Probably the most famous of all the many castles in Wales, and for good reason – its sheer scale dwarfs the others, and the town walls are still remarkably intact. Tourists can walk along a small part of the walls, which offers some fantastic views over the town. Also houses the museum of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers.
Caernarfon is the only town in Wales with royal patronage, meaning its full name is the Royal Town of Caernarfon. It is a bustling market and port town, situated on the eastern bank of the Menai Strait, just across the water from the Isle of Anglesey. It lies just to the north west of the beautiful Snowdonia National Park.
The site has seen human habitation since antiquity. The Romans set up a fort here and remained until the 5th century, at which point the region was absorbed into the Kingdom of Gwynedd. William the Conqueror attempted to take Caernarfon in the 11th century, but this town remained unconquered.
Towards the end of the 1200s, Edward I began his conquest of Wales, and in 1283 Caernarfon fell under English rule. Under instruction from Edward I, the stone Caernarfon Castle was constructed; it was used both as a royal palace and as the seat of the English government in Wales. The castle still stands to this day, and is a major tourist attraction.
The fortress fell into disrepair over the years, despite its importance during the English Civil War, but received repairs funded by the state throughout the 19th century. Edward VIII was invested as the Prince of Wales in the castle in 1911, and Prince Charles also had his investiture there in 1969. Nowadays, it is in fantastic condition, and forms part of the UNESCO Heritage Site, Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd.
The castle’s architecture was designed with the purpose of showing off the English might; it was meant to stand as a monument, an imposing symbol of the new English rule in regime. It is still an incredibly impressive feat of architecture, with its polygonal towers being unique to Caernarfon.
Inside the castle, visitors can also find a number of different exhibitions detailing the history of Caernarfon and its fortress, as well as the Royal Welsh Fusiliers’ Regimental Museum, giving you a detailed insight into the military history of Wales.
Nearby to Caernarfon, you can find the Isle of Anglesey, home to the impressive Beaumaris Castle, another of Edward I’s installations. Although it was never fully completed, it is a marvel of medieval architecture, almost completely symmetrical in design.
As mentioned earlier, Caernarfon is also very close to Snowdonia and its beautiful National Park, which covers more than 800 square miles of luscious Welsh countryside and craggy mountains. The ultimate Welsh view is to be found here – ride the cable car to the peak of Mount Snowdon to take it all in. If this sounds good to you – and how could it not? – you can click here to discover our accommodation in North Wales.
Caernarfon is in the North West of Wales reached by the A55 to Bangor and then the A487.
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Conwy Castle is easily the most spectacular of all the castles in North Wales (and cost the most to build, too!). The castle was built for Edward I by Master James of St George, and is one of the most impressive surviving medieval fortifications in Britain.
A World Heritage Site, Beaumaris Castle is regarded by UNESCO as one of the finest examples of late 13th century military architecture in all of Europe. It is also known as the most “technically perfect” castle in Great Britain, with almost perfect symmetry in its architecture.
Snowdonia – known in its native Welsh as Eryri, which is often translated to “place of the eagles” – is a beautiful part of the United Kingdom. Covering 823 square miles of idyllic Welsh countryside, mountains, rivers, lakes, forests and beaches, Snowdonia is paradise for any hiker, climber, fisher, swimmer, sailor, surfer, sunbather, potholer, zip-liner… the list goes on.
Base yourself in the Caernarfon area to explore this historic castle town and the Snowdonia area. The Welsh Highland Railway starts from Caernarfon to Porthmadog, a great way to see the countryside. The Llyn Peninsula is also easily accessible. Find a your holiday cottage here.
These cottages sleep 8 people or more, the perfect place for large family gatherings or groups of friends. Find somewhere for your large group here.
Explore the most Westerly part of North Wales with its many beaches and green rolling countryside. A cottage in the Lleyn Peninsula is the perfect way to explore the area - visit Whistling Sands Beach, the spectacular golf course in Nefyn with its picturesque fishing village, a boat trip to Bardsey Island or spend time in one of the local towns such as Abardaron, Abersoch, Pwllehli or Criccieth.