Caernarfon Castle

Caernarfon Castle stands guard over the port town below on the banks of the River Seiont as it flows into the Menai Strait. Caernarfon Castle is traditionally the seat of the Prince of Wales – the heir to the British throne – and it is this combined with its fairytale construction that makes it such a popular tourist attraction in Wales.

Tour of Caernarfon Castle - Wales

Caernarfon Castle was built by King Edward I in 1287 following his defeat of Llwelyn ap Gruffudd – the then Prince of Wales. Llewlyn had rejected financial incentives by Edward I to surrender, but he was later caught and executed in 1282. His brother Dafydd continued the struggle but was captured in 1283 in area upland of the River Seiont called Garth Celyn. Edward built Caenarfon and Conwy castles near this spot in an effort to prevent it becoming a focal point for any notions of Welsh independence.

However, the site for Caenarfon Castle wasn’t only chosen out of sheer bloody-mindedness – its strategic value on the banks of the Seiont had been recognised as far back as Roman times, where it was the site of a fort. Later in 1090, the Normans built a motte and bailey here castle here.

Construction of Caernarfon Castle in its present form began in 1283 - after the English heart taken control of the Snowdonia, the spiritual home of the region of Gwynedd and was more or less completed in 1323. However, the whole plan for Caernarfon Castle’s construction was never realised and joints to take on further construction are still visible to this day. The Castle cost £22,000 to build – a massive sum at the time – and with a design more complex than its English contemporaries, it is said to be modelled on the architecture of Constantinople which Edward I so admired whilst on the Crusades.

Today the Castle is a tourist attraction, and ironically, a symbol of Welsh pride. It is still used for ceremonial purposes, and Charles, Prince of Wales was invested here by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1969. Caenarfon Castle is also home to the museum of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers.

Admission costs £5.10 for adults, £4.70 for concessions, and £15.00 for a family ticket.

Castle's opening times

1st April – 31st October: Monday - Sunday 9.00 - 17.00

1st November – 31st March: Monday - Saturday 9.30 - 16.00,
Sunday 11.00 - 16.00

Getting to Caernarfon Castle

By car: A405, A487(T), B4366
By rail: 16km / 10mls Bangor, on the Crewe-Bangor / Holyhead route, then by bus - # 5/5A/5B

View Larger Map

Caernarfon Castle Facts

  • Caernarfon Castle was completed in 1287
  • The cost of building Castle was £22.000
  • Towers angular design was inspired by the architecture of Constantine
  • Edward II was born at the Caernarfon Castle
  • Caernarfon Castle is a World Heritage Site