The Top 10 Castles to visit in Snowdonia and North Wales

Traveling abroad is an interesting experience, seeing the sights sounds and colours of a new landscape are the captivating parts of the experience that excites us to travel more all over the world.. They say that travel is for the soul what knowledge is for the mind. So during your stay here in Snowdonia and north Wales, make sure you mix up your stay with a healthy portion of culture and heritage, our landscape has much to offer you. What captures more people’s imagination more than Welsh castles? They hold a tangible link to the past, and a majestical feel. To a lot of welsh people they represent repression and forced rule and ownership – those are things of the past-but to us they represent a magical era with beautiful architecture for its time. The mighty old red dragon of old is stretching its wings again and is breathing a fresh fire into the heartland of Wales, I’m sure you can already tell by the amount of visitors coming to our beautiful country- and our incredibly healthy tourism economy..We then see the castles, as an addition to the already beautiful landscape and wish to share this beauty with the world..

In keeping with the #yearoflegends I will follow up theses blogs with a series of blogs on our wonderful countrys heritage. Today we are going to look at the top 10 castles you need to visit while in Snowdonia and North Wales. There are many castles to visit on your sty here in north Wales, but we have shortlisted these ten beauties to save you the time and effort, we hope it will add a magical welsh element to your stay here in North Wales.

Caernarfon Castle

Caernarfon, Gwynedd
Near the sea and on the River Seiont, Caernarfon Castle in north wales is a fortress worthy of King Edward I. Besides being able to easily receive guests and shipments from the sea, this castle is intimidating. Large towers in a non-traditional polygonal shape stand out above the massive walls.

Open: 9:30 am to 5:00 pm
Entrance: 6.75 for adults, 20.25 for families (2 adults and children), 5.10 for youth

Penrhyn castle

Bangor, Gwynedd
Penrhyn Castle situated on the foot hills of Snowonia is a neo-Norman castle that rests on on the waters edge with access to its own dock. Prior to this it was a fortified manor house, founded by Ednyfed Fychan. In 1438, Ioan ap Gruffudd was granted a licence to build a the stone castle and added a tower house. With very blocky appearance this castle is host to a collection of amazing artwork and a one ton slate bed that was created for Her Majesty, Queen Victoria. On site there is also an industrial and model railway museum. This castle was owned and built by the Penrhyn family who where slate magnets. The Penrhyn slate queries which flanc the snowdonia national park, still produce one of the worlds finest fault and vine free slate.

Open: 12 pm to 5 pm
Entrance: 10.90 for adults, 5.45 for children, 27.25 for families, 10.35 for groups of adults, 5.20 for groups of children

Harlech Castle

Harlech, Gwynedd
Built for the English monarch Edward I, Harlech castle stands today and was part of Edward I’s iron ring of fortresses. During its peak, it was considered to be among the most formidable of his castles. Today it keeps sentinel over Snowdonia in north Wales  and offers tours.

Open: 9:30 am to 6 pm
Entrance: 5.25 for adults, Cadw 3 or 7 day explorer pass

Dolwyddelan Castle

Dolwyddelan, Blaenau Ffestiniog
The home of Llywelyn ap Lorweth, Dolwyddelan is from around the 13th century when the area was under the control of Llywelyn. The remnants of this castle show the classic model of defensive castles to control the Llywelyn territory. Built back in the 13 century by the true Welsh Prince or Gwynedd and North Wales, Llywellyn the great.

Open: 10 am to 5 pm Monday thru Saturday and 11:30 am to 4 pm on Sundays
Entrance: 2.80 for adults, 8.40 for a family of 2 adults and all children, OAPs, 2.10 for those under 16, Cadw 3 or 7 day passes

Dolbadarn Castle

Dolbadarn, Llanberis
Nestled in-between Caernarfon and Snowdonia on the shores of lake Padarn in Llanberis, rests Dolbadarn Castle. This 13th century castle has a round tower and a variety of chambers surrounding it. It was built by the true prince of Wales Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, and was is believed to have kept his brother Owain jailed in this castle after the battle of Gwynedd. It is considered one of the finest examples of  a Welsh castle round house of its time.

Open: 10 am to 4 pm
Entrance: Free

Conwy Castle

Conwy Castle was built in the 13th century for Edward 1. It was the most expensive of any of the castles that were built for the man and was sold 1628 for 100 pounds. This was measly compared to the 15,000 pounds spent to build the extravagant castle. It was besieged by the Welsh many times and was take over by Owain Glyndwr in 1400’s.

Open: 9:30 am to 5 pm
Entrance: 6.75 for adults, 20.25 for families of 2 adults and all children, 5.10 for under 16, Conwy residents receive a 20% discount, Cadw 3 or 7 day

Criccieth Castle

Criccieth, Gwynedd
One son the most scenic spots that boast a castle in north Wales, a stronghold for Welsh princes, Criccieth overlooked the town below. The English monarch Edward I annexed the castle and it stands there to this day watching over the two beaches and the town.

Open: 10 am to 5 pm
Entrance: 3.50 for adults, 10.5 for families of 2 adults and 3 children, 2 and 7 Cadw passes accepted

Bodelwyddan Castle

Bodelwyddan, Denbighshire
Unlike many of the castles in north Wales on this list are originals or have just had restoration work put on but Bodelwyddan Castle boasts pieces from many different eras. From formal gardens, to towers, to WWI practice trenches there is plenty to see. A skeleton was once found behind a fireplace in the castle and was re-entombed behind a statue of a long man. The story of the skeleton is still a mystery.

Open: 10:30 am to 5 pm
Entrance: Castle and Park together for adults 6.95, 3 for children. For park only, 4.20 for adults and 1.85 for children Website:

Beaumaris Castle

Beaumaris, Anglesey
Beaumaris Castle in north Wales is the last of the Edwardian castles to have been constructed in Wales. The structure was never finished and while you have a great view and a partial moat, it is obvious that it was never completed. The castle was taken by the legendary Owain Glyndwrs Welsh forces in the 1400’s and various further battles where fought over this in the preceding century until it became a stately home in the 19C.

Open: 9:30 am to 6 pm
Entrance: 5.25 for adults and 3.90 for concessions

Chirk Castle

Chirk, Wrexham
The Chirk Castle has been a home and castle for just about 700 years. With commanding views of the Ceiriog Valley the castle is believed to have been built by Roger Mortimer of the Marcher family. The castle was bought by Sir Thomas Myddelton in 1593 for £5,000 (approx. £11 million as of 2008). The castle is owned by National Trust and is open to the public between March and October, with limited opening dates in November and December.

Open: 10 am to 5 pm
Entrance: 10.90 for adults, 5.45 for children, 27.25 for families, 8.72 for adult groups, 4.36 for child groups

Some useful links to help plan your heritage trail!





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