In 1283 King Edward I created what is surely one of the best known and most impressive of Wales’s castles, it was constructed not only as a military stronghold but also as a seat of government and royal palace. The location had previously been the location of a Norman motte and bailey castle and before that a Roman fort stood nearby. The closeness of the Seiont River and its easy access to the sea made location an ideal spot for the king.
The castle is an ideal place to visitor but to get the most benefit and to be able to explore the maze of winding wall-passages which link the castle’s massive towers, the visitor needs to be fairly fit.
In 1911, Caernarfon Castle was used for the investiture of the then Prince of Wales and in 1969 the current Prince of Wales, HRH Prince Charles’s investiture took place here.
The castle also houses the Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum which is free to enter.
Caernarfon Castle is an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Summer: 9:30 am to 5:00 pm
Winter: 10:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Children (Under 16): £4.50
Children (Under 5): Free
The Welsh language, Cymraeg, is spoken by almost 90% of the population in Caernarfon and is the majority language in the whole of Gwynedd. Quite close to Caernarfon is the deserted village of Nant Gwrtheyrn that has been turned into a major Welsh language centre. It organises courses from everyone, total beginners to near fluent speakers. It is set in a very beaufitul surrounding and the atmosphere is great. Oh, and the Welsh language is both fun and easier than it looks. Hwyl Fawr!
Caernarfon doesn't really have a sea front, but the walk in the front of the castle, along the briney waters of the Menai Strait just about counts. The walk from the Swing Bridge to Victoria Docks is pleasant, and should be enjoyed for the views across the strait to Anglesey alone.
As the River Seiont enters the Menai Strait at Caernarfon, it forms a natural harbor. The local sailors make good use of this, and the bobbing boats make a wonderful foreground for the castle, and the calm river waters make an excellent canvas for the castle's reflection. Take a walk across the swing bridge and wander down the banks taking in the views - they are probably the best views in the town.
When I walked there, an old woman (pictured) sat in a marooned boat hull, smoking cigarettes in her nightgown and enjoying the view.
The Swing Bridge is the only bridge in the town that crosses the River Seiont. You'll want to cross it just for the views - the opposite side of the river offers the best views of the castle you'll find anywhere in the town. But the bridge itself is interesting - swing bridges aren't common. And the slow pace of the town makes watching the bridge gracefully remove itself from the path of sailing ships moving down the river to the Menai Strait.
Caernarfon sits at the head of the Menai Straits, across the water from the Druidic heartland of Celtric Wales: Anglesea. It's a strategically important location. The Romans knew this, and built a fort here. The English built a motte and bailey castle here in the 11th century. But when King Edward decided to build a castle here, he opted for fantasy over pragmatism.
Just take a careful look at the castle. If you've ever watched movies like Kingdom of Heaven, or travelled in the Middle East, you'll see straight away that the castle has more in common with the Crusades than Conway. It has those straight geometric lines that are typical of Crusader castles of the Levant.
This stems from King Edwards time with the Crusades, but it's more than that. King Edward was obsessed with the myth of King Arthur, and he had the castle built with this in mind. The main tower has three additional, and superflous, towers built on top of it. These "eagle towers" directly linked the castle to Arthurian legend. And he had a round table built in the centre...
Lon Las Menai is a fabulous walking/cycling path which runs for 4 and a half miles from Caernarfon to the village of Felinheli. Adjacent to the crystal blue waters of the Menai Straits, it really does look like a great place for watching wildlife whilst getting some exercise too.
The Caernarfon end of Lon Las Menai starts from the Public car park next to the shore; near the Morrisons superstore... hey I'm a poet!!
Segontium is a Roman fort for a Roman auxiliary force, located on the outskirts of Caernarfon. The fort was founded by Agricola in 77 or 78 AD after he had conquered the Ordovices. It was the main Roman fort in the north of Roman Wales and was designed to hold about a thousand auxiliary infantry. It was connected by a Roman road to the Roman legionary base at Chester, Deva Victrix. Unlike the more recent Caernarfon castle alongside the Seiont estuary, Segontium is located on higher ground giving a good view of the Menai Straits and the Snowdonia Mountain Range. There is also a little museum next to the Roman site.
