The 24 Most Breathtaking and Illustrious Castles to Visit in North Wales:
Featuring ‘I’m a Celebrity Get me Out of Here –
Gwrych Castle’ and why they Must be Explored.
North Wales, a country in the UK, which along with its stunning and alluring natural scenery is home to and famous for beautiful medieval castles. No wonder it is called the “Castle Capital of the World.”
And when you own a static caravan or luxury lodge in this beautiful part of the World you should make it your mission to visit as many as you can!
Listed below are the 24 most magnificent castles situated in North Wales and why you should visit them.
1. Gwrych Castle, Abergele, Conwy North Wales: I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!
Known as the “Showpiece of Wales,” Gwrych Castle is located near Abergele near Conwy on the North Wales Coast.
The castle was built between 1810-1825 and has quite a rich history in its name. Dated back to the medieval period and bequeathed to the Crown, the castle has served many purposes in different periods of time.
It has been a camp for training champion boxers and has also served as a refuge for Jews during wartime. It is now a privately owned castle which sees many events take place.
If these aren’t reasons enough for you to visit the castle, there have also been alleged ghost sightings - now that has got to tickle your curiosity bone!
I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!
The castle has been all over the news and created quite a buzz recently since it has been announced that the new season of the UK based series, ‘I’m a Celebrity Get me Out of Here’ will be filmed in the 200 year old castle.
Works to restore the castle and to ensure that the castle can cater to the filming of the series are currently ongoing.
2. Conwy Castle, Conwy, North Wales
Built by Edward I, the 700 year old castle is spread across 1.3km and considered to be one of "the finest examples of late 13th century and early 14th century military architecture in Europe" by UNESCO. It is considered to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Conwy Castle is known to be highly well preserved especially considering how old it is.
Why visit Conwy Castle you ask?
If a stunning fortress with a magnificent view isn’t enough for you, you can walk a complete circuit around the battlements of the great towers, as the stairs have been restored, just imagine the view, sigh!
3. Deganwy Castle Remains, Deganwy, North Wales
The middle-aged fortress located at the mouth of River Conwy was initially built using wood and then rebuilt for King Henry III using stone, however it is now not more than mounds with only the earthwork remaining.
An excavation took place at the remains of the castle during the 1960s, which resulted in the discovery of a lot of Dark Age pottery.
You’re probably wondering why would you want to travel all the way just to see some remains and ditches?
Here’s why, the view from the remains of Deganwy castle is probably one of the most serene in all of Conwy.
4. Rhuddlan Castle, Rhuddlan, Conwy North Wales
A castle the river was moved for, yes you heard that right. King Edward preferred his castles near coasts or rivers due to safety reasons however the location of river Clwyd wasn’t ideal hence he had deep ditches dug in order to change the river’s course.
Rhuddlan Castle was one of the first castles to have concrete walls and a unique diamond shape, which is another reason why it attracts so many tourists.
5. Denbigh Castle, Denbigh, Conwy, North Wales
Set of fortresses built in 1282 to control the Lordship of Denbigh, the castle was uncompleted however that didn’t stop it from becoming the major tourist attraction that it is today.
The triangular shaped castle holds great historical significance as it led to the invasion of Denbigh castle by King Edward I. It was also granted to Robert Dudley, Queen Elizabeth I’s favorite in 1563.
If you’re interested in rich history, this one is a must visit.
6. Penrhyn Castle, Llandygai, Bangor, North Wales
Breathtaking to say the least, if beauty is what compels you then Penrhyn is the sight for you.
Built in 1438 and reconstructed in the 1780s Penhyrn Castle with its colonial foundations was initially a medieval fortified manor house.
Part of the National Trust Organisations UK, one of the most attractive things about the Penhyrn Castle is its gardens and courtyard views of Snowdonia Mountains and Puffin Island.
There are formal walled gardens, woodland walks and sizable informal gardens. The castle also caters to one of the best art collections in the country.
There is so much being offered at this Castle, that why would you not feel tempted? Who doesn’t like history, stunning scenery, beautiful gardens and fine art?
7. Flint Castle, Flint, Flintshire, North Wales
Highly significant historically as it was the first castle built by King Edward I for his quest to conquer Wales, Flint Castle was built in between 1277-1284 and was strategically placed in North-East Wales to be beneficial during war.
Another reason for its popularity are its uniquely designed fortresses also built to be beneficial for the war.
If you’re a Shakespeare fan, guess what. Flint Castle was featured in Richard II, exciting, I know!
