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Cardiff, Conwy, Penrhyn ... Ten castles that make Wales famous


Nicknamed "the world capital of castles", Wales has more than a hundred. These ten majestic fortresses mark the history of the kingdom of the red dragon and its intoxicating landscapes.

Caernarfon Castle

This immense fortress in the north of the country hosts the investiture ceremonies of the Princes of Wales, including that of Prince Charles in 1969. The royal residence saw the birth of Edward II, the first English prince proclaimed Prince of Wales. His father, Edward I of England, established the custom of the Dauphin holding this title, and built Caernarfon Castle in the 13th century. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it features imposing octagonal towers, inspired by the walls of Constantinople from which you can admire the old walled city. Its ramparts, underground passages and staircases, lend themselves to all kinds of hide-and-seek, while its museum tells its story. Fancy a getaway? A little further north on the coast, ferries run from Holyhead to Dublin in 2h15!

Caernarfon Castle, Castle Ditch, Caernarfon LL55 2AY.


: +44 128 667 7617. Adult price: £ 9.90 / child: £ 6.

Read also: The discreet charm of Wales

Caerphilly Castle

This 13th century Anglo-Norman fortress is particularly famous for its leaning tower (right).

Chris Johnston / Flickr

A tower leaning more than that of Pisa! This is one of the peculiarities of this 13th century Anglo-Norman fortress, north of Cardiff. It is the second largest castle in the UK after Windsor, considered a model of military architecture with its circular fortifications and man-made lakes. Built by Baron Gilbert de Clare on the model of the Château d'Aigues-Mortes, it has been the subject of frequent renovations since 1928 and appeared in the



Doctor Who series

. Kids love the maze, robotic dragon, and siege engines. In the summer, the Big Cheese folklore festival brings together thousands of people in the park, thanks in particular to its famous race whose participants carry a plate of Caerphilly cheese.

Caerphilly Castle, Castle Street, Caerphilly CF83 1JD.


: +44 292 088 3143. Adult price: £ 4.20 / child: £ 2.95.

Cardiff castle

The basements of the castle, which served as an air raid shelter during World War II, are worth a visit.

Mario Sánchez Prada

This astonishing ensemble is located in the heart of Cardiff, the capital of Wales, in the south of the territory. The Romans installed a fort there, of which a few bastions and a gate remain, the Normans erected a tower there, and the main fortress dates from the 19th century. It was built thanks to the means of the third Marquis de Bute, a Scottish industrialist, then considered the richest man in the world, and the boundless imagination of William Burges, architect of the

Gothic Revival

(which will give the neo-Gothic style, in French ). Its extravagant sets, seen in the



Doctor Who series

, combine medieval, oriental and Renaissance inspiration.

The basements, which served as an air raid shelter during WWII, are worth a visit.

Without forgetting the Norman keep and its sensational view of the park.

Note: the duo Bute-Burges also created Castell Coch, a romantic madness north of Cardiff ...

Cardiff Castle, Castle Street, Cardiff CF10 3RB.


: +44 292 087 8100. Adult price: £ 12 / child: £ 9.

Chirk Castle

In its impeccably manicured gardens, roses and azaleas make the best alongside remarkably pruned yews.

giborn_134 / Flickr

This castle contains 700 years of history and its many residents have left their mark there, allowing visitors to understand their daily lives, in particular by putting on costumes and armor!

Erected at the end of the 13th century to defend North Wales, which borders England, the fortress has retained its keep and its hall of servants.

From 1595, it was bought by Sir Thomas Myddleton - his descendants still occupy parts of it - and is adorned with superb ceremonial rooms, and later, rooms in the 1920s style. In its immaculately maintained gardens, roses and azaleas stand out. the beautiful alongside remarkably cut yews.

Chirk Castle, Chirk LL14 5AF.


: +44 169 177 7701. Adult admission from £ 8 for gardens only / child: £ 4.

Read also: Arundel, Leeds, Windsor… Ten majestic castles to see in the south-east of England

Conwy Castle

Overlooking the Conwy estuary, the imposing construction has a keep, two barbicans and eight towers.

Justin Meissen / Flickr

It is to Edward I of England (again!) That we owe this fabulous example of 13th century military architecture. Like three other of its castles in the north of the country - Harlech, Caernarfon and Beaumaris - it is a UNESCO heritage site. Overlooking the Conwy estuary, the imposing construction has a keep, two barbicans and eight towers. We go up there to enjoy superb panoramas over the bay, Snowdonia, and the charming town, also remarkably fortified. Resisting the many Welsh sieges, the fortress became a royalist home during the First Civil War and fell into the hands of parliamentarians in 1646 and then in ruins. From 1865, it was restored and its royal apartments are among the most intact dating from this period.

Conwy Castle, Rose Hill Street, Conwy LL32 8AY.


