Earth : Europe : Britain and Ireland : United Kingdom : Wales : North Wales : Gwynedd : Caernarfon
Caernarfon is a Royal town in Gwynedd, North-West Wales. Caernarfon is famous for its breathtaking castle and as a stronghold of the Welsh language. The castle and fortified complex is recognised on UNESCO's 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.
Opposite the castle, the Caernarfon Tourist Information Centre, Oriel Pendeitsh, Castle St, ☎ 01286 672232 ([email protected]). , makes a great port of call, offering free local advice for getting the most out of a visit to Caernarfon and its surrounding areas.
The historic town of Caernarfon is easily accessible by car, air, rail, bus and sea.
The roads are good, with Bangor and the A55 expressway around 15 minutes away. Liverpool and Manchester airports are around 2 hours, Dublin about 3 hours (including fast ferry) and Cardiff around 4 and a half hours.
From London allow 5 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 7 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.
Anglesey Airport 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 6 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 is 98 miles away via the M56, A55 and A487, approximately one and three-quarter hours' drive.
The nearest train station is Bangor, with trains from Chester, Crewe, Manchester, London Euston, Cardiff, and Holyhead (connecting to Dublin ferry). From London Euston (Virgin Trains) takes about 3 hours.
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.
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.
Caernarfon has some nice independent shops in the pleasant streets of the walled town. Palas Print sells books, music and coffee, with a good Welsh language selection.
There is also a nice small clothes and accessories shop. Na Nog on the square is an option for presents with a local flavour, like childrens clothing with a Welsh theme. For a larger choice of shops, head to Bangor, Llandudno or perhaps Conwy.
There's a decent amount of places to eat within and around the old town walls, in particular the small streets nestled along the western town wall. There are also a few places on the town square.Serving hours can be odd, and without good planning you could end up hungry. However there are still places which serve food allday, including the Black Boy Inn and Anglesey Arms.
Drinking is a popular option for nights in Caernarfon. There is a decent selection of small pubs in and around the walls.
Hotels & Inns
B&Bs, Hostels and Self Catering Cottages
An array of accommodation options are dotted in and around the Caernarfon area comprising B&B's, Hostels and quality assured Self Catering facilities ranging from modern flats, purposely converted units on farm complexes to fully residential traditional Snowdonia farmhouse cottages.
A number of World Heritage Sites and stunning castle towns lie less than a few miles drive away from Caernarfon, making it a great base for exploring North Wales: