From defensive beginnings and the conflict of Civil War, to Tudor banqueting and Victorian decadence, the architectural splendour of these fortresses always stirs the soul. If you're looking for castles in Wales to visit, read on.

Castles in North Wales

Conwy Castle

Perched on a rock against the backdrop of Eryri (Snowdonia), Conwy Castle has an indisputably magical feel. Some consider it the finest castle Edward I built, and the mesmerising views from the battlements are particularly famed within the walled town. Conwy is one of the castles in north Wales that forms a UNESCO world heritage site. It's quite amazing to stand in this castle and consider how it was built in only four years between 1283 and 1287. Conwy remains the most complete set of residential rooms inhabited by the medieval monarchy anywhere in Wales or England. Edward I only stayed here once, trapped by a Welsh rebellion in 1294 over Christmas until January 1295. King Richard II hid at the castle from King Henry IV. With great halls, private chapels and royal chambers wind through this medieval marvel, it's a great castle to visit.

Bridge towards Conwy Castle
Conwy Castle and estuary.
Aerial view of walkway to castle

The mighty Conwy Castle still towers over the town after 700 years

Caernarfon Castle

Edward I wasn’t messing around when he built this polygonal 13th century castle on a former Roman fort. Part of the coastal World Heritage Site, the mighty Caernarfon Castle remains one of the most visually arresting sights you’ll ever see. The birthplace of Edward II and where the investiture of King Charles III as Prince of Wales took place, visit the Exhibition rooms to stir your senses. There's now step free access to the rooftop.

Read more: Caernarfon's military might.

Exterior view of Caernarfon Castle from the South with boats and water.
glass lift inside castle.
viewing platform in castle.

Caernarfon Castle, Gwynedd, North Wales

Chirk Castle

The picturesque Welsh-English border offers few sites as magnificent as Chirk Castle. Roger Mortimer built the castle in the late 13th century. It was home for the Myddelton family from the 1595 until Thomas Scott-Ellis leased it in 1910. It is now owned and run by the National Trust. The elegant state rooms inside are an interior dream, combining elaborate plasterwork with a medieval tower, a dungeon and an 18th century Servants’ Hall. Enjoy an uplifting wander through the garden, terrace, pavilion and parkland enclosing Wrexham’s gem.

Castles in Mid Wales

Powis Castle

Powis Castle has a rich history, although it’s the gardens – famed for their French and Italian styles, adorned with plants and an orangery – that single it out, and that’s before you spot the medieval deer park. The perfect place to relax before heading inside to see the medieval fortress. Powis Castle was built in the mid 13th century by Gruffudd ap Gwenwynwyn, a Welsh prince. In 1578, Powis was leased to Sir Edward Herbert. It features decadent galleries and staircases aplenty.

A grand view of Powis Castle and the Gardens.

Powis Castle and Garden, Mid Wales

Visit Wales Newsletter

This is Wales. A country with a warm heart, a rich history and an exciting future. Subscribe to our newsletter to hear our latest stories, holiday or short break ideas and more about interesting events taking place in Wales.

Castles in West Wales

Dinefwr Castle

The folkloric 12th century castle at Dinefwr Park is hugely atmospheric. This once much fought-over seat of the kingdom of Deheubarth is now run by the National Trust. Enjoy the wonderful views and guided tours that take in the nearby nature reserve, cottages, ponds, croquet lawn and a tea room. Look out for the rutting deer and cows who might join you during a stroll around the 18th century landscape park.

Laugharne Castle

The magnificent medieval Laugharne Castle was part of a chain of Norman coastal castles from Chepstow in the east to Pembroke in the west. After centuries of conflict, Laugharne was rescued from near ruin by Elizabethan courtier Sir John Perrot. It's forever associated with Dylan Thomas, who escaped writer’s block at this 'brown as owls' castle. Discover his inspiration within the Victorian ornamental gardens, and relax near the Dylan Thomas Boathouse and Shed where poetry was once in motion.

exterior of Laugharne castle with two people walking along footpath.
Close up shot of Laugharne Castle.

Laugharne Castle, which sits on the estuary of the River Tâf, West Wales

Cilgerran Castle

The Normans’ penchant for defences with river views means 12th century Cilgerran Castle has an amazing vantage point, overlooking the River Teifi. Circle the two vast round towers and walk between the walls of the Earl of Pembroke’s creation on a gorge – home to a castle which, even by Welsh standards, is particularly beautiful.

Cilgerran Castle ruins, photo taken through arch with wicker figure in the background.
lifesize wicker figure of soldier with sword in foreground and castle ruins in background.

Cilgerran Castle, Pembrokeshire, West Wales

Castles in South Wales

Caerphilly Castle

Caerphilly Castle was locked within water defences when it was built by the English during the 13th century. The outside is the place, among an array of delights, to see four siege engines, and the inside has a hallowed, majestic feel.

aerial view of castle and surrounding town.

Caerphilly Castle, South Wales

Raglan Castle

Raglan Castle's striking round towers make this fortress a singular classic, and there’s every chance you’ll be enraptured from the moment you see the astonishing gatehouse which once denied Oliver Cromwell at the end of the Civil War. Surrounded by fields, the romantic ruins even make space for a bowling green. Construction of this South Wales castle began in the 1430s by Sir William ap Thomas. It's one of the last true castles to be built in Wales.

three boys walking with castle walls in background.
Inner walls of castle looking down from tower.

Raglan Castle, Monmouthshire

Caldicot Castle

Every view from the incredible medieval Caldicot Castle could be a picture postcard. The history of this 13th century castle, built by Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford, is the stuff of legend. From Norman beginnings, to conflict in the Middle Ages, and Victorian domesticity. Fifty five acres of country park await, as well as events such as re-enactments and a tearoom for unwinding.

What is the oldest castle in Wales?

Chepstow Castle the oldest castle in Wales. It was one of the first Norman strongholds in Wales. It's the oldest surviving post-Roman stone castle in Britain. The building of this castle started in 1067 by Earl William FitzOsbern, a close friend of William the Conqueror.

What is the biggest castle in Wales?

Caerphilly Castle is the largest castle in Wales, and the second largest in Britain after Windsor Castle. The magnificent fortress covers 30 acres and boasts massive walls, towers, and gatehouses. It is three times the size of Principality Stadium and a must-see for anyone visiting the area.

What is the smallest castle in Wales?

It is believed that Weobley castle is one of the smallest castle in Wales. It has views of the beautiful Gower peninsula. This former elegant family home with a watchtower. Built by the wealthy de la Bere family, stewards to the lords of Gower 700 years ago, Weobley suffered serious damage during the uprising of Owain Glyndwr in the early 15th century.

Related stories