Best Castles in South Wales

south wales castles-Pembroke-Castle

There’s no better way to spend your time in South Wales than by visiting a few of its many castles. No matter how ruined the castles are, each one is a sight to behold and many overlook some of the best countrysides in the country whether those views be across farmland or coastline. So get ready to step back in time and discover parts of history you have yet to uncover whilst having your breath blown away!

The best 20 castles to visit in South Wales

1. Caerphilly Castle

Best castles in South Wales-Caerphilly-Castle

Considered to be one of the best Medieval castles in the whole of Western Europe, Caerphilly is an imposing fortified castle with 2 lakes and an iconic leaning tower that leans even more than the Leaning Tower of Pisa! Fans of the TV show Merlin will instantly recognize this castle as it was one of the filming locations so step inside and soak up the sensational stories from a bygone time.

Where: Caerphilly
When:
13th century
Style:
Medieval
Open for visit:
Yes. Open daily from 9.30 am March-October and 10 am Monday-Saturday or 11 am Sunday November-February.

2. Cardiff Castle

Best castles in South Wales-Cardiff-Castle

At 2,000 years old there’s a lot of history to uncover at Cardiff Castle – originally a Roman fort, it became a Norman motte and bailey castle in the 11th century before an eccentric rich Victorian man turned it into a fantasy-style Victorian Gothic revival mansion. Admire the panoramic views from the medieval keep, see the remains of the Roman wall, and step inside to admire the lavish interior’s of the castle’s apartments as you travel through the ages and varied architectural styles.

Where: Cardiff
When:
11th century
Style:
Medieval
Open for visit:
Open daily from 9 am-5 pm March-October and  (9 am-4 pm November-February.

3. Caldicot Castle

Famous castles in South Wales-Caldicot-Castle

One of the lesser-visited castles in Wales, Caldicot Castle has been restored to show you what the large imposing castle would have looked like in medieval times. Situated within a wooded country park, Caldicot Castle was a family home during Victorian times having originally been used as a stronghold by the Normans.

Where: Monmouthshire
When:
13th century
Style:
Medieval
Open for visit:
Yes. Open Tuesday-Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday’s 11 am-4 pm, April-October. Country Park opens all year.

4. Carreg Cennen Castle

castles in South Wales-Carreg-Cennen-Castle

Located within the Brecon Beacons National Park high upon a rocky hilltop 300 feet (90 metres) above the River Cennen stands the stunning ruin of Carreg Cennen castle. Hauntingly breathtaking, wander around the exterior remains of Carreg Cennen Castle including the gatehouse and the Northwest Tower as you marvel at the views of Mother Nature below.

Where: Carmarthenshire
When: 13th century
Style: Medieval
Open for visit: Yes. Open daily 9.30 am–5.30 pm in Summer and 9.40 am–4 pm in Winter. Closed Christmas Day.

5. Ogmore Castle

Castles in South Wales-Ogmore-Castle

One of the earliest Norman fortifications in Wales to have been rebuilt using stone, Ogmore Castle sits on flat land guarding an important fording place. Standing in ruin today, visitors can cross the modern bridge across to the now-empty moat to see the remains of the great keep, the latrine tower, cellar, and more whilst admiring the picturesque views.

Where: Glamorgan
When:
11th-12th century
Style:
Norman
Open for visit:
Yes. Open 10am-4pm. Closed 24th 25th, 26th December and 1st January

6. Skenfrith Castle

Best castles in South Wales-Skenfrith-Castle 

This small but picturesque ruined castle in its village location was built after the 1066 invasion as a Norman motte with a circular bailey but was later demolished and rebuilt in 1220, the new castle having 4 corner towers (3 of which survive today), a gatehouse and a round keep. Sadly it was abandoned in the 16th century and was in ruin within 100 years.

Where: Monmouthshire
When:
11th-12th century
Style:
Norman
Open for visit:
Yes. Open all year from dawn to dusk.

