Posted on 09/03/2016 by David
When it comes to immersing yourself in history and imagining a former period of time, there is nothing more mystical and magical than a castle. North Wales has a rich history, full of fascinating castles and their accompanying stories that every history buff will go mad over. A visit to one of these sites can bring budding historians about as close as they can get to this time without the ability to hop in a time machine…
So if you want to see the magic for yourself, here (in no particular order) are our top 5 castles to visit.
Sitting tall on a headland, Criccieth Castle is small yet mighty. Strategically placed to look out over the Tremadog Bay, the core of this castle was built in 1230s for Llywelyn the Great, a Welshman.
However, it was not all built at this time as in 1283 the castle was taken over by Edward I. Due to the lack of records, it is not clear which parts of the castle were built at which time; despite this, there are elements within the structure of Criccieth Castle which are similar to those of English Castles built in the same time period which may give you a clue. Due to its elevation, the views from the headland are second-to-none, so spend some time exploring the views Criccieth has to offer as well as the castle.
Built in 1282 by Edward I in his attempts to conquer the North of Wales, Beaumaris Castle is a castle as beautiful as its surroundings. Close to the coast, the seaside village it inhabits is also worth a visit.
This castle is known for its perfect symmetry and proportions, even though it was never quite finished, as Edward lost interest and moved on to his invasion of Scotland!
Caernarfon Castle is not only rich in history, but it’s architecturally impressive, too. In terms of defence it was not as powerful as other castles belonging to Edward I but while it may lack defensive power, its architectural details are certainly symbolic of the battle between the English and the Welsh.
Caernarfon Castle was built in 1283 and is still standing mightily proud a whopping 733 years later. Well worth visiting whilst you’re in the area.
If we were going into battle and we needed a castle, we would most definitely choose Conwy Castle! Built by Edward I, it is known to be one of the finest surviving medieval fortifications in Britain. Not only is it beautiful in its structure, inclusive of 21 towers and 3 separate getaways, but Conwy Castle is a World Heritage Site (alongside Conwy’s magnificent walls) so you can be sure not to be disappointed.
Dolbadarn Castle dates back to the 1200s, having been built by Welsh Princes. It can found be just at the foot of Mount Snowdon, and is a simple castle in comparison to some of the others we have mentioned, but it’s set in a stunning location and is full of rich history.
This castle was used during the imprisonment of Owain ap Gruffydd by his brother, Llywelyn the Great in 1250, and this was just the start of the history of the Dolbardarn Castle – visit to discover more of its stories! You might also want to take a picnic and enjoy the spectacular views.
If history is your thing, North Wales and the awe-inspiring castles which it plays host to make a great place to start. Why not stay in North Wales for a week and give yourself a walking history lesson?