by Menai Holidays
History & Heritage
North Wales isn’t all sandy beaches, impressive mountains and adrenaline activities. We also have some incredible heritage sites. As a self-confessed ‘history nerd’ I’ve visited a lot of them and below I’ve outlined my 5 favourites. I highly recommend you visit at least one of these during your holiday.
This is without a doubt my favourite! One of Edward I’s ‘Iron Ring of Castles’, it was built between 1283 and 1289 and it’s one of the best-preserved examples of a Medieval fortification in Britain. It dominates the skyline as you drive into the town and the views are breathtaking. I highly recommend visiting on a sunny day to make the most of them. Conwy itself is worth a visit as there are unique shops, an award-winning butcher and an excellent ice cream parlour called Parisella’s of Conwy.
Fun fact: the name means ‘the Mound in the Dark Grove’! This Neolithic burial chamber may not look like much (a grassy mound covering a chambered tomb), but if you visit at sunrise on the Summer Solstice (longest day of the year), you’re in for an awesome experience. The site is perfectly aligned so that shafts of light from the dawning sun filter down the passageway and light the inner burial chamber in a spectacular display.
Edward I really was a prolific castle builder! Caernafon castle was another of his creations built to keep the Welsh in line. Boasting World Heritage status, this is considered by many to be his finest fortress and one of the most impressive heritage sites in North Wales. Again, the views are utterly stunning from the top of the towers. There is always an interesting exhibit that’s worth a look too, so you definitely get your entrance fee’s worth here. Why not take a stroll around the harbour in Caernarfon afterwards?
Overlooking the Straits, you can understand why this spot was chosen for this impressive mansion and gardens. Plas Newydd has something to suit most tastes. It is a stately home with incredible heritage and artwork throughout, with incredible sea views, walks and beautiful gardens to enjoy. There are great events held throughout the year (the Christmas Fayre is an annual must-do event in our house!) and it’s a good place to visit, no matter the season.
What a beauty! This is another of Edward I’s castles (us Welsh really were a troublesome lot) and is sometimes referred to as ‘the most technically perfect castle in Britain’, even though it was never finished. Like his other fortresses, it dominates the town and you can’t miss it! Beautiful sights await you here, come rain or shine, summer or autumn. The children and young at heart, will love exploring the ramparts and soaking up the views.
If you would like to visit North Wales and stay near one of these fabulous heritage sites we have a number of hand picked holiday cottages in Conwy, Llanfair PG, Caernarfon and Beaumaris. To view all our holiday cottages click here.
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