Beaumaris Castle is a remarkable medieval fortress located in the town of Beaumaris on the Isle of Anglesey in North Wales. It is widely regarded as one of the greatest examples of concentric castle architecture in Europe and is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site. With its grand design, strategic location, and historical significance, Beaumaris Castle continues to captivate visitors from around the world.
Construction of Beaumaris Castle began in 1295 under the orders of King Edward I of England, as part of his ambitious campaign to assert English dominance over Wales. The castle was strategically positioned on the eastern coast of Anglesey, overlooking the Menai Strait, a narrow stretch of water separating the island from mainland Wales. Its purpose was to reinforce English control over the region and serve as a symbol of Edward I’s power and authority.
The castle was designed by the renowned architect Master James of St. George, who also worked on other notable Welsh castles such as Conwy and Caernarfon. Master James created a masterpiece of military architecture, employing an innovative concentric layout that included multiple layers of defence, fortified walls, and towers.
The outer defensive walls of Beaumaris Castle encompass an area of nearly 4 acres, making it one of the largest castles in Wales. The walls are punctuated by a series of impressive towers, each strategically positioned to provide overlapping fields of fire and defend against potential attackers. The most notable towers include the Gatehouse Tower, Constable Tower, and the Beaumaris Tower, which served as the residential quarters for the castle’s constable.
One of the defining features of Beaumaris Castle is its intricate water defenses. The castle was surrounded by a moat, which was connected to the sea through a system of sluices and channels. This unique water defence system, known as a “wet moat,” made it nearly impossible for attackers to approach the castle without facing a barrage of defensive fire or navigating through treacherous waters.
The inner ward of Beaumaris Castle, also known as the inner bailey, is a quadrangular enclosure protected by a second set of curtain walls and towers. The highlight of the inner ward is the great hall, a grand building that would have served as the administrative and social center of the castle. It featured large windows, high ceilings, and a magnificent fireplace, showcasing the luxurious lifestyle of the castle’s occupants.
Despite its grand design and ambitious plans, Beaumaris Castle was never completed as intended. Construction work came to a halt in 1306, primarily due to financial constraints and the outbreak of war with Scotland. The castle was left unfinished, with parts of the inner ward and the intended outer buildings remaining incomplete.
Over the centuries, Beaumaris Castle saw little military action and gradually fell into disrepair. However, its impressive architectural features and historical significance were recognized in the 19th century during the Gothic Revival movement. The castle gained attention from artists, writers, and architects who admired its striking appearance and picturesque setting.
Today, Beaumaris Castle is managed by Cadw, the historic environment service of the Welsh Government. Visitors can explore the castle’s interior, climb its towers, and walk along its fortified walls. The site also offers informative displays and exhibits, allowing visitors to delve into the castle’s history and learn about its construction and military significance.
The castle’s location in the town of Beaumaris adds to its appeal. The town itself is a charming seaside destination with narrow streets, historic buildings, and a picturesque waterfront. Visitors can enjoy leisurely walks, visit local shops and restaurants, and soak in the tranquil atmosphere of the area.
Beaumaris Castle stands as a testament to the ambition, engineering prowess, and military strategies of King Edward I and his architects. Its well-preserved
Beaumaris Castle, Beaumaris. LL58 8AP
- Monday9:30 am - 6:00 pm
- Tuesday9:30 am - 6:00 pm
- Wednesday9:30 am - 6:00 pm
- Thursday9:30 am - 6:00 pm
- Friday9:30 am - 6:00 pm
- Saturday9:30 am - 6:00 pm
- Sunday9:30 am - 6:00 pm
These are the peak summer opening times.
Other times may vary. For full details please visit the CADW website.
Last admission 30 minutes before closing.
Limited on street parking, pay and display parking nearby.
There are 2 dedicated disabled parking spaces on roadside adjacent to visitor centre.
Access is level from visitor centre into site via pathway and small bridge. Majority of grounds are on level grassed lawns.