Home | Main Menu | Castle Index | Historical Essays | Related Essays | What's New | Links

Welsh Castle Poll

Select this link to hear the song All Through the Night.
Midi sound file by Barry Taylor
Vote here for your favorite Welsh castles. Results will be posted below. Choose as many castles as you like and include comments if you feel so inclined. Follow this link to view the most recent results of the poll.

 


Ken Faame

  1. Pulyn-Y-Aleg castle, because I met my wife on a tour there in 2004.
  2. Rhuddlan castle, Majestic!
  3. Conwy, very impressive engineering


John Hewitt

  1. Conwy - Visited first time 20 years ago with my girlfriend and visited everytime there after with the same lady.
  2. Harlech - Fine veiws and Vikings fighting a battle on a wet summers day
  3. Dolwyddelan - Has a majestic position and I like the name
  4. Caerphilly - Amazing site
  5. Cardiff Castle - For its fantasy


Andrew Holt

  1. Caernarfon. Hard to argue against its scale, majesty, construction and historical importance.
  2. Dolbardarn. Its location gives a real sense of the past, atmospheric and commanding despite its smaller size
  3. Harlech. Beautifully constructed from bare rock, seems to be of the land, despite withdrawal of the sea through the years, still impressive.
  4. Rhuddlan. Beautiful location, romantic. Historically pivotal.


John Hauser
John Thorne
Michael Tart

  1. Tretower Court, because I want to live in it!
  2. Castle Dinas Bran, Apart from the stunning views, when you stand on it's hill, you can really believe that the Holy Grail was actually there, there's definately something magical about it. The drive to it is spectacular as well, you can't help but look and wonder at it.
  3. Caerleon Roman Amphitheatre, ok, it's not a castle, but when you stand inside the arena, you can almost feel the atmosphere and excitement that must have been there nearly 2000 years ago.
  4. White Castle, I visited there on a summers afternoon, and spent ages watching the Dragonflies skimming across the moat. It's so peaceful it seems the world has forgotten about it.
  5. Clun Castle, The 1st castle me and my MGB visited together, and the 1st place we go when the weather's warm enough to sit outside and have an ice-cream.

Andrew Mcpherson


Matthew Baumgartner
  1. Harlech - most impressive castle in Britain, brilliant site, magnificent achievement
  2. Beaumaris - Perfect. Hope it is safe to go inside when I go back this June.
  3. Conwy - Wonderfully preserved, another engineering marvel
  4. Dolwyddellan - Evocative location
  5. Caernarfon - Another place I need to go back to.

Acedum@aol.com


Tim Hovezak
  1. Beaumaris- wonderfully, beautiful, and strong. visited it twice
  2. Conwy- a close second to Beaumaris, excellently preserved
  3. Harlech- close to the other two, unfortunately i visited it during a nasty gale. on the other hand it made it very dramatic.
  4. Caerphilly- amazing, very odd design. had lunch in the great hall
  5. Caernarfon- magnificent, i spent very little time here and i wish i had spent more

Andrew Smith
RadSavij
Melanie & Barbara
Andrew Webb
Neil Winston
Phillip Williams
Joel Rudman
  1. HARLECH- Are you kidding? What a commanding presence over the entire landscape!
  2. RAGLAN- A hidden jewel in south Wales. Not easy to get to, but worth the trip.
  3. CHEPSTOW- On the list for its sheer size, as well as its strategic location on the Wye.
  4. CAERNARFON- Large and impressive. Could spend the whole day here.
  5. (tie) CAERPHILLY (for its leaning tower) and CRICCIETH (for its awesome view)

Pamela R. Logsdon
  1. Dinas Powys - Though this castle is certainly not of impressive size, and is rapidly falling into overgrowth and decay, it ranks as my number one, mainly for sentimental reasons. When I was a teen I lived for a while in Dinas Powys, just down the hill from the castle ruins. I used to take my younger siblings and the dog and we'd set out for an adventure at the castle. We would picnic and play in the shadow of the walls there. It had a nice path, but other than that it was pretty much left alone.
  2. Cardiff Castle - Again, this is mostly for sentimental reasons. The old keep affords a wonderful view of Cardiff City, Bute Park, and on a clear day - Penarth Head, and it is the place where my ex-fiance proposed to me.
  3. Castle Coch - The romantic fancy of the Third Marquess of Bute in building the current castle touches some romantic urgings deep down inside. I mean, don't we all yearn for a simpler, yet more elegant time?

Don Mulford
Tara Bowen
Paul Remfry
Kate ONeill
Tom Roby
  1. Conwy- impressive for many reasons: location, surrounding town walls, historic significance.
  2. Caerphilly- battlements, leaning tower, siege weapons, sheer size
  3. Beaumaris- great example of concentric castle, ambience with moat, great displays
  4. Caernarvon- defensive innovations, historic significance, exhibits
  5. Chepstow- interesting design, exhibits, proximity to Tintern

M. Duncan
Janet Reedman
  • "I like Chepstow castle, perched on its bank high above the river. It reminds me of an evil sorcerer's ruined castle, vast and brooding--which is doubtless why it was chosen as a film location for an episode of ROBIN OF SHERWOOD in '84!"

Susanne
  • "My mom and I just got back from a trip to Wales and England, and our top castle was Harlech, beyond a doubt. The sheer scope, the stunning view, and its massive strength all contributed to our choosing it as #1. We were also gratified to be able to walk 3/4 of the way around the battlements, with only a short wall alongside us - if this castle were in the US, its owners would never allow us to take such a "risk" - bravo to CADW!"

Yana Childs
  • Skenfrith: great setting and location ( for pru tour viewing. for cycling fans) picnics and its free.
  • Goodrich: fantastic view from the bridge ,easy to imagine the battle scene, the cannon holes that roaring meg blew in her side can be seen. roaring meg ,a cannon forged locally can be found at churchill gardens in Hereford.Lots of good mediveal events to enthrall your children.
  • Whitecastle: A feudal feel to this castle, located in a postion that enables you to visit loads of castles makes it a must for castle seekers.

