21 Aug 10 best castles to visit in North Wales for magical days out
No matter how old we get, castles will never fail to enchant us. The good news is that Wales has over 600! From those that will remind your children of their favourite fairy tales to dramatic ruins to travel through time, it won’t be hard to find the best castles to visit in North Wales.
Not sure where to start, though? Start with our handy list of the top 10 castles in Wales!
10 of the best castles to visit in North Wales
Beaumaris Castle – to see a real moat
Moats are undoubtedly charming. They’re what we pictured when we heard about glorious medieval battles and what we saw in our favourite historical films. However, most castles with moats are now dried up.
Not Beaumaris Castle, though! Still surrounded by water just like during its best days, it’s a must-see when you head to Anglesey.
Castell Dinas Brân – ruins with a scenic view
Towering above Llangollen and the rest of the Dee Valley, the ruins of the ‘crow’s fortress’ are like a time machine.
You can reach them with a pleasant walk uphill, during which you’ll most likely be greeted by a few sheep (well, you are in Wales, after all). At the very top, you’ll be able to walk through the stone archways and walls that have stood the test of time since the 12th century.
The 360° view around you also adds to its charm. No wonder that visiting Castell Dinas Brân is one of the best free things to do in North Wales!
Harlech Castle – a majestic coastal castle
There’s a reason why this is one of the best castles to visit in Wales! Right in between the mountains and the sea, the high towers of this coastal fortress will allow you to make the most of a spectacular setting.
As well as walking across its rooms, you can discover Harlech Castle from different points of view, including its well-preserved walls.
Ewloe Castle – full of folklore
Hidden within woods that are populated by local legends, the ruins of this 13th-century castle are incredibly fascinating.
Will you dare to walk across a forest where the ghosts of some ambushed troops are still heard and flickering lights have been spotted behind the missing windows of this castle?
Maybe visit it before the sun goes down. Just to be sure.
Conwy Castle – a UNESCO gem
When reading articles on the most fairytale-esque castles in the world, you shouldn’t be surprised to find our local fortress in the majority of them!
With eight large towers, two barbicans and an impressive structure of battlements, Conwy Castle is truly whimsical and majestic.
Plus, it’s right by the river estuary. What it’s most famous for, though, is the 1.3km-long path created by its medieval walls, which allows you to discover Conwy from a different point of view.
Basically, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that you really don’t want to miss out on!
Caernarfon Castle – a perfect example of Medieval architecture
Located right by the banks of the River Seiont, this stunning fortress-palace is widely recognised as one of the best buildings of the Middle Ages.
Together with some of the other best castles to visit in Wales (Beaumaris, Harlech and Conwy), it’s a World Heritage Site that you definitely want to tick off your bucket list.
Criccieth Castle – right by the sea
Do you love to be beside the seaside? Then you should head to Criccieth Castle! Located on a rocky peninsula, it overlooks not one but two beaches.
This 13th-century castle can be found in local tales and poems, including the work of Iolo Goch, a Welsh bard that mentioned the ‘bright fort high on a rock’.
Discover its history and make the most of its view before heading to the beach and enjoying a day out in the quaint little town of Criccieth.
Gwrych Castle – a more recent building
While the 13th century seemed to be the golden time for castle architects in Wales, you can find fortresses from other time periods, too.
Gwrych Castle is a 19th-century building that makes for a memorable sight since, with many parts covered in moss and greenery, you can see how nature is trying to claim it back.
But don’t worry: the castle is still standing strong!
Flint Castle – a breathtaking view
This castle is in a perfect, strategic position: not too far from Chester but also right by the coast.
What’s left of it allows you to take a good look at the sea, which gets much closer when the tide is low.
Let your children run around what used to be the main hall, and go all the way up its towers with them to enjoy the view together!
Chirk Castle – one of the best castles to visit in North Wales for a family day out
If you’re after a relaxing day out to visit a castle and its gardens, we recommend heading to Chirk. This—you’ve guessed it—13th-century castle isn’t just beautiful on its own: it comes with a 480-acre land for you to discover.
From curated gardens to unpredictable wildlife, Chirk Castle has something for the entire family, and it looks completely different during each season.
We hope you enjoy visiting the top 10 castles in Wales! Or why not invest in a holiday lodge so that you can discover the remaining five hundred or so, too?