Of the four properties listed in this UNESCO World Heritage site we can claim reasonable familiarity with two. As unabashed lovers of medieval castles that we are, we planned on seeing at least one of the group of castles in Northern Wales as a definite part of our itinerary when we undertook a Welsh journey during our years of living in the UK.
The castle of Caernarfon is an excellent example of what these monuments are recognized for on the UNESCO list: a well-preserved medieval military edifice that is an integral part of the surrounding fortified town. Here is a partial view of the castle from one of its own towers.
Caernarfon is a relatively popular tourist attraction. Although the interiors of the castle rooms and keeps are mostly barren, there are several activities in the courtyard demonstrating crafts of the era. Here is a video fragment we took on our visit, with the girls participating in the work of rope-making.
Here is another look at the castle from the ground level.
The gentleman in red medieval dress walking towards us in the right part of the frame introduces himself to all willing visitors as the architect of the castle, James of St George, and engages them in chit-chat rich on anecdotes about the castle’s construction.
Conwy, another location inscribed on the list, was an overnight stop on our itinerary. We did not actually go to see the castle but instead explored the town, which offers a number of attractions including the reputedly smallest house in Great Britain.
This is obviously not part of what UNESCO recognizes as World Heritage material, but Conwy and Caernarfon towns, not just castles, both feature on the inscription as ensembles.
We did walk by the walls of Conwy castle. We also took this great picture of it and of the town rooftops from the windows of one of the town’s museums.
I suspect that visiting only one of the inscribed locations is sufficient to get a good insight into what they represent. Caernarfon is certainly highly recommended in that respect. You would need between 2 and 3 hours to get a proper taste of it. All locations are situated quite close to each other in the northwesternmost part of Wales. It is about 5 hours away from London by car, so not a day-trip destination (much closer to Liverpool, though), but should be a must in any itinerary across Wales.