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Arthur’s Quoit (or Coetan Arthur), according to legend, was thrown from nearby Carn Llidi by King Arthur. This is one of many 'Arthur's Quoits' in Britain - one source identifies more than 30. It is the remains of a single-chambered Neolithic burial chamber, or Dolmen, between 4 and 6,000 years’ old; the capstone (the bit that reminded folk of a quoit) is about 20’ long and now only supported, seemingly precariously, by one upright stone.
Post code is a guide only. This Arthur's Quoit is located on St David's Head, where there is also the remains of a small prehistoric hut settlement, and can only be reached on foot. Park in Whitesands Bay and follow the coast path.
Beaumaris was the last and largest of the massive castles constructed by English King Edward I to keep the Welsh subjugated. Construction began in 1295, but Beaumaris was never finished. Even so, it is often regarded as the most technically perfect medieval castle in Britain. And it is a World Heritage Site.
Enormous medieval castle, with iconic polygonal towers, constructed from the late 13th century on the orders of Edward I as part of his strategy to subjugate the Welsh. It was built on the site of an earlier Norman castle and close to where a Roman fortress had once stood. The castle and town then became the English administrative HQ for North Wales and was besieged many times - and captured too.
Caernarfon Castle is part of the World Heritage Site "Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd".
Caerphilly Castle is simply enormous. Huge. It is the largest castle in Wales and the second-largest in Britain, after Windsor. It covers a 30-acre site and is a mass of concentric defensive walls, surrounded by moats and artificial lakes. It was built by the Norman Gilbert de Clare, known as Gilbert the Red for his red hair, mainly between 1268 and 1271, in order to subdue the Welsh - and it still dominates the area. The castle declined as it became redundant and it was rescued from total ruin by the Bute family in the 19th century.
First a Roman fort, then a late 11th century Norman castle, Cardiff Castle became a medieval fortress involved in the Anglo-Norman wars against the native Welsh. It was held by both Royalist and Parliamentary forces during the Civil War and managed to escape the destruction meted out on many of its contemporaries. Eventually, in 1766, it passed by marriage to the Bute family. The 2nd Marquess of Bute turned Cardiff into the world’s greatest coal exporting port and his son John, the 3rd Marquess, was reputed to be the richest man in the world. The 3rd Marquess employed the architect William Burges to create a Victorian Gothic revival mansion, transforming the castle with astonishingly opulent interiors, brimming with murals, stained glass, marble, gilding and elaborate wood carvings. After the death of the 4th Marquess of Bute, in 1947 the family gave the Castle and much of its parkland to the city of Cardiff and it is now one of Wales’ most popular visitor attractions.
Carew Castle was built by the Norman Gerald de Windsor, constable of Pembroke Castle, on the site of an Iron Age fortification. Gerald had married the renowned beauty, Princess Ness, and the manor of Carew was part of her dowry. Gerald's son assumed the name de Carew and he and his descendants enlarged the castle. By the 15th century, it was in the hands of Sir Rhys ap Thomas, a supporter of Henry VII at the Battle of Bosworth (1485). However, Sir Rys' grandson was executed for treason and the castle came into the hands of Sir John Perrot, who undertook extensive modernisation. Perrot, in turn, fell from favour and the castle returned to the de Carew family, changing hands three times during the Civil War, only to be abandoned in 1686. It is leased to the National Park Authority, which has undertaken extensive restoration work.
Castell Henllys is a reconstructed Iron Age village, or fort, but the only one in Britain built on an original Celtic site. So the idea is that you walk in the footsteps of the Demetae tribe that lived there 2,000 or so years ago. It is very much geared to schoolchildren, but it is fascinating for all ages. As well as roundhouses, enclosures etc, there is a visitor centre and you can stroll through the surrounding countryside and take a picnic. Regular events are held.
The formidable looking Chepstow Castle dates from 1067 - building began less than a year after William the Conqueror became king. It was constructed in stone from the very start - not wood, as was the case with many Norman castles, in a strategic position overlooking an established crossing point over the River Wye. Building continued through its life right up to the 17th century. It was besieged twice during the English Civil War, eventually falling to Parliamentary troops. By the 18th century, Chepstow Castle was in a state of decay and becoming a tourist attraction.
Chirk is a picture-book medieval fortress as well as a sumptuous home, with wonderful gardens and a spectacular wrought-iron entrance gate. Roger Mortimer, Marcher Lord, began the castle in 1295 as one of King Edward I's chain of castles along the Welsh/English border. Since 1595, it has been owned by the Myddleton family. From 1910-1946, it was leased to Lord Howard de Walden and was scene of lavish entertaining in the 1930s.