In Wales castles are everywhere and if you’re obsessed with Harry Potter like us, or the fantasy genre in general, or I guess if you just like seeing amazing buildings, you are going to want to visit these five castles. Three things I will always hunt when I travel – 1. forests, 2. castles and 3. (though TLC advise against it) waterfalls. But let’s just focus on castles for now. We did a driving trip of Wales (as you know I always recommend road tripping when possible) and so were able to stop off anywhere we saw a one. Some of them were planned, some of them we stumbled upon on the road… Can you believe it, you can just “stumble” upon a castle?! Get out Wales, you’re too much!
This is the route we drove and the castles are in order of our journey not preference, because, who can choose?!
1. Caldicot Castle
A smaller castle but notable for its fun events and activities such as the pirate festival, medieval festival, archery and zoo day. Bit of a family fun one, but the medieval festival in particular looks spectacular for us big kiddies.
2. Cardiff Castle
This one is a no brainer. Definitely the most well preserved/restored castle we came across. It is massive and a true pleasure to wander through. Give yourself plenty of time, there’s lots to see. This one is a crowd favourite, but we didn’t find it too squishy. If you’re going to choose one castle to do an audio tour at, this is my select. It has a fascinating history including recent occupancy during world war two, where it was used as a bomb shelter. There are still war time signs up on the inside walls. They’ve shot a bunch of things here including Sherlock and Dr Who! If you are a Whovian, you might also want to check out the Doctor Who Experience while you’re in Cardiff. But Cardiff has much more to explore than these two attractions so make sure you spend a little time in this wonderful city.
3. Caerphilly Castle
Did I say Cardiff Castle was massive? Well if that’s true Caerphilly is colossal! It’s the biggest castle in Wales and has a moat, so extra points from me for that. This guy has been left alone a bit more, and it’s actually pretty fun to stare at the broken tower waiting for it to fall down (it didn’t).
4. Caernarfon Castle
I think I should stop saying these Castles are big, because, well… they’re castles. But the scope of these things is so amazing, especially being from Australia, where let’s face it, we are not known for our historical buildings. Caernarfon is a truly beautiful castle, and well worth going out of your way for. We spent the night in the lovely little town of Caernarfon and the castle looks so magical lit up at night. This one is also notable for its high walk, where you can walk between the towers and view the whole town!
5. Conwy Castle
Anyone noticing a pattern with the “C” named castles? Conwy is another stony ruin type of castle, but what I liked about this one was the stone walls still surrounding the town. So definitely explore the castle, but also check out the town. There’s not just big stone walls to see, there are also lovely cafes, restaurants and stores (all not pictured, sorry).
Honorable mention to Beaumaris Castle for giving us this great shot.
These are just our favorites that we visited. There are so many to choose from, and honestly they’re all wonderful. You can see a list of all the castles there are in Wales (around 100) on the Welsh Government’s website . So just get out and explore, no matter where you’re heading you’re sure to hit a castle, and you’re guaranteed to have a whale of a time… I’m so sorry… I went this whole blog without a whale pun, had to do it!
Written by: Taryn Photos (mostly) by: Chris