Overlooking the Menai Strait with its imposing polygonal towers, Caernarfon Castle has been dominating the landscape in this corner of North Wales for nearly 800 years. Built for King Edward I on the site of a Roman fortress and Norman fort, the site is a popular tourist attraction for visitors interested in learning more about the history of Great Britain.
Caernarfon Castle was built by Edward I on the site of a former Roman fortress and Norman fort in the 1280s to display English wealth and power over Wales. With its uniquely shaped towers and color-block brickwork, it is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Though the exterior is complete, the plans for the building’s interior were never fully finished. The castle also includes a museum dedicated to the Royal Welch Fusiliers army regiment.
Many people opt for a guided tour to learn more about the building’s history. Guided day trips from nearby cities (including Bangor, Caernarfon, Holyhead, and Llandudno) visit the walled city of Caernarfon as well as the mountains of Snowdonia and other area highlights.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Discount admission to the castle is available for children, seniors, and students. Children under 5 enter free.
- Several parts of the castle feature steep narrow stairs and are not suitable for those in a wheelchair.
- Your ticket to the castle covers also admission to the Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum.
- Hours vary by season, so check in advance if making your own way to the castle.
How to Get There
Caernarfon Castle sits on the Menai Strait, a body of water that separates mainland Wales from the island of Anglesey. Many people opt to take a guided tour that includes transportation from nearby cities. Others travel by car or take a train to Bangor and a public bus to the castle. Public parking is available nearby.
When to Get There
The castle’s hours change seasonally, with the longest hours in July and August and reduced hours September through February. The castle is closed on major holidays and last entry is 30 minutes before closing. Weekends are the busiest time to visit.
Island of Anglesey
Just across the water from Caernarfon Castle, the small island of Anglesey is known to British families as a quick and easy vacation getaway. With pretty scenery, historic buildings including Beaumaris Castle and Plas Newydd, and sandy beaches with dramatic cliffs topped with lighthouses, it also holds appeal for tourists visiting the area.