Lady Janine Foster
  • " I would like to cast my vote to Cardiff Castle. My great-grandmother met my great-grandfather while he was playing in the salvation army band and she was going to Cardiff College."

Michael Smith

I'd split my choice between "Welsh" and "English" sites:

Welsh

  1. Castell-y-Bere - a little bit of Peru in Wales
  2. Dolbadarn - gaunt and impressive on the valley side
  3. Castell Dinas Bran - mysterious, looming and one heck of a climb
  4. Dinefwr - a beautiful early morning woodland walk rewards you with awonderfully preserved Welsh monument
  5. Cricieth - as someone else has said, buy an ice cream at Cadwalader first

English

  1. Skenfrith - the green stonework, the simplicity of the ruins and the verdant valley setting make this castle simply exquisite. Best approached along a winding "C" road and enjoyed with a pint. Church also worth a visit
  2. Rhuddlan - elegant and reposed on a summer's afternoon
  3. Kidwelly - the state of preservation combined with the riverside setting make it a real winner
  4. Conwy - I'd say it ranks above Caernarfon as James of St George's masterpiece
  5. Holt - because I cycled 30 miles to get there when I was 17 only to be rewarded by a lump of rock and a few bits of ashlar.

All time favourite: Skenfrith


Stephanie
  • "RAGLAN CASTLE -- I drove up and my breath was taken away. This was my first visit to the UK and I've only seen castles in pictures or my dreams. I read (as a child and adult) a lot of fairie tales and fantasy and of course many of them contained castles. When I saw Raglan Castle - there it was - the castle I had imagined in my head when reading or daydreaming. I absolutely fell in love at first sight. I saw many other castle on this trip but this was my absolute favorite!"

Kay Bowen
  • "Cardiff Castle, of course! Nearly 2000 years of history, a diversity that no other castle possesses and an amazing showcase of 19th Century local craftsmanship. An unmissable site for followers of the current fashion for Victorian Gothic Revival design, and unmissable for followers of home-made bara brith!"

Sue Spreadbury
  • First choice would have to be Cas-Gwent of course. Such a magical place. There's something about Chepstow that have drawn me back year after year since I was 12 years old. (I'm now 26).
  • Secondly, Castell Dinas Bran. Clinging to the mountain for dear life. A truly wondrous place.
  • And last but not least, Castell Y Bere. My mum first took me there when I was 7. I think it was the fact that the few stones left such an impression on me, that I started to imagine what it looked like, and probably planted the seed which has grown into an obsession almost to visit ruins and rebuild them in my own mind.

    Thanks for all the history Wales!!


Bob Talbot
    Not an easy choice:

  • Caernarvon, Conwy, Pembroke or Caerphilly for sheer power and style, Pembroke by a short head now Caerphilly is surrounded by urban sprawl.
  • Ogmore or Candleston for atmosphere and location; Candleston wins hands down on a cold bleak winters day when you can almost hear the wolves.
  • Poor deserted forgotten Kenfig, miles from the road and cheek by jowl with the raiway line and the M4, loomed over by the steel works, its town covered in sand and its once navigable river now a brook. Nobody seems to own it or take care of it and yet it survives. That tops my list for sheer staying power.

    Great web site


CarSco97@aol.com
  • "When we visited Wales about one and one-half years ago, we were driving towards Pembroke when we saw a castle in the middle of the beautiful Welsh countryside. It was Carew castle and what a charming place it is. We felt transported back in time and could almost imagine what life must have been like. What at great place and we took some terrific pictures of it."

wagster
  • "My favorite castle, without a doubt, is Tretower. It's a lovely, quite place to discover a bit of midevil life. You'll have no trouble finding yourself alone at this castle, wandering the gardens or the surrounding ancient buildings with you partner. Tretower is a gem, wiht the best audio tour in all of England!"

Geraint Jones
  • Castell Carreg Cennen - Locaction and atmosphere fantastic - I will never tire of visiting this splendid Castle. One of the best located Castles in the UK.
  • Llansteffan - again fantastically located, fairly substansial ruins. Tower steps not for the fainthearted(or children!)
  • Ewloe - haunting and evocative Welsh Castle. Strange location, small ruins - but completely magical.
  • Castell y Bere - Being Welsh the smaller Welsh-built Castles are very special to me, Castell y Bere is another magically located structure.Though the ruins are very small and won't impress in stature - there is a strong sense of spirit and past strugles at this monument.
  • Carew - Large ruin, though little remains within it's wall. Worth a visit due to it's unorthadox appearance due to conversion to a luxurious dwelling in tudor times, and the splendid Carew Cross just outside the Castle.
  • Dinas Bran - Another evocative Welsh castle. They may be small, but their spirit and presence is large.
  • Goodrich - good example of spur based towers, gorgeous redstone construction.
  • Dinefwr - A long neglected important piece of Welsh history. Being in my 'back garden', I spent many a summer as a child wondering through the overgrown ruins, before restoration work was started. Thankfully, much work has been undertaken in recent years and the Castle is well worth a visit.

Phyllis Cadmus
  • "We vote for Chepstow and Caerphilly. Chepstow, because of the views, the long history and the changes in castle structure, and for sheer romantic beauty. And Caerphilly.....well, just look at it! What more is there to say?"

Henry Powell
  • "Thanks for your lovely site. I will have to vote for Castle Madoc purely for ancestral reasons, although I have only seen it from the roadside. Do you have any idea who owns it at present and how I might contact him/her, or if it is possible to visit the castle at all? "

Van Lokeren BVBA
  • "Lovely to see so many old favourites on your site. I guess my vote would go for Cricieth, purely for sentimental reasons, althougth there are so many other monumental ones. I like Garn Fadryn too. Especially the bilberries, for there's not much else to see. A visitor is indeed hard put to make out much more than a few rocks unless he/she knows what he's looking for."

