Travel Advice

Welsh Castles – Tips For Tourists Visiting Wales

If you haven’t visited, Wales is a beautiful country with a rugged mountainous interior, a stunning coastline and you’ll always find a ‘Welcome in the hillside’. When you do visit, one feature that will surprise you is the number of castles. For a country of only 8,000 square miles, there are over 600 castles in various states of repair ranging from grassy mounds with a few protruding stones to impressive medieval masterpieces.

The Norman Keep of Cardiff Castle

The term ‘Welsh Castles’ is not completely accurate as many of the castles which dominate the landscape were built by King Edward I, the English King who finally succeeded in the conquest of Wales in the 13th century.

However, 800 years later most of us Welsh are proud of these architectural wonders and look forward to you visiting our country and to see many of these castles for yourself. Don’t worry, we don’t expect you to visit the whole of the 600!

Touring The Castles

Many of the castles are situated in the centre of towns such as Cardiff, Caerphilly and Caernarfon Castle and are easily reached without a car. However, many locations can be remote such as Carreg Cennen in the Brecon Beacons and do require your own transport.

Also, with a car, you can visit a few castles on the same day. You will not end up wasting time waiting for the very limited public transport (non-existent in many cases).

For example, from Dunraven Bay on the South Wales coast, you can visit Dunraven Castle then travel to Ogmore Castle. From Ogmore Castle, it is only a short drive to Candleston fortified manor then into Bridgend and New Castle before visiting the 12th-century Coity Castle.

The total driving distance is only 15 miles but doing this trip without a car can be very difficult.

Facilities And Parking

Many of the town castles do not have dedicated parking so you have to use private parking or the infamous council car park. Often, these do not accept cards or notes and somehow are still unable to give change!

Outside of the towns, you should be able to find free roadside parking or there may be a small free car park such as at Ogmore, just watch the incoming tide with that one.

Many of the castles are managed by CADW, the Welsh Government historic environment service. You can find further information, including facilities, opening times and prices on their website.

What To Wear

Don’t worry, we haven’t become a fashion blog and we are not going to be talking about makeup tips and how versatile a sarong is.

As the majority of the castles are ruins and were originally designed to keep people out rather than ease of access, good footwear is quite important. You don’t want to end up stumbling down a spiral staircase or falling off the ramparts. Also, the floors can often be wet and slippery and in the country, sheep tend to roam free leaving their deposits everywhere so we don’t recommend wearing flip flops.

The only other clothing tip is that a waterproof jacket can come in handy any time of the year after all this is Wales. Pembroke Castle, Carreg Cennen and a few others have caverns and caves underneath which can be cold and damp.

Photography And Drones

All the castles we have visited are fine with amateur photography and video although a few do not allow tripods. Recently, when I was at Castell Coch they did stop an ‘Instagram floaty dress girl’ and her photographer, which was good as they can be quite annoying,

Many of the smaller castles are unmanned so if you do want to take your time and get those moody dawn or sunset shots, you shouldnt have any issues.

Drone flying is not allowed at any CADW property and definitely not allowed over the towns and cities. If are visiting the UK and want more information on flying drones, take a look at Dronesafe UK.

Caerphilly Castle with its leaning tower

We hope you get a chance to visit Wales very soon and experience these impressive castles for yourself.

If you have visited, what is your favourite castle or what is your undiscovered architectural gem?

Visiting Castles In Wales

Tips For Tourists Visiting Wales – Pin For Later

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