7. Dinefwr Castle

Famous castles in South Wales-Dinefwr-Castle

Another castle with 2,000 years of history to uncover, Dinefwr was once the chief seat of the Kingdom of Deheubarth. Take a walk around the ruined round tower, the circular keep, the Northern chamber block, and enjoy the views from the top of the curtain wall

Where: Carmarthenshire
When:
13th century
Style:
Medieval
Open for visit:
Yes. Open daily from 10 am excluding 24th, 25th, 26th December and 1st January.

8. Cilgerran Castle

castles in South Wales-Cilgerran-Castle

Though this historical fortress stands in ruin, the two great round towers of Cilgerran Castle soar high above Teifi gorge with the river and stream below ensuring stunning scenery for the nature lovers and photographers plus 800 years of history for the architectural fans.

Where: Pembrokeshire
When:
13th century
Style:
Norman
Open for visit:
Yes. 2nd April-3rd November: 10 am-5 pm. 4th November-31st March: 10am-4pm. Closed 24th, 25th, 26th December and 1st January.

9. Llansteffan Castle

best South Wales castles-Llansteffan-Castle

With views overlooking green farmland in one direction and the sea and sand of Tywi Estuary and Carmarthen Bay in the other, it’s safe to say that the views from Llandsteffan Castle are outstanding. Put your walking boots on and make the climb up the castle footpath to admire the ruins, especially the twin-towered gatehouse – It’s worth it for the views alone!

Where: Carmarthenshire
When:
12th century
Style:
Norman
Open for visit:
Yes. Open daily 10 am-4 pm excluding 24th, 25th, 26th December and 1st January.

10. Carew Castle & Tidal Mill

famous castles in South Wales-Carew-Castle-&-Tidal-Mill

Visitors are greeting with a breathtaking sight at the ruins of Carew Castle as it stands next to a 23 acre tidal millpond and 18th-century mill. Major renovation work at the castle in 2013 included reinstatement of the Lesser Hall roof with a modern visitor centre enabling visitors to learn the history of Carew Castle out of the rain!

Where: Pembrokeshire
When:
13th century
Style:
Norman & Elizabethan
Open for visit:
Yes. Open daily from 10 am April-October

11. White Castle

best castles in south Wales-White-Castle

Otherwise known as Llantilio Castle, this ruined fortress is one of three that were built to control the border during the reign of Edward I. It is called the White Castle due to the white rendering on its masonry and was Edward’s first Welsh castle. Standing in ruin today, it is possible to climb the gatehouse tower still to admire the views.

Where: Monmouthshire
When:
12th century
Style:
Norman
Open for visit:
Yes. Daily 10 am-4 pm excluding 24th, 25th, 26th December and 1st January

12. Pembroke Castle

south wales castles-Pembroke-Castle

Feast your eyes on this huge castle that’s surrounded by a beautiful millpond, a must-see for photographers and those who appreciate being in beautiful surroundings. History buffs will enjoy the free guided tour that takes place every hour for it was at Pembroke Castle where the Tudor Dynasty started. Learn about the circular keep, the gatehouse, the subterranean cave, and more whilst admiring the views.

Where: Pembrokeshire
When:
13th century
Style:
Medieval
Open for visit:
Yes. Open daily from 10 am excluding 24th-26th December and 1st January

13. Swansea Castle

best castles in south wales-Swansea-Castle

Standing in the centre of the city, surrounded by modern architecture, the ruins of Swansea Castle are a reminder of where we have come from and that survival is possible, the ruins having withstood siege followed by rebellion, followed by the Blitz! Only the remnants of the 13th-century hall, prison block, and Solar Tower remain of Swansea castle which was built by Henry de Beaumont, Earl of Warwick remain today though.

Where: Swansea
When:
13th-14thth century
Style:
Norman
Open for visit:
Yes. Accessible dawn to dusk.