8. Ewloe Castle, Ewloe, Flintshire, North Wales
The uniqueness of this castle is its location. While the preferences of many royals were to be in prime or vantage areas, Ewloe Castle is located in the midst of a forest.
There isn’t much information about the castle history due to missing records however it is said that it was one of the last castles built by the Kingdom of Gwynedd before the invasion of Wales by King Edward I.
The Sandstone castle is not in the best state considering how dated it is however it has been incorporated in a country park, Wepre Park.
If you want to witness nature and history combine, definitely visit Ewloe Castle.
9. Dolwyddelan Castle, Dolwyddelan, Conwy, North Wales
With all the names we’ve gone through so far this surely takes the cake, but I promise you the struggle with the complicated name is worth it.
Built in the 13th Century, the Dolwyddelan Castle is built in front of a series of rugged mountains and is identified as a memorial to Prince Llwelyn and was also his birthplace.
The castle was featured in the movie Dragonslayer for it’s breathtaking location so be sure to take your camera when you’re visiting Dolwyddelan Castle!
10. Dolbadarn Castle, Gwynedd, North Wales
A symbol of power, the Dolbadarn Castle was built by Prince Llwelyn during the 13th century and played a significant role militarily.
Through the years it was used as manor house until it eventually fell into ruin.
Overseeing the scenic views that are scattered all across Wales, the Dolbadarn Castle is also a great historical place to visit.
11. Caernarfon Castle, Caernarfon, Gwynedd, North Wales
Once known to be the administration centre of North Wales during the period of King Edward I, Caernarfon Castle is one of the most structurally beautiful and grand medieval fortresses.
The initial fortresses of the UNESCO World Heritage Site were actually built by Romans which took 47 years to complete and is known to be one of the greatest castles of the middle ages.
That surely is reason enough for you to go visit.
It was also the birthplace of King Edward II
12. Bryn Bras Castle, Snowdonia, Gwynedd, North Wales
An enchanting castle, surrounded by 32 acres of gardens, mountains and woodland and built using Neo-Romanesque technique, the Bryn Bras castle was completed in 1835 and was initially made for an attorney.
While the castle does not have a rich history in its name, it has romantic and momentous structure.
It was because of its location with lush green surroundings and its serene beauty, that it was converted into apartments in 1962.
Want to live like royalty for a weekend?
Bryn Bras Castle in North Wales has holiday apartments where you can book and stay. Otherwise own your dream holiday home at Bryn Defaid Lodge & Caravan Park and make sure a visit to Bryn Bras is on the cards!
13. Castell Dinas Brân, Llangollen, Denbighshire, Inland North Wales
Located on a hilltop, Castell Dinas Brân was built in the 1260s.
The name translates to Crow Castle that was once a medieval fortress and mansions, the castle was only functional for two decades after which it was burnt, abandoned and reduced to ruins.
Before its destruction it belonged to the Princes of Powys Fadog.
One of the major reasons why you should visit the ruins of the Castell Dinas Brân is because the view from the hill that the castle was located on, approximately 1,000 feet above ground is absolutely breathtaking.
If you enjoy a hike, this one is for you.
14. Criccieth Castle, Gwynedd, North Wales
Built by Prince Llwelyn during the 1230s, Criccieth Castle has one of the most beautiful views, as it is located on a headland between two beaches.
It is because of this picturesque view that tourists visit the castle in flocks regardless of the fact that it is in ruinous condition.
The castle also has a rich history. The castle was captured by Edward I in the 13th century and was modified during that period. It was eventually turned into a prison during Owain Glyndŵr’s period where it met it’s ill fate and was torn down and set on fire.
The castle was also used by William Turner; a famous artist of the 19th century for his series of paintings based on shipwrecked mariners.
15. Beaumaris Castle, Anglesey, North Wales
An incomplete monument is how many describe the Beaumaris Castle, the UNESCO World Heritage Site was built by King Edward I during his quest to conquer North Wales.
The work to build the castle started in 1295 but stopped in 1306 due to the fear of an invasion. Welsh forces captured the castle in 1403.
Beaumaris Castle attracts many tourists from around the world due to its grandeur and immense size. Activities and events are also held at Beaumaris Castle in Anglesey.
‘The limestone and sandstone castle is known to be the ‘greatest castle never built’.
16. Gwydir Castle, Llanrwst, Conwy Valley, North Wales
Located near the river Cowny and overlooking the Gwydir forest, Gwydir Castle can be dated back to AD 600. The main purpose the castle fulfilled was that of a manor house. The castle was rebuilt in 1490 and modified with time.
