•   Harlech Castle with views of Cardigan Bay and Snowdonia

Castles in North and Mid Wales

Castles around Bala

Bala has a rich history going back to pre-Roman times. In and around Bala, there are the remains of a Roman fort, several 11th C Norman earthworks and a 13th C castle on an impressive crag. While further away are many examples of Welsh classic castles, many were built by the English but now serve as important Welsh monuments. The “Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd” is a UNESCO World Heritage Site - this includes Caernarfon, Conwy, Beaumaris and Harlech Castles, and are outstanding examples of medieval military architecture and planning.

Roman Forts
The trunk road (A494) linking Bala with Dolgellau follows the route of a Roman road at Caer Gai, near Llanuwchllyn, and Llanfor, near Bala, are the remains of a Roman forts.

Medieval Castles
In Bala there is the 11th C Norman earthworks mound or "motte" known as "Tomen y Bala", which is 40m diameter and 9m high. At Pen-y-bont, where the River Dee flows out of Bala Lake, is a similar mound which is the remnant of a 13th century motte and bailey castle – probably constructed to guard the river crossing. It is known locally as Tomen Ronw (Gronw’s Mound). At Llanfor, to the north of the church, is a "ringwork".

Castell Carndochan is a ruined 13th C Welsh castle near Dolhendre (Llanuwchllyn). It was built on an on its impressive igneous crag forming a natural defence. Note that the ruins can only be visited by a strenous walk, without paths in places. It is related the castles at Castell-y-Bere in the Dysynni valley and Dolwyddelan, both of which are open to the public. It is thought that all three castles were built by Llywelyn ap Iorwerth.

Castles in North and Mid Wales

All of the classic castles and walled towns of North and Mid Wales can be visited from Bala and include:


Beaumaris Castle

Beaumaris Castle (Anglesey)

Regarded as the finest of the great Edwardian castles in Wales

Bodelwyddan Castle

Bodelwyddan Castle (Denbighshire)

A magnificent, restored Victorian mansion, is also the home of the National Portrait Gallery

Caernarfon Castle

Caernarfon Castle

One of the most famous of Wales's many castles

Dinas Bran Castle

Castell Dinas Bran (near Llangollen)

Tthe 13th-centuary ruins can be viewed after a steep clinb on foot, giving wide views of Llangollen and the Dee valley.

Bere Castle


Castell-y-Bere (near Abergynolwyn)

The ruins of a 13th-centuary native Welsh castle

(link to CADW information)

Conwy Castle

Conwy Castle

considered to be one of the great fortresses of medieval Europe

Chirk Castle

Chirk Castle (near Wrexham)

A magnificent 14th-century fortress of the Welsh Marches (National Trust)

Criccieth Castle

Criccieth Castle

is a landmark historic site, overlooking Cardigan Bay

Dolwyddelan Castle

Dolwyddelan Castle

Is a 13th C mountain stronghold (on the A470, between Blaenau Ffestiniog and Betws-y-Coed)

Harlech Castle

Harlech Castle

One of the great castles built by Edward I, overlooking Cardigan Bay

Penrhyn Castle

Penrhyn Castle (Bangor)

A 19th-century fantasy castle with spectacular contents and grounds (National Trust)

Powis Castle

Powis Castle & Garden (near Welshpool, Mid Wales)

A medieval castle rising dramatically above the celebrated garden (National Trust)

More information on Castles in North and Mid Wales: