How many castles are there in Wales?
Wales is often called ‘the land of castles’ – a very suitable name for a country with more than 600 of them!
There are more castles per square mile than anywhere else in the world – If you visit Wales you’re almost certain to see one. Some have been lived in continuously for thousands of years, while others are now romantic ruins. Many are native Welsh castles, built by Welsh royal dynasties, often in very beautiful places. The biggest were built by Normans following their invasion in 1066.
Wherever you go on holiday in Wales, you won’t be too far from a historic site. I’m sure you won’t have time to visit all 600, so here is a selection of castles to visit during your stay with Rarebits Collection.
Caernarfon Castle is recognised around the world as one of the greatest buildings of the Middle Ages. This dramatic fortress has sat on the banks of the River Seiont for 700 years, after being built by Edward I and his military architect Master James of St George, who erected the castle, town walls and a quay all at the same time. This mountainous palace took 47 years to complete!
The closest Rarebits property to Caernarfon Castle is Plas Dinas Country House, just a 33-minute drive away.
Penrhyn Castle & Garden
The dominating stone façade of Penrhyn Castle was built in the early 19th century on the Menai Straits, with a backdrop of Snowdonia’s summits. Surrounded by wooded and open parkland ripe for exploring, and a walled garden that pre-dates the castle. You’ll find a long history of sugar and slate fortunes waiting to be explored.
The closest Rarebits property to Penrhyn Castle is Bodysgallen Hall & Spa, just a 30-minute drive away.
This magnificent medieval fortress still towers over the town after 700 years. Thanks to restored spiral staircases in its great towers you can walk a complete circuit around the battlements of Conwy Castle. This is another masterpiece erected by Kind Edward I and his architect Master James of St George in a barely believable 4 years!
The closest Rarebits property to Conwy Castle is St George’s Hotel, just a 15-minute drive away.
Harlech Castle crowns a sheer rocky crag overlooking the dunes far below. Another of Edward I’s castles, completed under the guidance of Master James St George in just 7 years. Its classic ‘walls within walls’ design make for daunting natural defences, along with the 108 steps rising steeply up the rock face. Harlech is easier to conquer today – An incredible ‘floating’ footbridge allows you to enter this great castle as Master James intended.
The closest Rarebits property to Harlech Castle is Portmeirion Village, just a 20-minute drive away.
The construction of Chirk Castle began around 1295 during the reign of Edward I in order to subdue the last princes of Wales. Built on an outcrop above the meeting point of the Rivers Dee and Ceiriog, the castle, with its imposing silhouette, was a brooding statement of English intent in these disputed lands. The award-winning gardens cover over 5 acres of manicured lawns, herbaceous borders and wooded pleasure ground.
The closest Rarebits property to Chirk Castle is The Hand at Llanarmon, just a 17-minute drive away.
Pembroke Castle has a long and fascinating history, for it was around 1093 that Arnulf de Montgomery built the small inner bailey standing at the end of the promontory. The late 12th century keep is both an outstanding feature and architectural novelty, for it has a massive cylindrical tower with an unusual stone dome. Views from the top are tremendous and the castle’s natural defensive position on a rocky promontory overlooking Milford Haven is immediately apparent.
The closest Rarebits property to Pembroke Castle is St Brides Spa Hotel, just a 1o-minute drive away.
Cardiff Castle is one of Wales’ leading heritage attractions and a site of international heritage, located within beautiful parklands at the heart of the capital. At once a Roman fort, Norman stronghold and Victorian gothic masterpiece, Cardiff Castle’s walls and fairytale towers conceal 2,000 years of history.
The closest Rarebits property to Cardiff Castle is Holm House, just a 20-minute drive away.
King Edward I liked his castles to be on the coast. At Rhuddlan, several miles inland, the plan was to use a river instead. Edward conscripted hundreds of ditch-diggers to deepen and divert the meandering river Clywd. The inner diamond-shaped stronghold with its twin-towered gatehouses sits inside a ring of lower turreted walls. Further beyond was a deep dry moat linked to the River Clwyd.
The closest Rarebits property to Rhuddlan Castle is Bodysgallen Hall & Spa, just a 30-minute drive away.
Perched upon the cliffs, in the heart of the village, you can’t really miss the Norman’s Castle. The Castle occupies a commanding position overlooking the beautiful Manorbier Beach with the village nestled behind. Steeped in history and folklore this Norman gem has many secrets to discover. The fairytale turrets, great hall, chapel and landscaped gardens (designed by Daphne Shackleton one of Ireland’s foremost plants women) offer the perfect place to soak up the wonderful atmosphere.
The closest Rarebits property to Manorbier Castle is St Brides Spa Hotel, just a 20-minute drive away.