Caernarfon Castle is the largest of any of the Edwardian North Wales castles built by King Edward in the 12th Century. Today 750 years later Caernarfon Castle still dominates the landscape of the town it is named after. Caernarfon Castle and a handful of others are UNESCO world heritage sites that fall under the title “Castles and town walls of King Edward in Gwynedd ( Wales ).
Caernarfon is a brute of a castle with its high stone walls and attaching vantage points waiting for any invading armies. The castle was built to intimidate and control much like today’s modern weapons and armies, it was all about a show of force. These days Caernarfon castle receives more than 200,00 visitors a year
We started out by walking around the castle just to get an idea of its size and to view its amazing walls. You enter the castle up the rampart which leads you into the centre of the main court area. The inside of Caernarfon Castle Wales is huge. I would say it has the largest inner area of any castle we have been. It’s designed like a figure 8 on the inside.
It widens at each end of the castle and narrows in the middle. The inside area is all grass which was great for the kids to have a play on and run around as kids do. Two old cannons from the period of the castle are on display in the courtyard. Our daughters loved sitting on them posing for pictures. As you can see above this makes for great family travel photos.
A special feature of the Caernarfon castle interior is The Royal Fusiliers Museum. This museum takes you through 300 years of history of Wales oldest infantry. The museum displays uniforms and weaponry used during the day. A short film is presented for you to watch on the history of the Fusiliers. Our oldest daughter loved the museum and was quietly taken with the uniforms and weapons.
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The walls are unique at Caernarfon castle Wales in the fact that you can walk 90% of the walls, it was amazing. The view provided into the bay were amazing. It would be easy to imagine the King’s supply ships sailing up the castle with supplies for the royal family. The stairways to the walls and towers were very steep and narrow such was the designs of the time. I would not recommend taking on the stairs if you are unsure on your feet.
My youngest daughter Marley who was 6 at the time basically had to climb them like a ladder. I can honestly say that walking walls and exploring the many towers and rooms of this castle was an unbelievable experience. My daughter and I explored all the towers and walls of the castle. What a site it must have been in the late 12th century when it was built with royals walking around, military guarding the walls, a town being built around the castle.
In the middle of the courtyard is a platform where the current Price of Wales, Prince Charles was inaugurated as the Prince of Wales in 1969 by his mother Queen Elizabeth of England. This tradition of having the King apparent crowned Prince of Wales dated back to Edward in the 12th century.
A short film is projected onto the wall inside a room at the castle and talks about the history of the castle which is well worth viewing for its information if you don’t have any knowledge of the castle’s history. Caernarfon is a great family travel destination for the whole family. Our family spent 2 hours at the castle
Opening times and Caernarfon Castle entrance fee can be found here. Family tickets are available.
Caernarfon Castle History:
Caernarfon along with King Edwards’s other medieval welsh fortifications such as Conwy, Rhuddlan, Beaumaris and Harlech were built in the late 12th Century. This combination of North Wales castles played their part in keeping the Welsh subdued and the English in Control.
When was Caernarfon castle built? Construction of Caernarfon started in 1283 the castle was constructed for defensive purposes but also as a seat of government. Caernarfon’s importance was confirmed with the birth of Edwards son, the first English Prince of Wales in 1284. Caernarfon was mostly completed in 5 years but bits and pieces of design construction and alteration continued on Caernarfon until 1323
The site on the Menai straights along with the town walls was strategic in Helping King Edward to control traffic along the waterways. This strategy can be seen with Edwards other North Wales castles which seem to have all been built on the coast or slightly inland with river access. The site had housed some fortifications dating back to the Roman occupation of Great Britain through to the Norman Rule of the lands.
Caernarfon Castle shape and design took place as a result of the evolution of Edwardian castles. This castle borrowed heavily from the intimidating design of the walls at Constantinople that the crusaders faced on their way to the holy lands. Like many castles of its time It wasn’t actually finished. – 750 years later today one can still see examples of the incomplete structure
The estimated cost of the building work was astonishing – £22,000, more than the Treasury’s yearly income.
Pro’s for children:
Plenty of open space inside the castle. Lots of places to explore, Interesting exhibits
Con’s for Children:
Not pram/stroller friendly. Stairs are very steep and can be slippery when wet. Poorly lit stairways could pose a danger for children. The weather in North Wales can range from freezing cold to sunny make sure you bring good outdoor jackets
Toilets, Gift Shop, Food and Drink available straight outside the castle
How to get to Caernarfon Castle
|By Road:||Use the A4085, A487(T), B4366|
|By Train||16km/10mls Bangor, on the Crewe-Bangor/Holyhead route|
|By Bus||200m/220yards Caernarfon Penllyn, route No 5/5A/5B, Bangor-Caernarfon|
|By Bike||NCN Route No.8 On route|
Caernarfon Castle tickets
|0 – 4||Free|
|5 – 17||£6.00|
|65 and over||£8.00|
Do I need travel insurance in Wales?
We always say if you can’t afford travel insurance you can’t afford to travel. Get your travel insurance now to protect your epic holiday in Wales from any small hiccup.
For Australian travellers, we recommend Fast Cover Travel Insurance
For worldwide travellers, we recommend Visitors Coverage
Places to stay near Caernarfon Castle
Caernarfon Premier Inn:
The Premier Inn at Caernarfon is located half a mile from the castle. The standard double room features super-comfy beds, ensuites and wifi for your enjoyment. Premier Inn has an onsite restaurant/bar which serves a buffet breakfast. There is car parking on-site for a small fee. Book your stay at Premier Inn today
The Travelodge features comfortable well-appointed guestrooms with flat-screen television, heating and internet access. The hotel has daily housekeeping, a 24-hour front desk, a car park, and 24-hour check-in. The castle is a 10-minute walk away while food and beverage options are within an easy walking distance. Book your stay at Travelodge Caernarfon
We hope this article from us here at Wyld Family Travel has you inspired to visit North Wales in the United Kingdom. There are so many things to do in North Wales that will have you entertained and inspired on your vacation. For more amazing ideas on where to holiday in North Wales click through to our Wales Destination Guide page for more brilliant inspiration
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Co-founder and SEO editor here at Wyld Family Travel. Bec has travelled to over 45 countries across 3 continents and is a travel with kids advocate. When Bec is not planning travel, she is creating content for our family travel blog or doing local community services work. You can find all of Bec’s detailed travel guides here on Wyld Family travel and on other popular websites such as Lonely Planet.