Culture vultures, history buffs and romantics love visiting our castles, museums and cultural heritage centres. Keep your eyes open and you’ll learn more than you ever imagined.

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.

Couple walking through the ruins at Strata Florida Abbey
Strata Florida Abbey, Ceredigion, Mid Wales

Cyfarthfa Castle, 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.

View of the outside of Cyfarthfa 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.

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.

Oystermouth Castle
Oystermouth Castle
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.

Staircase in Caerphilly Castle
Caerphilly Castle
Caerphilly Castle, South 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 coalmining 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 a steam train.

Outside of the cottages at the ironworks
Stack Square Cottages at Blaenavon Ironworks, 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. 

Boat trips sign in Llangollen
Image of Pontcysyllte Aqueduct from below with trees and the river
Llangollen, North Wales

The Six Bells Miners Memorial

Sebastien Boyesen’s remarkable, 20m steel sculpture of a miner was 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

The county of Gwynedd, in North Wales, provides a trail of majestic castles to explore, 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 in Gwynedd.

Golygfa o'r awyr o gastell Biwmares, Ynys Môn
Beaumaris Castle, North Wales

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