A Visit to Caernarfon Castle
- Caernarfon Castle: Built as England's seat of power after Edward I's conquest of Wales in 1282, Caernarfon is universally seen as one of Britain's finest castles.
- The King's Gate: Perhaps the most impenetrable and fearsome gatehouse of any era – a gauntlet of arrow slits, murder holes, doors, portcullises, and drawbridges.
- Scenic drive: Relax and admire the Anglesey countryside as we cross the Menai Strait, with views of two famous bridges and the Snowdonia Mountains.
About this Holyhead tour
Springing from Celtic origins, North Wales was known as the Kingdom of Gwynedd for nearly a thousand years. After a long series of skirmishes with England, King Edward I ("Longshanks") invaded with a huge army in 1282 – and the princes of Wales were defeated.
To secure his new grip over the region, Edward quickly embarked on a major castle-building campaign – eight fortresses at the same time. Caernarfon Castle was unique among them, meant not to be just an imposing stronghold but the seat of power from which his descendants would rule Wales. Didn't take long. His son, born here in the castle, formally became ruler over the Crown’s new Welsh lands when named first English Prince of Wales in 1301. Six years later he was King Edward II – ruler over all England.
Ever since, the eldest son of the monarch has customarily assumed this title – including Prince Charles, who in 1969 was invested the 21st Prince of Wales at Caernarfon Castle, some 700 years later. That's a long string of Princes.
You'll have time to explore Caernarfon for yourself, and to admire its many signature elements. Walls with prominent bands of different colored stone (a nod to the defenses of 5th-century Constantinople). Massive polygonal towers, some with walls twenty feet thick. Two immense and very intimidating entrance gates – the fabled King's Gate and Queen's Gate. Overall, it's an in-your-face show of strength and supremacy.
The journey to Caernarfon will take us across a scenic Wales landscape with the Snowdonia mountains as backdrop. And across the Menai Strait's fast-running tidal channel via the historic, but rebuilt, Britannia Bridge. Why rebuilt? Well, more about that below.
Never let boys play with fire on bridges
In 1850, the Britannia Bridge opened, spanning the sometimes-treacherous Menai Strait waters far below. It was a marvel – lofty stone pillars holding giant rectangular iron and wood tubes with train tracks running through them. Until 1970, that is, when boys playing at night dropped a torch and set the tar-coated tubes afire. The flames spread uncontrollably, raging until the old bridge was ruined. The rebuilt steel bridge is fireproof. (And boy-proof?)
Please take the complimentary port shuttle to leave the port to meet your tour representative at the Train Station terminal. Please look for the displayed logo sign.
There are wonderful photo opportunities on this tour.
This tour is not wheelchair accessible due to the walking involved at the Castle, over uneven and slippery ground.
Cultural, Scenic, Shopping, Family Friendly
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated moderate. Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, steep terrain and/or water activity in a slight current. There may be steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and extended periods of standing. Participants with physical limitations should take this into account.
Suitable for all ages.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.
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