Alison Walpole
  • "We lived in Conwy for three years and of all the castles in Wales found the atmosphere of Conwy Castle to be the most homely. This could be due to the fact that this was the residence of Edward 1 and not a place of battle. Try to visit when it is quiet, when it has snowed or it is raining. It is a simple not a pretentious place that exudes a sense of hospitality, not cold or harsh. More like a hearth of a small medieval cottage than the fireplace of a Great Hall. "

Wendy D De Cora
  • "Llansteffan is my favorite Welsh castle, the view overlooking the bay area is amazing. I've seen the sun set and the sun rise, been there in rain and sun and it is always a moving experience.
  • Carreg Cennen has the most spectacular views in all of Wales, the rolling green countryside that stretches on for miles..."

William A. Collins
  • "I have to vote for the only castle I visited in Wales....Kidwelly. I just had to see the town that my ancestors came from (circa 1670) and could enjoy myself imagining how things must have looked back then. A lovely trip out from London, and one that I hope to repeat before too many years pass."

Sheldon and Claire Stevens, Stoke-on-Trent
  • "My favourite has to be Harlech. It combines the might of the best of Edward's castles with a size you can relate to. I dream of seeing Harlech restored to its original condition, complete with wooden floors, panellings and hoardings. This has been done for the gatehouse at Carlisle but nowhere in Wales to my knowledge and not to an entire castle."

Lady Lynn Kenser
  • "I would have to vote for Conwy Castle; my family has a history at that castle. It is almost fully intact and beautiful. I hope to see more on the Conwy Castle in the future."

NKeyworth
  • "I would vote for the sheer majesty and power of CHEPSTOW CASTLE. Many memories of my childhood spent clambering around the earth banks and gazing up to those high unscaleable walls above."

Elizabeth L. Wilde
  • "Castle Coch - I used to drive by it every summer on my way to see family. It always looked like something from the Brothers Grimm. We would come up the road from Cardiff and see it standing up from the surrounding trees. To me it was always a symbol of the mystery of Old Wales."

Frank & Kristin Linchester
  1. Conwy Castle- The best ruined castle. The medieval city of Conwy with it's stone walls hosts this exquisite Edwardian castle. As for the town itself, the cobblestone walks, the quaint shops, and the Conwy bay make for the best city in the U.K.

  2. Raglan- a beautiful edifice. The moat adds charm to this hulking ruined castle. The turrets are amazing with the geometry. I enjoyed this castles beauty so much, I had one of my panoramic pictures enlarged, framed, and hung in my living room.

  3. Beaumaris Castle- the architecture and setting make this a delightful and magical place. Again, a ruined castle.

  4. Cardiff Castle- Unless you have visited the inside, you know not of the jewels that lay inside. Each room is exquisitely rendered. Words can not describe the detail and the beauty of this castle.

  5. Powis Castle- Again, another castle that has excellent craftsmanship and fine arts. The castle grounds/gardens are one of the best in Europe.

  6. Gwydir Castle- A country-home type castle under renovation. This castle is suppose to be very haunted. Definitely worth checking out. Their grounds are quite nice. They have one tree that is as old as the early kings of England.

  7. Ruthin Castle- Only a tad bit remains, but the rebuilt Castle is an excellent place to spend the weekend. The castle has given me one of the best dinners I have ever eaten. The view is quite splendid since the Castle is perched on a high hill.

Dr J David Davies
    "As an exile from Carmarthenshire, I'd have to go for

  • Carreg Cennen - when the sun's shining, I challenge anyone to name a more spectacular castle
  • Kidwelly, which I've known and loved for as long as I can remember
  • Llansteffan (the view over the three estuaries can be unbelievable)

    From other parts of Wales, it has to be Pembroke - a visit there at the age of 5 engendered a lifelong love of history which eventually turned into my career - Raglan, and from the north, Dolwyddelan."


Robert Setchell
  • "My favirote castle in Wales is Carew castle (near) Tenby. I think Carew was very good and is quite intreasting."

Susan Schumacher-James
"Give me the Welsh castles over the English anyday! I can see the English anywhere but only in Wales can I see the distinctive Welsh design."
  1. Castell Y Bere - beautiful countryside!
  2. Dolbadarn
  3. Dolwyddelan

Leslie D. Crosby
  • "HARLECH--Harlech is one of two castles that I have picked as the best. Harlech, unlike Caernarvon & Beaumaris, is a simple castle. While displaying up to date 13th century design, it lacks the many arrow slits incorporated in mural passages such as are seen in the more lavish (and expensive) Caernarvon. Harlech relies upon its lofty site, on solid rock, and upon a massive gatehouse which is flanked by high, thick drum towers and a stout wall."

  • "RAGLAN--Raglan ranks equally with Harlech, but is of a completely different design. Being a 15th century castle, Raglan has all the defensive features of past castles. In addition, Raglan is a beautiful castle. It is not difficult to picture it in its prime...glistening white towers and palatial accomodations within its thick walls."

John Carignan
  • "HARLECH CASTLE--This is without doubt my first choice. Harlech, while incorporating the latest technology, relies more upon brute strength and position. It is also an old warrior...the castle of lost causes. More than one war ended here. It's sturdy construction is evident today, when with a little work, it could be ready for defense once again."

  • "RAGLAN CASTLE--After Harlech, and advancing nearly 200 years, Raglan is my next favourite. It incorporates all of the latest technology learned from over 400 years of castle building. Raglan, which was built near the end of the Middle Ages, is one of the few fully machicolated castles in Britain. When one sees it, one thinks of the French chateaux-forts, then being built in France. Raglan superbly blends military strength, with grace and elegance. Finally, in an age when castles were being built without keeps, Raglan boasts one of the most powerful. The Yellow Tower confounded every effort of Fairfax's artillery to bring it down! Finally, Raglan died a heroes death, defying unbeatable odds."

