Kidwelly Castle, Carmarthenshire

Relatively unknown and with a name which sounds more Irish than Welsh, Kidwelly is nonetheless a splendid castle. Much of the structure remains intact. Sturdily built in local stone in the 13th and 14th centuries, on the site of a Norman fort, its walls and towers glower over a quiet river valley.

Great Gatehouse and South West Tower from the Wall Walk at Kidwelly Castle
View across the Outer Ward from the Wall Walk at Kidwelly Castle

Kidwelly Castle, Carmarthenshire, West Wales

Strata Florida Abbey, Ceredigion

The last remaining fragments of Strata Florida Cistercian monastery, including a detailed stone arch and the feet of mighty pillars, hint at its former glories. It stood at the heart of a wealthy estate where the monks farmed and welcomed pilgrims and traders. The medieval poet Dafydd ap Gwilym is buried here, under a yew tree.

Iron wrought gates embellished with Celtic symbols with the doorway to abbey beyond. ruined a
Ruins of a Cistercian abbey in the sunlight

Strata Florida Abbey, Ceredigion, Mid Wales

Cyfarthfa Castle Museum & Art Gallery, Merthyr Tydfil

Cyfarthfa Castle is a 19th century stately home, built in the shape of a castle, complete with towers and crenellations. Originally the home of wealthy ironworks owner William Crawshay, it’s now a museum of local history. On display are Laura Ashley dresses, the first steam whistle and a fine collection of porcelain.

Exterior of stone castle.

Cyfarthfa Castle, Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales

The Copper Kingdom Centre, Amlwch

The Copper Kingdom Centre tells the story of Anglesey’s former role as the world’s leading copper producer. You can get the lowdown through interactive displays and activities. In 2013, it was shortlisted for a Guardian Museum and Heritage Award for the UK’s most inspiring museum or heritage visitor attraction.

A quayside with small boats in the water and a wooden shed on the shore.

The Copper Kingdom Centre, Amlwch, Anglesey, North Wales

Oystermouth Castle, Swansea

This small, Norman stone castle has a romantic air. Oystermouth Castle gazes out over Swansea Bay from Mumbles. Recent conservation work has revealed new details, including graffiti art from the 14th century. Locals visit the grassy grounds to enjoy picnics, alfresco plays, concerts, carol singing and other seasonal happenings.

The front entrance to a small castle.
A partially ruined castle in a grassy meadow.

Oystermouth Castle, Mumbles, Swansea, West Wales

Caerphilly Castle

Like a sleeping giant awaiting a call to arms, Caerphilly Castle is absolutely massive. In area, it’s the largest castle in Wales. It has everything a castle should have – chunky stone walls, turrets, a moat with a drawbridge and a tower that has looked ready to tumble for centuries.

View of the castle from the gate
Inside Caerphilly Castle showing old brickwork and doorway.
Staircase in Caerphilly Castle

Caerphilly Castle, South Wales

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Built in 1805 the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct towers 30 metres (100 feet) above the River Dee, and was named a World Heritage Site in 2009. There are so many ways to enjoy the area, including a horse-drawn boat trip along the canal wharf in Llangollen. 

A high canal aqueduct viewed from ground level.
A narrow canal aqueduct high over a river valley.

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, near Llangollen, North Wales

The Blaenavon World Heritage Site

The South Wales town of Blaenavon is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From the 18th to the 20th centuries, it was a powerhouse of coal mining and iron production. You can get a feel for the past at the Big Pit National Coal Museum and Blaenavon Ironworks, explore the restored town and ride the Blaenavon Heritage Railway.

A small scale model of the ironworks at Blaenavon, with real site behind it.
Ironworks and row of white-washed cottages.
A tall grey disused viaduct.

Blaenavon Ironworks, South Wales

The Six Bells Miners Memorial

Sebastien Boyesen’s remarkable Six Bells Miners Memorial is a 20m steel sculpture of a miner, created in 2010 to commemorate the 1960 Six Bells mining disaster, in which 45 men lost their lives. With palms held out like a guardian angel, it has a semi-transparent quality. It’s made from over 20,000 strips of steel, painstakingly welded together.

The Castles and Town Walls of King Edward

Head to North Wales to follow a trail of majestic castles - a group of which have been described as the finest examples of military architecture of their kind in Europe. Beaumaris, Conwy, Caernarfon and Harlech castles, along with the fortifications surrounding the towns of Conwy and Caernarfon, have been collectively declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site as the Castles and Town Walls of King Edward.

An aerial shot of Beaumaris Castle, Anglesey.

Beaumaris Castle, Anglesey, North Wales

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