Reigning over the Menai Strait on the northwestern coast of Wales, the regal grandeur of Caernarfon Castle is so impressive that the fortress was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status back in 1985. Characterized by its unique polygonal towers, color-blocked stone work and crenellated ramparts, few castles are as imposing, but its mighty size hasn’t stopped it from being captured several times throughout history.
Built for King Edward I in 1283, the castle was intended as a display of English wealth and power over Wales and was allegedly modeled on the 5th century walls of Constantinople. Famously the birthplace of the first English Prince of Wales in 1284, the castle has retained its royal connections, employed in 1969 for the investiture of the current Prince of Wales, Charles. Almost all of the extensive castle and grounds are open to the public and host a number of exhibitions including the fascinating Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum, dedicated to the historic British Army regiment, and an exhibition devoted to the Princes of Wales through the years. Make sure to climb the Eagle Tower or walk along the ramparts too, from where the views stretch along the coast to the west and the peaks of the Snowdonia National Park to the east.