Wales has more castles per square mile than any other country in the world. From Roman forts and royal palaces to medieval motte-and-bailey castles—be sure to add these Welsh castles to your itinerary.
Perched on a grassy mound in the heart of historic Cardiff, this castle stands out as the country’s flagship fortress. A 2,000-year-old Roman fort transformed into a grand Victorian manor by the prestigious Bute Family, it’s one of Wales’ most important heritage sites. Visitors can admire the grand interiors by architect William Burges, stroll the beautiful gardens, and explore the castle’s underground tunnels, which were used as air raid shelters during World War II.
Just north of Cardiff, the 13th-century Caerphilly Castle is the largest castle in Wales and one of Britain’s greatest surviving medieval castles. Its impressive ramparts, including elaborate moats and water defenses, made it a worthy setting for former guests like King Edward II. These days, Caerphilly is equally famous for its annual Big Cheese Festival, held each summer.
Hidden away in the moorlands of North Wales, Rhuddlan Castle is best known for its association with King Edward I, who built it during the 13th century. The castle boasts a remarkably engineered fortification system, and it’s linked to the north coast via the River Clwyd.
Another one of King Edward I’s castles, Caernarfon Castle was built in 1283 on the banks of the Menai Strait. Visitors can tour the interior of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, explore exhibitions on the Prince of Wales and the British army, and look out over the Snowdonia National Park from the Eagle Tower.
With its dramatic fortifications and imposing drawbridge, it’s easy to see why Conwy Castle is considered Edward I’s most impenetrable castle. After admiring the fortress from across the Conwy River, head inside to walk the ramparts and enjoy incredible views over Snowdonia.