The first castles in England were built by the Normans following their victory at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The earliest Norman castle in Wales was originally a motte and bailey structure erected around 1087.
If you are looking for historic greatness then Wales offers up a selection of castles to explore with absolute awe. But where are the best castles in Wales?
There are a total of 427 castles in Wales ranging from one of the smallest, Weobley castle to the largest Caerphilly castle.
We have highlighted 20 of the best castles in Wales that should be on your castle bucket list!
Below you will find out more information about each of the castles. The different coloured markers indicate our three hotels in Wales.
Beaumaris castle sits on the island of Anglesey. A stronghold built by Edward I that was never completed.
A 43 minute drive from the Marine hotel and 42 minutes from the County hotel.
This royal fortress is recognised as one of the greatest pieces of architecture from the middle ages. Built on the banks of the river Seiont, this castle was built from a war with Welsh princes and is designed to protect from attack.
Under 40 minutes to both the County Hotel and Marine Hotel.
The biggest castle in Wales and the second largest across the whole of Britain, Caerphilly was built by Marcher lord Gilbert de Clare as a fortress against the powerful prince of Wales.
Just under 2 hours from the Imperial Tenby Hotel but a great stop if you’re travelling via the castle!
In the heart of the Welsh capital, Cardiff castle is one of the best castles in Wales to visit, boasting stunning parklands and nearly 2000 years of history.
Just under 2 hours from the Imperial Tenby Hotel but a great stop if you’re travelling via the capital!
Carew castle overlooks the 23-acre Millpond and is proudly one of the most architecturally diverse castles in Wales with a combination of Norman fortress and Elizabethan mansion influences.
A short 15 minute drive from the Imperial Tenby Hotel – a must visit!
A 13th century castle once used as a hunting lodge that is regularly voted as the public’s top building in Wales.
Under 2 hours from the Imperial Tenby Hotel, a great stop if you’re travelling via the castle!
Chepstow castle has been wonderfully preserved and rests along a limestone cliff above the infamous River Wye. Started in 1067, Chepstow castle is one of the first Norman strongholds in Wales.
Chirk castle is under National Trust protection and is home to over 480 acres of parkland to explore along with shee, cattle, veteran trees and meadows of wildflowers.
Just over an hour from the County hotel and Marine hotel, Chirk castle is a blissful way to see more of the Welsh countryside.
One of the greatest fortresses in Europe, Conwy castle is by far one of the best castles in Wales to visit. Restored spiral staircases within the towers means that you can take in the original atmosphere the castle offers.
Just over an hour’s walk from the Marine Hotel or a 10 minute drive if you prefer.
Set against the backdrop of Snowdonia, Dolwyddelan castle commands the mountain passes and is now a lasting memorial to Prince Llywelyn ao lorwerth (Llywelyn the Great).
Under an hour from the Marine Hotel and County Hotel – one to make time for as you explore Snowdonia national park.
Dinefwr castle is an historic Newton house surrounded by an 18th century landscape deer park. Now under National Trust for safe keeping, Dinefwr holds an iconic place in Welsh history.
A mere hour’s drive from the Imperial Tenby Hotel, this is one not to be missed.
Harlech castle sits proudly upon a sheer crag overlooking dunes below. Designated as a World Heritage Site, this castle is set in front of the most spectacular backdrop of Snowdonia’s peaks.
Just over an hour’s drive from the County Hotel and Marine Hotel, it’s worth the trip to marvel at one the very best castles in Wales.
Pembroke castle is the only castle in Britain built over a natural cavern. Pembroke is historically known for it’s masonry and because Henry VII was born there in 1457.
Just over 20 minutes from The Imperial Tenby Hotel, it’s definite for your itinerary.
Penrhyn castle is set upon the Menai Straits with panoramic views of the quarry and the port where the slate was exported. Surrounded by wooded and open parkland, this National Trust site offers a world ready to be explored.
Under half an hours drive from the County Hotel and the Marine Hotel, a perfect way to spend a day.
Powis castle was built around 1200 as a medieval fortress which is nestled high up on a rock above an infamous garden. One of the UK’s largest collections of Indian heritage is displayed here. Now under National Trust and maintained to an impressive standard.
Just under 2 hours from the County Hotel, a wonderful mid-Wales stop.
Raglan castle is the grandest castle built by the Welsh. The moated Great tower is thanks to Sir William ap Thomas, the ‘blue knight of Gwent’.
Rhuddlan castle is easily one of the best castles in Wales, set inland along a river that was moved to work around the castle’s location. Rhuddlan hosts an inner diamond shaped stronghold with twin-towered gatehouses which is the most impressive feature.
Under 30 minutes drive from the County Hotel along the A55.
Skenfrith castle is built alongside the River Monnow and is the remains of an early 13th century castle now under National Trust.
A spectacular ruin overlooking the River Cennen and offering breathtaking views across the countryside, this castle is the idyllic location to explore!
Worth the drive which is just over an hour from the Imperial Tenby Hotel for this dramatic ruin.
Set high above the waters of Lyn Padarn Dolbardarn castle used to be a key link within the ancient Gwynedd kingdom’s defences.
40 minutes from the Marine Hotel and the County Hotel.
The only question remaining is which one of the best castles in Wales will you be visiting first when you stay at the Marine Hotel, County Hotel or Imperial Hotel Tenby?