Caernarfon Castle

Caernarfon Castle: Wales’ Fortress of Royalty and Power

Caernarfon Castle stands as a testament to the rich history and enduring cultural heritage of Wales. The imposing fortress, located in the town of Caernarfon in northwestern Wales, was built by King Edward I in the late 13th century as a symbol of English domination over the Welsh people. However, over the centuries, the castle has become an enduring symbol of Welsh identity and cultural pride.

With its towering walls, fortified towers, and commanding presence, Caernarfon Castle has served as a seat of power for Welsh royalty and a strategic stronghold in times of conflict. The castle’s architecture reflects the intricate and impressive designs of medieval fortresses, with unique architectural features that set it apart from other castles in the region.

Today, Caernarfon Castle is a popular tourist destination, drawing visitors from around the world who seek to experience its grandeur and historical significance. Whether you’re an architecture buff, a history enthusiast, or simply looking to immerse yourself in Welsh culture, Caernarfon Castle is a must-see destination.

Key Takeaways

  • Caernarfon Castle is a symbol of Welsh identity and cultural pride.
  • The castle was built by King Edward I as a symbol of English domination over Wales.
  • The castle’s unique architecture and impressive design set it apart from other castles in the region.
  • Caernarfon Castle has served as a seat of power for Welsh royalty and a strategic stronghold in times of conflict.
  • Today, the castle is a popular tourist destination, drawing visitors from around the world who seek to experience its grandeur and historical significance.

A Brief History of Caernarfon Castle

Caernarfon Castle has a rich and fascinating history that dates back to the late 13th century. King Edward I ordered its construction in 1283 with the aim of consolidating his conquest of Wales. The castle was strategically located, dominating the Menai Strait and positioned to prevent any invasion from the sea.

The castle’s construction was a massive undertaking, with over 2,000 workers involved in the project. The walls of the castle were made from local stone and were up to two meters thick in places, making them impervious to attack from siege engines. The castle also featured an impressive array of defensive structures, including towers, gates, and drawbridges.

Over the centuries, Caernarfon Castle served as an important military stronghold during times of conflict, as well as a symbol of the English crown’s dominance over Wales. It was also the site of a number of historical events, including the investiture of Prince Charles as the Prince of Wales in 1969.

Today, Caernarfon Castle stands as a testament to medieval architecture and engineering, attracting visitors from around the world who come to marvel at its grandeur and learn about its fascinating history.

Architectural Marvels of Caernarfon Castle

Caernarfon Castle is not only a fortress but also a masterpiece of medieval architecture that boasts several unique features. Its design and layout make it a prime example of the concentric castle style, which emphasizes multiple layers of defense against attackers. The castle’s walls are over two meters thick and up to nine meters high. The castle also features eight polygonal towers and two great gates, which were used for both defense and as a grand entrance for royalty.

One of the most impressive features of Caernarfon Castle is the Eagle Tower, also known as the King’s Tower. It is the highest tower in the castle and served as the royal residence during medieval times. The tower is also home to the castle’s museum, which showcases artifacts from its history and the Welsh rebellion of 1282.

The castle’s walls include unique features such as the two-story arcaded walkway that surrounds the outer ward. The arcades supported by pillars carved in Romanesque style make the walls seem like a palace rather than a fortification. The walkway offers panoramic views of the surrounding coast, mountains, and the Menai Straits.

One of the lesser-known architectural marvels of Caernarfon Castle is the Queen’s Tower. This is because it is hidden from view and the public. It was built as a private retreat for the Queen and later became a store for gunpowder. The tower was designed with a unique feature, a secret stairway that leads to a well in the basement. This was to provide a private water supply to the royal chambers in times of siege when the main supply was likely to be contaminated.

The impressive stonework, intricate carvings, and unique features of Caernarfon Castle make it stand out among other Welsh castles. It is a testament to the skilled craftsmanship of medieval builders and architects, and an awe-inspiring sight for visitors exploring Welsh history.

Royal Connections: Caernarfon Castle and the Princes of Wales

Caernarfon Castle has a deep connection to Welsh royalty. The first Prince of Wales, who was also the last Welsh prince, was crowned at Caernarfon Castle in 1284. Since then, the castle has been the site of many investiture ceremonies for the Princes of Wales.

The tradition of investing the Prince of Wales at Caernarfon Castle began in 1911 when King Edward VII conferred the title on his son, Prince George. Since then, every Prince of Wales has been invested at Caernarfon Castle, except for Edward VIII, who abdicated before his investiture ceremony could take place.

The investiture ceremonies at Caernarfon Castle are steeped in tradition and pageantry, with thousands of people gathering to witness the historic event. The ceremony involves the presentation of the insignia of the Principality of Wales, the coronet, ring, sword, and rod, to the new Prince of Wales.

