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Visit Caernarfon: Exploring the Rich History of a Welsh Town.

Updated: Aug 13, 2023

Get to know Caernarfon

Caernarfon, a charming town nestled in the heart of Gwynedd, Wales, is a treasure trove of history and culture. Steeped in legends and fortified by the magnificent Caernarfon Castle, this royal town offers a captivating journey through time. Embark on a visit to Caernarfon and immerse yourself in its captivating stories, awe-inspiring architecture, and picturesque landscapes. Whether you're a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply seeking a memorable getaway, Caernarfon promises an unforgettable experience.


Visit Caernarfon: Exploring the Rich History of a Welsh Town

Ancient Origins: Prehistoric Settlement and Roman Conquest

Caernarfon's story begins in the mists of prehistory. The abundant natural resources surrounding the Menai Strait attracted early human settlements to the region. The Ordovices, a Celtic tribe, inhabited the area during the Roman Britain era. To subdue the Ordovices, the Romans established the fort of Segontium around AD 80, leaving a lasting mark on the landscape.


Edward I and the Birth of Caernarfon Castle

In the 13th century, Caernarfon Castle emerged as a symbol of English dominance over Wales under the reign of King Edward I. Following his conquest of Wales in 1283, Edward I sought to solidify his control by constructing a series of castles, including Caernarfon. The castle's construction began in the same year and was completed by 1330.


The Impressive Architecture of Caernarfon Castle

Caernarfon Castle stands as a testament to medieval architectural brilliance. Designed by Edward I's architect, James of St. George, the castle exhibits a harmonious blend of Roman and Arthurian influences. Its grandeur and imposing structure served as a fortress, a royal residence, and a political seat. The castle's double towers, atmospheric King's Gate, and the statue of Edward I create a captivating entrance for visitors.


Caernarfon Castle's Role in Welsh History

Throughout its existence, Caernarfon Castle witnessed numerous historical events, reflecting the tumultuous relationship between England and Wales. In 1294, the castle fell briefly into Welsh hands during a revolt led by Madog ap Llewelyn, resulting in the destruction of some of its walls. In the early 15th century, Owain Glyndŵr's rebellion posed a threat to the castle, although it ultimately withstood the siege. The tension between England and Wales subsided during the Tudor era when the Tudor dynasty, with its Welsh roots, brought Caernarfon back into the Welsh fold.


The Tudor Era and Caernarfon's Renaissance

As the Tudor era dawned, Caernarfon Castle experienced a revival. The ascent of the House of Tudor to the English throne brought about a shift in the relationship between England and Wales. The town flourished, and Caernarfon regained its status as a center of Welsh culture and heritage. The castle, once a symbol of English dominance, gradually fell into disrepair.

Visit Caernarfon to discover more about out history.


Royal Ceremonies: Caernarfon Castle as the Prince of Wales' Investiture Venue

Caernarfon Castle's significance in Welsh history was further solidified in the 20th century. In 1969, the investiture of Prince Charles as the Prince of Wales took place within its historic walls. This momentous event honored the ancient office of the Prince of Wales and celebrated Welsh heritage. Today, the castle serves as a reminder of this historic ceremony.


Exploring Caernarfon Castle Today

Managed by Cadw, Caernarfon Castle remains remarkably well-preserved, offering visitors a unique opportunity to step back in time. The castle's vast walls, towers, and battlements provide a glimpse into its medieval past. Begin your exploration at the atmospheric King's Gate, marveling at the double towers and the statue of Edward I. Ascend the winding stone staircases to the battlements, where panoramic views of the town and the River Seiont await.


The Eagle Tower: A Window into the Past

Among Caernarfon Castle's notable features is the ten-sided Eagle Tower, which once housed the apartments of Edward I and Queen Eleanor. Today, the tower offers an interactive experience that delves into the castle's history. Discover the stories behind its construction, the lives of its inhabitants, and the events that shaped its destiny.


The Queen's Tower: Unveiling the Legacy of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers

Within the Queen's Tower, the Museum of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers awaits. This museum showcases the rich history of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, an important Welsh regiment with a 300-year legacy. Explore the exhibits and gain insight into the regiment's role in significant conflicts and its enduring impact on Welsh military history.


A Glimpse into Prince Charles' Investiture

In the Chamberlin Tower, artifacts and memorabilia from Prince Charles' investiture as the Prince of Wales can be found. Delve into the details of this historic event, which marked a significant moment in Welsh history. Learn about the traditions, customs, and symbolism that surrounded the investiture and its enduring significance to the people of Wales.


Getting to Caernarfon Castle

Caernarfon Castle is conveniently located on Wales' northwest coast, just off the A487 road. Ample parking is available adjacent to the site, ensuring easy access for visitors. If you prefer to travel by train, the nearest station is Bangor, approximately 10 miles away. From there, you can take the 5/5A/5B bus service, which stops just 200 meters from Caernarfon Penllyn.


In the End

A visit to Caernarfon is a journey through time, immersing yourself in the rich tapestry of Welsh history. From the ancient Roman fort of Segontium to the grandeur of Caernarfon Castle, the town's heritage is palpable at every turn. Explore the castle's impressive architecture, wander its battlements, and discover the stories of those who shaped the region's destiny. Caernarfon invites you to step back in time and experience the magic of a truly remarkable town. Plan your visit today and unlock the secrets of Caernarfon's past.


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Visit Caernarfon

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