Llansteffan Castle in Carmarthenshire stands in a wonderfully picturesque location, crowning the top of a well-defined headland looking out over the broad sand-flats of the Tywi estuary. A privately owned Castle commanding some of the most spectacular views in Wales.
This strong hilltop position was first fortified in the prehistoric Iron Age and by the sixth century BC a double bank and ditch had been thrown across the neck of the headland to create a defensive promontory fort. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that the Norman invaders also recognised the defensive potential of the site. Llansteffan castle is thought to have been raised by Norman invaders soon after 1100. The castle created at this time, within the prehistoric defences, was of a form known as a ‘ringwork’. It is not until 1146 that we have the first definite reference to Llansteffan. In that year, the Welsh Brut y Tywysogyon (Chronicle of the Princes) records that the castle was taken by Maredudd ap Gruffudd and his brothers, Cadell and Rhys, young princes of the royal house of Deheubarth (south-west Wales). By 1158, however, the district had been reoccupied by the Normans and the castle was generally in English hands thereafter.
From the end of the twelfth century, Llansteffan Castle was held by William de Camville and his descendants. During the period that followed the castle had something of a chequered history: it was captured a number of times by the Welsh, and retaken by the English. The male line of the Camvilles ended with the death of William III in 1338, and Llansteffan passed through marriage to the Penres family from Gower. The castle was to see a further brief spell of action during the revolt of Owain Glyn Dwr, when it was in Welsh hands for a period.
For the next two centuries, Llansteffan was held chiefly by the Crown, though it was repeatedly granted away. At the end of the fifteenth century, King Henry Vll (1485— 1509) conferred the castle on his uncle, Jasper Tudor (d. 1495), and it was perhaps at this time that modifications were made to the castle entrance. The gatehouse passageway was blocked up to provide extra accommodation and a simple entrance was constructed alongside. In 1959 a deed of guardianship was entered into with Ministry of Works / Cadw, the historic environment service of the Welsh Government whilst remaining in the private ownership of the Plas Estate. In 2016 we became the proud owners of Llansteffan Castle and Plas Farm and a new chapter in the Castle’s history began.
Manorbier Castle in Tenby, Pembrokeshire is perched upon the cliffs, in the heart of the village, you can’t really miss the Norman’s Castle. The Castle occupies a commanding position overlooking the beautiful Manorbier Beach with the village nestled behind. Steeped in history and folklore this Norman gem has many secrets to discover.
Live and breathe the story of this stunning medieval scheduled monument. Explore the stone spiral stairways, rooms and corridors and experience how the residents of the castle lived over 900 years ago. Explore the village of Manorbier with a visit to the castle, the beach, The Dovecote and The Norman Church. The Norman knight Odo de Barri was granted the lands of Manorbier, Penally and Begelly in gratitude for his military help in conquering Pembrokeshire after 1003. Two of his sons acquired larger estates in Ireland, which became the main power base of the de Barris, known as the Barris of Olethan. His fourth son was Gerald de Barri. Known commonly as Gerald of Wales (the great twelfth century scholar) who was born at the castle. Renowned today for his chronicles and descriptions of life in his time. “Manorbier Castle, the pleasantest place in Wales” As you wander around the castle, atmospheric music helps transport your imagination back in time. In the 21st Century, the castle has been used as a film location for “The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe” 1989 and “I Capture the Castle” 2001. When the moat was refilled with spring water. There are absolutely beautiful walks direct from the Castle, taking in some stunning coastal views and historic sights. Whether you want a short ramble or a more challenging hike, there are plenty to choose from.
Bodelwyddan Castle Hotel is a Grade II listed Victorian building near the North Wales coast, not far from Snowdonia. Set within the grounds of a romantic castle, but with all the amenities of a modern Hotel, including a superb range of leisure facilities, numerous daily activities, and nightly live entertainment. The hotel was given a £6 million renovation and awarded a 4* AA award.
The castle which stands today was reconstructed between 1830 and 1832 by Sir John Hay Williams, who employed the architects Joseph Hansom (inventor of the Hansom cab) and Edward Welch to refurbish and extend the house. The Williams’ family fortunes started to decline in the 1850s, due to the loss of the main source of income for the estate, lead mining. The castle has been described as one of Hansom’s most ambitious projects, “being wildly dramatic and owing nothing to its predecessors”. At the same time works were carried out to construct an estate wall and formal gardens. In the 1980s, the site was bought by Clwyd County Council with the aim of developing the castle as a visitor attraction. The historic house and grounds were opened to the public and managed by Bodelwyddan Castle Trust, an independent registered charity. In 2017 Denbighshire County Council decided to sell the site, with the museum and gardens closing in 2019. Part of the site was leased to the Rank Organisation in 1994 for development into a luxury hotel, Bodelwyddan Castle Hotel, and is now run by Warner Leisure Hotels. The historic house and grounds are not part of the hotel, although Warner did consider purchasing the site in 2017.
