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Visit 9 Impressive Castles in Wales

Wales is one of the smallest countries in Europe, but it still has its own rich history and culture. There are castles all over Wales that date back centuries ago- 400 to be exact! Castles can be found by you if they’re on your radar screen while travelling through this fascinating country. The density (400) of these medieval structures outnumbers any other place with a comparable amount land mass which means there’s something for everyone within these walls; whether you enjoy exploring or learning about Welsh heritage firsthand from those who know best.

The Welsh countryside is dotted with imposing and magnificent castles, many of which were built in the 13th century by victorious English King Edward I following his conquest. With these new fortresses came an overwhelming sense of power over their conquered nation; not only did they protect against invasion from other countries, but also to keep Wales obedient to English rule. Here are 9 beautiful medieval structures that will leave you feeling a little intimidated!

Conwy Castle

Conwy Castle in Wales

Located along the northern coast of Wales, Conwy Castle dates back to King Edward I. It was built during his conquest and it is an excellent example of medieval defensive architecture with iconic round towers. Today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site but you can also enjoy its beautiful gardens which were restored in 2010 by landscape architect David Childs who took inspiration from historic watercourses that once flowed through the ancient town walls.

Caernarfon Castle

Caernarfon Castle in Wales

The Caernarfon Castle, originally designed by King Edward I in the 13th century stands over 200 feet tall. The views from its towers are breathtaking and have been seen as a vantage point for many centuries of Welsh people to watch their country go about it’s daily life below them on this ancient land that they call home. This castle has played an intricate role not only with Wales but also throughout Europe since medieval times when these kinds of castles were used both offensively against other rulers and defensively as fortresses in case conflict arose within one’s own borders.

Harlech Castle

Harlech Castle in Wales

Edward I built a series of castles, the last being Harlech Castle. There are many wild Welsh landscapes and this castle is no exception. Edward’s wars changed its fate as it was besieged in 1468 during the Wars of Roses but just three years later at Arrowe Hill (known as “The Battle Of The Red Dragon”) when Owen Tudor killed Henry VI with his battle axe; thus leading to Richard III taking over after winning Yorktown on October 2nd, 1485 against Lancastrian forces led by Margaret Beaufort from her stronghold Pembroke Castle. This lead to intermittent sieges for more than 200 years until Oliver Cromwell took down Charles II following England’s Civil War.

Cardiff Castle

Cardiff Castle in Wales

You will find one of the most iconic landmarks in Wales, Cardiff Castle. Originally built as a third-century Roman fort and then rebuilt by Normans in 11th century before being given its 19th Century Gothic design makeover from Bute family who were Lords at that time.

The castle is now open to visitors where you can explore it’s history through impressive collections, beautiful gardens with stunning views or visit what remains of 3rd century Rome including an Amphitheatre and garrison buildings for Legionaries!

Pembroke Castle

Pembroke Castle in Wales

Pembroke Castle is famous for being the birthplace of Henry VII in 1457. Originally a Norman fort built in 1093, it was fortified and expanded during 12th century periods. The castle is located near Wogan Cave which has been inhabited since Paleolithic and Mesolithic period with evidence dating back to 2800 BCE.

The earliest known people here were hunter-gatherers who lived off fish from the nearby River Severn’s estuary as well as game hunted on land using tools such stones or those fashioned out of antler found locally at sites like Pibwrlwyd Farm, Stradey Park House and Redhill Woodlands.

Caerphilly Castle

Caerphilly Castle in Wales

Caerphilly Castle is the largest castle in Wales, and the second-largest in all of Europe. Constructed from 1268 to 1283 by Norman nobleman Gilbert de Clare for his new Welsh wife Maud Plantagenet, it’s known as one of England’s most well-preserved medieval fortresses with its concentric defences that are unparalleled anywhere else on Earth. Its gatehouses resemble those at Windsor Castle – but taller! And don’t forget about Caerphilly’s trademark artificial lakes which were originally used as a defence against attackers during times when water was scarce or couldn’t be easily sourced elsewhere.

Penrhyn Castle

Penrhyn Castle in Wales

Unlike so many castles in Wales, Penrhyn Castle is a medieval fortified manor house. Built more than 500 years ago, it underwent reconstruction by King Charles II and later Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom as a result of fire damage sustained during World War I. The picturesque castle sits right on Bangor Bay between Snowdonia National Park to the north-west and Menai Strait to its south; you’ll find this spot just over an hour from London or Bristol airports!

Gwrych Castle

Gwrych Castle in Wales

Much like Castell Coch, Gwrych Castle is actually a more modern structure that was erected between 1819 and 1825 for Lloyd Hesketh Bamford-Hesketh. Later it became home to the Earls of Dundonald who used its walls as refuge during World War II when 200 Jewish refugees found shelter inside its halls.

