Carnarvon Castle Conwy Castle Millennium Stadium Beaumaris Castle Caerphilly Castle Harlech Cardiff Castle St. David’s Cathedral
This site contains Wales attractions – photos, descriptions, and travel tips. The list is based on popular travel guides and presented by type, name and rating. Here you’ll find answers to what to see in Wales, where to go, and where to find popular and interesting places in Wales.
Carnarvon Castle is one of Europe’s most stunning fortresses. Located on a peninsula and surrounded by the waters of the Menai Straits, the castle is a symbol of Wales’ resistance to English rule.
As envisaged by King Edward I, Caernarvon was to be the impregnable residence of the King of Wales and his family. To ensure maximum security, nine towers were erected, the gates were reinforced and the outer walls, the thickness of which in some places up to 6 meters.
In spite of numerous restorations and reconstructions, the castle is perfectly preserved. Today, it is open to visitors all year round. Carnarvon has become a must-see for tourists. In addition, the local authorities use it for a variety of colorful festivals.
Conwy Castle, located in the city of the same name on the north coast of Wales, is undoubtedly one of the most impressive castles of Europe. Built by Edward the First in the late thirteenth century for the fabulous sum of fifteen thousand pounds sterling, it served as an important defensive point in a number of wars of the Middle Ages.
The majestic gray sandstone castle is built on a hill above the town. The square space of the castle is divided into inner and outer courtyards, guarded by eight massive towers more than twenty meters high. The western (main) and eastern (facing the river) gates of the castle are additionally protected by barbicanes. Together with the castle, the city fortification walls were also built, which were reinforced with twenty-one towers.
Castle Cone is well preserved and today is open to tourists. From the towers of the castle you can have a look at the town below and the mouth of the river Conway.
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Millennium Stadium was built and opened in the heart of Cardiff in 1999 – just before the turn of the millennium that gave it its name. But, of course, the main reason for opening the stadium was not that, but the Rugby World Cup. The huge stadium structure has a capacity of about 74,000 spectators, but practice has shown that the number can be as high as 80,000.
The stadium was designed by a team of architects headed by Rod Sheard. In practice, they obtained a record building in several ways. This is the first British stadium with a fully retractable roof, and the world’s second largest stadium with such a roof system. In addition, the Millennium broke the world record for the size of a covered stadium with natural turf. The retractable roof that cost the builders so much and made the stadium a record-breaker is an invaluable convenience that protects players, fans and performers from all types of weather.
The owners of the stadium are Millennium PLC, which in turn is part of the Welsh Rugby Union. This national stadium of Wales, the main home arena of its national team, is widely used not only for matches of the national soccer and rugby teams, but also for concerts of world stars and international matches.
When the stadium is not being used for events, it can be visited by tourists who want to see the inside of this giant building.
Coordinates : 51.47805600,-3.18250000
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Beaumaris Castle was the last castle in the famous ‘iron ring’ by which King Edward I of England chained unwilling Wales. The castle was erected by the Menai strait separating the island of Anglesey from the rest of north Wales. The castle was named after the surrounding landscape and in French means beautiful moorland.
Beaumaris Castle, like the other Iron Ring castles, was built by Edward’s court architect known as Master James of St George. Beaumaris was built close to the sea, its castle moat formerly connected with the straits so that ships could approach the castle itself. The gate and moat were guarded by massive towers over the gate. A double ring of high walls, the inner ones higher than the outer ones, was also protected by a multitude of towers. Unfortunately the castle was never finished, becoming a fine symbol of the total subjugation of Wales.
A small town of the same name sprang up near the castle walls. Once you’ve seen the castle, take a stroll through its quiet, uninhabited streets. There is also a medieval prison, an old church, a Victorian wharf and a medieval shop that sells antiques.
Coordinates : 53.26482800,-4.08975800
Caerphilly Castle is one of the largest castles in South Wales. The castle deserves to be called one of the most beautiful castles of the Middle Ages.