: +44 149 259 2358. Adult price: £ 2.80 / child: £ 2.20.

Criccieth Castle

Established in the 13th century by Llewelyn the Great, the bastion was seized and fortified by Edward I of England.

alh1 / Flickr

Painting lovers, you will recognize in this castle on the Llŷn peninsula,

JMW Turner's

Criccieth Castle

. The current decor remains worthy of a masterpiece, with its Victorian houses punctuating the steep path that climbs towards the fortress. Inside, a room details its past, witness to battles between Welsh and English rulers. Established in the 13th century by Llewelyn the Great, the bastion was seized and fortified by Edward I of England before falling back into Welsh hands, those of Prince Owain Glyn Dŵr who burned the towers in 1404. From this time, there remain ruins including a well, but we especially remember the spectacular view of the wild coast, and Snowdonia National Park.

Criccieth Castle, Castle Street, Criccieth LL52 0DP.


: +44 176 652 2227. Adult price: £ 5.40 / child: £ 3.90.

Harlech Castle

Perched at an altitude of 60 meters, the fortress overlooks the Irish Sea and the mountains of Snowdonia.

giborn_134 / Flickr

The view: it is the treasure of this castle, perched at an altitude of 60 meters. From its ramparts, you can see the Irish Sea and the mountains of Snowdonia. It is one of the 13th century fortresses, built by the Savoyard architect Jacques de Saint-Georges for Edward I of England and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Restored after the First World War, the castle houses beautiful ruined curtain walls, the remains of a chapel and those of a bakery. In 1404, Owain Glyndŵr - the last Welsh to bear the title of Prince of Wales - besieged him and settled there for four years, making Harlech the capital. Today there is a pretty beach bordered by dunes and, a 20-minute drive away, the village of Portmeirion, the twin of Portofino.

Harlech Castle, Harlech, LL46 2YH.


: +44 176 678 0552. Adult admission: £ 2.10 / child: £ 1.45.

Pembroke castle

The keep of this Anglo-Norman fortress, 24 meters high (highest in Wales), delights lovers of breathtaking panoramas.

postywood1 /

This majestic Anglo-Norman fortress is perched atop a rocky outcrop overlooking the Pembroke River.

Protected by water, it never fell into the hands of the Welsh.

Its construction by Baron Arnoul de Montgomery dates back to 1093 but its towers have remained intact, notably the one where King Henry VII was born in 1457. Inside, we discover spine-chilling stories and those of the resident royal dynasties (Tudor and Stuart).

The 24-meter keep, the highest in Wales, delights lovers of breathtaking panoramas, while the bravest venture into the passageways and the limestone cave under the castle ...

Pembroke Castle, Pembroke SA71 4LA.


: +44 164 668 1510. Adult price: £ 7 / child: £ 6.

Penrhyn Castle

The manor was founded in the 15th century before being transformed in 1820 for the nobility. Denis Egan / Flickr

This is a change from the medieval fortresses of Edward I! Founded in the 15th century in Bangor, by the warrior Ednyfed Fychan, this mansion was transformed in 1820 by George Dawkins-Pennant, a rich heir to the Penrhyn slate quarries. If its Norman facades give it a medieval air, its refined interiors, covered with canvases by Rembrandt and Gainsborough or wallpapers by William Morris appeal to the nobility of the nineteenth century who stayed there, on their way to the port of Holyhead. Among the curiosities is a slate bed, made for the visiting Queen Victoria. She refused to sleep there, finding that it looked like a grave! The castle has beautiful gardens and a transport museum where locomotives, used in slate quarries, are on display. In the region, the island ofAnglesey and Snowdonia are well worth a trip.

Penrhyn Castle, Bangor LL57 4HN.


: +44 124 835 3084. Adult price from £ 8 for gardens only / child: £ 4.

Powis Castle

This pink stone building reveals some of the most beautiful gardens in the UK.

Ian Preston / Flickr

With its Italian-style terraces, the castle of Powis is reminiscent of a Roman villa. However, this pink stone building, built in the 13th century in central Wales, was intended to defend its border with England. Become a noble residence in the 16th century, it reveals some of the most beautiful gardens in the United Kingdom. Gigantic topiaries, stone balustrades, lead statues and an orangery adorn its famous terraces, planted with Mediterranean and tropical species. Clinging to a steep slope, they overlook a lovely

cottage garden

and the Severn Valley. As for the interior of the castle, it is richly decorated and houses the collections of Robert Clive, founder of the British Indian Empire.

Powis Castle, Welshpool SY21 8RF.


: +44 193 855 1944. Adult price from £ 10 for gardens only / child: £ 5.

Read also: Arundel, Leeds, Windsor… Ten majestic castles to see in the south-east of England

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2021-05-11

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