Gwrych Castle is a Grade I listed country house in Conwy, North Wales, one of the first attempts at replicating true medieval architecture in Europe. It stands in 250 acres of gardens and grounds and has extensive views over former parkland including a deer park and the Irish Sea.
Gwrych Castle was built between 1812 and 1822 by Lloyd Hesketh Bamford-Hesketh as a memorial to his mother’s ancestors, the Lloyds of Gwrych. Upon the site was an Elizabethan house named ‘Y Fron (rounded hill) which by 1810 had fallen into dereliction. When Lloyd married Lady Emily Esther Ann Lygon, daughter of the 1st Earl of Beauchamp in 1825, the main building was complete. Many important architects and designers are associated with the castle and estate. For example, the expertise of Charles Augustus Busby and Thomas Rickman was utilised by Hesketh in the overall design of Gwrych, and in particular the cast iron windows. Henry Kennedy was employed to extend the Castle during the 1840’s by the inclusion of a new bedroom wing, staircase and porch whilst George Bullock and the Craces furnished the interiors. When Lloyd died the Castle passed onto Robert Bamford-Hesketh and his wife, Ellen Jones-Bateman. George Edmund Street designed the family’s chapel during the 1870’s and also several churches and schools for the Hesketh family. Robert and Ellen planted much of the present gardens with their enormous Monkey Puzzles and Yew trees. Gwrych Castle was built by Lloyd Hesketh Bamford Hesketh, heir of the Lloyds of Gwrych, from c.1810, incorporating his family’s ancestral home, with the work continuing over four decades. The castle then passed to the Earls of Dundonald by marriage to the Bamford Hesketh heiress, Winifred. During World War II the castle was requisitioned as part of Operation Kindertransport and in 1946 was sold by the Dundonald family, ending nearly 1000 years of continuous family ownership. In 1948, the castle was purchased by Leslie Salts who opened it as the ‘Showplace of Wales’ for a period of twenty years. Following Salt’s sale in 1968, the castle was operated as a medieval entertainment centre with jousting, banquets and markets taking place in the grounds. This also heralded a period of slow decline which saw the building shut to the public in 1985 and the final joust taking place in 1987. In 1990, an American property purchased the estate with a view for creating an opera centre and hotel – nothing materialised. Instead, the castle was asset-stripped and vandalised to the point that its very future was uncertain.
In 2018, the castle and estate was purchased by Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust, on behalf of the nation. Work is underway to restore the castle and estate, as well as providing a UK home to I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021.
Brecon Castle is set in the market town of Brecon which offers fantastic views of the Brecon Beacons from our large garden & terrace, perfect for a wedding back drop or weekend away!
Formerly an 11th Century Norman Castle, then an early coaching inn and later the residence of the Morgans of Tredegar Park, in 1809 part of the castle ruins and outbuildings were renovated by Sir Charles Morgan to become one of the first ‘modern’ hotel in Wales. Come and visit us, look around our inn, bedrooms, castle, riverside and mountain-view gardens and our facilities and discuss your requirements with the events team. Brecon Castle retains all the warmth and character of a coaching inn mixed with the formality of a late Georgian hotel. The Regency Ballroom, with the medieval remains of the Great Hall of Brecon Castle attached, is undoubtedly one of the most attractive and historic venues in the Brecon Beacons National Park. The mountains dominate the town of Brecon and provide a picturesque backdrop to our ballroom, gardens, restaurant and bar. At Brecon Castle we have 39 bedrooms providing a variety of different types of accommodation. All rooms are individually decorated and offer LCD TVs and tea & coffee making facilities. We will be happy to discuss your accommodation requirements and the type of room that would be most suitable for your needs. Our Beacons view restaurant offers formal or informal, light bites or full meals, a romantic interlude or in the company of friends, whether you’re 80 years old, or 8 months old, enjoy locally sourced and freshly prepared food, all day anywhere, inside in one of our lounges, restaurant or outside on our terraced patio with extensive views of the Brecon Beacons.
Cardigan Castle, enjoy the splendour of our Georgian mansion where you can unlock the story, the people who lived here and how it became the birthplace of Wales’ biggest cultural festival, the Eisteddfod Explore the medieval walls and Castle remains, marvel at our glorious Regency grounds, beautifully kept gardens and admire river views from the terrace of our restaurant.
Cardigan Castle plays host to a range of permanent and temporary exhibitions, focusing on its history – and that of the surrounding area. From the Cardigan Castle Story, to the story of the unique life of the last private owner of the castle Barbara Wood, to the Eisteddfod Exhibition (in celebration of Cardigan’s claim as the birthplace of the Eisteddfod), there’s a fantastic range of things to see. You’re sure to find something that will captivate and fire your imagination. Take a stroll back in time along the winding pathways of our stunning Regency style gardens. Bursting with colourful blooms and rare plant species, they are just waiting to be admired. From a vegetable garden, to our towering trees, colourful flower beds and hidden nature trail for children, there is plenty to savour. Set in two acres of grounds overlooking the River Teifi, the Grade II listed gardens are home to more than 130 types of plants.
