Our 100 Castles Challenge

Harlech Castle by Simply Barmouth

Wales is such a beautiful country. Full of breathtaking scenery, stunning coastline and amazing views from some impressive hills and mountains. Wales is a country that prides itself on its history and that is even more apparent with the amount of stunning castles that dot the landscape.

For many years, Wales was so treasured that the English wanted to own it and the Welsh wanted to keep it. Because of the fighting, Wales has more castles per square mile than any other country. Wales IS the castle capital of the world!

Yet, dispite being surrounded by castles, we never seemed to visit them. The children had been to the closest one with school and I’d been to another with my secondary school, but that was it! Wales has over 100 castles and between us we’d visited FOUR; Harlech, Castell-y-Bere, Caernarfon and Cardiff! This year I was determined to change this so I created our #100castleschallenge.

Our Challenge so far

Visiting Castell-y-Bere

Here is a list of all the castles we have visited so that you can keep track alongside us.

  1. Castell-y-Bere, Tywyn, Gwynedd
  2. Harlech Castle, Harlech, Gwynedd

Visiting Castles on a budget

Planning to visit so many castles might sound expensive, but surprisingly it isn’t! Cadw, which is the Welsh governments historic environment services and charged with looking after many of the historic castles that over Wales, has passes which can give you free entry.

Visiting one of the castles can cost £15-£30 for a family ticket, depending on the size of the castle. Which means if you do plan to visit a few of them the costs can quickly mount up. Yet you can take advantage of either an annual membership or a 3 or 7 day explorer pass.

If you don’t live in or near Wales but are visiting on holiday, then Cadw’s explorer pass is perfect to use. The passes give you the freedom to explore dozen’s of Cadw’s historic sites and the more the pass is used the greater the savings!

The 3-day pass can be used in any 7-day period and the 7-day pass in any 14-day period which also gives you greater flexibility instead of trying to cram as much in as you can in just a few short day.

For those who visit Wales regularly or live in or nearby, then Cadw membership might be of greater use. This is also what we’ve bought to help us in our #100castleschallenge.

Cadw Membership

You can buy indivual, joint, family or lifetime membership with a discount for senior citizens. Benefits of membership include;

  • Free entry
  • 10% of purchases in the gift shop
  • Membership pack including car sticker and maps
  • Newsletters
  • 50% off entry to English heritage sites in the first year (free entry in subsequent years)
  • 50% off entry to Historic Scotland sites in the first year (free entry in subsequent years)
  • Free subscription to Heritage in Wales magazine
  • Free entry to Manx National Heritage properties

A family membership costs between £40 and £77 per year, with discounts often available especially if you buy online. Prices vary on whether you need 1 or 2 adults and whether or not you are a senior citizens. The family membership also covers ALL children under 16 so it doesn’t matter if you have just 2 children or 5 like us. This is great news as often we find family memberships don’t cover all our children and mean we have to buy additional children’s membership to cover them all!

Continuing our adventure

So you’ve seen where we’ve been now it’s time to help us decide where to go. Comment down below which castles we should definitely include in our challenge and where we should go next! Also let us know which castles you’ve been to.