Wales is home to some of the most impressive castles in the United Kingdom, with records of over 600 castles in the country. Around 100 of these are still preserved in some form. Many of these castles have been around for centuries, with some dating back to the 11th century. From mighty Caerphilly and Conwy to the romantic Harlech and Cardiff, Wales has been called the “Castle capital of the world”.
Welsh castles range from small ruins to huge spectacular constructions with fortified stone walls and towers, as well as moats, grand halls and incredible views.
These castles are often the focus of a visit to Wales, as they are steeped in history and provide a fascinating glimpse into the past.
Here at Flat Earth Prints, we’ll take you through some of the most popular attractions, as well as offering the option to print artwork and maps.
Castell y Bere
Aberdw Castle consists of the ruined remnants of a medieval castle located in the small village of Aberdw in Powys, Wales. It was originally constructed in 1093. The place is more famously known as the landmark of the last residence of Llewelyn ap Gruffydd, the last native Prince of Wales. The ruins are in poor shape with many of the original stonework being commandeered to support the construction of a nearby railway track in the 19th century.
Abergavenny Castle is located south of of small market town of Abergavenny in Monmouthshire. It was built by the Normans in 1087 as a motte-and-bailey castle. The castle has been used as a military fortification, a prison and a hunting lodge. It is now a Grade I listed building and a Scheduled Ancient Monument, and is open to the public, who can visit the castle and the museum within the grounds.
Aberlleiniog Castle (Castell Aberlleiniog)
Aberlleiniog Castle, known as Anglesey’s “Hidden fortress” is a medieval castle set atop a hill near Llangoed, overlooking the Menai Strait and the Snowdonia mountains beyond. It is one of the oldest castles in Wales. The castle is open to the public, and visitors can explore the ruins and take in the stunning views from the top of the castle.
Aberystwyth Castle (Castell Aberystwyth)
Aberystwyth Castle is an impressive remnant of an Edwardian fortress located in mid-Wales and dates back to the 13th century. An earlier fortification of a “Motte and Bailey” style was originally located a mile south. Over the centuries, the castle has served several purposes including acting as the location of a seat of government and the Royal mint. A popular tourist attraction, Aberystwyth Castle offers visitors a fascinating glimpse into the past.
Barry Castle (Castell y Barri)
Barry Castle, is a ruined two-storey gatehouse with the adjacent walls of a hall located in the town of Barry near Cardiff. It was built in the thirteenth century. The remains of the structure are accessible to the public.
Beaumaris Castle (Castell Biwmares)
Beaumaris Castle is a medieval fortification in Beaumaris, Anglesey, on the north coast of Wales. It was built by Edward I, during his conquest of Wales, between 1295 and 1330. Beaumaris Castle is considered to be one of the finest examples of late 13th-century military architecture in Europe.
The castle is situated on a tidal island, connected to the mainland by a causeway. It is a concentric castle, with three concentric walls surrounding a central keep. The walls are made of local limestone and sandstone, and are up to 15 feet thick. The castle is surrounded by a moat, which is fed by the Menai Strait.
Benton Castle (Castell Benton)
Benton Castle is a small fortification in the community of Burton, Pembrokeshire, Wales, now in use as a private house, in a wooded area overlooking the Cleddau river. The castle was probably built in the 13th century, one of a number of castles protecting the boundaries of the ancient Hundred of Rhos. Its origins are obscure, but in the 14th century it was held by Thomas de Roche, Lord of Llangwm. A 1583 map of Pembrokeshire shows the castle on the west bank of the Eastern Cleddau (Clethy), and George Owen mentions it in 1603. The waterway was busy until recent times. The castle is said to have been held and damaged in the Civil War with some, including Benton, more or less destroyed.
Blaenllyfni Castle (Castell Blaenllynfi)
A scheduled ancient monument, Blaenllynfi Castle is a privately owned ruinous stone castle near the village of Bwlch in southern Powys, Wales. It was built in the early thirteenth century. It was captured several times during the rest of the century and apparently was never fully repaired afterwards and fell into ruins.