The castle was built in 1268-1271 by Lord Gilbert de Clair, with the aim of protecting his own territories. Since 1283 the castle lost its important defensive value and was abandoned. It began to crumble and fall into decay. Three generations of the Marquises of Bute tried to revive it by restoring certain elements of architecture. The castle has a peculiarity – the tilt of the south-east tower, which occurred in the XVII century during the Civil War.
The castle has many interior and wall passages that help you quickly move from one part to another. The outer courtyard of the castle is framed by a crenellated wall with projections at the corners and donjons for the entrance, giving a good view of the area outside the castle. The towers of the castle today house exhibitions. The official apartments and the Great Hall, which was restored in the 19th century, are located on the south side of the courtyard.
The castle is now administered by the Kadu Agency for the Protection of Historic Buildings in Wales and is considered a unique example of 13th-century wartime architecture.
Coordinates : 51.57602900,-3.22036700
Harlech Castle is a magnificent ancient castle by the sea, perched on a rocky cliff. Like many castles in Wales, it was built by the architect James of St George at the behest of King Edward of England, who conquered this proud land.
The architecture of the castle is of great interest to lovers of military history. The entrance to Harlech is protected by lowering bars. At the corners of the castle there are towers, which offer a beautiful view of the surrounding area. The secret passages in Harlech are very elaborate. One of them allowed during the siege to get unhindered ammunition and provisions from the sea.
During its history, the castle was besieged many times. The last fighting took place here during the Civil War, when the Royalist troops entrenched in the castle, repulsed the attacks of the parliamentary troops.
Harlech is mentioned in many Celtic legends and tales, in particular in the legend of Branwen.
Since 1986, Harlech Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tourists are entertained every week in the castle, for example, historical fencing tournaments and medieval dances.
Cardiff Castle crosses all the usual notions of medieval castles. Firstly, the castle is right in the center of the city and is the heart of it. Secondly, Cardiff today is not a ruin but a well preserved castle which welcomes everybody.
In its 2,000 year history the castle was both a bed and breakfast and a court – until finally it came into the care of the authorities and became a cultural treasure and a source of pride to Wales.
At the entrance you are greeted by a beautifully restored massive gate which already sets the tourist up for a meeting with the Middle Ages. In a comprehensive tour you are invited to watch a short film about the history of the castle, to visit the castle itself with its chambers, to see the bomb shelter and the military museum.
The interior of the castle impresses the average man. The rich woodwork with intricate carvings, colorful stained-glass windows, the richest library. Many tourists say that Cardiff Castle has some of the most striking interiors they have ever seen.
But the jewel of the castle is the Clock Tower. It is colorfully decorated with paintings and small figures that represent the sun and planets.
Aesthetic pleasure is provided not only by the interior luxury, but also by the surrounding areas. There is a garden with a large collection of Mediterranean plants. And in the garden itself proud peacocks stroll around, fed by visitors.
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St. David’s Cathedral
The beginning of the cathedral’s history is as far back as the 12th century, when Bishop Bernard ordered the cathedral to be erected in honor of St. David. David was known for bringing Christianity to the land of the Vikings and Normans and spreading it, after which he was elevated by the church to the rank of saints.
David’s relics were placed in the cathedral that was built, and two pilgrimages to them were equivalent to one visit to Rome. After that, believers from all over the world began to come to the relics of the saint.
The cathedral itself is designed in a fairly serene manner, without frills and glamour. Inside it is decorated with wood and stone carvings and numerous stained-glass scenes.
St. David’s Cathedral is not only the religious center of Wales, but also the cultural center: a classical music festival is held here every year, attracting many people from all over the world.
The most popular attractions in Wales with descriptions and photos for all tastes. Choose the best places to visit famous places in Wales on our website.
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The 20 Best Sights in Wales
Wales is a beautiful and vibrant country, with lush greenery, amazing scenery, and steeped in fascinating myths of Celtic culture. Temples and castles, palaces and parks are just a small part of what you can see here.
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Things to do in Wales
Fans of medieval and modern architecture will find countless castles with a rich past here. The old narrow streets, authentic villages, basilicas and castles tell their history.
