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Castles of Denbighshire

Dinas Bran Castle Archway, plus the stunning view

 

Denbighshire is full of castles for you to explore. We all love a good castle and for us to have 4 castles within our county, aren’t we the lucky one’s. So why not take the family around a small tour of Denbighshire’ castles and here is your tick-list to make sure you visit them all and get a little bit of the history behind them. With the castles being look after from various organisations and partners, you cannot forget the camera so makes sure this is the first thing you pack.

 

(You will have to find out more of the history when you get there….we don’t want to spoil to much!).

 

Denbigh Castle, Denbigh

Denbigh Castle, Denbigh – Maintained by CADW

 

Denbigh Castle

The market town of Denbigh guarded by the stunning castle which resides right in the centre of town on a hill. You can see why the castle was built in such as position as it was a strategic position of strength as it could be easily defended when it came to sieges.

With the half a mile of town walls for you to explore on top, Denbigh Castle is a fortress from Edwardian times. Edward I’s successful 13th-century campaign in the region was cemented by the creation of an English borough in Denbigh from 1282 on wards. He simply built on top of what was a traditional Welsh stronghold. In so doing, he made sure all traces of Dafydd ap Gruffudd, the previous unlucky incumbent, were removed for ever.

However a Welsh rebellion, led by Madog ap Llywelyn, captured the partly-built castle in 1294 but Edward’s dominance and the castle-building programme were soon restored. You can see for yourself the two phases of building work. The post-rebellion work is marked by different colour stone, thicker curtain walls and a hint of Caernarfon-style angular towers.

The finest feature of the Castle is it’s striking triple-towered great gatehouse that welcomes you into it’s modern visitor centre where you can ask questions or pick up more information about the county and your next adventure in North Wales.

 

 

Opening Times: 

24 March – 4 November 2018

Daily: 10am – 5pm

Adult – £4.00
Family – £11.60*
Member – Am ddim/Free

 

Disabled and companion – Am ddim/Free

Student and children under 16 – £2.40

Senior Citizen – £3.20

 

Rhuddlan Castle

Rhuddlan Castle can be seen as you travel along to the coastal town of Rhyl and Prestatyn. The castle is a site to see as it’s magnificence is the fact that it has kept a lot of it’s original features, which is a fine feat given the history of the castle.

The name Rhuddlan can be broken down to ‘Rhudd’ is the old Welsh word for ‘red’ and ‘glan’ means ‘bank’ and by 1277 it was known as Rhuddlan and Edward I’s chosen location for a mighty scary castle.

For centuries, Rhuddlan had been a fiercely contested strategic location leading to much bloodshed. Edward’s muscle power triumphed long enough to build a muscle-bound symmetrical castle, showcasing the latest in ‘walls-within-walls’ technology. Edward I needed access to the sea to keep his castle supplied so he diverted the River Clwyd for over 2 miles (3.5km) to provide a deep-water channel for ships. The remains of a defended river gate still exist in the outer ring of the walls.

The castle also played a seminal role in Welsh history: it was here that a new system of English government was established over much of Wales by the Statute of Rhuddlan (1284) – a settlement that lasted until the Act of Union in 1536. After the Civil War the castle was rendered untenable – hence its present condition.

 

 

Opening Times: 

24 March – 4 November 2018

Daily: 10am – 5pm

Adult – £4.00
Family – £11.60*
Member – Am ddim/Free

 

Disabled and companion – Am ddim/Free

Student and children under 16 – £2.40

Senior Citizen – £3.20

 

Dinas Bran Castle, Llangollen

Dinas Bran Castle, Llangollen – Our Castle on the Hill

 

Dinas Bran Castle

Our Castle on the Hill (Was Ed Sheeran talking about this castle?) is situated on a stunning hill set within the picturesque Dee Valley. With stunning 360 views of the range and beyond, a climb onto the top of Dinas Bran Castle is a must do in Denbighshire. With a very accessible route up to the top, it really isn’t as steep or hard as it looks……but the view from the top is a perfect reward for you efforts.

Dinas Bran” is variously translated as “Crow Castle,” “Crow City,” “Hill of the Crow,” or “Bran’s Stronghold.” The castle first appears in 12th century historical documents as part of a medieval piece entitled “Fouke le Fitz Waryn,”or “The Romance of Fulk Fitzwarine.” While this work claimed that the castle, known as “Chastiel Bran,” was in ruin as early as 1073, the remains we see today date to the occupation of the princes of Powys Fadog in the mid 13th century.

Possibly, the Chastiel Bran mentioned in the romance was a Norman timber castle, but nothing of substance supports this conjecture. However, the encompassing ditch and earthen embankments, which enclose the southern and eastern portions of the stone fortress, do date to the Iron Age. They remind us that this hilltop had strategic value long before the princes of Powys, or the Normans, ventured into the region. Interestingly, the word, “Dinas,” has its origins in the Iron Age as well, and is found in the names of Iron Age hillforts throughout Wales.

 

 

Opening Times: 

Dinas Bran is an open castle that is totally free of charge
However please make sure you are wearing appropriate clothing for the weather and that you are wearing good footwear for the climb
And don’t forget the camera!

 

Ruthin Castle

Finally Ruthin Castle is a truly unique castle to Denbighshire, the main reason for that is that you can stay in it. Yes Ruthin Castle has been refurbished into a stunning luxury hotel and spa. Not many can say that they have slept and had sat in Jacuzzi inside a historic castle. With the added uniqueness of being set with the quaint market town of Ruthin (which is full of history in itself) you can make a great weekend break in the heart of Denbighshire which sets you up to explore the area.

Ruthin Castle occupies a site that was first used as an Iron Age fort. In 1277, Edward I of England granted the land to Dafydd ap Gruffydd in gratitude for his assistance during the invasion of North Wales. It is unclear whether there was an existing fort on the site or whether Dafydd established the castle. The castle was originally given the Welsh name of Castell Coch yn yr Gwernfor (Welsh Red Castle in the Great Marsh).

The castle was most notably the base of that branch of the noble de Grey family accorded the title “Barons Grey de Ruthyn” and the head of their marcher lordship of Dyffryn Clwyd. It was a base for Reginald Grey, 3rd Baron Grey de Ruthyn – the man who could be said to have sparked the rebellion of Owain Glyndŵr.

At the start of the English Civil War the castle was in a state of disrepair and the necessary works were hastily performed to make it defensible. It withstood an eleven-week siege by parliamentary troops in 1646 before surrendering when the attackers announced that they intended to lay mines under the walls. Oliver Cromwell’s forces later dismantled and demolished the castle, in a process of organised de-fortification called slighting, to prevent castles being militarily viable in the future.

 

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