Andres Lozano
  1. Conwy Castle: Its walls and towers are in a excellent condition. It looks as well from the outside as it looks from the inside.
  2. Caernarfon: The perfect example of a Courtyard castle. I consider it the greatest and most perfect work of James of St. George. Its towers are very original, they have many levels, in its times it should had offered its defenders to fire from many levels. Edward I probably felt very proud of this castle.
  3. Beaumaris: The size of its inner wall round-shapped towers amaze me. With a moat, two walls, inner wall of 16 ft (5 m) thick, and round towers; this concentric castle was probably imppossible to conquer.

Rick Garner
  • "Carreg Cennen: On a sunny day like we had when visiting Carreg Cennen there is no place more spectacular. On the approach from Llandyfan it suddenly appears in the distance, high and distant. As you get closer the distance decreases but in some way the hill gets taller. Finally standing at the gate past the ticket office if feels like you're looking straight up. The climb to the top begs two questions: How would you like to attach up this slope? and, How would you like to live up there? The structure itself may not be the grandest but taken with it's location it's one of the best.
  • Raglan: This one also rates as the best for the simple reason that it was the first Medieval castle I ever saw. The tower, the moat, the hall, it all seems like a fairy tale castle to a visiting American. It will always be at least a tie for my favorite."

Doug Thompson
  1. Carreg Cennen The location took my breath away and turned my legs to jelly! The gallery to the cave is unforgettable and unique.
  2. Dinefwr The setting in Dinefwr Park and the staggering views across the Towy valley have persuaded me to return in the hope that the castle will be open to the public.
  3. Pennard Although little remains and the golfers get stroppy the approach to the castle along the cliff and its coastal setting make it one of the best.
  4. Whitecastle (Llantilio) This castle evokes a tremendous sense of power and dominance over the landscape and tells me exactly what a medieval castle was for.
  5. Skenfrith This castle seems to nestle in its beautiful little village. The moat and water gate give it a special tranquillity.

Debra from Canada
  • # 1 - RAGLAN! It is a spectacular castle from an architectural standpoint. The carvings are intricate and much can be learned about the inhabitants of the castle from a leisurely stroll around the ruins.

  • # 2 - CARREG CENNEN! When I got my first view of this, we were winding towards it on a gravel track and it took my breath away. Such a magnificient location, such a strong presence - you can feel the ghosts wandering the ruins.

Andy Knight
  • "Best - between Caerphilly - the first great castle I visited in Wales when I was 11, and Conwy - which is supurb. Best lesser castle probably Ewloe."

Peyton O. Abbott
  • "Carreg Cerren is my favorite of any castle I have seen in any land. Conwy would probably be the second."

Rodger G. Schweibenz
  • "My favourite castles were Carreg Cennen- because of the location and the cave, Caernarfon due to the fact that everychamber in the towers had a separate walk around passage around them. and Harlech, due to the fact that I believe it had the highest tower (155 spiral stairs to my count)."

Peter R. Glessman
  1. Conway: A classic castle. Edward must have been proud.
  2. Beaumaris: A great concentric example. You really feel like you've visited the middle ages.
  3. Caernarfon Castle. You could get lost here for hours, and enjoy it. I did.

Daniel Mersey
  1. Dolforwyn - obviously for me it has many special memories, but I also recommend it to anyone wishing to see excavation of a castle in progress(July only). The courtyard is confusing to try to understand - there seems to be several levels - but that's half the fun!
  2. Castell-y-Bere - Putting the atmosphere aside, Castell-y-Bere is interesting for the multi-phase construction, and the strong gate house. The reconstruction of it makes it look extremely impressive.
  3. Clun - for the most part, Clun is forgotten in comparison to some of the other marcher castles. The motte-side keep is impressive, as are the remains of the two baileys - even if one is now a bowling green.
  4. Dryslwyn (I can never spell it!) - now that the excavation is complete and the presentation boards are up, this site is one that should be visited. The town site is interesting, and there is irony in the fact that a Victorian folly is built on a hill opposite.
  5. Stokesay - Stokesay has to be the best fortified manor house in the marches. Very picturesque, but also educational due to it's excellent state of survival.

Ernest Adams
  • "Kidwelly! Lots of interesting features (it has an oubliette), and still in pretty good condition. Also, it's not on the main castle drag (Caernarfon, Harlech) so it's very uncrowded. Finally, I like it because I got locked in there once... the lady at the gate assumed that everyone had left and went home about 10 minutes early. Some German tourists trying to get IN had to get the key (which was kept "down the pub," by the way) to let me OUT."

Ken Harkness
  • "My vote has to go to Rhuddlan castle - for the simple reason that as a boy in the 1950s I used to live in Hylas Lane some 100 yards from the castle itself and often, quite illegally, used to play in the moat and the keep."

Lynne Hughes Fox
  1. Conwy, situated a mere three miles from the village where I grew up, is very dear to my heart. It would have been like something out of a fairytale once upon a time, with it's limewashed walls and imposing towers. The native Cymry would probably have disagreed with this notion back then mind you! It's setting is quite dramatic, a photographers' dream. For that alone it has some distinction compared to other castles in Wales, even in much of Europe. The walls around the town are not only well preserved, but act in the same way that the Bow Bells in London do for Cockney's. If you're born within Conwy town walls, you're forever known as a "Jackdaw" (Jac-Y-Do in Welsh)! Why this is, I'm not sure... but intend to find out.
  2. Chirk, as my godmother's father worked in the grounds when he was a younger man. It's also a beautiful building with several well furnished, elegant rooms open to the public. The gardens are exceptional.
  3. Harlech, simply because it's hauntingly beautiful, overlooking the open expanse of heath that has since been reclaimed from the sea.
  4. Pretty Castell Coch.

MaryMc
  • "My favorite has to be Harlech. It was nineteen years ago, but I remember it so clearly...I was twenty, thousands of miles from home in California, and traveling by myself for the first time. It was December, and the weather was icy cold but bright and sunny and crystal clear. I can still remember sitting on a stone wall and looking out to sea and trying to put down everything I was seeing and thinking and feeling in a letter home. The sense of pure wonder I felt at that moment...I wouldn't trade that memory for anything."