14. Kidwelly Castle / Castell Cydweli

castles in South Wales-Kidwelly-Castle_-Castell-Cydweli

The remains of this imposing medieval fortress featured in the first scene of the British classic Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Take a wander around today to see the hall range, South-east tower, rear gatehouse, the chapel and more as you learn how the castle was regularly updated and used to control coastal traffic whilst protecting the River Gwendraeth.

Where: Carmarthenshire
When:
12th century
Style:
Norman
Open for visit:
Yes. Open daily 9.30 am-5 pm March-October (6 pm July-August) and from 10 am-4 pm Monday-Saturday or 11 am-4 pm Sunday between November-February.

15. Laugharne Castle/ Castell Talacharn

Famous Castles in South Wales-Laugharne-Castle-Castell-Talacharn

An impressive medieval castle and Tudor mansion with ornamental gardens, Laugharne Castle certainly holds a lot of fascinating history as it was also the hideout for poet Dylan Thomas who wrote Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog in the castle’s summerhouse.

Where: Carmarthenshire
When:
13th century
Style:
Medieval and Tudor
Open for visit:
Yes. Open 10 am-5 pm daily between April-November.

16. Chepstow Castle

Best Castles in South Wales-Chepstow-Castle

One of the earliest Norman castles in England and Wales to be built from stone, and what we think of today as a ‘proper’ castle-fortress, Chepstow Castle has had a long and varied history being used as a castle, prison, and military garrison. It might stand derelict today with its fragmented town walls but it has somehow managed to retain its 800-year-old wooden doors making them the oldest castle doors in all of Europe.

Where: Gwent
When:
11th century
Style:
Medieval
Open for visit:
Yes. Open daily from 9.30 am March-October and 10 am Monday-Saturday or 11 am Sunday November-February.

17. Margam Castle

Famous Castles in South Wales-Margam-Castle

This large and lavish Tudor mansion with a country park will put you in mind of Downton Abbey. Completed in 1840 in the Gothic fantasy style, the castle’s most stunning features include its octagonal tower and the stair hall. Be sure to wander down as far as the 12th-century abbey located at the bottom of the exquisite gardens and if you have kids, a visit to the Children’s Fairy Tale Village is a must too!

Where: Port Talbot
When:
19th century
Style:
Gothic
Open for visit:
Park open 10am-5pm April-August and 10am-3.30pm September-March. Guided tours of the house available on selected dates.

18. Castell Coch

Best castles in South Wales-Castell-Coch

Fairytale castles do exist and Castell Coch is proof! Standing on the site of an old Normal castle, Castell Coch is thought to be a reproduction of a medieval Welsh chieftain’s stronghold from the 1870’s complete with round towers and a draw bridge. Marvellous on the outside, it’s also marvellous inside with extremely lavish interiors so be sure to visit inside too!

Where: Cardiff
When:
19th century
Style:
Gothic Revival
Open for visit:
Yes. Open daily from 9.30 am March-October and 10 am Monday-Saturday or 11 am Sunday November-February.

19. Manorbier Castle

Famous castles in south Wales-Manorbier-Castle

The ruins of this beautiful castle complete with fairytale turrets are unmissable due to the clifftop location with stunning views out across Manorbier Beach as well as across Manorbier village. See the great hall and chapel as you move up and down the stone stairs and along the corridors steeped in 900 years of history before admiring the landscaped gardens.

Where: Pembrokeshire
When:
12th century
Style:
Norman
Open for visit:
Yes. Open daily 9 am-5 pm unless closed for a special event – check closures online.

20. Raglan Castle

Castles in sWales-Raglan-Castle

This fortress-palace is like something out of a fairytale so get your camera ready! One of the last true castles to be built in Wales it can be seen for miles around. Cross the moat and admire the huge gatehouse, the gargoyles, the Closet Tower, Kitchen Tower, and the Great Tower aka the Yellow Tower with apron wall and turrets.

Where: Monmouthshire
When:
15th century
Style:
Medieval
Open for visit:
Yes. Open daily March-October 9.30 am-5 pm (6 pm July-August) and 10 am-4 pm November-February. Closed 24th, 25th, 26th December and 1st January.northest

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