Wiston Castle, Pembrokeshire

Thought to have been named after the 13th century Flemish Knight Wizo, who designed it, Wiston is one of the finest examples of an 11th century motte and bailey you’ll see. It was eventually abandoned more than 700 years ago – stomp up its steps to discover some amazing Norman stonework.

Castell y Bere, Gwynedd

The design of this castle for Prince Llywelyn ab Iorwerth – more succinctly known as Llywelyn the Great – makes for some striking remains within this rocky ruin. A courtyard and two gatetowers, including floor tiles and other decorative elements, stand as stone relics from its defensive prime before it was razed in the 13th century.

Rhuddlan Castle, Rhyl

Although the defensive roots of the stomping grounds at Rhuddlan lie in the 11th century, the mighty red brick walls of this diamond-shaped castle were originally completed by Edward I in 1277. Full of craggy character and cornered by gatehouses, it boasts beautiful views of the River Clwyd.

Aerial North view of Rhuddlan Castle, North Wales
Rhuddlan Castle, North Wales

St Quentin's Castle, Llanblethian

Before his death at the 1314 Battle of Bannockburn, Gilbert de Clare designed a castle he never got to complete. Every inch of the crumbled, jagged fortress grabs the imagination with its enormous twin-towered gatehouse, designed to give extra defence on the weaker side of the four surrounding slopes.

White Castle, Monmouthshire

Named after its original walls, White Castle is one of three castles in the Monnow Valley, which was an important trade route during the 13th century. Sneak inside the inner ring of the partial ruins, peer at the enclaves of the defences and weigh up its strategic importance during medieval times.

Castell Coch, Cardiff

Castell Coch is a castle on top of a castle. It was originally a chieftain’s fortress in the 13th century, but was resurrected as a gothic fortress several centuries later. It is now notable for its extraordinary complex of lavish chambers, making it a repeated favourite with film and television crews.

Full view of the front of Castell Coch
Castell Coch, Cardiff

Dolwyddelan Castle, Conwy

Take a careful look from the captivating ruins of Dolwyddelan and you’ll be able to see a small mound in the valley where an earlier castle – Tomen Castell – stood. This is battle territory, but the fortress originally designed by the Prince of Gwynedd stands as a stone wall classic.

Beaumaris Castle, Anglesey

In a land full of castles notable for their decayed, imperfect beauty, Beaumaris – Edward I’s final 13th century design – is widely considered the most technically accomplished castle in Britain. Overhead photos always make it look like a study in symmetry, so get up close and admire the King’s grandiose vision.

Kidwelly Castle, Carmarthenshire

Saunter over a wooden footbridge to visit this idyllically-placed Norman stronghold which provided the opening backdrop for the film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Concentrically designed during Norman times and later modified by the Duke of Lancaster, its great gatehouse is magnificent. The town nearby dates from the early 11th century.

Skenfrith Castle, Monmouthshire

Time travel fans need to visit Skenfrith – the Norman castle once played host to an episode of Doctor Who. See why this circular keep, constructed in the Monnow Valley as one of three neighbouring castles resulting from the Norman conquest of South Wales, is a repeated favourite of television crews.