Kristie Trapp
  • "Carreg Cennan's cliffside gallery leading down to the cave on a cool, overcast, rainy day captured my soul. My dreams of returning to this beautiful and desolate place haunt me forever."

Dawn Evans
  • 1st place for me will always be the fairytale Castell Coch - I grew up near it and it has had a special place in my heart for as long as I can remember.
  • 2nd place to Carreg Cennen - that view, the tunnel and - if you're lucky - the medieval re-enactment pageant.
  • 3rd place - very hard now - Dolbadarn I think because last time we were there a huge storm blew up and the whole site was transformed - somber, magestic and powerful.

Norman Cooper
  • "Chepstow Castle - has always been a magical place since I was a child and now my children feel the same way. Who will ever forget the first time they look down the 'toilet' and the shear drop to the river below!"

Chris Davis
  • "Castell Llansteffan...The most beautiful site in all the world! To have lived under it's protection and inspiration for two years was the most meaningful time of my life!"

John B. Barnthouse
  • "I would say Pembroke castle holds the most interest for me, merely because of the fact that I am decended from the Pember family."

Peter Griffith
  • "Conwy - the best preserved castle AND town walls I have seen. It has a still functioning fishing port, and within the town walls there is supposed to be a ghost (Plas Mawr). You can't beat those credentials!!"

Geoffrey Williams
  • "Conwy castle is my favourite castle in Wales. For its good state of preservation and the excellent presentation of information within the castle. Well worth a visit if only for the magnificent views from the upper towers."

The Ellis Family
  • First Place - Caergwrle - Father born in village and we both have lots of fond memories of the castle.
  • Second Place - Beaumaris - the kids think it's brilliant- and the views are stunning
  • Third Place - Criccieth - because you can buy an ice cream at Cadwalader and walk around the castle / town
  • Forth Place - Conwy - Location is superb
  • Fifth Place - Caernarvon - size is impressive

Jacqueline
  • "Grosmont: for the simply beautiful village, set amongst the green folds of the hills, the scones with jam and cream served by the local Women's Institute upstairs in the old village hall, for the old pub down the road outside the village where time really has stood still ..."

Corey Siddall
  • "I must choose Caerphilly as my favorite castle. It was the first large castle I ever visited and to see it rising out of the mist was an unforgettable sight! It has it all - drawbridges, moats, towers and that "Wizard of Oz Castle of the Wicked Witch" feel to it. Caernarvon is also a most impressive castle for my second choice. After that I'll pick Dolwyddelan, Criccieth and Raglan."

Nick Herman
  • "The Castle of Harlech is indeed a fine one. The combination of massive, sturdy walls, and an overwhelmingly beautiful setting combine to make this castle the finest one in all of Wales, therefore, I vote for Harlech castle!"

Larry Kuretich
  • "Beaumaris. This castle is the absolute epitome of the concentric style of castle building. Even though never really threatened it would obiously been able to stand up to any attack. It's location with the ability to rceive suplies and spacious size would have made it a better place to live."

John D. Lewandowski
  • "Beaumaris! No where else on my journey did I find such a feeling that a place was so alive with it's history. While standing in the beautiful north gate, I could feel the presence of nobility, hear the sounds of the castle's occupants, from the great horses who lived in the stables there, to the many people who were fortunate enough to live within it's walls. The vivid images I "saw" in Beaumaris will stay in my heart for the rest of my days."

David Boyd
  • "It has to be White Castle, near Abergavenny. The combination of such a complete site in such a wonderful location makes it a stuuning place to visit. We took a party of kids there last year, and everyone enjoyed it tremendously. The view from the tower is breathtaking!"

Joe Codispoti
  • "I loved the charm of Caerphilly. It was a lovely setting with interesting history. It was also interesting that they still use the Mead Hall for social events. I'd love to attend a madrigal dinner there. As a side note, the Caerphilly cheese was delicious and added to the total experience."

Neil Thomas
  • "Got to be Carreg Cennen, due to its location, view, and legend involving King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Also because I spent the first five years of my life in Llandeilo, before moving to Canada, and do still have fond memories of picnics within the castle walls."

J. Leighninger
  • "Raglan Castle wins a vote. A sausage roll and a wedge of cheese on the green, gazing up at the Keep while the Cadw banner flaps in the stiff Welsh breeze is one our favorite afternoons. The ruined tower of Skenfrith as seen from the lawn of the pub in the little village is another. But lonely Tretower, sitting defiantly in the center of the a small valley that rolls down to Crickhowell and the Usk is our all time favorite. Walk the grounds with a taped guided tour headset and you're there with the Picards!"

Robert Dafydd Cadwalader
  • "I am biased. I was raised on the seafront at Criccieth and spent many hours chasing rabbits on the castle hill and being chased by Johny "Be Quick" the keeper."

David Monks
  • "Having been brought up around Carreg Cennen, Dryslwyn, Dinevor and Aberystwyth castles they remind me of years gone by, however the castle I love to visit is Morlais, to the north of Merthyr Tydfil. The long walk through woods full of wild strawberries, the amazing vaulted room under the hillside and the spectacular views makes it a real day out, I recommend it."

Julie Freeman
  • "My all-time favorite has to be Castell Dinas Bran. Although there is not as much there as many of the others, the ruins and high location really fire the imagination. My daughter liked Criccieth Castle best; although my son prefers Harlech. My husband has a soft spot for Dolbadarn Castle, in large part due to its location in the Llanberris Pass."

Gareth Hayes
  • "I think that Hawarden Castle deserves to be considered as one of the better castles in Wales. Not as large as the likes of Conway or Caernarvon, it has its own character and charm. The ruins have a mystique unmatched by the more well known castles. It is my personal favorite and I always make time for a visit when I am in the Hawarden area."