Bryn Bras Castle is a Grade II* listed building located near the village of Llanrug, in Gwynedd, North Wales. The designation Grade II* signifies that the castle is particularly significant, of more than local interest. The castle is within a large estate and offers views of Snowdonia National Park and the nearby village of Llanrug.
The current structure was erected between 1829 and 1835 on the site of an earlier structure by architect Thomas Hopper for Thomas Williams (1795–1874), a lawyer. It was bought in 1897 by Capt. Frank Stewart Barnard, High Sheriff of Caernarvonshire for 1903–04, who stayed at the castle until his death in 1917.
Caergwrle Castle (Castell Caergwrle)
Castell Caergwrle, also known as Caergwrle Castle, is a medieval fortress located in the village of Caergwrle in Flintshire, Wales. It is situated on a hill overlooking the River Alyn and has a history dating back to the 13th century.
The castle was originally built by the Welsh Prince Dafydd ap Gruffydd in the late 13th century as a defensive stronghold against English expansion into Wales. It was strategically positioned to guard the important route between the town of Mold and the city of Chester.
Constructed as a stone fortress, Castell Caergwrle consisted of a large inner ward surrounded by curtain walls and several towers. The castle’s design incorporated features such as a gatehouse, a great hall, and a well. Its location on a high ridge provided advantageous views of the surrounding landscape.
During the 14th century, Castell Caergwrle passed into the hands of the English Crown, becoming a part of the fortification system established by King Edward I to maintain control over the region. The castle underwent further improvements, including the addition of a massive outer ward and a large gatehouse.
Throughout its history, Castell Caergwrle witnessed several conflicts and sieges. It was attacked and captured by Welsh forces during the Glyndŵr Rising in the early 15th century. Later, during the English Civil War in the 17th century, the castle was held by Royalist forces and played a role in the regional power struggles of the time.
Over the centuries, the castle gradually fell into disrepair and was abandoned. Today, the ruins of Castell Caergwrle remain as a testament to its medieval past. Visitors can explore the site, which is managed by Cadw, the historic environment service of the Welsh Government.
Although in a state of ruins, the castle still retains elements of its original structure, including sections of the curtain walls, towers, and the gatehouse. The site offers picturesque views of the surrounding countryside and provides an opportunity to glimpse into Wales’ medieval history and the conflicts that shaped the region.
Caernarfon Castle (Castell Caernarfon)
Caernarfon Castle is a magnificent 13th century medieval castle located in the town of Caernarfon in North Wales. It was built in the by King Edward I to serve as a royal palace and as part of a series of fortifications along the coast of Wales. It is one of the most impressive castles in Wales, with its large stone walls, towers, and gatehouses. It is also home to the acclaimed Edward I wall walk and King’s Gate, which are popular attractions.
The castle has been used as a prison, a garrison, and a royal palace throughout its long history, and it has been a symbol of English domination in Wales since the 13th century. Today, it is a tourist attraction and a World Heritage Site, and it is open to the public.
King Charles II was invested as Prince of Wales at Caernarfon in 1969.
Caerphilly Castle (Castell Caerffili)
Caerphilly Castle is a medieval fortification in Caerphilly in South Wales, UK. It is famous for its large size (it is the second-largest castle in Britain after Windsor Castle), its historical importance, and its well-preserved state. Here are some key facts about Caerphilly Castle:
- Construction: The castle was constructed in the 13th century (specifically from 1268 to 1271) by Gilbert ‘the Red’ de Clare, a notable English nobleman. He built it to secure his hold over the area and to protect it against Welsh prince Llywelyn ap Gruffudd.
- Design: The castle is a prime example of a concentric castle, where the castle’s inner and outer walls are both intact. It has an elaborate water defense system, a hallmark of its design. The castle is also known for its leaning southeast tower, which has been compared to the Leaning Tower of Pisa because of its significant lean.
- History: The castle played a pivotal role in numerous historical events. It was a focal point during the struggle between the Anglo-Normans and the Welsh. It underwent some damage in the late 13th century during the Welsh rebellion, led by Llywelyn Bren. Later, during the English Civil War in the 17th century, it was partly destroyed by Parliamentary forces.
