12 Beautiful Castles In Wales (UK) To Visit

Are you looking for the most beautiful castles in Wales? You are on the right page! I have been to the different parts of Wales, and I will share my best pick on the prettiest castles in Wales to visit.

Wales is the second-smallest country in the United Kingdom after Northern Ireland, but despite its small size, it has a lot to offer. Welsh history and landscape both heavily involve castles. Wales is the nation with the most castles per square mile of any other nation in the world with well over 400.

Contrary to popular belief, the majority of castles in Wales are actually English rather than Welsh because they were constructed to keep the Welsh under English rule as well as to oversee and protect the surrounding areas.

After Dafydd, the final Prince of Wales was put to death in 1283, Wales was captured by England. Following this, Edward I of England had complete control over Wales. To ensure that the Welsh populace would submit to English rule, he ordered the construction of castles, many of which were enormous stone buildings typical of Medieval architecture.

Ryazan Tristram in Conwy Castle in Conwy, Wales
Beautiful Castles in Wales: In Conwy Castle in Conwy, Wales

Beautiful Castles in Wales (UK) To Visit

1. Cardiff Castle

Another medieval castle in Wales Cardiff Castle, which is situated in the nation’s capital, was first constructed as a motte-and-bailey castle in the 11th century on top of an earlier Roman fort from the third century.

Cardiff Castle
Beautiful Castles in Wales: Cardiff Castle

A shell keeps and protective walls were added to the castle a century later as it was gradually rebuilt in stone. The castle gradually underwent modifications, additions, and redesigns over the ensuing centuries.

Cardiff Castle experienced the same effects as other castles during the English Civil War, first being taken by Parliamentary forces and then being reclaimed by Royalist backers.

Cardiff Wales
Beautiful Castles in Wales: At the Cardiff Castle in Cardiff, Wales

The castle was converted into a Georgian mansion in the middle of the 18th century, and then it underwent a Gothic revival redesign. The interiors were regarded as exceptionally accurate and noteworthy examples of gothic revival because the renovations were carried out under William Burges’ close supervision. Beautiful murals, stained glass components, delicate wood carvings, and marble were all featured in the opulent interiors.

The castle was converted into an air raid shelter during World War II. If you want to know more about Cardiff and Cardiff castle, I wrote another article about the best things to do in Cardiff. I’m sure you will have a great time visiting this Welsh city.

2. Pembroke Castle

Archeologists have recently discovered even more specific information about the first Tudor king’s birthplace, which has brought renewed attention to Pembroke Castle. The castle is famously known as the birthplace of Henry VII, and it has recently come to the attention of the public once again.

Pembroke Castle in Pembroke town
Beautiful Castles in Wales: Pembroke Castle in Pembroke town

It is one of the most impressive examples of Norman stone castles that can be found anywhere in the country because the original castle was constructed at the very end of the 11th century, and it was rebuilt in stone a century later.

Wogan’s Cavern, also known as Wogan Cave, is where Pembroke Castle is located. There is evidence that humans have been inhabiting the cave as far back as the Paleolithic and Mesolithic periods respectively. In the 13th century, the cave was incorporated into the defensive system of Pembroke Castle.

During the English Civil War, Oliver Cromwell’s forces launched an assault on the castle in the year 1648. Cromwell himself was present during the successful capture of the castle after a siege that lasted for seven weeks.

I really had a great time visiting Pembroke, I wrote another article about the best things to do in Pembrokeshire. Feel free to read it to know more about this beautiful Welsh county.

3. Conwy Castle

The Conwy Castle, which is located on the northern coast of Wales, is yet another fortification in Wales that dates back to the reign of King Edward I of England. The construction of the castle began in the late 13th century, and it was a significant contributor to the establishment of the town of Conwy. The castle was also besieged during multiple wars during this time period.

Conwy Castle in Conwy Wales
Beautiful Castles in Wales: Conwy Castle

The castle is an outstanding illustration of Welsh defensive architecture from the middle ages; its defensive wall is instantly recognizable due to the massive round towers that are built into it. Not only is the castle a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the UK, but the organization also considers it to be among the most impressive examples of military architecture from that time period that can be found anywhere in Europe.

The layout of the castle is in the shape of a rectangle, and it has eight towers in total, as well as inner and outer wards. The outer ward was where the kitchens, stables, prison, and garrison were located, while the inner ward was where all of the master chambers were located.