Ian Mortimer
  • "My vote has to go for the English castles of the Mortimers' - Wigmore (because of the beautifully neglected romantic ruin it was until English heritage started digging there) and Ludlow on account of it having early fourteenth century palatial quarters, equal to the Tower of London's later medieaval wing for comfort... Third, fourth and fifth votes go to Caernarfon (because of the idea of imitating Byzantium in Wales), Caerphilly and Chepstow."

Mike and Linda Giannone
  1. "Had to be Conwy - combo of construction, location, and the town.
  2. Castell y Bere. Sure, there isn't much left, but location, location, location (and what are imaginations for?).
  3. Harlech - once again, use your mind to erase the 1/2 mile of dune and see the waves break at the foot of the sea gate!
  4. Same goes for Beaumaris - the symmetry is very appealing.
  5. It would be hard to ignore Caernarfon (but it's a bit TOO perfect).
  6. and then there's Criccieth, Dolwyddelan, Denbigh, etc. etc. etc."

Laveen Gang
  • "We vote for Powis Castle and those magnificent gardens."

Ashley Taylor
  • "Dolwyddelan - because it prompted me to look further into Welsh history."

Les Butler
  • "Kidwelly Castle is my favourite. Being there on a cold, wet, day, and completely alone, really added to the atmosphere. The day I visited Kidwelly was a dull, miserable day. I'm sure you can imagine being totally alone inside with just the sound of the rain falling gently. The atmosphere was wonderful; never before, or since, have I felt anything quite like how I felt at that moment. It was as if I had been transported back in time. As I stood reading the guide book I could really appreciate the greatness of the place and how it must have looked all those years ago...A fantastic place, a fantastic experience. Surely the perfect weather for Castle visiting. "

Gene Hayes
  • "My favorite castle is the old Hawarden Castle. If one is fortunate enough to be able to gain access to the Gladstone estate then the tranquil walk through the grounds is an experience rarely paralleled in today's hectic society. The castle itself is a fine example of medievil architecture. I would recommend a visit if in the Deeside vicinity."

Maureen Winn
  • "Perhaps the mystery and imposing presence of Cader Idris lends to the aura of Castell y Bere, or maybe it is because it was the last refuge of Dafydd before his ascent up Snowdon and subsequent betrayal by his countrymen. At any rate, the presence of the site envelopes you."

Bob Stewart
  • "Our favorite is Caerphilly, which we saw this time and 15 years ago. It gives a strong sense of strength and having been a place for a community to live. Our second favorite is Conwy, which we saw this time. It also has the impression of being a usable fortress and dwelling."

Rachel Krubsack
  • "I most enjoyed Chepstow, Dolwyddelan, and Dinefwr. Chepstow because the first time I saw it it was shrouded in mist except for the stone "sentinals" on the keep, and Dolwyddelan and Dinefwr because of their remoteness and sense of history."

Jason Asbell
    "Selecting a favorite castle requires a definition of what is "best" about a castle"

  • If "best" means that the castle is an awesome military structure then the choice must be Harlech.
  • If "best" means that the castle had enormous historical significance and effect on its region, then the choice must be Conwy.
  • If "best" means that the castle is a good source of enjoyment and entertainment today, then Caernarvon is probably it.
  • If "best" involves engineering of the castle itself, Beaumaris must be on the list.

Joseph Heck
  • "I have to say that Castell y Bere is my all time favorite. From traveling all over northern wales, Bere had the most amazing presence in the valley, and the feeling of the area was just amazing."

Kerri Simpson
  • "Carreg Cennen is definitely my choice having viewed it through snow and in brilliant sunshine - the mind boggles on how it was constructed and the scenery is truly spectacular."

Martha K. John
  • "My favorite castle is definitely Castell y Bere. The large Edwardian castles are impressive, of course, and I might have a hard time picking a favorite from among them. But Castell y Bere was the most powerful in presence when I was there. "

Carol Baldridge
  • "My personal favorite is Beaumaris, because of the setting in the water.The runner-up would ve Caerphilly because my kids enjoyed it so much. "

J. Knezovich
  • "My absolute favorite castle is Conwy. The elegant bridge leading over to the castle and the tall towers that provide a great view of the bay and the Welsh countryside make this a wonderful castle with feeling like you are at home. Not tomention that the castle is surrounded by a wonderful, kind, warm welcoming town."

Kim Isabel
  • "My favorite castle is, without a doubt, Criccieth. The views of the mountains and the sea and the beautiful gatehouse are incomparable."

Jeff Herzer
    My favorites in descending order:

  1. Conwy - Castle, walls, town, & mountains combine to form an incredible scene. A joy to photograph. Also impressive is the drive across the bridge into town, when the road curls tightly around the base of the castle. Mossy rocks and massive walls loom directly overhead.
  2. Caernarfon - My #1 until I visited Conwy. The whole castle is wonderfully accessible, and there is the historic tradition with the Prince of Wales.
  3. Dolbadarn - It almost seems a natural outgrowth of the rock upon which it sits. The approach is covered with mossy rock, tree roots, and short, spongy grass (kept golf-green short by the local sheep).
  4. Harlech - Dizzying heights and a commanding view.
  5. Rhuddlan - a sentimental favorite, my first castle on my first trip to Wales in '82.

John Isitt
  • "Castell Carreg Cennen awesome in its location and strength. Magnificent views on a fine clear day, and incredible in a thunderstorm."

Liz Cox
  • "My all-time favorite is Bere Castle, which is located in northern Wales, tucked away on some farmland. Its presence and surrounding beauty are very intense, even though the castle itself has been reduced to mere ruins. Beyond that, Cricieth comes in close 2nd. I spent an entire day there looking out over the bay."

James Bond
  • "Even though it's been over thirty years since I last saw Harlech, it's my number one. Its strength and its history make it a true piece of history. Caernarfon and Beaumaris are next on the list."

Tom Watson
    "Conwy castle, which I visited several years ago--beautiful, well-preserved and amazingly accessible--plus the wonderful city wall."

