I’ve added Caernarfon to this website, although it’s not just out of the Southern Snowdonia area, it’s also outside of the whole of Snowdonia, being on the north-west coast and twenty miles north of Porthmadog. However, it is the terminus of the “Welsh Highland Railway” which starts at Porthmadog, so it worth a mention.
Caernarfon Castle – After all these years Caernarfon’s immense strength remains undimmed.
A brute of a fortress. Caernarfon Castle’s pumped-up appearance is unashamedly muscle-bound and intimidating. Picking a fight with this massive structure would have been a daunting prospect. By throwing his weight around in stone, King Edward I created what is surely one of the most impressive of Wales’s castles. Worthy of World Heritage status no less. Most castles are happy with round towers, not Caernarfon! Polygonal towers were the order of the day, with the Eagle Tower being the most impressive of these. You will also note the colour-coded stones carefully arranged in bands.
The site of this great castle wasn’t chosen by accident. It had previously been the location of a Norman motte and bailey castle and before that, a Roman fort stood nearby. The lure of water and easy access to the sea made the banks of the River Seiont an ideal spot for Edward’s monster in masonry.
Edward wasn’t one to miss an opportunity to tighten his grip even further on the native population. The birth of his son, the first English Prince of Wales, in the castle in 1284, was a perfect device to stamp his supremacy. In 1969, the investiture of the current Prince of Wales, HRH Prince Charles took place here. Whilst you’re visiting this formidable fortress, don’t miss the opportunity to see the Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum, which is housed in two of the castle’s towers.
Along with Harlech Castle, Conwy Castle and Beaumaris Castle, this monument has been part of the Castles and Town Walls of Edward 1 World Heritage Site since 1986.