Roch Castle

Roch Castle in Wales

The Roch Castle is a 12th century Norman knight’s defensive structure to protect Flemish settlers from the Welsh. Built atop the Landsker, or “Little England,” it was also used as a royalist stronghold during the English Civil War and now functions as luxury hotel for visitors looking for historical charm in Wales.

There are lots of other castles in Wales, so if we’ve missed any of your favorites, be sure to share them in the comments below.

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Owning a French castle – From a Dream To Reality

The castles of France are unlike any other. They range from fancy, to small and simple; but they all have one thing in common: every castle has a story behind it that makes it so special!

Some people dream since they were kids about owning their own personal French castle with cobblestone streets leading up to the gates. For others, inheriting property is just an expectation-a family tradition passed down through generations for centuries. And then there’s those who buy these majestic structures because of the beauty or history within them, no matter how old or new…all kinds come together under this banner called “French Castles.”

Check out our latest projects that you can be a part of. https://savingcastles.com/our-causes/

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Inside a French Château During a Painstaking Restoration

Contemporary art dealer Pierre-Alain Challier fell in love with a romantic castle as a boy and finally fulfilled his dream of one day ruling the roost.

When asking children what they would like to be when they grow up, the answers are often about being a firefighter, a movie star, or living in a castle. In the case of French contemporary art dealer Pierre-Alain Challier, living in a castle was his boyhood aspiration and today he is not too far off the mark. “I grew up in a little village next to the Château de Lascours, about 435 miles south of Paris,” says Challier. “It was always the magical, rundown castle next door, like the one in Sleeping Beauty.” He and his friends would play on the estate’s grounds, even though they were forbidden from doing so. When he was 12, Challier wrote to the owner of the property, a prince, and asked if he could buy the smaller château in the woods. He never answered. “I then went to see him,” he recalls, “and he told me his family would never sell anything.”

Time marched on and Challier continued to fantasize about this romantic castle. He moved to Paris, opened his art gallery, but never forgot about this childhood dream. About 10 years ago, the estate’s owner died and bequeathed the huge property to a niece, who lived in Patagonia—and she had no plans of moving back. So in 2012, Challier and his partner, Bertrand de Latour, made an offer on the château and purchased the property, without ever having even been inside.

The first project was to replace all of the roofs—approximately 16,400 feet of it—just to keep the entire place from completely falling apart. Then work began on the expansive park and gardens. The property had been abandoned for many years, and as is often the case with such properties, had been stripped of all its mantles and anything that could be carted off and sold or repurposed. “Maybe this in a way would give me the chance to do something new,” Challier comments. “I want to respect the exterior and the way it was, but be a bit more flexible with the interiors.”

Challier’s family still lives one village away and all of them have enthusiastically embraced the renovation project. “This is the project of a lifetime, which will take just as long,” he says. “This place is magical, and I want to think about it for the next generation.” His hope is to set up a foundation for artists to stay on the property and create. “Not a gallery, but for exhibitions and for large-scale monumental works.” This is a long-term plan and a few artists have already come to visit, wander around the property, and imagine. Meantime, Challier was approached recently by a young man from a nearby village who told him he had also dreamed about this abandoned château his entire life, asking if he could be married there. Not one to shy away from a celebration, Challier agreed and the young couple said their vows on the grounds this summer. Another dream come true.

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Inside Dominic West’s Castle Home

In this episode of ‘Open Door,’ Dominic West takes us on a tour of Glin Castle, the Irish ancestral home of his wife Catherine FitzGerald’s family. The castle maintains its various period aesthetics, but with all the accoutrement of modern life. From the 10,000 year old Irish elk skull and antlers to the resident spirits and ghosts, Dominic and Catherine show us everything.

 

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Arundel Castle reopens to visitors as restrictions ease

ARUNDEL Castle has welcomed visitors back through its historic gates amid the easing of lockdown restrictions.

The building, which had remained closed over winter to carry out essential restoration work, reopened its doors today for the first time this year. Dating back to the 11th century, many of the castle’s original features, including the Norman keep, medieval gatehouse and barbican, remain today.

Like other attractions around Sussex, the castle has been forced to adapt to accommodate social distancing measures.

There is now a modified route that includes the Barons’ Hall, the library and the grand staircase where a recently restored 18th century tapestry can be seen.

Castle manager Stephen Manion said the historic keep will open once the restrictions are fully lifted.

He said: “Arundel Castle is delighted to open its doors to visitors as part of the steps out of lockdown.

“The fabulous rooms, art and furniture are all beautifully displayed within the magnificent castle building, parts of which date back to the 11th century.

“Due to social distancing, there is a modified route which includes the great Barons’ Hall, the amazing library and the grand staircase on which hangs the recently restored 18th century Gobelin tapestry, leading to the bedrooms.