Jan Kohl
  • "I love them all...give'm all 5 points! Seriously, though, I'd have to say Harlech is my favorite, although it doesn't lead the others by much. Conwy and Caernarfon are impressive, and Chepstow just has a fine feel about it. Kidwelly is probably second, as it's secluded location is very appealing. Although I was much impressed with Castell y Bere and Dolwyddelan and their overwhelming sense of history. And Caerphilly was quite impressive."

Rob Woodfine
  • "Rhuddlan Castle,which I grew up by & visited many times.(and found something new of interest every time)"

    end poll results


Paul Davies
  • "I have to vote for Flint my home town and scene of lots of childhood memories particularly the Carnival."

Leon Reed
  • "My personal favorite is Llansteffan, especially in late afternoon or evening, for its spectacular views (from the beach, and from it, of the surrounding area). Watching the spectacular receding tide is not to be missed. Honorable mention to Carreg Cennen, also a spectacular site."

Brenda & Becky
  • "We both agreed that the Conwy Castle was nice for several reasons. It's location near water was interesting. It seemed well preserved and the fact that it had houses right up to it was very interesting. We also like the Beaumaris because of its apparent location *in* the water."

Janet Zemel
  • "My favorite castle by far is Dolwyddelan. You can practically feel the precense of Llewellyn, it's so rich with vibration. I stood on the keep and took in the breathtaking panorama and was amazed at the extreme cleverness of the location."

Julia Chandler
  • "I am a fan of Pembrokeshire, so my favourite castles are Pembroke, Manorbier and Carew, but lots of others are special for different reasons - I remember a bank of wild primroses and cowslips at Llawhaden, and amazing views of Harlech."

Jack Cruise
  1. "Beaumaris because of its location and condition.
  2. Conwy because of the Telford bridge.
  3. Harlech because that is what a castle is supposed to look like
  4. Castle Carreg because it is Welsh."

Jane Power
  • "Harlech for the atmosphere and views
  • Llanstephan for it's position and ruined feel
  • Carreg Cennen because I still can't work out how they built it up there
  • Caerphilly is just brilliant
  • Castell Coch for the fairytale atmosphere both inside and out. The woods surrounding it are lovely as well."

David Steverson
  • "My favorite was Manorbier Castle. It is nearly as large as the village in which it resides. It's proximity to the sea makes it quite nice"

Mark Prichard
  • "It has to be Criccieth Castle. There are bigger ones, more romantic ones - castles with more history attached - but there is nothing like the view of Criccieth Castle as you go over the crest of the hill from Pentrefelin into Criccieth and see the castle perched on the mound of rock by the sea."

Peter J. Smith
  • Harlech, Beautiful view, a feat of engineering
  • Caerphilly, Impressive size, some nice displays of weapons
  • Caernarfon, Well preserved
  • Chepstow, Interesting site, overlooking river
  • Cardiff, Excellent medieval banquets, but not really an OLD castle

Elli & Ruth Hillinger
  • "We vote for Carreg Cennen Castle. It is very memorable from our visit to it one drizzly autumn day in 1979. The tramp through the field of sheep and the spectacular views were great."

Brian McGrath
  1. BEAUMARIS: It is impossible to storm.
  2. FLINT: This is my personal favourite. It has a feeling of quiet security.
  3. DENBIGH: The best of the privately built ones.
  4. CAERGWRLE: It is quite peaceful.
  5. CONWY: I am always amused how the Tewdwr's captured the Castle on All Fool's Day 1401 - A classic case of how the mighty fell."

Mason Flint
  • "My vote is for Harlech. I was there about five years ago just before New Years. Harlech fit my image of the perfect castle. Battlements, beautiful views. I can imagine knights in shining armour at Harlech. "

Daryl Cook
  • "Raglan Castle tops the lot, the unique hexagonal keep that was never breached, the majestic stonework, it is an architectural masterpiece in its own right!
  • Yet it would be unfair to discount the passionate setting of Chepstow Castle, where town meets river and countryside. The impressive towering walls that stand guardian over the River Wye coupled with its remarkably tall and well preserved towers ensure that it is only narrowly pushed into a close second.
  • The bronze medal must surely go to Castell Coch, not Least for its fairytale setting, but if nothing else, as a recognition of the achievements of its creators in trying to recreate a medieval castle in a land which is often all to ready to forget its glorious past."

Laura Morgan
  • "My favourite castles are Kidwelly because it is the one I have visited most being closest to where I was brought up, Carreg Cennen for the setting, and Pembroke ( I lived in the town for 7 years)"

Tom Hennigan
  • "I think Carew Castle, most pleasantly situated and charming in rounded."

Mitchell Holman
  • "Harlech, by far. It has a more personal "feel" to it, being smaller than than most, and still relatively intact. Not being surrounded by urban sprawl is another plus, as it still dominates the skyline as it always has. And being on the beach (or on the golf course *next* to the beach, as it were) makes it the most photogenic of all the castles I have visited."

Allynn Wilkinson
  • "My favorite Welsh castle will always be Carreg Cennen! I've been there nearly a dozen times and it's the best spot for a picnic on hot summer days! Be sure to notice the Victorian (and earlier) grafitti in the cave."

Mark Tatom
  • "Beaumaris is my favorite, with its symmetric design, great size and impressive beauty. It's a shame it was never completed."

Billy Cobb
  • "My vote is due to the pleasant afternoon I spent "exploring" Caernarfon Castle in the summer of 1988. Although I have seen Conwy, Caernarfon is the only castle in which I spent some time. And a pleasant afternoon it was, walking the halls, visiting the great hall, climbing the various towers and looking over the town. It was not hard to imagine tall sailing ships with Lords and Ladies, and maybe a pirate or two. It was an afternoon I will never forget."

Leighton Jenkins
  • "Carreg Cennen is my favourite as its close to home, the cave and wishing well bring back fond childhood memories and the 'Cennen' Pub down in the valley reminds me of my teenage years."