4. Caernarfon Castle

Caernarfon Castle is a medieval fortress that can be found in the northwestern corner of Wales. It was constructed in the late 13th century to replace an earlier motte-and-bailey castle that had been in place on the site since the 11th century. In addition to this, it is one of the most well-known castles in all of Wales.

Caernarfon Castle in Wales
Beautiful Castles in Wales: Caernarfon Castle

The fact that the town of Caernarfon served as the administrative center of North Wales during the reign of King Edward I of England is directly related to the grand and massive appearance of the castle. The castle was constructed during this time period.

After the Tudors came to power and the relationship between England and Wales became more stable, many of the Welsh castles lost their significance, and Caernarfon Castle was one of the castles that slowly started falling into disrepair as a result of this. Caernarfon Castle was one of the castles that was besieged multiple times. It was not repaired until the 19th century, when it was finally given any attention at all.

The castle has two entrances: one is accessible from the town, and the other provides access to the castle without the need to travel through the town. It also has a number of polygonal towers and battlements. Despite everyone’s best efforts, the castle was never completed in the way that was originally envisioned.

5. Harlech Castle

This castle, which was used as a home for royalty in 1283 and as a fortress until the 1600s, is easily one of the most well-known castles in Wales. Its appearance, however, has been marred by the passage of time and by conflict. The castle is situated on a hill that is approximately 60 meters (about 200 feet) high and offers breathtaking views of both Cardigan Bay and the Llyn Peninsula.

Harlech Castle in Snowdonia Wales
Beautiful Castles in Wales: Harlech Castle

The stunning remains of the once-majestic Harlech Castle can be seen looking out over the bay of Ceredigion. Harlech Castle was constructed between the years 1283 and 1286, and it served as a bastion for Edward I during his campaigns to subjugate the Welsh.

The location on top of the cliff provided the ideal vantage point for observing any potential attacks, whether they came from the sea or the land. If they came to the castle from the front, the first thing they had to do was cross the moat. After that, they had to get through thick wooden doors, an iron portcullis, and a killing area where they were shot at with arrows and crossbow bolts. Only then could they enter the castle.

With the construction of an elevated walkway that leads up to the castle gates, it is now much simpler to cross the moat and enter the castle grounds. Once you are inside, you can either climb up the towers to the ramparts to get views across the sea and towards the hills of Snowdonia, or you can explore the many rooms that are equipped with explanation boards.

In addition, there is a model of a friendly dragon in the courtyard that can be used as a photo opportunity. The UNESCO World Heritage site includes the castles of Harlech, Beaumaris, Caernarfon, and Conwy. Harlech Castle is one of the four castles that make up the site. The location welcomes both people and their canine companions, and it features a café and an information center.

6. Chepstow Castle

In the year 1067, Norman Lord William Fitz Osbern, a close friend of William the Conqueror, initiated the construction of this castle, which was referred to as Castell Cas-gwent in Welsh.

Chepstow Castle in Wales
Beautiful Castles in Wales: Chepstow Castle

It is believed that Chepstow Castle is one of the oldest stone castles that is still standing in the United Kingdom. It was constructed in the 11th century, making it almost a thousand years old, and it has always stood in the same location, looking out over this stunning region of Wales.

The oldest wooden door on any castle in the UK can still be seen today; it was built almost 800 years ago and has stood the test of time. In addition, you have the option of exploring the historic ruins that are contained within the Great Tower on your own. If you have a passion for history, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to visit this magnificent castle in Wales.

7. Powis Castle

Not only does Powis Castle stand out among the medieval castles in Wales due to its exterior made of red stone, but it also stands out as one of the few castles that have withstood the test of time and have never really fallen into disrepair. This makes Powis Castle rather exceptional. The construction of the castle began at the beginning of the 13th century, and since that time, it has undergone a number of renovations as well as improvements.

Powis Castle in Wales
Beautiful Castles in Wales: Powis Castle

The magnificent state bedroom, as well as the terraced gardens that contribute to the one-of-a-kind character of this property, were both added to the castle in the 17th century. In spite of the fact that it was built with the intention of serving as a stronghold, it quickly transformed into what it is today: a stunning royal manor that is home to a magnificent art collection, exquisite interiors, and artifacts from India.

Powis Castle is home to some of the most beautiful Baroque gardens in the entirety of the United Kingdom. These gardens feature one-of-a-kind landscaping as well as yew trees that are hundreds of years old.

8. Caerphilly Castle

In order to protect itself from Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, the last king of a united Wales before Edward I’s reign took control of the country, Caerphilly Castle in South Wales was constructed as a defensive castle. The castle is located not far from Cardiff, the capital of Wales. The castle grounds cover an area of about 30 acres, making it the second largest such location in Britain.

Caerphilly Castle in Wales
Beautiful Castles in Wales: Caerphilly Castle in Wales

The construction of the castle took place in the latter half of the 13th century, and to this day, it is protected by an impressive moat that is completely submerged. The design of Caerphilly Castle was quite innovative for its time, and it was responsible for popularizing the concentric castle design throughout the rest of Britain’s castles.

The castle stood tall for a couple of centuries, but by the middle of the 16th century, it was already being documented in writing as being in a ruinous state. Notable is the fact that the tower in the southeast corner of the castle is tilted at an angle of ten degrees off its vertical axis.

9. Beaumaris Castle

The fortress of Beaumaris, located in North Wales, is yet another magnificent example of the castles that were constructed during the reign of Edward I. Even though the construction of the interior of the castle which is situated on the island of Anglesey was never completed due to a lack of funds and other resources, its magnificent exterior has survived the test of time as a majestic reminder of medieval architecture.

Beaumaris Castle in Wales
Beautiful Castles in Wales: Beaumaris Castle

The walls of Beaumaris Castle are constructed in a perfectly symmetrical concentric pattern, and it also features notable round drum towers. Despite the fact that it appears to be an impregnable medieval stronghold, the castle does not have the typical menacing look that is so characteristic of the majority of other castles that were built during the same time period.

It is impossible to miss the castle’s impeccable architectural craftsmanship or the way it blends in with the natural beauty of its surroundings.

10. Raglan Castle

Raglan Castle, which can be found in the south-east of Wales, is a late Medieval castle. Construction on the castle began in 1430, making it approximately 580 years old. Sir William ap Thomas, also known as the Blue Knight of Gwent, was the one who gave the order for the construction of the castle.

Raglan Castle in Wales
Beautiful Castle in Wales: Raglan Castle

At the tail end of the 16th century, the castle was the site of significant construction work, during which time new additions such as a roof made of hammerbeams were constructed.

The sandstone castle was not constructed for the purpose of providing defense; rather, its primary objective was to portray and showcase a powerful influence and wealth.

The polygonal structures are one of the most prominent architectural elements of the castle. Given the overall landscape of Welsh castles, this particular castle stands out as being rather exceptional. The vast majority of other castles are either square or round in plan, unlike Raglan Castle, which has a gatehouse and towers that each have six sides. In addition, there is a moat that encircles the Yellow Tower of Gwent within the castle grounds.

11. Carew Castle

The Carew Castle is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful and significant examples of Welsh architecture. Because of its location on the riverside, Carew Castle is one of the most well-known and frequently photographed castles in Pembrokeshire. This is due to the fact that the north windows of the 15th-century castle are frequently reflected in the still waters of the river Carew.

Carew Castle in Wales
Beautiful Castle in Wales: Carew Castle

The Carew family continues to own Carew Castle, which is the origin of their surname, but they have agreed to let the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park use the property in exchange for a lease payment. This Norman stronghold was constructed almost entirely out of the Carboniferous limestone that was found in the area.

In addition, it features a dry moat, a gatehouse, three D-shaped towers, two round towers, and a formidable defensive wall that was constructed during the 16th century. Since then, it has been remodeled into a long room that features ornate windows and provides stunning vistas of the scenery in the surrounding area.

12. Castell Coch

Castell Coch stands out due to the fact that it appears to be straight out of a fairytale, in contrast to the intimidating appearance that most other castles in Wales have due to their origins as fortifications. Not only are cylindrical turrets uncommon for Welsh castles, but medieval castles in Britain as a whole; this is a feature that is more likely to be found on castles located in continental Europe. Castell Coch is one of the few castles in Britain to feature such a feature.

Castel Coch in Cardiff
Beautiful Castles in Wales: Castell Coch
DeFacto CC BY-SA 4.0, Wiki

The reason for this, however, is that the castle wasn’t constructed in the Gothic revival style until the 1870s, during the Victorian era. This is the reason for this. On the other hand, it is well documented that there was an earlier Norman castle on the grounds, which dates back to the 11th century.

William Burges, a well-known architect, was hired by John Crichton-Stuart, the third Marquess of Bute, to reconstruct a castle based on the remains of the medieval structure. The interiors feature High Victorian elements and have been lauded as triumphs in Victorian composition by historians as well as architects.

Beautiful Castles in Wales UK To Visit Pin
Beautiful Castles in Wales UK To Visit


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