For nature lovers and active recreation there are several national parks with a variety of flora and fauna, scenic hiking trails and waterfalls.
Young people and families with children will enjoy Wales’ museums and theaters, one of the Welsh amusement parks, or a trip to a nature reserve.
The great castle was the last citadel built by Edward I in Wales. The fortress was built on a new site, without earlier structures. The largest symmetrical fortress is an elaborate example of medieval military architecture in Britain.
Unfortunately, the ambitious project could not be completed for lack of funds. Construction had stopped by the 1320s. Nevertheless, the castle is a World Heritage Site. And its ivy-covered walls even today inspire artists.
Caernarfon is recognized as the greatest construction of the Middle Ages. Along with Edward’s other castles, it is listed as a World Heritage Site. The construction project took 47 years and cost a staggering amount of money.
The castle was born of fierce warfare, its walls serving as a defense. But the polygonal towers and multicolored masonry reveal the architect’s intent. Caernarfon was built as a dream castle, a picturesque fort adorned with weathervane and turrets. But the requirements of wartime forced the castle to be impregnable as well.
The jewel in King Edward’s ‘iron ring’ of castles. Harlech is crowned by a steep cliff, protected on one side by the North Sea and on the other by a moat of impressive depth. The building was completed in record time. Two rows of battlements, watchtowers and forged gates were erected in seven years.
By design, three or four dozen men on these walls successfully resisted an army of enemies. Today, for the first time in 600 years, the castle is entered via a footbridge – just as the architect intended.
The medieval structure is still striking today. And at the end of the 13th century this masterpiece of military construction had no equal. The massive gray stone walls, corner towers and outbuildings are securely protected by water barriers including water-filled moats and two lakes.
Caerphilly is unique in its classic castle architecture. Over time, this impregnable stronghold was transformed into a palace with a hunting park and a large lake.
The majestic dark pink castle is famous not only for its old interiors but also for its picturesque Italian-style garden.
Powys was created in the 1670s. For it terraced slopes and planted a number of yew trees. Thanks to this from a distance the castle looks as if it is sitting on a giant green cushion. Terraces carved into the rock, hedges, moss-covered trees, an apple orchard, and a tropical greenhouse have framed the medieval structure.
Portmeirion Tourist Village
The Italian-style village is located on a peninsula of the coast of Snowdonia. The settlement is surrounded by wild forest, subtropical gardens and pristine coves.
The village was built by Welsh architect Clough Williams-Ellis in 1976. The architect’s goal was a village that blends into its surroundings without the inherent disruption of human settlements. Portmeirion receives up to 200,000 visitors annually.
In 1805 the architects Telford and Jessop built the cast-iron Pontkysillte Aqueduct on 19 pylons 30 metres above the River Dee at the Welsh-English border. Two hundred years later the landmark became a navigable aqueduct on the Llangollen Canal and became a World Heritage Site. The structure is still the longest aqueduct in Britain.
Natural attractions and parks
The British Garden was founded in 1875 to beautify the grounds of the family residence of Lord Aberconway. For the garden to acquire recognizable features, a famous designer, a disciple of Joseph Paxton, was hired. Today, Bodnant is listed as a conservation area.
The upper part of the garden includes five terraces, a lily pond, and paths with grassy borders. The lower is an intricate network of paths, between thickets of exotic plants. As the cold weather sets in, a colorful winter garden opens up.
A great place to explore the picturesque southwest coast of Wales. Much of it is part of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, founded in 1952 and covering 629 square kilometers.
It is the only coastal national park in Britain. Numerous beaches along with secluded bays and islands attract tourists. It is home to wild animals and rare seabirds.
This part of Wales encompasses more than 500 square miles of mountains, forests, lakes, caves and more. The national park includes the largest cave systems in Europe. Most are for experienced speleologists, but some are accessible to beginners as well.
There are rivers, canals, a reservoir, and the largest natural lake in Wales through the park. Tourists rent boats, go biking, bird watching, or picnic in a lake meadow full of butterflies and wildflowers.
