North Wales is famous for it's many ancient, majestic castles which are still in existance today and are among the 10 most popular tourist destinations in North Wales. Ty Gwyn holiday cottage is the ideal base to explore these historic buildings, particularly nearby Harlech Castle although the other castles are all within a few hours drive through the magnificent North Wales countryside.
Harlech Castle is just 4 miles from Ty Gwyn. The castle was built by Edward I and construction began in 1283. The castle was the de facto capital of Wales during Owain Glyndŵr's rebellion. The castle was beseiged between 1404 and 1409 and again for seven years during the War of the Roses, the longest seige in the British Isles. This seige was immortalized in the song "Men Of Harlech". The castle is built on a cliff that originally overlooked the sea but over the years the sea has retreated back 1.2km. Harlech Castle was chosen by Dan Cruickshank as one of Britain's Best Buildings in 2006 for a BBC TV Series.
Beaumaris Castle in Beaumaris on the isle of Anglesey was conceived as part of Edward I's campaign to conquer North Wales. Construction began in 1295 and the castle was designed by James of St. George but despite building for 35 years the castle was never completed as Edward I's attention and finances turned to Scotland and the uprising of Robert the Bruce and William Wallace. Beaumaris Castle is 37.5 miles from Ty Gwyn along the A487.
Caernarfon Castle (Caernavon)
Caernarfon Castle was originally a motte-and-bailey castle built in the late 11th Century but Edward I began construction of a new castle on the site in 1283. The town of Caernarfon was the administrative center for North Wales and the castle was built on a grand scale to match the importance of the town and to provide strong defences in the event of an attack. The castle has deliberate nods to the town's Roman past with the walls bearing a similarity to the Walls of Constantinople. The castle was finished in 1330 and cost around £25,000. The castle was besieged three times by the Parlimentarians during the English Civil War against the Royalists. The castle was used for the investiture of the Prince of Wales in both 1911 (Edward, later Edward VIII) and 1969 (Charles). Caernarfon Castle is 25 miles from Ty Gwyn.
Edward I ordered the construction of Conwy Castle which was designed by James of St. George. The castle took 6 years to complete, starting in 1283 at an estimated cost of £15,000. Edward, the Black Prince altered the castle in 14th century and in 1403 the castle was captured by Owain Glyndŵr's forces who ransomed the the castle and it's garrison back to Henry IV. The castle guards the entrance to the River Conwy and originally was surrounded by the river on two sides before the construction of the North Wales Coast Line railway on reclaimed land under the castle's south wall. The beautiful town of Conwy and the castle are just 42 miles from Ty Gwyn along the A470 through the slate mining town of Blaenau Ffestiniog.
Construction of Criccieth Castle began in the 1230s by Llywelyn the Great, Prince of Gwynedd. It was captured by the forces of Edward I in 1283 and remodelled by the architect James of St. George. Until 1404 the castle was used as a prison but during the rebellion of Owain Glyndŵr the castle was recaptured by Welsh forces who set fire to the castle and tore down it's walls. You can still see the scorch marks on some of the stonework to this day. Criccieth Castle, like Harlech Castle, is visible from the green of the golf course in Porthmadog. Criccieth is 10 miles from Ty Gwyn by road via the seaside town of Porthmadog.
Dolbadarn Castle was begun in the early 13th Century and was ordered by Llywelyn the Great. The castle is sited at the Llanberis Pass and features a large, round, stone keep. Edward I's forces captured the castle in 1284 and stripped the timbers from the castle to build Caernarfon Castle. The castle was used as a manor house until the early 18th Century when is was abandoned and fell in to ruin. Dolbadarn is 23 miles from the holiday cottage in the town of Llanberis where you can visit the slate mines, the hydroelectric power plant and take the mountain railway to the peak of Mount Snowdon or the lake railway around Llyn Padarn in Snowdonia National Park.
Another castle constructed by Llywelyn the Great as part of a network of strongholds for the princes of Gwynedd. It was constructed sometime between 1210 and 1240 A.D. and features two rectangular towers joined by walls. The castle was mainly used as a guard post on a major route through Wales. Edward I captured the castle in 1283 and modified the castle before more alterations were made in the 15th and 19th Centuries. The outside of the castle was used as Ulrich's castle in the 1981 fantasy film, Dragonslayer. Dolwyddelan is 20 miles from Ty Gwyn and just 5 miles from the bustling village of Betws-Y-Coed.