Welsh Castles: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about castles in Wales.

  • There are over 400 castles in the small country of Wales. Some are in ruins and many date from the Middle Ages.
  • Wales is said to have more castles for than any other country in Europe.

  • Some of the most spectacular castles in Wales are those built in the 13th century by Edward I to control the Welsh. These include Conwy Castle, Harlech Castle and Caernarfon Castle, all in North Wales.
  • Conwy Castle has one of the most dramatic settings of all Welsh castles. The walls around the town of Conwy are shaped rather like a traditional Welsh harp.
  • Most castles are open to the public, although some are still lived in as private homes. Rhuddlan Castle and several others offer authentic medieval banquet evenings.
  • Caerphilly Castle in south Wales covers 1.2 hectares and is surrounded by several moats. It is the country’s largest castle and featured in the popular BBC television series, Merlin.
  • Caerphilly was the first concentric castle in Britain, with walls inside walls offering extra defense. Its leaning tower leans more than the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa.
  • One of the oldest castles in Wales is Chepstow Castle in Monmouthshire, the UK’s oldest surviving post Roman stone building. It was built along the Welsh/English border in the 11th century.
  • Many Welsh castles are said to be haunted. Bodelwyddan Castle is often said to be the most haunted, and the ghost of a monkey is said to haunt Carew Castle.
  • Powis Castle in Powys is worth visiting for its beautifully landscaped terraces and gardens, and Caldicott Castle also has over 50 acres of landscaped gardens and woodland.
  • Some of the most visited castles are in North Wales. Caernarfon was the site of the 1969 investiture of the Prince of Wales, and is famous for its 8 sided towers and bands of different coloured stone.

What next? Visit our castles resources page to discover more castle facts.

10 Facts About Wales

Here are ten facts about Wales.

  • Wales is part of the United Kingdom. The small country covers an area of just over 20,000 square km and lies between England to the east and the Irish Sea to the west.
  • The actors Richard Burton and Anthony Hopkins are from Wales. The comedians Griff Rhys-Jones and Tommy Cooper were born there, as well as the singer Tom Jones.

  • Cardiff has been the capital of Wales since 1955, making it one of Europe’s youngest capitals. Wales is also home to the UK’s smallest city, St. David’s with about 2,000 people.
  • Llandudno is one of Wales’ most popular seaside resorts and was the inspiration for Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. The Italian looking town of Portmerion was the setting for the cult 1960s television show The Prisoner.
  • Wales is home to the highest mountain in England and Wales, Mt. Snowdon at 1085 metres. The Snowdon mountain railway has been taking visitors to the summit since 1896.
  • Wales has more castles per square km than any other country. One of the most impressive is Caernarvon Castle, built in the 13th century and site of the 1969 investiture of Prince Charles.
  • Fewer than 20 percent of the Welsh people can actually speak Welsh, although road signs are in both Welsh and English. The Welsh alphabet doesn’t contain the letters K. Q, V and Z.
  • There are four times as many sheep as people in Wales, and the country’s long and often rocky coast make it a favourite haunt of a variety of sea birds.
  • Wales has the longest place name in the UK. The town of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyll-llantysiliogogogoch on the island of Anglesey is usually just abbreviated to Llanfair PG.

Flag of Wales

  • Wales is the only UK country not to be shown on the Union Jack flag. The Welsh flag contains a red dragon, possibly originating from a legend about the magician Merlin fighting a dragon.