I actually visited these castles a couple of weeks ago but since moving to a new location in the Van, trying to find Wifi and time to write this blog is happening now!
In September, Cadw, the “Welsh Government’s historic environment service working for an accessible and well-protected historic environment for Wales.” ran an Open Doors event, where hundreds of historic sites across Wales offer free entry, activities and events to visitors.
I’ve visited Beaumaris several times and have been charmed by its location (you can see Snowdonia mountain range from there), the small town and it’s tasty fish and chips, but never the castle.
“The unfinished Castle” was built as part of Edward I‘s campaign to conquer the north Wales after 1282. Worked begun in 1295 but stopped as funds were diverted to the invasion of Scotland, though, in 1306, an invasion scare caused a temporary continuation of the build, it was eventually stopped completely and left to ruin.
Between 1403 and 1660, the castle changed hands several times as various rebellions happened etc but eventually fell into ruin and formed part of a stately home and park in the 19th century, now it just a tourist attraction.
This castle was lovely to walk around. Not as popular as other castles, it offers the best views of the mountains! If finished, the castle would have been able to host two substantial households and their followers as it is large: it has walls within walls and was designed with lower outside walls/ward (above a moat) to allow for archers to defend from the higher inner walls/ward.
I enjoyed visiting this location, it’s beautiful and wasn’t overly populated on this day. However, cost wise, it is similar to Caernarfon, which has more displays to look at, so take that into a factor. This castle does have a fascinating history and design which wasn’t highlighted, which I thought was a shame. A lovely castle to visit if you’re in the area.
Friends have told me how wonderful this castle is and that I should visit as I’m up in this area so decided to when I heard about this event… and it was a shame I did so on this particular day.
Conwy is a popular town, there is lots to do and see and families often frequent the location… they also frequented this castle on this very same day.
My photos don’t reflect just how busy it got – it was heaving in some parts of the castle, almost very comfortable so. I didn’t spend very long here because of my dislike for crowds, but I will return to it at a less busy time.
Anyway, Conwy Castle, sits high up in Conwy but easily accessible from the town and is an impressive fortress, with its eight massive towers and high curtain wall it was part of Edward I’s plan to build castles to take control of Wales. Like Caernarfon Castle, there is an additional town wall to protect its inhabinats; during Edward’s time, this would have been an English colony staying there.
Building work begun in 1283, before Beaumaris Castle, and was constructed quickly. Very similar to Beaumaris, it has eight large towers and a postern gate leading down to the water to resupply etc. The views from it are wonderful as well.
As mentioned, it was a shame that it was very busy on the day I visited. There was a lot of noise and congestion, so I decided I’ll revisit another day – I’ll even pay for that quietness!