From over 600 castles ever recorded, more than 400 castles in Wales are still standing or in ruins, so 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 is a selection of castles to visit.

Castell Conwy (Conwy Castle), North Wales

Castell Conwy (Conwy Castle) is regarded as one of the most magnificent medieval fortresses in Europe. The castle, and its three quarters of a mile (1.3 km) 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.

castle lit up at dusk.

Castell Conwy (Conwy Castle), North Wales

Castell Dinbych (Denbigh Castle), North Wales

Perched on the hill above the town, Castell Dinbych's (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.

Crumbling castle with archway.

Castell Dinbych (Denbigh Castle), North Wales

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.

castle viewed from above, with two people walking through the ruins.

Raglan Castle, South Wales

Castell Caerffili (Caerphilly Castle), South Wales

The largest castle in Wales, and the second-largest in Britain, Castell Caerffili (Caerphilly Castle) was locked within water defences when it was built by the English in 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.

Climb to the rooftop of the massive east gatehouse, from where you can see the rings of stone and water defences that made Caerphilly so impressive. Look out for the south-east tower – Wales’ very own Leaning Tower, wonkier even than that of Pisa – which is probably the castle's best-loved feature.

View of the castle from the gate
aerial view of castle and surrounding area.

Castell Caerffili (Caerphilly Castle), South Wales

Kidwelly Castle, West Wales

Kidwelly has everything a castle should: 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 stone walls built almost 100 years later. Don't leave without exploring the great gatehouse or the beautiful little chapel overlooking the river.

View across the Outer Ward from the Wall Walk at Kidwelly Castle

Kidwelly Castle, West Wales

Castell Harlech (Harlech Castle), North Wales

Perched upon a sheer, rocky crag and with the rugged peaks of Eryri (Snowdonia) in the distance, Castell Harlech Coleg Harlech (Harlech Castle) has one of the most spectacular settings of all of Wales' castles.

Built between 1282 and 1289, along with Edward I's other castles Conwy, Caernarfon and Beaumaris, Harlech is a World Heritage Site. A 'floating footbridge' allows visitors to access this colossal coastal fortress.

inside courtyard of Castell Harlech (Harlech Castle).
One of castle towers and mountains in the background

The imposing Castell Harlech (Harlech Castle), North Wales and its spectacular surrounding scenery

Cardiff Castle, South Wales 

Discover 2,000 years of Welsh history when you stumble upon Cardiff Castle, which is nestled among the shops, bars and general hubbub of the capital's city centre. Take a leisurely stroll through Bute Park to admire its sheer size before venturing inside to marvel at the Victorian Gothic magnificence.

Originally the site of a Roman fort – remains of the Roman wall can still be seen – following the Norman conquest a new castle was raised on the site with a keep built on the 40ft (12m) motte. Further medieval fortifications and dwellings followed over the years. The castle passed to the Bute family in 1776, and in 1866 the 3rd Marquess of Bute employed architect William Burgess to transform the lodgings into the lavish and ornate interior on show today. The castle, and much of its parkland, was given to the city of Cardiff in 1947.

Remember to check their upcoming events, which include medieval battle re-enactments, live music events, Welsh-language festivals, open-air theatre and more.

The Norman keep at Cardiff Castle
Bankettsaal im Cardiff Castle.
Cardiff Castle and grounds on a sunny day

Cardiff Castle's Norman keep, overlooking the surrounding Bute Park, Cardiff Castle and grounds

Castell Caernarfon (Caernarfon Castle), North Wales

The mighty Castell Caernarfon (Caernarfon Castle) is one of the most visually-arresting sights you'll ever see. This 13th century polygonal showpiece was built on a former Roman fort and is grouped with Edward I's other castles at Conwy, Beaumaris and Harlech as a World Heritage Site.

The Eagle Tower, with its three great turrets and 18-feet thick walls, is the crowning glory of the castle (and it's where the royalty would sleep in lofty splendour).

View of Eagle Tower with flags.
A view from above of a castle and its lawns with the river behind it.

Castell Caernarfon (Caernarfon Castle), North Wales

Pembroke Castle, West Wales

Idyllically set on the banks of the river estuary, this mighty oval fortress is largely intact, and its endless passages, tunnels and stairways are great fun to explore. Pembroke Castle is the birthplace of Henry Tudor, father to the infamous Henry VIII. It was extensively restored in Victorian times, and is dominated by the complex gatehouse on the outside.

Enjoy a picnic in the beautifully-kept grounds, take a walk around the medieval town walls and millpond, and – from the opposite bank of the river – view the castle in all its splendour.

An aerial shot of a large castle with towers alongside the banks of a pond.

Pembroke Castle, Pembrokeshire, West Wales

Castell Biwmares (Beaumaris Castle), North Wales

Wonderfully incomplete, Castell Biwmares (Beaumaris Castle) on Anglesey can be considered as the greatest castle never built. With near-perfect symmetry, four concentric rings of formidable defences and a water-filled moat with its own dock, this was the largest and last of the castles created by Edward I in Wales.

Along with Conwy, Caernarfon and Beaumaris, it forms part of the Castles and Town Walls of King Edward World Heritage Site.

Outside of a castle with a moat, solid stone walls and round towers at the corners.

The south west corner of Castell Biwmares (Beaumaris Castle), North Wales and its moat

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