Andrew Bell
  • "My favorite castle is Oystermouth in South Wales having been born and raised within about 500 yards of its walls. Apart from this prejudice, I am always very impressed with the imposing presence of Harlech Castle. "

Chris James
  • "Can I mention Flint? This has got to be the poor cousin of all of Edward's castles. Built in a hurry, and largely ignored by CADW. Yet it has a number of features which make it unique through out the British Isles, and imagine the view across the marsh & the estuary towards the Wirral. However, out of the touristy castles, Dinas Bran and Carnafon are probably the most impressive."

Mark
  • "I thought that of the castles we saw Harlech had the best view and site, but Conwy had the better tour. Caerphilly's display of siege weapons was worth seeing, and Chepstow's walls along the river cliffs were impressive. "

Richard W Cox
  • "Chepstow is the castle for me. After living just the other side of the river Severn for most of life, it just seems like an old friend."

Matthew Rhys-Roberts
  • "I will always think "Home!!!" whenever I see Dryslwyn Castle, having grown up beneath its watch for my first twelve years just outside Llanarthne. Exploring its ruins was dizzying and felt mystical; the view from the top was breathtaking; it can be seen for many miles around the Tywi valley. May it and the surrounding countryside endure!"

Estelle Bollinger
  • "Conwy: Beautiful (and strategically brilliant) setting; sheer size and the feeling of an invincible fortress; condition of the "remains"; ease of imagining what it must have been like to have been a resident of the castle. Also, Caernarfon."

Shain Hampton
  • "Conwy is the best. It's the one I'll always remember when I think of Wales. I also like "The Fairy Castle" Castell Coch. The ruins at St. Davids are inspiring. Especially the stone window."

Ceri Morgan
  • "Kidwelly is my favorite. There is a view from a road nearby that is breathtaking."

Joanne Price
  • "I would have to say that Conwy castle is my favorite because of it's majesty, grandeur, and those amazing walls that circle the city."
  • "Powis Castle, however, runs a close second because I lived in a pub 3 miles down the road for part of my childhood, and the gardens are absolutely phenomenal."

Eric Williams
  • "Beaumaris for its romantic idyllic beauty"
  • "Conwy for its majestic splendor"
  • "Harlech for its grand and noble history"
  • "All of them for the hiraeth they inspire across the Atlantic"

Eric J. Arts
  1. Dolbadarn Castle near Llanberis. After exiting the town, I immediately spotted its turret across the lake nestled in the valley. My friends thought nothing of it but I made the long trek along the lake shore to stand amongst its ruins and tried to picture its past grandeur.
  2. Beumaris Castle on Anglesey. A well preserved gem with immense walls and short turrets. On a clear day, you can see the mountains of Snowdonia. I suggest seeing it at low tide during sunset.
  3. Conwy Castle. I am sure that King Edward's men had no problem imposing their rule over the town of Conwy. Propped up on a rock, the imposing castle can be seen from anywhere in town. Likewise, the view of the bay and the town from the castle is impressive.
  4. Caernarfon Castle. Last but not least by any measure. This is the best preserved castle in North Wales from King Edward's rule. I remember that I had to ride my bike across an inlet nearly 1 mile from the castle to get it all into a picture. Unfortunately, in the summer, it can be the biggest tourist trap.
  5. Notable mention: Harlech castle but I've only seen it from afar.

Theresa Stimson
  1. Conwy: Such might! It seems to have thrust up, out of the very rock of its foundation!
  2. Beaumaris: To have a medieval fortress possess such grace...it is simply breathtaking! I can only imagine its beauty upon completion...
  3. Harlech: Magnificent! A salute to the brilliance of Master James of St. George...
  4. Chepstow: Because this was the first castle that I saw in Wales...its image will be with me forever!
  5. Kidwelly: Remarkably well-preserved, with a covered tower complete with stone vaults and floors, and a lovely chapel...
  6. Caerphilly: A mighty military fortress, with line after line of defense...
  7. Dinas Bran: Sitting within the stone ruins atop the 1,000 foot high site, with the wind whistling, and not a sound from the vast green valleys below...it was as if we were impregnable!
  8. Carreg Cennen: Spectacular site! And don't forget the cliffside passage to the darkness of the cave below...
  9. Tintern Abbey: Not a castle, but deserving of special mention...for God's presence is truly felt, and the voices of the monks raised in His tribute can be heard in the whispers of the wind...

Sean Rawlins
  1. Caernarfon - the most well preserved.
  2. Conwy - set in a key position on the river
  3. Rhuddlan - it would've still been nice if they hadn't blasted it all away!

Todd & Michelle Kohlbush
  1. Chepstow over the River Wye
  2. Castell Coch & Cardiff Castle (not real, but gorgeous!)
  3. Carreg Cennan (cool passage & view of cliff & limestone cavern, but bring or hire a torch!)
  4. Pembroke Castle (fascinating Norman keep & storage cavern)
  5. Powis Castle (interesting red stone & lovely gardens)
  6. Harlech Castle (liked the curved Great Hall - pretty setting)
  7. Conwy Castle (great castle, with town walls)
  8. Caernarfon Castle (great setting, but restored castles aren't as interesting)
  9. Beaumaris (really great setting)

Samantha and Lois
  • " I am 7 years old and my sister is 3 years old. The castle we like best is Castell Coch."

Stefan Kelm
  • Beaumaris - very nice, especially the well preserved chapel
  • Conwy - I just can't find the right words...
  • Criccieth - only very few remains, however, quite interesting
  • Caernarfon - Wow! Huge, impressive, I spent six hours inside the Castle!
  • Denbigh - try to imagine what it must have looked like a few hundred years ago

Jeff Thomas
  • Conwy - combination of massive castle and town walls make this one #1
  • Raglan - handsome stately elegance defined
  • Chepstow - seeping with historical and architectural importance
  • Harlech - historic, still fires the imagination after 700 years
  • Caerphilly - huge castle, excellently preserved, fascinating water defenses, great on-site exhibits

 


Home | Main Menu | Castle Index | Historical Essays | Related Essays | What's New | Links

Copyright 2009 by Jeffrey L. Thomas