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A historic castle tour of the Brecon Beacons holiday cottages

A historic castle tour of the Brecon Beacons

Ed Roberts 16 October 2020

Join us for a tour of ten fascinating castles situated in the Brecon Beacons, South Wales. Wales is one of Europe’s best places to see some very fine examples of medieval castles, particularly South Wales and the Brecon Beacons. From the romantic ruins of Carreg Cennen on its limestone crag, to the grand designs of Raglan Castle, the best castles in the Brecon Beacons are just waiting to be discovered by you on your next holiday.

Welsh castle

There are more than ten castles in South East Wales; in our guide we have selected our favourites from all across the region. Many are in ruins today but that shouldn't stop you having a fun day out with the family, play-acting battles and learning about the potted history of these fascinating forts. Read on to uncover the best castles in the Brecon Beacons.

Abergavenny Castle and Museum

Abergavenny Castle and Museum

Situated in one of the Brecon Beacon National Park’s gateway towns, Abergavenny, this breathtaking medieval castle ruin is set against a picturesque backdrop of verdant hills. This once-imposing fortress was a strategic stronghold that was fought over and occupied by English and Welsh barons and princes. There is a museum on-site too inside a former hunting lodge that dates back to the 19th century.

Location: Abergavenny, NP7 5EE

Good to know: Free entry, shop, parking, WCs, access for disabled visitors

Opening times: Visit website for details. 

Brecon Castle

Brecon Castle

Found in the town of Brecon, the remnants of this pretty castle in the heart of the Brecon Beacons are located overlooking the Afon Honddu where it meets the River Usk. These days Brecon Castle can only be viewed from the outside as it forms a part of the grounds of The Castle of Brecon Hotel. You could still enjoy a spot of fine dining in its restaurant though. The fort was originally built by the Normans in 1093, with the Great Hall added in the 13th century as well as an octagon-shaped tower in the 14th century. You can tell from the scale that this was once a major military stronghold in its day.

Location: Brecon, LD3 9DB

Good to know: Restaurant nearby

Bronllys Castle

Bronllys Castle

With a potted history, this former motte-and-bailey castle dates back to the late 11th or early 12th century. In the 13th century, Bronllys Castle’s (near Brecon) most distinctive feature was built; the stone tower can still be scaled and from the third level you can see fantastic views of the outlying area. A climb to the top should give you an idea of the castle’s high-up strategic position with its views over the borderlands, Talgarth and the Black Mountain. This castle was also passed back and forth between the English and Welsh forces over the centuries. The castle was briefly restored in the 15th century in support of the Welsh uprising led by Owain Glyndwr before falling into ruin.

Location: Bronllys, LD3 0HL

Good to know: Free entry, limited parking, dog-friendly, access for disabled visitors also; WCs and shops are located in the village

Carreg Cennen

Carreg Cennen Castle

The striking ruins of Carreg Cennen Castle look as if they have been there as long as the rock onto which it was built. Perched on a sheer limestone crag high above the river, Afon Cennen, this is one of the most westerly castles in the Brecon Beacons National Park. Once fortified with moats, pits, draw bridges and gatehouses to defend its high-walled enclosure, Carreg Cennen is one of the most eye-catching and ripe for a photo opportunity in South Wales.

Location: SA19 6UA

Good to know: Entrance fee, parking, WCs, shop, entrance charge

Opening times: Visit website for details. 

Crickhowell Castle

Crickhowell Castle

Situated in the town park close to the centre of Crickhowell, this once mighty castle guarded one end of the Usk Valley which leads up into the Black Mountains. Starting life as a Norman motte-and-bailey castle in the 12th century this had a stone ‘upgrade’ in the 13th century. There was once a double drum gatehouse and a stone shell keep but these have disappeared over time leaving little trace now. Much of Crickhowell Castle’s stone was quarried to support the growth of the town after it fell into ruin in the 14th century.

Location: NP8 1BP

Good to know: Parking

Dinefwr Castle

Dinefwr Castle

The dramatic ruins of the craggy Dinefwr Castle, near Llandeilo, command a hilltop high above the Tywi Valley. Back in the 12th century the castle belonged to The Lord Rhys, who oversaw a period of cultural peace and prosperity in South Wales from his ancient kingdom of Deheubarth. Dinefwr Castle stands in the ruins of the National Trust estate Dinefawr Park, home to Newton House and a deer park.

Location: SA19 6RT

Good to know: Entrance fees, parking, WCs (at Newton House), café, shop

Opening times: Visit website for details.

White Castle

White Castle

Even though White Castle isn’t within the borders of the Brecon Beacons National Park it is within easy driving distance of Abergavenny. White Castle is one of the fearsome Edward I’s triumvirate of Monmouthshire fortresses that includes Grosmont and Skenfirth. Posing a significant border defence, White Castle’s outer ward is the same size as a football pitch, whilst the inner ward stands behind thick stone walls and a moat. The design of White Castle inspired Edward I’s subsequent castles around the Welsh coast forming his infamous ‘Ring of Iron’.

Location: Abergavenny, NP7 8UD

Good to know: Entrance fee, parking, picnic area, WCs

Opening times: Visit the website for details.

Raglan Castle

Raglan Castle

Raglan Castle, like White Castle, also sits beyond the borders of the Brecon Beacons in Monmouthshire. Now in ruins, this grand fortress of a palace is said to be the finest castles built by Welshmen. It was designed to both dazzle guests and destroy all those who went up against it. It was completely sacked by parliamentary forces during one of the longest sieges of the Civil War. To this day it still makes for an elegant sight. Raglan Castle really is a great place for a day out for all the family.

Location: Raglan, NP15 2BT

Good to know: Entrance fee, parking, WCs, picnic area, shop, café, access for disabled visitors

Opening times: Visit website for details.

More inspiration

For more inspirational days out in the Brecon Beacons National Park, take a look through even more of the top things to do in the Brecon Beacons. We have some lovely self-catering holiday cottages all across the Brecon Beacons for you to discover from cosy romantic properties for two to large, converted farmhouses for extended family gatherings. Browse our collection of self-catering accommodation in the Brecon Beacons today.  

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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