One of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Northern Wales is Caernarfon Castle; it merely has to be seen to understand. It is the quintessential castle with massive stone walls, gigantic turrets rising overhead and intimidating looking buildings. While there are no shortages of castles across the UK, many of them are just ruins that don’t even look like a castle.
If you head over to Caernarfon Castle, you won’t find ruins here but rather a fully functioning castle that you can explore to your heart’s content. You can do a little research on the castle before you head over. There is also lots of information available for the visitors at the site. The place is awe inspiring, and it gives you some insight as to what Wales must have been like in the Medieval Period. Here is a look at the castle and what you can expect to see.
History of the Castle
Like many of the castles throughout the UK Caernarfon Castle has a long and bloody history. At almost 800 years old the castle was built by the English after conquering Wales. The king, Edward I was having a difficult time controlling the newly conquered population after killing their prince, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd and capturing another, Dafydd ap Gruffudd. In a bid to fortify Wales he started building castles and strongholds all over the country.
Caernarfon Castle was built so the locals would be cut off from the rest of the county. At the time, the most significant resistance to English rule was Garth Celyn, and this castle was an attempt to stop the resistance. Did it work? Well, it did for a while, until the Welsh uprising. In late 1294 and early 1295, the Welsh overran the castle and took control. The coup wouldn’t last long, however, and the English took back the castle later in 1295. The Welsh would try again in 1401, 1403 and 1404 to overrun the castle but never actually succeeding.
While the castle was an essential English stronghold in Wales the English never actually finished construction. As it stands today, when you tour the castle, you can still see the areas that were left unfinished so the castle could be expanded.
Today the maintenance and care of the castle are handled by Cadw, the branch of the Welsh government that looks after historic sites. This castle is definitely worth the trip when you head to northern Wales.