With over 600 castles, wherever you go on holiday in Wales, you won’t be too far from a historic site. If you don’t have time to visit every single one, here are five interesting castles to visit.
Conwy Castle, North Wales
Conwy Castle is regarded as one of the most magnificent medieval fortresses in Europe. The castle, and its 1.3km ring of town walls, have World Heritage status.
This remarkable fortress was built in an astonishing four-year period, between 1283 and 1287, and remains incredibly well-preserved today: it contains the most intact set of medieval royal apartments in Wales. If you have a head for heights, climb one of the castle's eight tremendous towers for breathtaking views of the harbour and the narrow streets of Conwy below.
Denbigh Castle, North Wales
Perched on the hill above the town, Denbigh Castle's most distinctive feature is its impressive triple-towered gatehouse. The castle was once the royal residence of Dafydd ap Gruffudd, whose attack on the nearby Hawarden Castle provoked the English king Edward I to mount a full-scale invasion.
During your visit, explore the mysterious ‘sally port’ - a secret doorway that allowed defenders to sneak in and out of the castle. Plus play spot-the-difference between the round and polygonal towers, which were built in separate phases around 1282 and 1295.
Raglan Castle, South Wales
Raglan Castle was one of the last medieval castles to be built in England and Wales — still formidable, although designed with comfort and luxury in mind. Climb the Great Tower on its moated island and explore the newly-restored undercroft beneath the castle, which used to house some of the finest wines in Europe, and were served at the high table to impress guests.
In keeping with Raglan's reputation for entertainment, the castle regularly plays host to events including poetry, plays, singing and dancing.
Caerphilly Castle, South Wales
This is a big castle, the biggest in Wales. It’s almost complete and it’s surrounded by a series of moats and watery islands. Climb to the rooftop of the massive east gatehouse. From here you can see the rings of stone and water defences that made Caerphilly so strong. Explore the dark passage known as the Braose Gallery and look out for the south- east tower — which out leans Pisa’s famous tower. And don’t forget the mighty siege engines and special firing events.
Kidwelly Castle, West Wales
Kidwelly is everything a castle should be — steep earthworks, high towers, tall walls and a great gatehouse that took at least a century to complete. Peel back the centuries to the earliest earth-and-timber castle built by the Normans. You can trace its half- moon shape by walking along the stonewalls built almost 100 years later. Don’t leave without exploring the great gatehouse or the beautiful little chapel overlooking the river.
Cardiff Castle, South Wales
Cardiff Castle is a fantastic piece of history nestled into the city centre - take a stroll through Bute Park to admire it's sheer size before venturing inside to really marvel at its magnificence. Uncover the fascinating story by delving into around 2000 years of Welsh history. Also, remember to check out their upcoming events which range from comedy nights to banquets, medieval battle re-enactments to live music events, Welsh-language festivals to open air theatre and lots, lots more.