Wales - The Castle Capital of Europe
Published: Thursday 7th Jan 2016
Written by: Sally Sims
What comes to mind when you think of castles? For adults it’s undoubtedly the architecture and historical events that may have taken place in these remarkable buildings and for children it’s the enchantment of such a grand place, with acres of open spaces, winding corridors and dark passages to play hide and seek in. It’s all just one big magical kingdom for them.
Wales is so often referred to as the land of castles and, rightly so; it has more castles than any other country in Europe! It boasts fine and many examples of iron age forts, Roman ruins and medieval castles are a plenty and we thought we would mention just a handful of them, so you can add them to your must see list and visit these wonderful buildings, on your next visit to Wales.
Let’s start with the largest - Caerphilly Castle in South Wales lies just 8 miles North of Cardiff. This grand medieval building can be found in the centre of the town and is one of the greatest castles in Wales. It’s only when you get to the first gate house that you really appreciate how big this majestic site is. Spread across more than 30 acres it has a leaning tower and plenty of water features gaze out. A real treasure of a place.
Head back to the Welsh capital of Cardiff to find aptly named, Cardiff Castle complete with its fairytale towers. You can explore all the delights of this building including the clock tower. This well known landmark of Cardiff has a fabulous banqueting hall, apartments, museum and wartime shelters. There is also a family and animal trail to keep the children amused.
In South East Wales you’ll find the Norman castle of Chepstow, said to be the oldest surviving post-Roman stone fortification in Britain it’s in a wonderful setting perched on a cliff looking over the River Wye. Gaze from its turrets and you will get some great views of the town and river below. Be sure to walk round the outside walls as well, to really appreciate this historic building. There are also lots of places for the children to explore and open areas for them to run around in. Perfect.
Moving North to Snowdonia you’ll find the impressive fortress of Caernarfon Castle which sits governing the gateway of the River Seiont. It is at this World Heritage site that the Prince of Wales gained his title and the imposing castle stands dominating and majestic over this pretty town. In it’s day it defended attacks by the English with its drawbridge, arrow loops and spy holes. Many an hour can be whiled away, wondering and imagining what it might have been like when it was first built in the 13th century.Staying in North Wales, and venturing further along the coast, you will come across Conwy Castle which will enchant you from the very start with imposing towers and curtain walls dominating the entrance to Conwy. You can visit almost all of the remains of this fortress and it’s impressive towers. Stand at the top and take in the spectacular views of expansive countryside and the River Conwy.
These are just a morsel of some of the most imposing and impressive castles Wales has to offer to it’s curious visitor, there are plenty more to explore so don’t forget, wherever you visit in Wales, you’re sure not to be too far away from a stone of history.