Wales is an incredible country to explore, with some of the prettiest places dotted all around the country. It really is a gem of a place, with so many stunning places to see. That being said, it can be tough to whittle down just a few on your trip across the country. Especially when it comes to exploring the best castles in Wales to explore.
You see, Wales is steeped in history and there are so many castles that you honestly can’t miss as you explore. Even if you’re heading to visit the capital city, Cardiff, there’s still a fair few you can pop into.
With that in mind, I wanted to share some of my very favourite and best castles in Wales. Some are vast complexes, whilst others are in ruins. Though, whatever the case, they’re all still incredible to see.
Take a look, below, at the best castles in Wales to visit. Have the best time.
1.) Beaumaris Castle
Perched on the island of Anglesey, Beaumaris Castle is easily one of the best castles in Wales to see when travelling across the northern coastline. Built almost 800 years ago, it’s a castle that is totally steeped in history and well worth an explore when on the island.
On you arrive, head inside the grounds, learn more about the turbulent history of the region and cross the water moat. It really is a special place.
Plus, being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s been protected and looked after for us all to enjoy today.
2.) Caernarfon Castle
Another one of Wales’s oldest castles, Caernarfon Castle dates back to the thirteenth century and is so beautiful to see. It’s one of the most significant castles that still exists in Wales with it being used as the place for the investiture of the Prince of Wales.
Once here, make sure to see the King and Queen’s Gates and walk around the Ward itself. It really is one of the best castles in Wales to explore.
3.) Caerphilly Castle
Perched in the south of Wales, Caerphilly Castle is another beautiful example of a historic castle that has stood for centuries.
Built way back in the thirteenth century, it was actually used as a way to conquer the Glamorgan populations that were from this area of Wales. Nowadays, there’s no need to conquer, but you can still go inside for a stroll around.
Also, if you’ve got time, make sure to pop into the Great Hall. It’s so iconic and feels like you’ve gone back 800 years in time.
4.) Castell Coch
Nestled on the hills just outside of Cardiff, Castle Coch is one of the best castles in Wales to visit that’s really easy to get to.
Now, it might not be as old as some of the other castles in Wales, but it certainly has a charm of its own. Once here, head inside the rooms, wander around the kitchens and explore the grounds of this fairytale-like setting.
Afterwards, pop over to the museum of life, St Fagans that is pretty close by (15-minute drive).
5.) Chepstow Castle
Chepstow Castle is one of the oldest surviving stone castles in all of the UK. Built in the 11th Century, it’s almost 1,000 years old and has stood in the same place overlooking this beautiful region of Wales.
Today, you can still see the oldest wooden door on any castle in the UK, dating back almost 800 years. Plus, you can take a wander around the Great Tower and explore the historic ruins itself.
It really is one of the best castles in Wales if you love history.
6.) Conwy Castle
Built-in the 1200s, Conwy Castle was erected by Edward I who completed the site within a decade.
Nowadays, the rooms themselves might have gone, but the ruins of the castle are still so incredible to see.
Once here, make sure to spend a few hours exploring the outer and inner wards, walk the walls themselves and explore the grounds.
For a great photo spot, head across the road bridge (next to the castle) and see the castle from afar. You’ll easily see why this is one of the best castles in Wales to visit.
7.) Criccieth Castle
Perched on a rocky outcrop, Criccieth Castle is one of the best castles in Wales to visit that’s right on the coast. Take a wander around the grounds, enjoy a little beach time and learn more about the long history of this stunning area.
Afterwards, take a short drive (20-minutes) to the stunning Italian town of Portmeirion. It’s so beautiful and you’ll feel like you’ve been whisked away to the south of Italy.
8.) Dolwyddelan Castle
Built in the thirteenth century, the ruins of Dolwyddelan Castle is easily one of the more isolated but still the best castles in Wales to visit. Now, this is especially true if you’re already going to be in Snowdonia National Park.
After heading for a stroll to see the castle, make sure to leave plenty of time to reach the summit of Snowdon too. Though don’t fret, you can actually take a historic train to the top (or hike, if you feel like).
9.) Harlech Castle
Another one of the best castles in Wales that is perfect if you’re in the north of the country, Harlech Castle is totally gorgeous.
Being almost 800 years old, the castle has had a long history in the region. Better still, it hasn’t changed too much during the last 500 years or so. It really is so great to explore.
10.) Kidwelly Castle
Overlooking the River Gwendraeth, Kidwelly Castle is one of the best castles in Wales to visit if you’re in the south-west of the country.
Once here, take time to explore the grounds and learn more about the history of this part of Wales. Just watch out for some ghoulish residents of the region. It’s said that Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd haunts this area after being beheaded way back in the twelfth century.
11.) Raglan Castle
The medieval Raglan Castle is easily one of the best castles in Wales to visit when you’re in Monmouthshire. Standing proudly, this castle is totally beautiful to see.
It’s totally gorgeous and not too far from the border with England too (if you fancy a little trip).
12.) Cardiff Castle
Nestled right within the city centre of Cardiff, Cardiff Castle is one of the best castles in Wales to visit whilst on a city break. Once here, make sure to explore the grounds, see inside the rooms and marvel at the incredible ceilings inside. It really is so beautiful to see and can’t be missed when in Cardiff.
For a great hotel, check into Voco St David’s, that’s just outside the centre and within the Bay area itself.