features and massive gatehouses.
In 1268, it was constructed by Earl Gilbert de Clare to scare the last native Prince of Wales, Llywelyn, from fighting Normans in the south of Wales. It was once used as a model for castles of Edward I in North Wales. It was seized by Llywelyn when construction was partly finished, but Normans soon conquered it back.
After the defeat and death of Llywelyn, the Welsh threat ended substantially, and the castle was used as an administrative hub of de Clare’s estates. It was also the house of Edward II for some time. Since Caerphilly was not suitable for a family, it decayed eventually, and the nearby country house built with its stone. The coal money of the Victorian Bute family restored and rescued this castle.
An informative exhibition of Castle of Wales situated on one of the towers. It also has the replica of siege engines on the grounds. You can also take an AV tour here.
Perched on a high cliff above the world-renowned terrace gardens, Powis Castle initially built as a medieval fortress in circa 1200, belonged to the Welsh Princes of Powys, who held over their kingdom, even with having threats of their powerful neighbors in England and Gwynedd.
Powis Castle was sold in1587 to Sir Edward Herbert, who created a fairytale gallery which is decorated well with coats of his ancestors’ arms. The Powis and Clive estates combined with the marriage of Edward Clive, Robert Clive’s son, who conquered India, and Lady Henrietta Herbert.
The medieval castle houses one of the best collections of furniture and paintings in Wales these days. It was built initially by Welsh Princes and was the ancestral home of Clives and Herberts. Clive Museum displays the serene collection of Indian treasures.
The Gardens and Castles have been embellished and remodeled over 400 years and reflect the ambitions and diverse needs of the Herbert family. Each generation has added to the enormous collection of sculpture, paintings, tapestries, and furniture.
The 4th Earl of Powis and Lady Violet, his wife, redecorated most of the castle and redefined the gardens while introducing new varieties from different parts of the world. The world-renowned garden, with clipped yews, tender plants, and rare shelters is built as per the French and Italian architectural styles. It maintains its original statues and orangery on terraces.
Built around the summit of 200 ft. (60 meters) Hill facing the Llŷn Peninsula and Cardigan Bay, the Harlech Castle may be marked by centuries of decay and battle. However, it remains one of the most well-known castles in South Wales.
Built-in 1283 for Edward I, an architect James got the most of sheer cliffs of the site of St. George on the western and northern boundaries to strengthen the fortifications of the castle. The castle was attacked as soon as it was finished and served as a fortress in the 1600s. Visitors can roam the ruins and get the most exquisite views on the Cambrian coast.
Built on the Taff River banks, Cardiff Castle has a rich history dating back to the Roman occupation of Britain. It has been turned into a medieval fortress, a Norman keeps and a Gothic residence over the centuries. It was turned into a fairytale castle under the influence of Gothic Revival architecture by the third Marquess of Bute in the 1800s.
The villa is operated as a tourist attraction by the city of Cardiff. Visitors can visit the sumptuous apartments of the castle, roam the well-landscaped gardens around the grounds and explore the Firing Line Museum.
Chirk Castle, the stark symbol of power, was completed during the reign of Edward I in 1310 to subdue the last Wales princes. Built on an outcrop above the land where Ceiriog and Dee rivers meet, the impressive castle silhouette was a brooding statement of the intent of English in these lands.
Chirk Castle stands as the last castle with the history of over 700 years which is still alive today. Many occupants of this castle have left some eclectic and beautiful collections and lavish interiors behind. It has 17th century Long Gallery in the state apartments, rich tapestry in the 18th-century grand saloon, restored East Range with the library, servant’s hall, and Bow Room of 1920s style showing off the connections of Chirk Castle to high society.
The award-winning gardens are stretched over 5.5 acres of well-crafted lawns, herbaceous boundaries, clipped yews, shrub, rose, and rock gardens, and the wooded ground for a stroll. Also visit the terrace facing the ha-ha at the bottom of the garden built in the 18th century, with picture-perfect views of Salop and Cheshire plains.
Chirk Castle has more than 480 acres of parkland estate to explore for you, with sheep, wild ponies, veteran trees, and well-preserved Offa’s Dyke section. The estate located in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and it has been a major habitat for bats, rare invertebrates, wildflowers, etc. as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
The immense strength of Caernarfon Castle has still been undimmed even after the centuries. The pumped-up look of Caernarfon Castle is undoubtedly masculine. With this huge structure, getting a fight would have been a very tiresome aspect. By throwing the weight in stone, King Edward I created one of the most beautiful castles in Wales. It is truly worth of World Heritage listing.