Over the years, Caernarfon Castle has become synonymous with the title of Prince of Wales, and is considered by many as the spiritual home of the Welsh nation. The castle’s association with Welsh royalty has helped to cement its place in Welsh culture and history.

Royal Connections and the Future King

The most recent investiture ceremony at Caernarfon Castle was held in 1969 when Prince Charles was invested as the Prince of Wales. In the years since, Prince Charles has become a fervent champion of Welsh culture and language. He has continued to visit Caernarfon Castle and other Welsh landmarks regularly, promoting Welsh identity and heritage.

Today, Caernarfon Castle remains an important symbol of Welsh identity, inextricably linked to the title of Prince of Wales. Its royal connections have helped to elevate its status as one of Wales’ most iconic landmarks, and a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Welsh history and heritage.

Caernarfon Castle: a Symbol of Welsh Identity

Caernarfon Castle is more than just a fortress of royalty and power – it is a cultural icon that embodies the spirit and identity of the Welsh people. Despite changing hands and undergoing various reconstructions throughout history, the castle has remained a constant symbol of Welsh heritage and pride.

Throughout its long history, Caernarfon Castle has been a stronghold of Welsh resistance against foreign invaders, a stage for grand investiture ceremonies, and a symbol of royal power and prestige. Its striking architecture, with its polygonal towers and intricate carvings, is a testament to the skill and creativity of Welsh craftsmen and builders.

Today, Caernarfon Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from all over the world who come to marvel at its grandeur and learn about its rich history. It is also an important site for cultural events and celebrations, such as the annual Eisteddfod, a music and poetry festival that celebrates Welsh language and culture.

The preservation of Caernarfon Castle is not only important for its historical significance but also for its role in preserving Welsh identity. The castle represents a tangible link to the past and serves as a reminder of the strength and resilience of the Welsh people. Its inclusion on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites ensures that it will continue to be protected and celebrated for generations to come.

Visitors to Caernarfon Castle can explore its many highlights, including the King’s Gate, the Eagle Tower, and the Queen’s Tower. They can also learn about the investiture ceremonies that took place at the castle and the role it played in Welsh history. By experiencing the castle firsthand, visitors can gain a deeper understanding of Welsh heritage and the unique spirit that has shaped the country.

For those seeking to explore the rich culture and history of Wales, Caernarfon Castle is truly a must-see destination. Its status as a symbol of Welsh identity makes it an essential stop for any traveler hoping to understand the heart and soul of this remarkable country.

Exploring Caernarfon Castle: Must-See Highlights

If you’re planning a visit to Caernarfon Castle, you’ll want to make sure you don’t miss these must-see highlights:

The Eagle Tower

The Eagle Tower is one of the most impressive features of Caernarfon Castle. This massive four-story tower was built in the late 13th century and served as the royal apartments for King Edward I and his family. Today, visitors can climb to the top of the tower for incredible views of the surrounding area.

The King’s Gate

The King’s Gate is the main entrance to Caernarfon Castle and is an excellent example of the castle’s unique design. This gatehouse is flanked by two massive octagonal towers and features a portcullis and drawbridge. Visitors can walk through the gate and enter the castle grounds, immersing themselves in its rich history.

The Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum

The Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum is located within the castle walls and provides visitors with a fascinating insight into the history of this famous regiment. The museum houses a collection of artifacts, including uniforms, weapons, and personal items, as well as interactive exhibits and displays.

The Great Hall

The Great Hall is one of the most impressive rooms in the castle, featuring a soaring ceiling and large, ornate fireplace. This room was used for ceremonies and banquets and is a testament to the castle’s importance as a royal residence. Visitors can walk through the Great Hall and imagine what it would have been like to attend a royal gathering during the castle’s heyday.

These are just a few of the must-see highlights of Caernarfon Castle. Plan your visit carefully and make sure you have enough time to explore this incredible fortress of royalty and power.

Events and Activities at Caernarfon Castle

If you’re planning a trip to Caernarfon Castle, be sure to check out the various events and activities that take place throughout the year. From historical reenactments to cultural celebrations, there’s always something happening at this historic fortress.

Special Exhibitions

Throughout the year, Caernarfon Castle hosts special exhibitions that showcase the rich history and culture of Wales. From art installations to interactive displays, these exhibitions provide visitors with a unique and immersive experience.

Historical Reenactments

Step back in time and witness history come to life with Caernarfon Castle’s historical reenactments. Watch knights jousting, archers shooting, and soldiers training, all within the castle’s stunning grounds. These events are perfect for families, providing both educational and entertaining displays of medieval life.

Cultural Events

Caernarfon Castle is also home to a variety of cultural events, such as music festivals and food fairs. These events celebrate the rich culture and traditions of Wales, bringing together locals and visitors alike.

