This is an amazing place to stay. We first stayed here in 1987 for our tenth wedding anniversary, and in 2005 we took my parents here to celebrate my mum's 80th birthday.
This is a genuine castle since converted to a hotel and features many of the original buildings. From 1277, some famous people have stayed here, including King Edward VII, Lily Langtree and Prince Charles. And of course us! The castle is set in its own grounds and is beautifully decorated in period style, with huge ooen fireplaces and deep sofas to sink into with a drink. The hotel has its own helicopter pad if you wanted to get there in a hurry and the garden is abound with peacocks.
The turret room is the best (see tips below) and the castle often holds Medieval Banquets (see restaurant tips).
Feasting Mediaeval Style
An award winning restaurant with excellent fare, immaculately served, in the regal splendour of an ancient Welsh fortress.
When we were here during midweek there were only a few other people. For the weekend "Mediaeval Feast" or the "Traditional Sunday Lunch" reservations are suggested.
Dolbadarn Castle at Llanberis dates to the 13th century but sadly only the keep remains in solid condition but it is thought by many to be one of the finest of Wales's ' native-built castles said ro have been Built by the mighty Llywelyn ap Iorwerth (Llywelyn the Great) sometime before 1230.
The castles history did not die with Llywelyn the Great in 1240 and the castle was in active use for at least another 40 years and was the prison of Owain Goch (Owain ap Gruffydd) by his younger brother, Llywelyn (Llywelyn the Last) during the struggles for control of North Wales during the 1250's.
Owain spent 20 years here as a prisoner, living on the upper floor of the castle. During the revolt of the Welsh princes against the English King Edward I, Dolbadarn Castle was held by another of Llywelyn's brothers, (Dafydd ap Gruffydd).
Unfortunately for the princes and for the Welsh the castle fell to the formidable forces led by the Earl of Pembroke and Dolbadarn was seized by the English army 1n 1282. shortly after the castle was abandoned.
When Owain Glyndwr led the Welsh uprisings around 1400 it is thought that Glyndwr may have used the keep to hold prisoners such as Lord Grey of Ruthin Castle.
The Castle is free to visit.
"Our Fairytale Honeymoon Village and Castle"
Ruthin is a village of about 5,000 people in the Vale of Clwyd in the Northwast of Wales. Spelled "Rhuthun" in Welsh, "rudd" means red and "din" means city. This reflects the large amount of red sandstone upon which the town is built.
The hilltop town centre, St. Peters Square, has a rich architectural mix and lofty views of the surrounding countryside. This was the favorite stop of our ten day honeymoon in Great Britain. We loved being in love in Ruthin.
"Off the Beaten Path"
Ruthin is not near any larger town and is many kilometres from the nearest airport or train station, so a rental car was necessary to get here. The pastoral character of the area is demonstrated by this photo to the left, which was taken a few steps in front of the Ruthin Castle, and only a short walk from the town centre.
Most special of all was the Castle. Hundreds of years old, this authentic old castle has been modernized and is now a fine hotel. There are gardens, dungeons, walls, and passages to explore. Some guests report seeing a ghost, a lady in grey, but we missed her. Read more of Ruthin Castle in our accomodations tip.
Short distance - Big history
"Land of Fortresses"
The borderlands of North/ East Wales have always been a frontier zone. Lying between the Cheshire Plain to the East and Snowdonia to the West, between lowlands and high mountains, they are cut through by natural barriers - like the Clwydian Hills and the rivers Dee, Clwyd and Conwy - which any army marching from England to the Welsh heartlands must cross. Throughout many centuries, therefore, the borderlands have been successively fought over by Britons and Romans, by rival native rulers of Gwynedd and Powys, by Anglo-Saxons and Welshmen, by the forces of Norman barons, Welsh princes and English monarchs, and later by the Civil War armies of King and Parliament. Thus for more than 2000 years the Welsh borderlands were a region of fortresses and castles, often sited to reinforce existing natural strongpoints. The ramparts of ancient hillforts were sometimes re-used by subsequent fortress builders, including the Anglo - Saxon kings of Mercia who during the 700s raised great frontier dykes as defences against the Welsh. Offa's Dyke, which extended from Llanfynydd North of Wrexham to Chepstow on the Bristol Channel, can still be traced in the Clwyd region, most dramatically around Chirk Castle and near Bersham. So too can the region's own Wat's Dyke, less well-known but equally well worth exploring. Nearly all its 38 mile course from Holywell on the coast to South of Oswestry lies within the borderlands, with particularly fine stretches between Wrexham and Ruabon, around Erddig.
"Mountains and Passes"
The Horseshoe Pass (Bwlch yr Oernant) is a mountain pass leading you on steep wooded slopes from Llandegla to Llangollen (or vice versa :)). The road travels in a horseshoe shape around the sides of a valley giving the pass its name; this route dates from 1811 when a turnpike road was constructed across the area. The road is frequently closed in Winter due to heavy snowfall or landslides.
Wild Wales begins in the Berwyn Mountains. The highest peaks of this mountain range are: Moel Sych, Foel Wen, Bryn Du and Moel Fferna. The Berwyn Mountains also played their part in causing King Henry II to turn back during his invasion of Gwynedd in 1165. Rather than taking the usual route along the Northern coastal plain, his army invaded from Oswestry and took a route over the Berwyns. The invasion faced an alliance of Welsh princes, but there was no fighting - endless days of heavy rain forced the army to retreat.
"Our Clwyd experiences"
Clwyd was the 1st piece of Wales that we got to see and it greeted us with some really bad weather, it was rainy, foggy, windy and cold. All of this did not keep us from exploring the area, of course. We climbed up the steep path to Dinas Brân Castle even before we brought our suitcases to the B&B. :) We also visited Llangollen and Valle Crucis Abbey that day. And the moodiness of Welsh weather proved already the next morning: when we awoke we found a bright, sunny day and a cloudless sky! We left the B&B early to set out for the Isle of Anglesey. And on our way there we've explored the beautiful Clwyd towns of Ruthin (& castle), Denbigh (& castle), Rhuddlan (& castle) and Rhyl.
A Side View of Ruthin Castle
Ruthin Castle Gardens