High-end meets heritage at Cardigan Castle, first class luxury accommodation, with B&B and self-catering apartments. Stay in our contemporary, river-view 4* B&B rooms and enjoy a locally-sourced, traditional Welsh breakfast at our on-site restaurant, 1176. Or bring your friends and family along for a stay in our 5* beautiful apartments, located in the Georgian east wing of the Castle Green House. On your doorstep, you’ll find two acres of glorious grounds and panoramic river views. Step outside of the historic walls and you’ll be in the heart of the quaint market town of Cardigan – the perfect base to explore Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire. The Preseli hills and award-winning Welsh coastline is a stone’s throw away.
Penrhyn Castle is a country house in Llandygai, Bangor, Gwynedd, North Wales, in the form of a Norman Castle. It was originally a medieval fortified manor house, founded by Ednyfed Fychan.
This enormous 19th-century neo-Norman castle sits between Snowdonia and the Menai Strait. It’s crammed with fascinating items, such as a one-ton slate bed made for Queen Victoria, elaborate carvings, plasterwork and mock-Norman furniture. In addition, Penrhyn Castle has an outstanding collection of paintings. The restored Victorian kitchens are a delight and the stable block houses a fascinating industrial railway museum, a model railway museum and a superb dolls’ museum. The 24.3 hectares (60 acres) of grounds include parkland, an exotic tree and shrub collection as well as a Victorian walled garden.
Conwy Castle in North Wales is a magnificent medieval fortress still towering over town after 700 years. Thanks to restored spiral staircases in its great towers you can walk a complete circuit around the battlements of Conwy Castle in North Wales. This is one of the most magnificent medieval fortresses in Europe.
In the distance rise the craggy mountains of Snowdonia and spread out below you are the harbour and narrow streets of Conwy – still protected by an unbroken 1,400-yard (1.3km) ring of town walls. It’s enough to take the breath away. Especially when you consider that King Edward I and his architect Master James of St George built both castle and walls in a barely believable four years between 1283 and 1287. Conwy castle takes its place alongside Edward’s other great castles at Beaumaris, Harlech and Caernarfon as a World Heritage Site. This famous fortress is exceptionally well preserved. It contains the most intact set of medieval royal apartments in Wales. The high curtain wall and eight lofty towers rise almost as impressively as when they were built more than 700 years ago. So don’t be afraid to climb those staircases, if you can, for the full Conwy experience. There isn’t a better place in Britain to stand on the battlements and dream.
Craig Y Nos castle is set on the edge of the Brecon Beacons and is the perfect location for those seeking a romantic and rural setting for their accommodation in Wales which is also Dog friendly as well. Set on the edge of the Brecon Beacons, Craig Y Nos Castle is the perfect location for those seeking a romantic and rural setting for their accommodation in Wales.
The former home of Adelina Patti, the once world famous Opera Singer, the Castle offers interesting historical tours – free for all guests staying at the Castle. If you wish to explore the great outdoors, you can choose from a number of local walks directly from your room at the Castle. There are also plenty of excellent excursions only a short drive away and the Castle offers accommodation in Wales for those seeking a variety of activities or just a venue to rest and relax. Craig Y Nos Castle caters for Dog Friendly Accommodation in Wales, having our own dogs in the Castle grounds to welcome you to their Castle. We also welcome cats, birds and many others within your rooms, making for great pet friendly holidays at Craig Y Nos Castle. The Castle is surrounded by the Brecon Beacons mountains, it is also close to Henrhyd Waterfalls and backs on to the Country Park where there are acres of fields to play in. We are described by many of our guests as the most dog friendly accommodation in Wales, if not the whole of the UK!
Cardiff Castle in South Wales is one of Wales’s leading heritage attractions and a site of international significance. Located at the heart of the capital Cardiff, within beautiful parklands, Cardiff Castle has nearly 2,000 years of history just waiting to be explored.
It all started in the 1st century AD by the Romans who built the first in a series of forts. In the 11th century, the Normans constructed the Keep that still dominates the Castle Green to this day. The medieval Lords of Glamorgan began work on the House during the 15th century. The Bute family left their mark on the entire city in the 19th century, they also transformed the House into the opulent Victorian Gothic home it is today. During World War II the walls which surround the Castle were used as air raid shelters; a place of safety for thousands of Cardiff citizens. A reconstruction of the shelters has been opened for visitors to explore. Cardiff Castle also hosts a number of exciting family events through the year, as well as summer concerts and both indoor and outdoor film screenings, more information can be found on the Events & Festivals in Wales section of this web site. Cardiff Castle also has a Gift Shop featuring an eclectic selection of beautiful gifts and keepsakes, inspired by the Castle collections. Welsh gold, crystal and exquisite jewellery are on sale, plus a comprehensive range of postcards, books and stationery. Traditional Welsh crafts such as lovespoons are also available – individual designs can be commissioned.