“The historic keep will open later, when the restrictions are lifted, but can be admired from outside.

“The exciting medieval event from 29 May to 31 May will have falconry, the clash of steel and cries of victory from fearsome sword fighting displays.

“Aromas of cooking and the sound of the blacksmith will be accompanied by the pipe and drum of our musicians.

“For the young and young at heart, have-a-go archery will test their skills.”

Over the winter, a helicopter was used to carry materials in and out of the grounds, over the castle’s imposing walls. One highlight currently open to visitors is the Regency library, which contains 10,000 books. The staff remove and clean them individually each year when the castle closes.

The library is 122ft long and entirely fitted in Honduras mahogany and the oldest printed book is the Augsburg Bible, 1477. The grand Barons’ Hall, a view of the grand staircase and the dining room and drawing room are all also open until November 1.

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Culdees Castle Estate Now Undergoing Renovations

A RUINED castle that was left in a state of disrepair for over 50 years is undergoing renovations that will transform it into a new luxury venue, giving future guests the chance to holiday, wine and dine.  

Culdees Castle Estate, designed and built in 1810 for Charles Drummond, whose clan was rewarded for fighting with Robert the Bruce, has not been lived in since 1968, the new owners said. After gaining extensive experience in renovating properties and stumbling across the castle on a family holiday, Tracey Horton and Rob Beaton bought Culdees in the summer of 2019 and are “determined to restore the site to its former glory”.  

Ms Horton has extensive experience in property development and events management, and the pair have a long-term plan of restoring the whole castle. 

Following the purchase, the venture accessed a suite of Business Gateway’s start-up support services including advice on their business plan, marketing, and funding.

A dedicated adviser also provided guidance through regular virtual meetings and was able to signpost the couple to a business loan, helping them secure enough funding to turn their vision of turning the castle into a fully functioning venue into a reality.

After receiving Business Gateway’s support, the first phase of renovations is “making significant progress, and the estate now boasts a luxury glamping site with three cosy cabins, each named after previous custodians of the castle”.

Visitors to the site can enjoy hot tubs, fire pits and BBQs with direct views of the backlit castle. The couple hope to continue renovating the main body of the castle next year, and future plans include revamping the commercial kitchen and chapel, as well as designing a cosy whisky bothy. Ms Horton also hopes to develop a luxury champagne bar where guests can enjoy afternoon teas.

Ms Horton, managing director, Culdees Castle Estate, said: “We knew renovating Culdees Castle would be a big project, but we really appreciated the beauty of the building and were determined to transform it into something special. Perthshire has a great reputation for tourism, so we really needed to make Culdees stand out from the crowd.

“I have no doubt that the castle will give people something to look forward to as restrictions ease further, and I’m confident the venue will make a beautiful backdrop for the weddings that have been booked for later this year. We will continue to support Tracey and Rob as they continue their renovations and I look forward to seeing what they do next.” 

Learn more about how you can be involved in our latest projects. https://savingcastles.com/our-causes/

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This Chateau Has 10,000 Owners

La Mothe-Chandeniers is a romantic French château straight out of a storybook. Dating back to the 13th century, it now lies abandoned — and its turrets and towers have begun to crumble. But the chateau has seen an unexpected change of fortune — more than 10,000 people around the world have clubbed together to save the castle from decline. And the number’s continuing to grow. Each modern-day “knight in shining armor” has donated at least 50 euros ($58) toward salvaging the château.
And in return, each of those donors have been crowned co-owner of the castle. They won’t all be living there, but they will get a say in the castle’s regeneration — and be the first through the doors following its new lease of life.
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Welcome to Saving Castles

Saving Castles is a revolutionary platform that empowers collective funding for foundations, associations, individuals or government agencies who need help in financing their projects. Saving Castles connects directly with project holders to engage them collaboratively and financially on preserving European heritage.

With Saving Castles you can easily find other project holders willing to contribute funds all while connecting with like-minded people in the process.

The Saving Castles team has been working for years to preserve our cultural heritage. With the help of crowdfunding, they can work with project developers and patrons so that these projects get off the ground. They take care of all financial exchanges in order to ensure success for all parties involved!

The people at Saving Castles want you – yes YOU-to be a part of preserving your culture’s history through their platform which helps promote successful transactions between fundraisers and donors or borrowers/investors who are interested in supporting them financially.

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How to Buy and Renovate your own French Castle

They say an Englishman’s home is his castle – but for many Brits, Americans and others, the real dream is to buy a piece of history in the form of a French chateau.

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Advice for U.S, Citizens Buying Real Estate in France

In any ’normal’ year, France receives over 100,000 foreign nationals from all nationalities who wish to settle in this sought after European country.  This represents approximatively 10% of all property sales in the metropole.

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