Castles to Visit
Wales has the highest density of castles in the world. There are 641 to visit. During your stay at our award winning cottages, you will be able to visit some of the best ones. From lesser-known gems like Carreg Cennen and Llansteffan to major World Heritage Sites.
South Wales is home to many of the UK and indeed Europe’s finest castles. Tourists can explore Castell Coch, a romantic castle inspired by Victorian Gothic fantasy; or the vastly impressive Caerphilly Castle with its unrivalled water defenses and machines of war. Visitors to our self catering cottages may also visit Castell Carreg Cennen, the UK’s most dramatically situated castle, perched on a 300ft cliff. Those interested in the Romans may wish to visit the Roman fortress at Caerleon, once one of the largest and most important military bases in Europe, equipped with baths and 5000 seat amphitheatre. Llansteffan Castle was recently voted, along with Carreg Cennen, as one of the top ten most romantic ruins in Britain.
“Wonderful walks, brilliant castles (Carreg Cennen and Kidwelly especially)”
During your stay in South Wales, you will be able to visit some of the beautiful castles that the region has to offer. There are well over 400 castles in Wales, and many of them are situated within a short drive of our holiday cottages.
Around 10 miles away is the wonderful castle at Dinefwr, just outside of the town of Llandeilo. Overlooking the river Tywi, Dinefwr castle was built in the late 12th century and sits in the grounds of Dinefwr Park. Lucky visitors might see deer roaming from time to time. Access to the castle itself is via quite a bumpy track through the park so walking from Llandeilo is advised, but it is well worth the walk when you get there. It’s not easiest of castles to visit but it is one of the finest. The spiral staircase within leads up to a high tower, giving spectacular views of the Towy valley. Admission is free but do keep some spare change for local car parks should you drive there.
Some of the UK’s best castles are in South Wales
Despite its proximity, Carreg Cennen “ around four miles south “ cannot be seen from Dinefwr castles tower, which is one of many excellent reasons to go and take a separate visit. Carreg Cennen is situated in the village of Trapp and is widely thought to be one of the most spectacular in Wales, not least due to its positioning above a deep precipice. Not one for the faint of heart!
There is a good selection of castles situated on the Gower Peninsula, around 25 miles south of our cottages. The first of these is situated at Oystermouth, just short of Mumbles. Recently refurbished, it provides a stunning view over Swansea Bay “ no longer the old decayed castle of no use as it was once described.
A few miles further west lies Pennard Castle. Now little more than a ruin, it is still worth a visit if you are in the area, if only to see what 700 years of abandonment to such a fine structure can do.
Then head west again to find Oxwich castle, overlooking the bay of the same name. The castle is now managed by Cadw (welsh for protect) and the six storey south-east tower is still intact. It’s one of the tallest castles in South Wales.
There are other examples of great castles a little further afield. To the west, Kidwelly (25 miles) and Llansteffan (35 miles) are well worth checking out. And to the east, the spectacular Caerphilly castle and Castell Coch, just outside Cardiff (both around 40 miles) are both excellent and spectacular in their own ways.
Caerphilly Castle dominates the town. Located in its centre, it is the largest castle in Wales and the second largest in the UK. Built in the late 13th Century, kids and adults alike will recognise it as one of the stars of the recent TV adaptation of Merlin. Some parts of the castle reach over 20 metres and its sheer size will keep you occupied for hours. Watch out for events happening there- sometimes they even fire the re-created siege engines into the lake.
Castell Coch is a youngster compared to other castles in Wales and is more an example of Victorian imagination and wealth. Despite being built on the remains of a 13th century castle, this Gothic Revival looks more at home as a backdrop to a Hollywood movie than a defensive fort. Poking out of the woodland above the town of Tongwynlais just outside Cardiff, it is worthy of a visit on a day trip so you can explore the towers and halls of this quirky fairytale castle. Inside, the Marquis of Bute’s personal bedroom has been preserved intact.