Travel Guides Crafted by Experienced Archaeologists & Historians

North Wales
Art, History & Archaeology Sites & Museums

Probably the most visually stunning part of the country, North Wales is a largely rural region that is home to the Snowdonia National Park and the country’s largest mountain, Snowdon or Yr Wyddfa. People have lived here since prehistory, leaving fascinating traces such as the Neolithic tombs of Bryn Celli Ddu, Lligwy, and Dyffryn Ardudwy, as well as stone rings like the Druid’s Circle and Moel Tŷ Uchaf. The Romans later conquered the region – according to one account massacring Britain’s druids on the island of Anglesey – and leaving evidence of their presence at the Segontium Roman Fort. North Wales was once more military occupied in the 13th century, this time by the English armies of King Edward I, who built castles like Flint, Harlech, and Beamaris to maintain control over his new dominion. The Middle Ages was not all bloodshed, however, and also saw the flourishing of religious establishments like the Basingwerk and Cymer Abbeys in this region. The counties included in the North Wales region are the Isle of Anglesey, Gwynedd, Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham.

Archaeology & History Sites in North Wales

Basingwerk Abbey

Founded in 1131, Basingwerk Abbey was initially established by Benedictine monks from Savigny Abbey in Normandy. As Savigny joined the Cistercian Order, so did Basingwerk in 1147, at which point the Cistercians were establishing themselves as the dominant monastic order in Wales. The abbey underwent expansion in the 13th century, from which period many of its Gothic ruins date. Today the abbey stands in Greenfield Valley Heritage Park and is the starting point for the North Wales Pilgrim’s Way that leads all the way to Bardsey.

Beaumaris Castle

Due to its perfect symmetry and classic proportions, Beaumaris Castle is often described as one of Britain’s most technically perfect castles. Construction started in 1295, during King Edward I’s campaign to conquer north Wales. The design was that of James of St George, one of the finest architects of medieval Europe, although work on the building halted after 35 years due to the king’s financial troubles – leaving it forever unfinished. It now forms part of the ‘Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd’ UNESCO World Heritage Site.