Caernarfon

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Caernarfon is a Royal town in Gwynedd, North-West Wales.United Kingdom.

Caernarfon is famous for its breathtaking castle and as a stronghold of the Welsh language. The castle and fortified complex is recognised on the UNESCO World Heritage List as one of the finest examples of late 13th century and early 14th century military architecture in Europe. It is one of the best places in the world to hear a living Celtic language, with over 80% of the local population speaking Welsh. Caernarfon provides an good base for visiting other places of interest in North Wales. A few miles’ drive from Caernarfon is Snowdonia National Park which plays host to the highest mountain in Wales, and Anglesey, home of Beaumaris Castle, the last and largest of the castles to be built by King Edward I in Wales.

Other nearby places worth visiting include: Conwy, Llandudno, the Isle of Anglesey, Bangor, and the castle at Harlech.

Access : Coordinates: 53.14, -4.27 / By car :  The roads are good, with Bangor and the A55 expressway around 15 minutes away. Liverpool and Manchester airports are around two hours, Dublin about three hours (including fast ferry) and Cardiff around four and a half hours.

From London allow five hours for your journey. Exit the M6/J20 onto M56. Follow signs for Queensferry / North Wales onto A55. Exit A55/J9 onto A487 then follow signs for Caernarfon onto the A487 for seven miles. Note: All day parking is available behind the castle at a reasonable price, with other car parks more ideally suited to short-term parking.

By air :  Anglesey Airport (VLY IATA) is only 24 miles away via the A55 and provides weekday links by Highland Airways to Cardiff, South Wales (twice daily). Caernarfon Airport is less than six miles away and has a terminal open for private aircraft. Liverpool John Lennon airport is just 90 miles away via the M56, A55 and A487. Manchester Airport (MAN IATA) is 98 miles away via the M56, A55 and A487, approximately one and three-quarter hours’ drive.

By rail :  The nearest train station is Bangor (about 8-miles away), with trains from Chester, Crewe, Manchester, London Euston, Cardiff, and Holyhead (connecting to Dublin ferry). From London Euston (Virgin Trains) takes about three hours 20-minutes.

By sea :  Caernarfon is easily reached from Ireland via the port of Holyhead, and an excellent road network. Take the A55 leaving J9 (first exit after crossing Britannia Bridge) onto A487 then follow signs for Caernarfon onto the A487 for 7 miles. Foot passengers, onward travel is available from Holyhead to Bangor by train and takes 30 minutes, and then Bangor to Caernarfon by bus 20 minutes.

By bus
From London (via Chester) or Cardiff, National Express operates a daily service to Caernarfon, with numerous pick up points along the way.

The town is also served by local bus routes, mainly from other North Wales towns. There are buses every 15 minutes from Bangor (nearest train station) – just check out Arriva Bus route 5. The route takes about 30 minutes, so getting to Caernarfon by public transport is definitely an option.

Local bus companies include Express Motors, Silver Star, KMP Llanberis, Arriva Cymru and Sherpa Buses (for Snowdonia). Caernarfon’s central bus station is called Penllyn.

Highlights :

  •   Caernarfon Castle (Carnarvon Castle), Castle Ditch, LL55 2AY. opens 0930 (except Su in winter 1100), closes 1600 winter, 1700 spring / autumn, 1800 summer, last admission half an hour before closing, closed 24-26 Dec, 1 Jan. (Welsh: Castell Caernarfon). An impressive work began in 1283 by England’s King Edward I as his planned seat of power in his attempt to subjugate Wales. Like Beaumaris, this castle was quite functional, although never 100% completed. admission £4.90, concessions £4.50, family £15.
  •  Black Boy Inn, Northgate Street, LL55 1RW . Thought to date back to 1522, it is one of the oldest inns in North Wales. Located in Northgate Street – or ‘Stryd Pedwar a Chwech’ (‘Four and Six Street’) in Welsh, it is within the medieval town walls, with low-slung black beamed ceilings and walls of up to one and a half metres thick. The Inn is steeped in history, with four Inn signs each showing a ‘black buoy’ on one side and a ‘black boy’ on the other.
  •  Doc Fictoria (Victoria Dock). Set alongside the beautiful harbour of Caernarfon, it includes a creative arts centre, a minute or two by foot from the town walls. It has a bar, cafe and restaurant, art exhibition, hosts concerts, films and events and is packed with small arty companies.
  •  Segontium . Site of a historic Roman fort founded by Agricola around 77 AD.

Activities : 1 Welsh Highland Railway, St Helens Road . Caernarfon’s the starting point for the Welsh Highland Railway, offering a journey on one of the world’s most powerful 2′ gauge steam locomotives through the fabulous scenery of the Snowdonia National Park and onward to Porthmadog.
Menai Strait Cruises. Boat cruises from Caernarfon Harbour down the picturesque Menai strait.
Walk around the mainly traffic-free streets of the walled town and along the Menai Straits. Guided tours are also available throughout the year by the North Wales Tour Guide Association.
Cycle along the traffic-free routes along the Menai and South almost to Cricieth. Bikes can be hired in Caernarfon from Beics Menai.
Gypsy Wood Park. An outdoor attraction well worth a visit on a sunny day. It is a relaxing attraction, with the UK’s largest miniature G Scale garden railway and a great family day out for children who love animals.
Redline Indoor Karting . A purpose built indoor karting track, popular with locals and tourists alike. The perfect option for all weather family fun. Viewing Area Refreshments. Cibyn Industrial Estate. Llanberis Road. Sat Nav LL55 2BD
Welsh Language – Caernarfon is probably the best place to see, hear and speak the Welsh language. Over 80% of the population speak Welsh, so it is an ideal place to practice a few sentences or just to soak up the authentic Celtic heritage.
Learn Welsh on a residential course at the Nant Gwrtheyrn Language and Heritage Centre, situated in a spectacular coastal location around half an hour’s drive from Caernarfon.
Caernarfon Golf Club. Great place if you fancy a few rounds, with very reasonable green fees.

Go next : Snowdonia National Park / Anglesey / Beaumaris / Conwy / Harlech / Porthmadog

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