Castles & Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd

Harlech Castle, Wales
Harlech Castle - © OLU

The Castles & Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd have been on the World Heritage Site list since 1986, with four castles and town walls there is plenty of history and culture for visitors to explore here. Located in the area of Gwynedd in North Wales the castles and town walls are of historical and cultural significance, showing great examples of fortified towns and military architecture.

Overview


The Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd are located in North Wales and offer the chance for visitors to see a recognised World Heritage Site in the UK. The sites consist of town walls and four castles located in the region.

Beaumaris Castle is located on the Island of Anglesey, the castle was never completed with resources running out before completion. The castle was built during the reign of King Edward to help define this authority in Wales. The castle is regarded as one of the finest examples of Edwardian Castles in the UK. When built in the 13th century the castle was among the most modern in its design with several lines of fortifications and thought of as ahead of its time.

The castle is seen as a very well designed fortress that offered would be intruders with plenty of problems. There are hundreds of arrow slits and murder holes that could be used for forces to defend the castle.

Caernarfon Castle and Town Walls are famous destinations for visitors to North Wales. The castle here is possibly the best known in Wales, the size and scale of the castle mean it is distinguishable from other castles. Building started in 1283, the castle was intended as serve several purposes including being a military installation, a seat of government and a royal palace. The castle was built to show size and strength taking inspiration from the walls of Constantinople the imperial power associated with the Romans and designed as the biggest & best castle in Wales.

The castle has a domineering presence in the walled town, features of the fortress include the polygonal towers and battlements. The castle became famous around the world back in 1969 when it was the host for the Investiture of Prince Charles as the Prince of Wales. The castle houses exhibitions within the towers and the Regimental Museum of the Royal Welch Fusiliers, the oldest regiment in Wales.

Conwy Castle and Town Walls offers visitors with another interesting site, the castle is a dark stoned fortress that conjures up the atmosphere of medieval Wales. The castle was built during the reign of King Edward building starting in 1283 until 1289, it is located above the Conwy Estuary with the inspiring sight of spectacular Snowdonia sitting behind it. This historic castle is relatively simple in design in comparison to other Welsh fortresses, the lack of other features is not needed given the location of the castle. The strength of the castle lies on the fact it has huge walls and huge round towers presenting a menacing obstacle to any would be intruder.

Visitors will find the Views from the battlements are stunning, looking at the mountains, sea and city walls. From here visitors can get a sense of the grand design and past glories, seeing the ring of town walls gives a sense of how the town was built to withstand intruders in the past. Conwy is well known walled town, the circuit of walls stretch for over three quarters of a mile in length and are seen as one of the finest examples of such walls in the world.

Harlech Castle is located in North Wales perched on a rock making for a wonderful site. Visitors can see the spectacularly located castle and appreciate the inspiring views across the land and sea and can see Snowdonia in the background. The castle was built in the late 13th century and forms part of the 'iron ring' of fortresses of King Edward that were designed to contain the Welsh during his reign. The design of the fortress fits in with the local environment and nature meaning the castle looks very much at home here and does not dominate the entire landscape as is the case with some other castles.

The castle is still an imposing fortress the strength lie in the location, inner walls and towers. The views from the battlements are panoramic, offering awe inspiring views of the dunes to Snowdonia.

The castles and town walls in Gwynedd offer visitors with spectacular scenery, panoramic views and plenty of history and culture.


How To Get There


Beaumaris Castle:

By Car: A545, A5

By Bus: There are bus services with stops close by on the routes 53/57/58 from Bangor-Beaumaris to Llandonna/Penmon.

By Train: Bangor Station is approx 9 miles away on the Crewe-Bangor to Holyhead route.

Caernarfon Castle:

By Car: A4085, A487, B4366

By Bus: Caernarfon Penllyn bus station on route No 5/5A/5B from Bangor to Caernarfon is located close to the castle.

By Train: Bangor Station is located 10miles from the castle on the Crewe-Bangor to Holyhead route.

Conwy Castle:

By Car: A55, B5106

By Bus: The No.5 bus, Llandudno-Conwy to Bangor/Caernarfon, offers services close to the castle.

By Train: Conwy Station is the closest station to the castle with Llandudno Junction station approx 1.5 miles away on the Crewe to Llandudno Junction/Holyhead line.


Harlech Castle:

By Car: A496

By Bus: The No. 38 bus from Y Bermo to Harlech/Blaenau Ffestiniog offers services close to the castle.

By Train: Harlech Station is a short distance from the castle on the Shrewsbury to Machynlleth/Pwllheli line.


Contact Details


Address:

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport
2 - 4 Cockspur Street
London
SW1Y 5DH

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7211 6200

Website: UK World Heritage Sites


Facilities and Information


Opening Times:

Beaumaris, Caernarfon, Conwy & Harlech Castle:

April to October - 09.00am to 17.00 (Daily)

November to March - 09.30 to 16.00 (Mon to Fri) & 11.00 to 17.00 (Sun)


It is recommended visitors check all opening and closing times and specific days visits are open when booking to get the latest information & avoid disappointment, as changes can occur.


Further Information:

Beaumaris Castle:

Ticket prices start from approx £3.30 for Children, approx £4 for Adults & £11 for a Family Ticket

Tel: +44 (0)1248 810361

Caernarfon Castle:

Ticket prices start from approx £4.70 for Children, approx £5 for Adults & £15 for a Family Ticket

Tel: +44 (0)1286 677617

Conwy Castle:

Ticket prices start from approx £4.20 for Children, approx £5 for Adults & £14 for a Family Ticket

Tel: +44 (0)1492 592358

Harlech Castle:

Ticket prices start from approx £3.30 for Children, approx £4 for Adults & £11 for a Family Ticket

Tel: +44 (0)1766 780552


Map



View Larger Map

For Local Search and Directions see: Caernarfon Castle Map


Tips & Other Considerations


There may be some variations on the opening hours depending on the time of year and the attraction you wish to see. Visitors are advised to double check before going to ensure the attraction/WHS you wish to see is open and avoid disappointment.

Always remain alert and aware of your belongings at all times especially your wallet/purse and valuables and ensure they are hidden away from public view. If you have a bag try to use a shoulder bag with a good quality, strong strap, that is put across your shoulder not on your shoulder making it more difficult for anyone to take your bag.

If you are travelling by car to any of the various sites ensure you are well prepared with maps and Sat Nav to aid your journey, particularly if you are not familiar with the local area and roads. For door to door directions for public transport and car journeys see the journey planner for more details.

If you are looking for car parking near any of the sites in Gwynedd, ensure you fully understand the rules, regulations & charges for car parks and street parking. The rules & regulations can be complex & confusing if you are not sure it is wise dot to park there.

If you are travelling by public transport, it is useful to check for service updates prior to beginning your journey for any delays, disruption or cancellations to services that may impact on your journey. Ensure you have the service timetables for the trains, trams, buses and coaches. Remember when the last services are and ensure you make it to the train/bus/coach stops well in time to avoid missing the service.


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