Rhuddlan Castle – Family Travel Guide

Site: Rhuddlan Castle

Location: Castle St, Rhuddlan, Denbighshire LL18 5AD, United Kingdom

Website: Cadw


The once mighty Rhuddlan Castle is one of the chain of North Wales Castles.

Arial View of Rhuddlan castle Intellectual Property Office © Crown copyright 2015

Arial View of Rhuddlan castle
Intellectual Property Office © Crown copyright 2015

History: Edward the 1st went on what could only be described as a castle crusade in North Wales. Rhuddlan along with Conwy, Caernarfon, Harlech, Beaumaris, and others castle’s assisted Edwards the 1st in keeping control of the Welsh. The building of these fortifications occurred in the late in the 12th century following the first Welsh War. Some sort of castle was first mentioned in this spot in 1086 during the Norman reign of Britain.

General view of the castle from the north west Intellectual Property Office © Crown copyright 2015

General view of the castle from the north-west
Intellectual Property Office © Crown copyright 2015

The Rhuddlan Castle I am talking about was constructed fully in 1277. Rhuddlan, unlike Edward’s other Castles of Wales, is situated inland from the coast. Edward thought it prudent to have representation inland as well as coastal to show the might and power of the English. The King’s 8th daughter Elizabeth was born in the castle and aptly known as Elizabeth of Rhuddlan. This posed a problem with supplying the castle. Edward, as kings ordered the river Clyde, diverted 3.5km so the castle could be served by ships entering from the ocean. Ruins of the old dock area and gate still remain outside the castle walls near the river bank. The outer walls of Rhuddlan were surrounded by a dry moat to help prevent land attacks. This moat is still present today.


Rhuddlan played an important part in Welsh history. It was at Rhuddlan in 1284 that a new system of English government was established over much of Wales by the Statute of Rhuddlan. This English act of government lasted 250 until the mid 15th Century. After this time,  Rhuddlan Castle slipped into disuse and ill repair as it strategic and administrative importance dwindled.


Features: We travelled to Rhuddlan on a cold and cloudy day in June of 2015. Days like this are very Welsh and help to give you an idea of what the people who lived here faced. The view in the heydey of the castle would have been to the ocean in one direction and the mountains in the other. These days Rhuddlan is surrounded by a town. Rhuddlan Castle unlike some of Edward the 1st medieval castles is really just a basic shell.



The castle is in bad condition in parts. There is certainly enough of the castle left for your imagination to see that during its time it would have been very impressive and intimidating to anyone game enough to attack. Its high walls and towers are still a standout for castle lovers. Metal steps and safety rails have been installed to allow you to get the magnificent view from the top of the walls. Edward must have stood here in his time surveying his lands and people of  North Wales. Watching supply ships sailing under his flag slowly sail towards the castle up the river.


What is left of the gate on the river bank

I took my time to stand in the middle of the castle and close my eyes. Trying to imagine the blacksmith shoeing the horses, Trying to smell the royal meals cooking trying to see The Queen in her Royal gown walking the grounds carrying baby Elizabeth, The Royal guards in the uniform manning the gates. I really enjoyed our short time at Rhuddlan we were the sole visitors there for 90% of our stay. Rhuddlan will only take you 30 minutes to explore, I could have stayed for hours playing out Rhuddlan in my mind. What a sight it would have been.

North Wales Rhuddlan Castle

The Ruins of Rhuddlan Castle

Rhuddlan castle defender of the North and the English crown today lies broken and weary. Beaten by time and battle from another world another piece of history. Rhuddlan stands still looking over its lands and silently waiting for its Kings, Queens and Princesses to return home. Rhuddlan is still a must for castle lovers. The Castles of North Wales are one of our 5 things not to miss in North Wales

How to get to Rhuddlan: Public transport to the castle is not available. Buses run to Rhuddlan via Towyn and Rhyl. Access by car is  via A525 or A547

Pro’s for Kids: Short visiting time, stairs and walls to climb, The day we were at Rhuddlan they had kids games such as tug of war and ring tossing available.

Con’s for kids: Mostly the ground is all grass so may be hard to push the stroller for younger kids.

Accommodation: Caravan parks in North Wales towns of Towyn and Rhyl are a short 10 minute Drive away ( click on Towyn and Rhyl for places to stay). Premier Inn Rhuddlan is a great option, its located 1.5k from the castle. We have stayed with this chain of hotels before and I am sure Premier Inn Rhuddlan would be a great base to explore this area of North Wales.

Food: We recommend Chilli Pink In Rhyl for a meal. Excellent, budget-priced buffet.

Additional attractions: Knightly’s fun park in Towyn is a local institution. Knightly’s has been in operation since the 60’s. Knightly’s features a fun fair, rides, an arcade, and a restaurant and bar.

Selfie time at Rhuddlan Castle

Bec, Willow and Marley having fun at Rhuddlan. Selfie Time

Please find below 2 more articles from Wyld Family Travel for reading enjoyment. Just the click the images to learn about our visits to Conwy Castle and Caernarfon Castle in North Wales