The Castles and Town Walls of King Edward I in Gwynedd, Wales is a UNESCO World Heritage site. After his invasion of northern Wales in 1282 King Edward I of England needed a means to keep the territory under his control. He commenced to building four coastal fortifications to garrison troops and act as a foothold in lands surrounded by an angry local population. Pre the advent of gunpowder these are the prototypical medieval castles that spring to mind when envisioning something from that era. I watched the documentary Castle hosted by David McCaulay on my local PBS station and became fascinated with these English castles in northern Wales. These castles and town walls are well preserved and armed with a little background history are great examples of the era and art form of castle building.
The first castle you will visit if coming from England to the north is Castle Conwy. The massive battlements and impressive town walls make this the most picturesque of Edwards castles. The town of Conwy is a great place to station yourself when planning a visit of the area. We stayed at a small B&B with views of the castle out the window. A relaxing stroll along thetop of the old town wall is the best way to end an evening.
Beaumaris Castle is a beautiful unfinished castle located on the Isle of Anglesey. Harlech is the last of the four castles of Edward in Wales. The castle is located up on a small bluff with a commanding view of the countryside. This is the best example for studying the architecture of castle design. The off set inner and outer castle walls aptly illustrate the defensive positions needed for the castle when under siege.