Tours and Workshops

If you’re looking to learn more about the history and architecture of Caernarfon Castle, be sure to take one of the guided tours or attend a workshop. These educational experiences provide visitors with a deeper understanding of the castle’s significance and its enduring legacy.

Outdoor Activities

For those who prefer the outdoors, Caernarfon Castle offers a range of activities such as hiking and cycling. The castle’s stunning location on the coast of North Wales provides ample opportunities for exploring the area’s natural beauty.

Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or outdoor adventure, there’s something for everyone at Caernarfon Castle. Check their website regularly to keep up to date with the latest events and activities taking place throughout the year.

Nearby Attractions: Exploring Caernarfon and Beyond

After exploring the grandeur of Caernarfon Castle, visitors have the opportunity to discover the beauty and history of nearby attractions. From cultural experiences to natural landscapes, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Segontium Roman Fort

Located just a short distance from Caernarfon Castle, Segontium Roman Fort offers visitors a glimpse into the region’s ancient history. Founded in the late 1st century AD, the fort was a key military base for the Roman Empire in Wales. Visitors can explore the remains of the fort’s defensive walls and gateways, as well as the remains of the commanding officer’s residence.

National Slate Museum

A visit to the National Slate Museum provides visitors with an interactive and engaging experience learning about the region’s slate industry. Located in a former slate quarry, the museum features demonstrations of traditional slate splitting techniques, as well as exhibits highlighting the importance of slate to the region’s economy and culture. Visitors can also take a tour of the historic workshops and workshops and learn about the lives of the quarrymen who worked there.

Llanberis Lake Railway

For those seeking a scenic and relaxing journey, the Llanberis Lake Railway is a must-see attraction. The narrow-gauge railway runs along the shore of Llyn Padarn, taking passengers on a journey through the stunning Snowdonia National Park. Along the way, visitors can admire the beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and forests, and even catch a glimpse of some of the local wildlife.


Just a short drive from Caernarfon lies the beautiful island of Anglesey. The island is home to a variety of attractions, including historic castles, beautiful beaches, and quaint seaside towns. Visitors can explore the 13th-century ruins of Beaumaris Castle, stroll along the sandy beaches of Newborough Warren, or take a scenic drive along the coastal roads.


With so many nearby attractions to explore, a visit to Caernarfon Castle is just the beginning of a memorable adventure in North Wales. From ancient Roman forts to scenic railways, there is something for everyone to discover and enjoy.


In conclusion, Caernarfon Castle stands out as a symbol of Welsh heritage and identity. As one of the most impressive and well-preserved medieval castles in the world, it serves as a testament to Wales’ rich history and cultural significance.

The castle’s architectural marvels, royal connections, and strategic location all contribute to its historical importance and enduring appeal. It is no wonder that Caernarfon Castle has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and remains a popular destination for visitors from around the world.

Whether exploring its majestic grounds or attending one of the many cultural events held throughout the year, Caernarfon Castle offers something for everyone. And for those looking to continue their Welsh adventure, the surrounding area is home to numerous other historical sites, natural wonders, and cultural experiences.

In short, Caernarfon Castle is a must-see destination for anyone interested in Welsh history and culture, and a true marvel of medieval architecture that continues to inspire and captivate visitors to this day.


Q: What is the significance of Caernarfon Castle in Wales’ history?

A: Caernarfon Castle holds great importance in Wales’ history as a fortress and symbol of royal power.

Q: What is the history of Caernarfon Castle?

A: Caernarfon Castle has a rich history, dating back to its construction and playing a role in key historical events.

Q: What are the architectural marvels of Caernarfon Castle?

A: Caernarfon Castle showcases impressive architectural features and unique design elements.

Q: How is Caernarfon Castle connected to the Princes of Wales?

A: Caernarfon Castle has royal connections, with the investiture ceremonies for the Princes of Wales taking place there.

Q: What does Caernarfon Castle symbolize in terms of Welsh identity?

A: Caernarfon Castle is a symbol of Welsh identity and heritage, playing a significant role in the Welsh cultural landscape.

Q: What are the must-see highlights when exploring Caernarfon Castle?

A: When exploring Caernarfon Castle, make sure to visit key areas such as the Eagle Tower and King’s Gate.

Q: What events and activities take place at Caernarfon Castle?

A: Caernarfon Castle hosts various events, exhibitions, reenactments, and cultural activities throughout the year.

Q: What nearby attractions can visitors explore after visiting Caernarfon Castle?

A: Visitors can explore nearby attractions, including historical sites, natural landscapes, and cultural experiences in Caernarfon and its surroundings.

Q: How would you conclude the article on Caernarfon Castle?

A: In conclusion, Caernarfon Castle stands as a majestic fortress of royalty and power, with a rich history and enduring allure in Welsh heritage.