During the 1600s the Gwydir Castle belonged to the Wynn family. The castle today is a popular tourist attraction as it is very well restored, the interiors of the house are fully furnished with many original and authentic furniture pieces from the Gwydir Castle.
The castle is surrounded by 10 acres of period gardens, with cedars dating back to the 1600s, which gives us more the reason to visit.
17. Chirk Castle, Chirk, Wrexham, North Wales
Another one of the many fortresses built by King Edward I across North Wales, Chirk Castle was built in 1925. It served the purpose of being the administrative centre of Chirkland on the Welsh-English border.
While well preserved, these fortresses do not have major historical significance, which is possibly why it is in such great state.
It is under the National Trust and a popular tourist spot with a courtyard cafe.
The castle top has a beautiful view of Ceiriog valley and is surrounded by a beautiful garden. It was also used as a location for Victory & Peace in a silent war film by Herbert Brenon.
18. Harlech Castle, Harlech, North Wales
Edward I, over time built countless fortresses across North Wales however they are unmatched to Harlech Castle’s splendor especially due to its picturesque setting.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site is situated on a spur rock near the Irish Sea and was built in the span of just seven years. It later in history served as the residence of Owain Glyndŵr and his military headquarters.
Today it’s a popular tourist site due to its stunning location and sheer beauty. It was also visited by various famous artists of the 19th century such as John Cotman and John Varley to get inspiration for their artwork.
19. Castell Aberlleiniog, Llangoed, Anglesey, North Wales
Known as a hidden gem, the Aberlleiniog castle was built between 1080-1099 in a secluded woodland area. From Welsh Princes, Viking raiders and pirates, this castle has seen it all.
The castle was in ruins however restoration work is ongoing. If you crave a calming woodland walk that would lead to a historic monument, you should definitely visit Castell Aberlleiniog.
20. Hawarden Castle, Hawarden, Flintshire, North Wales
Dated back to the Iron Age, the Hawarden castle played a vital role when the Welsh were fighting for independence during the 13th Century. The castle was slighted in the 17th century after the English Civil War.
Only open for a few days in the year, you get the opportunity to explore the keep and parapets of a medieval stonework castle.
There are two versions of this castle. The new version, home to former British Prime Minister W.E. Gladstone remains a private residence.
21. Caergwrle Castle, Caergwrle, Wrexham, North Wales
Also known as Queen’s Hope, Caergwrle Castle was built on a river above a hill in 1277 to serve King Edward I. However the castle met ill fate when it caught fire and was destroyed almost entirely. All that remains are ruins. King Edward I and his wife Eleanor were also present in the castle at the time.
A town was also in the making in the surrounding area of the grit stone castle, however due to the fire, that too was abandoned.
If you’re interested in history more than visuals, Caergwrle Castle is a must visit for you.
22. Castell y Bere, Tywyn, Gwynedd, West Mid Wales
Built by Prince Llwelyn in 1221, Castell y Bere is one of the lesser-known castles of North Wales, however equally rich in history.
The purpose of the castle was to create a sense of authority amongst the local people.
The castle eventually came under Edward I who expanded it further and built a small town around it. The castle allegedly suffered a fire and is now in ruins.
Freely accessible to tourists at any time, the siltstone castle with its rich history makes it one of the most compelling in North Wales and definitely worth a visit.
23. Holt Castle, Holt, Wrexham, North Wales
To serve purpose during the Welsh Wars and to guard the river crossing on the River Dee that separates England and Wales, Holt Castle was built sometime between 1282-1311.
The building of the medieval castle was initiated by King Edward I however it was later presented to John De Warrane.
It was during the uprising of Owain Glyndŵr that the sandstone castle fell to ruin. There is however a large chunk of the castle, mainly the inner walls of the castle courtyard that still remain, which attracts tourists from around the world.
Again, this castle has mostly been reduced to ruins but its historical significance is a strong reason to visit.
24. Powis Castle, Powys, Mid Wales
One word, extraordinary! Powis Castle also widely known as Castell Coch, was built by a Welsh prince in the 13th Century.
The castle was passed to the Clive Family in 1784 who used their deep pockets to repair and maintain the castle and it was adorned in their prized possessions such as paintings from India, French furniture and bejeweled tiger heads from Tipu Sultan’s throne.
There are countless reasons why you need to visit; it has world famous formal gardens and terraces, it is immaculately well preserved and it is extremely tourist friendly featuring a Clive museum, garden coffee shop, courtyard café, shop and a garden shop.
Exploring North Wales
With this guide, you'll have hours of exploration when you visit North Wales and your dream holiday home or luxury lodge.