Visiting castles can be a remarkable time for every member of the family. Adults will marvel at the architecture of the enormous fortresses while the kids have a different experience; young children will dream of knights and dragons while the older ones consider the fascinating history of those that lived there. Castles give children more space to move than a museum so they’re more apt to stay interested longer than traditional learning spaces. Let’s explore five castles in North Wales that you and your little dragon slayers will have a wonderful time exploring together.
Young princesses and knights will love going to Penrhyn Castle where they can reach back into the 1800’s and imagine living among the castle dwellers. With a captivating mansion, café and gardens on the grounds, there is something going on all the time at Penrhyn. The Conwy suspension bridge to the toll-keepers house is a sure pleaser for kids to imagine fighting off emerging sea monsters from below. Telford’s Bridge is only the beginning of the stretch to the gardens where volunteers work tirelessly to upkeep vegetables and aromatic herbs. Visitors can even pick vegetables for a nibble of their own – what better way to get in the kids’ 5-a-day?
Perches high on top of a grand hill, Harlech Castle is a sight to behold. Built in the late 1300’s this is what kids think of when they want to see a castle. This high walled fortress overlooks Snowdonia and the nearby seas. Children will enjoy a scavenger hunt through the walls which can earn them a prize at the end. They may also participate in workshops on swords or knights. No dogs allowed on the grounds any longer so leave your pooch behind. There are also steep stairs to be aware of if traveling with young children in prams or elderly individuals.
Every small dragon slayer will love seeing Caernarfon Castle sitting right on the waterside. Work on this charming castle began around year 1283 when the materials were ferried in by sea. Young people will like becoming knights and princesses in the dress up area with swords, shields and other apparel. Make sure you pick up an activity sheet to hunt for the hidden markers along the castle!
Bring your tiny jesters to the 480-acre estate and grounds of the Chirk Castle for a time they’ll always remember. With 700 years of history there is plenty to explore here from the castle to the tower to the dungeon. The tower and dungeon are unfurnished but show the greatest historical representation of Chirk castle and are a great place to start off your visit. Guided tours are available at various times of the year, check the website for details. You can’t miss the 5.5 acres of manicured gardens located on the grounds below featuring herbs, roses, rock gardens and luscious shrubs. This is the perfect place for a stroll to look at the stunning views of the Cheshire and Salop plains. When you finish strolling along the paths call into the café for a seasonal variety of dishes including hot food, soups, beverages, sandwiches and cakes. Souvenir shop is also on grounds where you can purchase something to take home to remember your day with. No dogs in the gardens, please.
One of the most impressive castles in all of Europe, Conwy Castle construction was begun in 1283 and features eight massive towers overlooking a rather well-preserved wall. Restored spiral staircases lead you up into the great towers overlooking the mountains of Snowdonia. Younger children will enjoy the scavenger hunt looking for swords around the castle. Older kids can download an augmented reality, dragon-catching game on their phones to be played on the ground floor. Free wifi on site (great for downloading the AR game!). Assistance dogs only. Watch small children closely as walls are low and staircases are steep.