Royal Edinburgh Military TattooSt Michael's MountFanad Lighthouse in County Donegal, IrelandCaerphilly CastleInverary Highland GamesTower Bridge, LondonGuinness Storehouse, DublinPowis Castle and GardensScottish pipe bandBamburgh Castle, NorthumberlandGiant's CausewayFfestiniog Railway

The greatest castles to visit in Wales

With over 600 castles in Wales, there are more per square mile than any other country in Europe! From romantic ruins to aristocratic estates, and from imposing fortresses to beautiful country homes, the variety of Welsh castles is second to none. Here are our recommendations for those castles that should not be missed by your clients on a tour of Wales!

Caernarfon Castle

Perhaps one of the most famous and recognisable castles in the world, Caernarfon Castle and the medieval town that sprang up around it was at the heart of King Edward I’s ruthless conquest of North Wales. It forms part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with Beaumaris, Harlech and Conwy castles.

Caernarfon_Castle_1.jpgUnforgettable Caernarfon Castle in North Wales

Beaumaris Castle

Unfinished Beaumaris Castle, on the historic island of Anglesey, is described by UNESCO as one of the finest examples of medieval military architecture in Europe and is recognised as a wonderful example of ‘symmetrical concentric planning’, with its square layout and walls within walls.

Beaumaris Castle.jpgBeaumaris Castle on Anglesey © Hawlfraint y Goron / © Crown copyright (2019) Cymru Wales

Cardiff Castle

While Cardiff Castle is famous as a medieval castle with a splendid Norman keep, it is also known for its Victorian mansion, which replaced many of the original buildings. Lavishly constructed by the Marquesses of Bute over several generations, with gardens by Capability Brown, the interior is said to be one of the most magnificent of the gothic revival.

Cardiff Castle.jpgThe Norman Keep at Cardiff Castle © Hawlfraint y Goron / © Crown copyright (2019) Cymru Wales

Harlech Castle

Of all the spectacular locations for Welsh castles, none is perhaps as breathtaking as the location of Harlech Castle. On a rocky crag overlooking the sand dunes of Tremadog Bay, with the mountains of Snowdonia behind, the castle withstood numerous sieges during its long history and inspired the famous Welsh song, Men of Harlech.

Harlech Castle.jpgSpectacular Harlech Castle © Hawlfraint y Goron / © Crown copyright (2019) Cymru Wales

Powis Castle

One of the few medieval castles in Wales built by a Welsh prince and not by the English, Powis Castle was extravagantly expanded in the 17th century, when its extraordinary terraced gardens were created. One of the few surviving Baroque gardens in the UK, the gardens, which were extensively restored in the early 20th century, should not be missed.

Harlech Castle.jpgPowis Castle and its magnificent gardens

Castell Coch

Castell Coch, a fairytale 19th century castle in south Wales, was built on the site of an earlier Norman castle by the Marquess of Bute, one of Britain’s wealthiest men, as his country residence in summer. Described as one of the greatest Victorian triumphs of architectural composition, the castle is closer in design to a European castle than a British fortress.

Castell Coch.jpgFairytale Castell Coch © Hawlfraint y Goron / © Crown copyright (2019) Cymru Wales

Caerphilly Castle

Dating back to the 13th century, Caerphilly Castle is Wales’s largest castle and the second largest in the United Kingdom after Windsor. Today, the location of the castle seems splendidly romantic, surrounded as it is by lakes, and the castle’s unique leaning tower is perhaps its most recognisable feature, leaning at a greater angle than Pisa’s famous tower!

Caerphilly_Castle__Hawlfraint_y_Goron___Crown_copyright_2019_Cymru_Wales.jpgImposing Caerphilly Castle © Hawlfraint y Goron / © Crown copyright (2019) Cymru Wales

Pembroke Castle

Dating back to the Norman invasion of Wales, Pembroke Castle on the coast of south west Wales was a key strategic fortification standing on a rocky promontory overlooking the Pembroke River. With a long history of royal ownership and connection, Pembroke Castle is famous as the birthplace of Henry Tudor, who later became King Henry VII and founded the Tudor royal dynasty.

Pembroke_Castle_c_VisitWales.jpgHistoric Pembroke Castle © Hawlfraint y Goron / © Crown copyright (2019) Cymru Wales

Conwy Castle

One of Edward I’s ‘ring of iron’ fortresses in North Wales, Conwy Castle, along with its medieval town walls, is one of the most impressive sights on the North Wales coast. Visitors to this incredibly well preserved 700 year old castle can walk a full circuit of the ancient battlements and explore the most intact set of medieval royal apartments in Wales.

Conwy_Castle__Hawlfraint_y_Goron___Crown_copyright_2019_Cymru_Wales_-_Copy.jpgImpressive Conwy Castle © Hawlfraint y Goron / © Crown copyright (2019) Cymru Wales

Raglan Castle

Raglan Castle in south east Wales dates back to the late Middle Ages and was one of the last true castles to be built in Wales. Described as the grandest castle ever built by Welshmen, it was once one of the most impressive fortress-palaces in Britain, with its luxurious apartments, deer park, water gardens and terraces. Destroyed in the English Civil War, the ruined castle became a popular tourist destination as far back as the 18th century.

Raglan_Castle_c_VisitWales.jpgThe grand ruins of Raglan Castle © Hawlfraint y Goron / © Crown copyright (2019) Cymru Wales

If you would like us to organise a tailor-made tour of Wales for your clients, taking in some of the country's many fabulous castles, please do contact us today. As travel experts for Wales, we are well-placed to recommend the most interesting and rewarding things for your group to enjoy - creating memories that will last a lifetime!

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