Teetering on the brink of the Brecon Beacons National Park, Caerphilly Castle is Wales’ largest and most famous castle, renowned as one of the most sophisticated examples of medieval architecture in Europe. The sprawling fortress was built by Earl Gilbert de Clare in the 13th century and occupies a vast 30-acre plot, overlooking the town of Caerphilly. The castle’s most notable feature is its elaborate water defenses — a series of moats and artificial lakes that almost completely encircle the castle — and the stronghold was never taken, despite seeing battle on numerous occasions. Acquired by the Marquess of Bute in 1776, the castle was eventually bequeathed to the state and is now preserved as a tourist attraction, making a popular day trip from nearby Cardiff.
Highlights of the castle include its formidable gatehouses and its subsided tower, which famously out-leans Italy’s iconic ‘Leaning Tower of Pisa’, but the interiors are equally impressive, including the elegant banqueting hall, now used as an events hall.