- Current State: Today, Caerphilly Castle is a well-preserved historic site and a popular tourist attraction, managed by Cadw, the Welsh government’s historic environment service. It is often used for various public events, including reenactment events that bring the castle’s medieval history to life.
- Notable Features: Some of the castle’s notable features include its grand gatehouse, the aforementioned leaning tower, and a fully restored medieval siege engine (a trebuchet). The castle is also home to a number of wooden animal statues, including a dragon, introduced as part of Cadw’s Historic Adventures campaign.
Caerphilly Castle offers visitors a rich and fascinating insight into medieval history and architecture, and it plays a crucial role in the cultural heritage of Wales.
Caldicot Castle (Castell Cil-y-coed)
Carew Castle (Castell Caeriw)
Cardiff Castle (Castell Caerdydd)
Cardigan Castle (Castell Aberteifi)
Carmarthen Castle (Castell Caerfyrddin)
Carndochan Castle (Castell Carndochan)
Carndochan Castle is a ruin of a stone castle near Bala built in the thirteenth century. The remnants of the the castle are listed as an ancient scheduled monument.
Castell Coch is a 19th-century Gothic Revival castle located in the hills outside the town of Tongwynlais in South Wales. The castle was constructed by the 3rd Marquess of Bute, John Patrick Crichton-Stuart, and built by William Burges between 1875 and 1891. The castle features a trio of imposing towers, a gatehouse, a great hall, and numerous lavish chambers. The interiors feature elaborate decorations, with intricate wood carving, stained glass windows, and lavish furnishings. Castell Coch is a popular tourist attraction, and a symbol of the wealth of the Bute family.
Castell Moel constitutes the remains of a fortified house located in the Llangain, Carmarthernshire. It was built during the Tudor period over the foundations of what was likely to have been the ruins of a 14th or 15th century motte and bailey castle. The location overlooks the River Towy.
Castell y Bere
Chepstow Castle (Castell Cas-gwent)
Chirk Castle (Castell y Waun)
Cilgerran Castle (Castell Cilgerran)
Coity Castle (Castell Coety)
Conwy Castle (Castell Conwy)
Criccieth Castle (Castell Cricieth)
Crickhowell Castle (Castell Crucywel)
Cyfarthfa Castle (Castell Cyfarthfa)
Denbigh Castle (Castell Dinbych)
Dinas Brân Castle
Dolforwyn Castle (Castell Dolforwyn)
Dolwyddelan Castle (Castell Dolwyddelan)
Ewloe Castle (Castell Ewlo)
Fonmon Castle (Castell Ffwl-y-mwn)
Gwryrch Castle (Castell Gwrych)
Haverfordwest Castle (Castell Hwlffordd)
Hawarden Castle (Castell Penarlâg)
Hay Castle (Castell y Gelli)
Holt Castle (Castell Holt)
Llantrisant Castle is a ruined castle in Glamorgan, South Wales. The remnants are on a good elevation, commanding extensive views of the surrounding country. Now only a portion of a tower and some outer walls remain standing and neglected.
Llawhaden Castle (Castell Llanhuadain)
Monmouth Castle (Castell Trefynwy)
Montgomery Castle (Castell Trefaldwyn)
Morgraig Castle (Castell Morgraig)
Narberth Castle (Castell Arberth)
Neath Castle (Castell Nedd)
Newcastle (Bridgend) Castle (Y Castell Newydd)
Newcastle Emlyn (Castell Newydd Emlyn)
Newport Castle (Castell Casnewydd)
New Hawarden Castle (Castell Penarlâg (Newydd))
Old Beaupre Castle (Hen Gastell y Bewpyr)
Oxwich Castle (Castell Oxwich)
Oystermouth Castle (Castell Ystum Llwynarth)
Penrhyn Castle (Castell Penrhyn)
Penrice Castle (Castell Pen-rhys)
Picton Castle (Castell Pictwn)
Powis Castle (Castell Powys)
Prestatyn Castle is a the ruin of a motte and bailey castle in Prestatyn, Wales, built in 1157 on land granted to the Norman lord Robert Banastre by King Henry II of England. Only the mound and slight remnants of a causeway are now visible.