by Katy Depledge
History and Heritage
Discover the mighty castles of West Wales, from Medieval fortresses to Roman ruins.
Wales is known as ‘the land of the castles’. And with 427 castles waiting to be explored, it’s not hard to see why. In fact, Wales has the most castles per square mile in the whole world! Discover the history of West Wales and explore romantic ruins and dramatic strongholds.
It’s time to step back in time and discover the best castles in West Wales…
Pembroke Castle is one of the most iconic castles in Pembrokeshire.
This medieval castle has a long and fascinating history and was Henry VII’s birthplace. Extensively restored in Victorian times, the oval castle sits in the center of Pembroke.
Step back in time and explore the mighty fortress with a free guided tour led by expert guides. Or why not attend one of the regular events at Pembroke Castle and become a Castle Knight!
Visiting Pembroke Castle
There are lots to discover at Cardigan Castle! Explore the remains of Cardigan Castle and its medieval walls, visit the Georgian Mansion and wander through the Grade II listed gardens. Or why not discover the 900-year history of the castle and the people who lived there on an organised tour.
A number of exhibitions are also held at the castle, including the Cardigan Castle Story and Barbara Wood’s Story as the castle’s last private owner. Don’t miss out on the outdoor concerts and sunset cinemas that take place across the summer.
Visiting Cardigan Castle
Perched upon the cliffs, overlooking Manorbier Beach, Manorbier Castle is steeped in history and folklore. This Norman Castle is home to fairytale turrets, a great hall and stunning landscaped gardens.
Spend a morning touring the castle and experience how the residents lived over 900 years ago, before enjoying a cuppa and cake at their popular café.
Visiting Manorbier Castle
Cilgerran Castle was first built by Gerald de Windsor between 1110–1115. It is now managed by the National Trust. With over 800 years of history to explore, Cilgerran Castle is perched atop a deep gorge on the River Teifi.
Explore this striking 13th-century fortress and discover its two mighty towers. Take the Wall Walk from the east tower to fully understand what a daunting obstacle the deep gorge would have been.
Visiting Cilgerran Castle
June – October
November – June
Dog Friendly: Dogs on leads are welcome to access the ground floor levels of Cilgerran Castle.
Located on a rocky hilltop overlooking the River Twyi, Carmarthen Castle dominates the town of Carmarthen. It was once was of the largest castles in West Wales and is one of the most popular castles in Carmarthenshire.
Built by King Henry I as a motte-and-bailey castle, with timber defences, the castle was used by the King to ensure he had a strategic base in South Wales.
If you love historic buildings, you’ll love a day out to Carmarthen Castle!
Visiting Carmarthen Castle
Perched on top of Castle Hill, surrounded by the sea, Tenby Castle was built by the Normans in the 12 century. Only a small tower remains, but the old town walls are almost complete – encompassing the picturesque town of Tenby. For more things to do in this beautiful town, check out our ultimate guide on things to do in Tenby.
Visiting Tenby Castle
Carreg Cennen Castle was originally built in the 12th century, atop a rocky ridge high above the surrounding countryside.
It was the Welsh Princes of Deheubarth who built the first castle at Carreg Cennen. However, what remains today dates to King Edward I’s momentous castle-building period.
Visiting Carreg Cennen Castle
November – March
April – October
Dog Friendly: Dogs on leads are allowed to all outdoor areas
A Norman stronghold rising high above the River Gwendraeth, Kidwelly Castle is one of the greatest castles in West Wales. Featured in ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’, this medieval fortress is a sight to behold.
Dating back to the 12th century, as a Norman ‘ringwork’ castle made of wood, the Normans then returned and created a stone castle within a castle that stands today.
Visiting Kidwelly Castle
March – October
November – February
Dog Friendly: Dogs on leads are welcome to access the ground floor levels of the site.
Impressed by these dramatic castles in West Wales? Be sure to check out these famous landmarks in Wales or our ultimate Guide to West Wales.
Looking for a place to stay whilst exploring these mighty castles? Browse our range of holiday cottages in West Wales for a cosy home away from home in the ‘Land of Castles!’
Image Credits: Robin Drayton (CC BY-SA 2.0) and M J Roscoe (CC BY-SA 2.0).
Hi, I'm Katy and I joined Sykes in February 2020.
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