A lot of castles have round towers, but Caernarfon has polygonal towers, and the Eagle Tower is the most impressive of them. You can also spot the color-coded stones which were arranged strategically in bands.
This magnificent castle has been positioned, and It had been the site of bailey castle and Norman Motte. A Roman foot stood around it before that. The banks of the Seiont River became the easy access to the sea and an ideal spot for Edward’s monster.
Edward was not intended to miss the chance to get his grip tightened further on the native population. The birth of the first English Prince of Wales, who was his son, in 1284 in the castle, was the excellent device to place his supremacy.
The investiture of HRH Prince Charles, the current Prince of Wales, took place in this castle in 1969. If you have plans to visit this beautiful fortress, make sure never miss the chance to visit the Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum, housed in two of the towers of the castle.
Located in the Pembrokeshire country of Southeast Wales, Pembroke Castle is the largest private castle in the country. It is one of the best-preserved and oldest castles in Wales as well.
The castle was built in 1093 when the town was conquered by the Earl of Shrewsbury from the Welsh. Well regarded as the birthplace of Henry VII, Pembroke Castle started to decay in the 17th century, but it was recovered fully during the 1900s. This public castle houses staged tableaux holds events that happened in the history of the castle, along with falconry displays and re-enactments of battles.
Located in Newport, Wales, the Newport Castle is a castle ruin built in the 14th century, usually by Hugh de Audley, who was the first Earl of Gloucester or Ralph, the Earl of Stafford, who was his son-in-law, to manage the River Usk crossing.
The castle has been used as an administrative hub for the collection of dues and rent from tenants and was also a garrison and a residence. Owain Glyndŵr sacked it in 1402, but it has gone into misery by 1522 and was taken by the forces of Oliver Cromwell during the period of Civil War.
The use of the castle further declined later on. Since 1951, it has been listed as a Grade II listed complex. In the city of Newport, the location of the castle is in between the nearby railway bridge on the west of River Usk and the Newport Bridge. It is situated in front of B4591 at Old Green interchange.
The castle had a kitchen, great hall, chambers, a gallery, and a range of luxurious apartments by the efforts of Humphrey Stafford in the 15th century, used by the lord in the south tower. John Newman, who was an architectural historian, mentioned that the T-shaped room was the most fantastic feature in the central tower over the water-gate, which may have offered a great ceremonial setting.
The site of the castle covered the land between the river and Newport Station. The place was modified a lot due to infrastructure projects like a railway bridge, railway, and inner ring road, along with the removal of moat and destruction of a lot of inner baileys. The castle remains no longer at the same height.It was a river-based castle without any specific fortification on the roadside of walled court. It just has the east of the castle ruins.
Located over a headland of Tremaddog Bay, the Criccieth Castle showcases the King Edward I’s influence on the construction of the Welsh fortress. Built-in, the late 13th century by Llywelyn the Great, the design of the castle, had a lot of Edwardian castle features, including outward arrow slits, outside wall, and killing holes in the passage.
The castle had been transferred from Welsh to English and vice versa, until the 15th century, when it was set on fire during the last rebellion of great Welsh. Here, visitors can stroll around the ruins and explore the collections about the epic past of castles in Wales.
Raglan Castle is truly a beautiful epitome of power and wealth. From the magnificent tower, which is the icon of memories of ancient castles like Caernarfon to the large gatehouse which greets visitors just as an owner, everything in this castle has its significance. It is like an Englishman’s home. The Raglan Castle of William Herbert is equivalent to the Welshman’s castle.
It’s built for the show instead of fighting battles, and the castle still held off the forces of parliament for over 13 weeks in one of the previous Civil War sieges. Eventually, the castle was taken and was destroyed well by the parliament.
There are enough ruins in the castle that are still impressive. Behind the Great Hall, the Buttery in this castle reopened for the public. So, don’t forget to have a plan to spot the shooting spot of BBC’s Merlin. Nurture the historian within you as you witness the new exhibits, installations, and creations at the grandest castle built by a Welshman ever.
Plan your trip to The UK
- 25 Unique Things to Do in London: What to Do in London in 2019
- Top 10 Day Trips from London
- 26 Photos of London in Black and White + U.K Visa For Filipinos in Finland
- Top Castles in Scotland
- Top Castles in Northern Ireland
- Top Castles in England
Other destinations to visit in Europe
Portugal, France, Andorra, Spain, Greece, Italy, Malta, Gibraltar, Monaco, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, The Netherlands, The UK, Ireland, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia an Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Bulgaria, Armenia, Albania, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, and Macedonia.
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