Snowdonia National Park.
Named after 1,085-foot Mount Snowdonia, this park attracts 6 million visitors each year. Snowdonia’s peaks are interspersed with lush green valleys, mountain lakes and rumbling waterfalls.
The 285-kilometre-long footpath divides England and Wales. It is named after the king who ordered it built. This was probably done to separate Mercia from the rival kingdoms, which included Wales.
The route is a circular walk from Dyke Offa and includes visits to Schenfrith, White, and Grossmont castles. The trail winds through beautiful Welsh countryside. It takes an average of 11 days to traverse, and if you’re careful about sightseeing, a full two weeks is better.
For hikers and extreme hikers, this is the place to be. The hike will take a full day and will require all your strength. It’s hard to get lost here – a stony trail consistently leads to four waterfalls.
The first on the trail is Sogwood Clun Gwyn. To continue, return to the bridge and walk along the bank to the second waterfall, Sogwid-i-Bedol (its second name is Horseshoe). From there, a stony trail winds through a wooded gorge and leads to the Snow Falls.
Churches and Cathedrals
St. David’s Cathedral
Hidden from view in a valley and hidden behind walls, it is as beautiful as it was centuries ago. The building dates back to the 12th century, but its architectural appearance was altered until the 19th century. The western part with four pointed purple stone towers belongs to the latter period.
The oldest ones here are the massive purple-gray columns, which have leaned over as a result of the building’s subsidence. The oak ceiling, decorated with carvings, is from the 16th century. Between the choir and the main altar is an object of religious pilgrimage: the shrine with the bones of Saints David and Justinian.
Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul
The cathedral is located in the ancient city of Llandaff, part of which has become a protected area. Surrounded by bustling streets, it remains a surprisingly quiet place. The cathedral dates back to 1107, but took its present form in the 19th century. At that time it had a southwest tower and a spire.
After the war, the cathedral had to be rebuilt. This was undertaken by George Pace, who at the same time tried to return the temple to its former image, but to add a little more space.
St. Margaret’s Church
An attractive 19th-century structure with an unusual tower that has no equal in Britain is known as “Marble Church.” All because of the 13 kinds of marble that were used to create the decorative interior.
In 1852, Lady Margaret decided to build a new church in honor of her husband. She chose John Gibson as the architect. He designed the building with a tower 62 meters high, which seems disproportionately tall for a small structure.
The abbey was founded in 1131 by Cistercian monks and was originally a wooden building. A century later they began to build a new abbey church and didn’t stop until they created a masterpiece of British Gothic architecture.
A huge building, high vaults, majestic columns, stained glass patterns, and a carpet of grass and wildflowers underfoot. It still takes your breath away. Yes, the majestic abbey with centuries of history is ruined, but its ruins stand in a picturesque natural setting.
Cardiff National Museum
It houses world-class art, as well as natural history and geology collections. The Art collection includes Impressionist paintings from Europe, as well as canvases, drawings, sculptures, silver and ceramics from Wales. Works by Monet, Renoir, Rodin, and Cézanne are on display here.
The natural history galleries display animals, birds and insects from around the world, including the world’s largest turtle, a huge giant shark and the skeleton of a humpback whale.
This park is ideal for families. On the territory of about a hectare there are thematic gardens and sculpture exhibitions. There are wooden and stone sculptures by old masters as well as works by British sculptors.
A local workshop holds regular classes, teaching visitors this art. There is a tea room where cakes are served for a modest fee. The garden was created by husband and wife Terry and Rose, who didn’t even think it would become so popular when they opened the studio.
St. Fagans National Historical Museum
St. Fagans is an interesting open-air museum and the most visited attraction in Wales. A chronology of culture and architecture is maintained here.
The museum occupies the grounds of a late 16th-century manor house and includes more than 40 buildings representing the architecture of Wales from different historical periods. The museum also contains exhibits of traditional handicrafts and has a working blacksmith shop, a pottery workshop and a mill.