Wales Holiday Day 5: Criccieth Castle Visit...

Come on! Who Doesn't Like Castles?


Entering The Magical Land of Wales

Our recent holiday in Wales was a very busy one, we packed the whole week with a range of visits to different fabulous attractions. It all just went to show what a wonderful destination Wales is. 

Wales Holiday Day 5: Criccieth Castle Visit...

Like my home nation of Scotland, Wales has a plethora of historic castles which marks our shared 'troubled' history with a certain neighbour! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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So, it was perhaps predictable that we would visit at least one of the well preserved fortresses, but as it turned out we managed to squeeze two beautiful castles into our vacation...

Criccieth Castle - An Unexpected Gem

The base location for our holiday was the small seaside town of Criccieth. Nestled between the Llลทn Peninsula and Eifionydd in Gwynedd, Wales. The town is 5 miles (8 km) west of Porthmadog, 9 miles (14 km) east of Pwllheli and 17 miles (27 km) south of Caernarfon.

To be honest, we chose this small town not because of it's castle attraction but because it represented a convenient central hub from where we could reach all our other intended day trips. The local castle was an overlooked and unexpected bonus.

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Above: The unexpected view right on the doorstep of our holiday apartment!

Like so many castles on this isle, Criccieth Castle is technically a ruin, although it's outer walls are very well preserved. It occupied a small hill on an outcrop at the head of the town with spectacular view of both resulting bays on wither side. Even if you aren't a fan of castles - but who isn't - it is defiantly worth the short trip up the hill (easily manageable) and the entrance fee as you will snag some amazing scenic photographs!

Wales Holiday Day 5: Criccieth Castle Visit...

I mention the ease of access due - of course - to my own minor disability, but as it tuned out disabled accessibility was to be a recurring theme throughout this holiday. I would say that Criccieth Castle isn't though - in my opinion - wheel-chair accessible. Sadly. ๐Ÿ˜ž

The steep stairway leads you up from the reception centre to the castle itself and here you will find an beautify promontory where you can look back down on a 360 degree view of the two and the surrounding countryside and the bays. Breath taking.

Wales Holiday Day 5: Criccieth Castle Visit...
Above: View north, with some nice open grassy areas for pinics!

I could not help but compare Criccieth Castle to our own Scarborough Castle, though Criccieth was left ruined as a result of the Welsh revolts in the 15th century and Scarborough through bombardment during the English Civil War of the 17th century. Which just goes to show what a tumultuous history these islands have.

In general, from my point of view as a Scot, the Welsh Castles seem to be more of a type that you imagine castles to look like as a youngster, while Scottish castles are more typically the smaller rectangular baronial houses (I generalise here). There are exceptions in Scotland, but to me castles like Criccieth invoke my childhood ideal of what a castle should look like based mostly on old Hollywood movies like 'Robin Hood' and the like! ๐Ÿ˜‚

Wales Holiday Day 5: Criccieth Castle Visit...

Link to the Wikipedia entry for Cricceith Castle

Link to the official Welsh Government web Site for Criccieth Castle


Caernarfon Castle Visit (On Day 7)

Our visit north on the last full day of our holiday did see the weather finally change for the worse. Up until then we had been lucky enough to have enjoyed sunshine mixed with a smattering of light showers, but now the heavens opened up...To begin with.

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In actuality, the part of Wales we had visited had been amazingly in a sort of eye of the storm as horrendous weather had effected the whole of the reast of Britain that week. All around us were news of torrential rain and storms and back home in Scarborough our friends informed us of bad flooding!

But not in Caernarfon. Although it started raining on the short journey there it had calmed down by the time we walked to the castle. It's a very imposing sight as you walk through the beautiful town streets and as you get closer and closer you cannot help but be amazed by the sheer size of this amazing castle.

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We were very surprised that as a disabled person and his 'carer' (the wife) we were actually admitted completely free to the castle. However, sadly, on that particular day the attractions elevator had broken down so disabled access was restricted to the lower levels. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ

This was a great pity as one of the most amazing view must be atop the castle as walkways run the length of the walls. That said, there was plenty to see both in the castle's grounds and inside the ground floor interiors.

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If I had to guess, I'd say that Caernarfon is on par with Edinburgh castle for interior size. It seemed so, although unlike Edinburgh the Welsh castle is - once again - just a partially empty carcass of a building. The interior space is largely just an open grassy field on which various displays are arranged giving various re-enactments of medieval castle life... I was tempted by the archery!

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I particularly enjoyed exploring the lower levels of the walls. There's something fascinating about the ancientness (is that a word) of these labyrinthine stone corridors... And also something slightly spooky as well! 

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This visit was the perfect way to end our time in Wales, it is a impressive reminder of the deep and rich history of this magical country. It was also another part in a jig-saw of what makes the character of Wales so special.

Wales Holiday Day 5: Criccieth Castle Visit...

Interestingly, in all our time in Wales the only foreign flag we saw was the Ukrainian flag. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Link to the Wikipedia Entry for Caernarfon Castle

Link to the official Welsh Government web site for Caernarafon Castle

And finally...

Link to my FLICKR photo album for out visit to Welsh Castles.

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