Castles in North Wales

Llanrwst is ideally located if you are interested in castles - with the castles of Conwy, Beaumaris, Caernarfon, Harlech, Rhuddlan, Denbigh, Dolwyddelan, Pentre/Dolbadarn (Llanberis) and Flint and several others all within an easy drive of the town.

The first four of these are all World Heritage sites recognising their importance although this doesn't mean that the others are any less impressive or important.

Conwy Castle

This castle was built between 1283 and 1289 by Edward I and cost an estimated £15,000 (equivalent to £9 million in 2011). Built on a rock promontory it guards the entrance to the River Conwy and is linked to the town walls. The towers are more that 70ft (21m) high and 30ft (9.1m in diameter).

The views from the battlements are breathtaking looking out across mountains, sea and the river, and down to the roofless shell of the castles' 125ft Great Hall.

Conwy Castle is about 12 miles (about a 25 minute drive) from the the Crafty Kitten.

Beaumaris Castle

Located in Beaumaris on Anglesey and overlooking the Menai Strait this castle was started in 1295 and took over 35 years to "complete" however it was never completed due to finances and materials running out. At the peak of it's construction there were over 3,500 workmen employed on building this castle. Despite being incomplete the castle is an awesome sight, regarded by many as the finest of all the great Edwardian castles in Wales.

Beaumaris Castle is about 30-35 miles (about an hours drive) from the Crafty Kitten.

Caernarfon Castle

Caernarfon (also known as Caenarvon) castle is one of the most impressive of all the castles in Wales and is located at the southern end of the Menai Strait about 8 miles south west of Bangor. this castle was started in 1283 and the first stage took about 2 years to complete with the castle undergoing further work unto about 1330 when it looked similar as it does today and it is believed that the total cost was between £20,000 and £25,000 (the equivalent of about £15.5 million today) .

Caernarfon Castle is between 26 and 35 miles depending on the route (around an hours drive) from The Crafty Kitten.

Harlech Castle

Harlech castle is built on top of a cliff close to the Irish Sea and is famous for both it's massive gatehouse and for the seven year siege during the Wars of the Roses (the source of the song "Men of Harlech". Started in 1283 and taking seven years to build to estimated cost was around £8,200 (over £3 million at current value). Originally on the coast this castle is now some distance inland.

Harlech Castle is about 30 miles depending on the route (around an hours drive) from The Crafty Kitten.

Rhuddlan Castle

Rhuddlan Castle, near the seaside town of Rhyl, is another castle built by Edward I between 1277 and 1282. In order to keep the castle supplied Edward diverted the River Clywn for over 2 miles so that there was a deep water channel for his ships. The castle survived in it's form until the Civil War when it was in Royalist hands until it was forced to surrender in 1646. Two years later it was partially demolished to prevent it being used as a castle again.

Rhuddlan Castle is about 25 miles (45 minutes drive) from us in the centre of Llanrwst.

Dolwyddelan Castle

Dolwyddelan Castle was a native Welsh castle that was built by Llywelyn the Great at some time between 1210 and 1240 and was later captured and modified by Edward I and functioned as a guard post along a main route through North Wales (now the A470).

Dolwyddelan Castle is about 10 miles (a 20 minute drive) south of Llanrwst on the A470.

Dolbadarn Castle

Dolbadarn Castle was a native Welsh castle that was built by Llywelyn the Great sometime before 1230. Located at the bottom of the Llanberis Pass (about 1/2 mile south-east of the village of Llanberis).

Dolbadarn Castle is about 20 miles (a drive of about 40 minutes) from the centre of Llanrwst.

Castell y Bere

Castell y Bere was a native Welsh castle that was built by Llywelyn the Great in the early 13th century and was later captured by Edward I in 1283 and used by the English into 1294 when the castle was abandoned. This castle is freely accessible to the public at any reasonable time and is is a state of ruin, although it is still worth a visit.

Castell y Bere is about 50-55 miles (a drive of about an hour and a half) south of The Crafty Kitten, the other side of Dolgellau.

Gwydir Castle

Although not a traditional castle this is a fine example of a fortified courtyard manor house dating back to about 1500AD set within a Grade 1 listed 10 acre garden

Gwydir Castle is about 0.5 miles from the market square in Llarwst (taking a total of about 5 minutes to drive from the centre of Llanrwst depending on the traffic over the narrow bridge crossing the Conwy River).

Other sites

There are many other castles and historic sites in the area, including a roman fort in Caernarfon, and even the site that the World War II Mulberry Harbours were initially developed.