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A Victorian Photochrom of Kidwelly Castle
A Victorian Photochrom of Kidwelly Castle
Kidwelly Castle c.1960
Kidwelly Castle c.1960

Kidwelly Castle

Kidwelly Castle, located in Carmarthenshire, Wales, is a medieval fortress steeped in history and architectural splendor. Built in the 12th century, it stands as a testament to the strategic importance of castles during the Middle Ages and offers visitors a fascinating glimpse into Wales’ past.

The castle was originally constructed by Roger, Bishop of Salisbury, during the reign of King Henry I. It was strategically positioned on a hill overlooking the River Gwendraeth, providing a commanding view of the surrounding landscape and offering a strong defensive position. Over the centuries, Kidwelly Castle played a crucial role in defending the region and maintaining control over the local area.

One of the remarkable features of Kidwelly Castle is its imposing stone walls. The castle’s curtain walls, constructed using local limestone, are incredibly well-preserved and showcase the craftsmanship and engineering skills of the time. The walls are punctuated by numerous towers and battlements, adding to the castle’s architectural grandeur.

The main entrance to Kidwelly Castle is through its magnificent gatehouse. The gatehouse is a towering structure that once featured a drawbridge and portcullis, providing additional security and control over who entered the castle. The gatehouse also boasts beautifully carved stone decorations, including the coats of arms of the families associated with the castle.

Within the castle walls, visitors can explore the various buildings and structures that once served as living quarters, storage areas, and defense positions. The castle features a great hall, where important gatherings and feasts were held, as well as a chapel for religious ceremonies. The castle also had a kitchen, storerooms, and living accommodations for its residents.

Kidwelly Castle has had a tumultuous history, witnessing numerous conflicts and sieges. During the 12th and 13th centuries, it was involved in the power struggles between the Welsh princes and the English crown. In the 14th century, it came under the control of the powerful de Chaworth family, who made significant modifications to the castle. Later, during the English Civil War in the 17th century, Kidwelly Castle was partially demolished by the Parliamentarian forces.

Despite its turbulent past, Kidwelly Castle has stood the test of time and remains an impressive structure today. Its well-preserved walls and architectural features provide a glimpse into the castle’s former glory. Visitors can climb the towers, walk along the battlements, and explore the castle’s interior to gain a deeper understanding of its historical significance.

Kidwelly Castle is also known for its picturesque setting. It is surrounded by beautiful countryside and is located near the stunning Carmarthenshire coast. The castle’s location offers visitors breathtaking views and the opportunity to explore the nearby estuary and nature reserves.

Today, Kidwelly Castle is managed by CADW, the Welsh government’s historic environment service, and is open to the public. It hosts various events and activities throughout the year, including re-enactments, guided tours, and educational programs, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the castle’s rich history.

In conclusion, Kidwelly Castle stands as a remarkable medieval fortress, reflecting Wales’ history and architectural achievements. Its sturdy walls, impressive gatehouse, and picturesque location make it a captivating destination for history enthusiasts and visitors seeking to explore the splendour of Wales’ medieval past.


Kidwelly Castle, Kidwelly. SA17 5BQ

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Opening hours

  • Monday
    9:30 am - 6:00 pm
  • Tuesday
    9:30 am - 6:00 pm
  • Wednesday
    9:30 am - 6:00 pm
  • Thursday
    9:30 am - 6:00 pm
  • Friday
    9:30 am - 6:00 pm
  • Saturday
    9:30 am - 6:00 pm
  • Sunday
    9:30 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.
Closed 24th, 25th, 26th December and 1st January.

Approx. 11 parking spaces on site. There is a large free parking area a short walk from the monument. There is 1 dedicated disabled space

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