Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Tour Wales Castles For The Vacation Of A Lifetime

By Andrew McDonald

No extended visit to the United Kingdom would be complete without traveling to the Welsh countryside. If you have never been before, you will probably be surprised by how different it is from the other English countries. This country is known as the Castle Capital of the World with more castles per square miles than anywhere else. Visitors have to pick and choose when they decide to tour Wales castles.

Anyone who does research before beginning their visit, will already know that Welsh castles are built in what is generally known as the Edwardian style, because many of them date back to the reign of Edward I. These types of structures have walls that ring the interior and multiple towers and turrets. They are more reminiscent of castles seen in movies and famous theme parks, than the motte and bailey design of many ancient fortifications found throughout the United Kingdom.

Sleeping Beauty would have been right at home at Hensol Castle located in the Vale of Glamorgan. The structure people see today is a nineteenth century creation, which makes it a fairly modern fortification by Welsh standards. It became an institution for those with mental and learning disabilities in the mid 1930s and continued to operate as one until the closing in 2003. Several film and television studios have used the exterior for background.

One structure that is extremely old is Chirk Castle located in Wrexham. It was erected at the end of the thirteenth century by an earl to guard the entrance to Ceiroig Valley. Visitors are welcome to walk through the state rooms, towers, and dungeons. The gardens are famous, and visitors should not neglect a stroll through the terraces and rock gardens.

Cardiff is the country's capital, and Cardiff Castle is one of its main attractions. It is part Victorian architecture and part Greek Revival. It has been the site of several rock concerts and sold out performances by artists like Tom Jones.

In the fourteen hundreds the Humphreys built a manor house known as Bodelwyddan Castle. It was reconstructed during eighteen hundreds by the famous architect, Joseph Hansom. After World War I, wounded soldiers recuperated in this castle, which at one time was owned by a private girls school. The Royal Academy of Arts and National Portrait Gallery have housed artwork in it. Today a portion of the premises operates as a hotel.

Those interested in seeing an example of a castle that began as a motte and bailey design should travel to Gwynedd and take a walk around Caernarfon Castle. Edward I redesigned the original structure which served as the administrative center of the northern region of the country. The Prince of Wales was invested here.

Touring these castles and getting to know something about their history is a wonderful way to spend a vacation in the United Kingdom. Touring the grounds and interiors is a special experience. It is not difficult to imagine the men and women who inhabited them.

About the Author: