Travel Trade Wales

Castles of Wales

Home : Travel Trade Wales

Castles Of Wales

Cadw is the historic environment agency within the Welsh Assembly Government with responsibility for protecting, conserving and promoting an appreciation of the historic environment of Wales. This includes historic buildings, ancient monuments, historic parks and gardens, landscapes and underwater archaeology.  Cadw is the Welsh word meaning 'to keep' or 'to protect'.  Visit Cadw's website Days Out in Wales,  including Travel Trade information for group bookings, explorer passes and maps and itineraries. You can also search for events from Poets and Princes and Roman Cookery to a Spooky Tour.

Famous Castles under the care of Cadw


  • Beaumaris Castle, North Wales

    Architecturally, it is one of the best castles to visit as it has perfectly symmetrical and classic proportions.  It was built by King Edward I in the 13th century.  The castle's highlights include the little chapel which is housed in one of the towers and its inner wall passageways.
  • Carreg Cennen Castle, Llandeilo, South West Wales

    The castle was built during the late 13th century on a cliff-face from all sides which meant that attacks on the castle were very difficult, if not dangerous.  Views from the castle are spectacular due to its location.
  • Caernarfon Castle, North Wales

    Caernarfon Castle is one of the most impressive of all the castles built by Edward I and is one of Europe's great medieval fortresses. Set on a peninsula bounded by the Menai Strait and at the heart of North Wales, Caernarfon became the English administrative centre.
  • Caerphilly Castle, South East Wales

    Caerphilly Castle in South Wales is one of the largest castles in the United Kingdom. It was built by Gilbert de Clare between the years 1268 and 1271. By 1267 Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, the last native prince of Wales, had become lord of the greater part of Wales. He posed a threat to de Clare, the Anglo Norman lord of Glamorgan and the castle was built in response to this threat.
  • Castell Coch, Cardiff, South East Wales

    A castle of fairy tale proportions, Castell Coch (Red Castle) was built in the 19th Century to be the epitome of romantic medieval legend. Inside Castell Coch is a rich feast of decoration, detail and allusion. The Banqueting Room and Drawing Room are fabulously ornate with decorations from the Fates, Zodiac and Ages of Man, while the Lady Bute’s Bedroom is truly fit for a medieval Queen.
  • Chepstow Castle, South East Wales

    Situated on the banks of the River Wye, the castle gives you amazing views of the town and the Severn Bridge once you climb to the top of the tower.  The on-site exhibition shows off the oldest castle doors in Europe which were hung in the main gateway until 1962. The length of the castle grew over the centuries which you can appreciate walking along the castle walls and from the south west tower.
  • Conwy Castle, North Wales

    Conwy Castle was designed for King Edward I by Master James of St George and was built between 1283 and 1289. James of St. George was a master mason summoned from mainland Europe to implement Edward's plans. He was born around 1230 and worked on a number of great European castles before starting on his massive undertaking for Edward.
  • Harlech Castle, North Wales

    Built between 1283 and 1289, Harlech Castle is designed on a concentric plan with a small but powerful inner ward dominated by an impressive twin-towered gatehouse and four round corner towers. Seized by Owain Glyndŵr in 1404 and held successfully by him for four years.
  • Raglan Castle, Usk, South East Wales

    This was one of the last true castles ever to have been built in England and Wales. The castle site is still dominated by the ruins of the Great Tower.  
          Updated January 2018


Other Castles in Wales, which are ‘must visits 

  • Caldicot Castle, South East Wales

    The castle is set in fifty-five acres of beautiful Country Park. The park offers an ideal setting for picnics and walks against the magnificent backdrop of the medieval castle walls, with picnic tables and barbecue hearths on site.
  • Cardiff Castle, South East Wales

    The castle is a popular tourist attraction and as its location is in the city centre, a visit can be combined with a shopping trip. Discover a history that dates back over 2,000 years, including the Norman Keep, Roman Wall, Wartime Shelters and the ornate house.
  • Carew Castle and Tidal Mill, West Wales

    Once an 11th century fortification, it was later replaced by stone to create the castle.  Over the centuries, the castle has been extended and improved.  Its latest renovation took place in 2013 which included a roof for the Lesser Hall, and a new visitor centre and shop.
  • Pembroke Castle, West Wales

    Henry VII was born here and many barons have lived here. Enjoy the views from the Great Keep which is 75 feet high and explore the many towers and passageways before descending into the natural Wogan Cavern, which the castle was built over.
  • Penrhyn Castle, Bangor, North Wales

    Described as a '19th-century fantasy castle', the internal red brick wall houses fine art and a history of slate, sugar and the longest-running industrial dispute ever recorded in Britain. The view of the North Wales coast and Snowdonia can be enjoyed from the large grounds surrounding the castle.  The adventure playground allows children to let off some steam.
  • Picton Castle, Haverfordwest, West Wales

    A 13th century stone hall-keep, founded by Sir John Wogan. The rectangular hall-keep, is flanked on the angles by drum towers and defending the entrance, is a twin-towered gatehouse. The castle still retains its medieval features in the undercroft but the principal rooms were remodelled in the 1750s by Sir John Philipps, the sixth Baronet.
  • Powis Castle & Gardens, Welshpool, Mid Wales

    It was built by Welsh princes and is now home to the Earls of Powis. It has a famous garden with Italianate terraces. It also displays one of the finest collections of paintings and furniture in Wales.
          Updated January 2018



The best castle for....


  • a good night’s sleep
    Fancy staying in a castle? Then visit Portmeirion Village, North Wales where you will find Castell Deudraeth (pronounced 'Die drath').  It is a Victorian extravagance that’s a bit Gothic, a bit Tudor and very imposing. It opened as a hotel in 2001 and has 11 contemporary-styled rooms.  For other castle accommodation, see Visit Wales website.
  • a fight
    Beaumaris Castle looks quiet and picturesque, but don’t be fooled because it is (or was in the late 13th Century) castle technology at its most deadly. It has some wicked touches, like the murder holes through which defenders could drop boiling oil onto anyone they didn’t like.
  • a fright
    Strange things happen at Bodelwyddan Castle. Recent sightings include an apparition in one gallery, a ghostly soldier in another and shadowy figures drifting down the corridors. Even the tea room has a ghost.  
  • the family
    One of Britain’s largest medieval fortresses, Caerphilly Castle has a big events programme to match. The annual Big Cheese Festival is a favourite - a free weekend of entertainment for all the family that’s staged in the castle grounds. 
  • a story
    Forget Dan Brown, the Holy Grail is in Wales. Possibly. Ruined Castell Dinas Bran (or Crow Castle) stands on the site of a 2,600-year-old hill-fort. No surprise then that the location is at the heart of many legends, including one that says the grail is in a cave below the castle.
  • a banquet
    Experience a feast and Welsh entertainemnt in the 15th century undercroft or the Interpretation centre at Cardiff Castle.
  • learning something new
    Head along to Cardiff Castle for serious time travelling at its medieval Mêlée re-enactment. Attractions at the event which takes place in August include archery coaching and a sword school. Contact the castle direct for further information. Cadw also do lots of re-enactments at many of their castles throught the year, including the ones at the famous Big Cheese weekend festival which takes place in the last weekend of July at Caerphilly Castle. 
  • your dog
    Oxwich Castle stands on a wooded headland above the beautiful Gower Peninsula. You’ll love the view and the dog will thank you for a walk on Oxwich Bay’s two-and-half mile beach, which is backed by dunes, salt marshes and woodland. Dogs are also welcome at many of the Cadw sites.  A full list is available on the website.
  • For romance
    In his day the third Marquess of Bute was the richest man in the world, so he could afford to indulge himself. One result is Castell Coch. A late 19th Century fancy built on the remains of a 13th Century castle, it is one of Wales’s most romantic and unexpected places. Don’t miss Lady Bute’s Bedroom, it’s painted double dome features 28 frolicking monkeys (rather risqué at the time).
  • For the view
    You can’t miss Carreg Cennen Castle - it sits on a limestone crag 300ft (91m) above the little River Cennen, so be prepared for a climb. It’s well worth the effort.

         Updated January 2018


  • UKInbound Member
  • Association of Group Travel Organisers
  • ETOA Member
Link to home page