OPENING TIMES :- 12:30 am - 4:30pm. There is no admission charge.
The County courts and old gaol are situated at the southern entrance of Shirehall Street. This area was formally known as the Kings Gardens and has been occupied by a succession of justice administration buildings and a gaol since medieval times. The present buildings were erected in 1853 and 1863 and reflect the architectural designs of the age. They originally housed the courts and living accomodation for judges and lawyers, necessary for the day to day administration of justice. Today the buildings are taken over totally by the Courts administration for this area of Wales.
This is a lovely little revitalised harbour area with new developments such as flats, shops, bars and restaurants overlooking the picturesque dock area which houses extravagent yaghts and sailing boats.
The Black Boy Inn is a fantastic looking pub which dates back to 1522. It has wooden panelling, low ceilings and thick wooden support beams which generate a cosy 'Olde world' atmosphere. Years ago, during the thriving fishing industry it was a favourite watering hole for the seafarers. Nowadays it attracts tourists and locals alike.
If you visit the Black Boy Inn, make sure you keep an eye out for the resident Ghost - a Nun who may be seen running through the Inn to the Nunnery which was onc e at the rear of the Inn.
The town walls and Castle were constructed at the same time, in 1283. Opposite St Mary's Church in Church lane you can see the steps by which you could once gain access to the wall-walkway. Unfortunately this is shut off today. The stairs have the effect of doubling the thickness and strength of the walls at this point.
Caernarfon has a mighty fine Castle. The Norman, Hugh Lupus, Earl of Chester first constructed a wooden motte and bailey on the Castle site in 1098. In 1283 Edward I decided to build the stone castle and Kings Palace, it is thought Edward I had in mind to instal a permanent member of the Royal family here. Edward I's architect, Master James of St George was given the task of recalling the mighty stronghold of ancient Rome. In that task he succeeded in imitating the multi-angular design in the towers and its' banded defence walls. Some 4,000 workmen descended on Caernarfon to build this fantastic fortress, large quantities of stone, lead and timber were brought by sea from Anglesey and surrounding districts.
Over the years the Castle has been destroyed by fire, attacked by Owain Glyndwr and by the 18th Century very little was done to maintain the Castle. Sadly it became a ready source of quarried stone material for many large houses and establishments being erected at that time. Repair work was undertaken up until 1815. It was neglected until 1856 when the great main gates were repaired and re-hung. From then onwards repair work has continued under the Government body, now known as CADW. In 1911, the Castle was used for the Investiture of Prince Edward, the Prince of Wales, and again in 1969 for the Investiture of Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales.
Over the years, the Castle has played host to many prestigious events such as Eisteddfodds and Royal Visits.
Don't miss the Royal Welsh Fusiliers museum and the fantastic views over Caernarfon and beyond from the Castle walls.
This huge castle was where Prince Charles was innaugurated as The Prince of Wales,in 1969.
Its been kept in immaculate condition,you can explore everywhere,mind you my legs were aching by lunchtime,and I still had a 6 hour drive home....At least it was downhill to South Wales !!!!!
The views from the ramparts were spectacular,overlooking the Menai Straits across the the Isle of Angelsy.The sea traffic seemed to be quite busy with small yachts leaving the harbour.
It cost about £9.oo for us 2 to go in,which i though was quite reasonable.
I love this place!! Just outside Caernarfon in a little village called Bontnewydd is a animal park with a difference. Not only does it have all the usual array of animals children love (Shetland Ponies, Goat, Ducks, Hens, Donkeys etc it is set in the beautiful foothills of Snowdon. We had to drag our children from here kicking and screaming because they loved playing on the outdoor trains so much!! It only open from Easter to the middle of September, but well worth a visit!!!