Quality family time is important and visiting a castle in South Wales and exploring Welsh heritage makes a great day out for all of the family. Although some castles are now ruins,some are still pretty much intact and protected by both Welsh Heritage and the National Trust. Castles were built for power and to defend against an enemy during war. Most castles we see today were built after the Norman Conquest. As time moved on, the construction and sophistication of castle design increased, resulting in the more elaborate ones we see today.
Check out some of the top castles in and around Wales, below!
Please note that all castles and heritage sites are subject to government covid restrictions and guidelines. You may have to pre-book tickets to enter the site.
Pembroke Castle - is a magnificent castle steeped in welsh history. It’s the birthplace of Henry VII and home to William Marshall. Roger Montgomery, Earl of Shrewsbury established the castle as a timber structure in 1093. Restored in the Victorian times, members of the public can explore the heritage and history of the castle grounds.
Caerphilly Castle - was constructed by Gilbert de Clare in the 13th Century, the castle’s history extends as far back as 1268. Allen Brown once described the castle as "the most elaborate water defences in all Britain". Surrounded by lakes and 30 acres of land, this castle is a spectacular viewing point into Welsh history.
Llansteffan Castle - overlooks the beautiful River Tywi in Carmarthen Bay. The castle was built by the Normans after 1100 as part of their invasion of Wales. The castle’s wow factors include views over the sea and stunning Carmarthen Bay.
Kidwelly Castle - also known as Castell Cydweli, overlooks the stunning River Gewndraeth. The remains of this castle date back to the 12th Century. Once created as a defence against the Welsh, the castle is well preserved and is managed by Cadw.
Cardiff Castle - is located in the city centre of Cardiff. The estate was built in the late 11th Century by Norman Invaders, on top of a 3rd Century Roman Fort. This magnificent estate holds various events throughout the year including, live music, cinema and theatre.
Chepstow Castle - has over 600 years of history which has been beautifully preserved by Cadw. Built in 1067 by Earl William fitz Osbern, close friend of William the Conqueror, making this castle one of the first Norman strongholds in Wales.
Castell Coch - or more commonly known as the ‘Red Castle’ fits perfectly with fairytale stories. This beautiful castle was built by Normans in 1081 to protect the newly conquered town of Cardiff. The highly decorated interiors and rich furnishings make it a dazzling masterpiece of the High Victorian era.
Raglan Castle - is a late medieval castle built between the 15th – 17th Centuries. Although this castle is now in ruins, it is believed to have been one of the most luxurious castles - built with water gardens, park lands and a large hexagonal keep, known as the Great Tower.
Ogmore Castle - built in 1106 near the village of Ogmore-by-Sea, Ogmore Castle was born. The castle history is extensive, dating back to the 12th Century. The site was still used up until the 19th Century as a court of justice and prison. Although only the ruins remain it’s still one for the bucket list! This site is managed by local authorities.
Manorbier Castle - is a Norman Castle build on the Southwest of Tenby. It was built in the late 11th Century and was part of a mesne lordship under the control of the medieval Earls of Pembroke. This magnificent castle is perched on the cliffs of Manorbier Bay..
Laugharne Castle - is located in Laugharne, Carmarthenshire. Built in 1116, it’s had many renovations since then, including becoming a Tudor fortified manor house in the sixteenth century. This castle is preserved by Cadw.
Carew Castle and Tidal Mill
Carew Castle and Tidal Mill - are located in Pembrokeshire. Carew Castle’s history dates back over 2,000 years and holds tales of kingmakers, knights of the realm and the Civil War devastation. The castle overlooks a stunning 23-acre millpond - perfect for a picnic and a history lesson.