NOW OPEN: areas of Caernarfon Castle that have not been accessed for centuries — thanks to £5m investment.
NAWR AR AGOR: rhannau o Gastell Caernarfon sydd heb fod ar agor i’r cyhoedd ers canrifoedd — diolch i fuddsoddiad gwerth £5m
Following 3 years of work, the enhancement project at the main gateway into the Castle is complete
Cadw has today (27 April) announced the completion of a 3-year conservation and development project at Caernarfon Castle’s principal gatehouse - providing access to areas of the castle not seen close-up for centuries.
This major £5 million investment has seen a rooftop deck installation and new flooring in the gatehouse towers. It also includes the installation of a lift that allows access for all to the upper levels, which we believe is a first for any similar UK World Heritage site. The project will ensure that the castle is welcoming and accessible and continues to make a valuable contribution to the economy of the surrounding area. A new catering offer, educational and retail spaces, and accessible visitor facilities have also been included in the works, including a Changing Places facility. The scheme is supported by the Welsh Government and by £1.04 million from the European Regional Development Fund through the Tourism Attractor Destination Programme, that is managed by Visit Wales.
Central to the enhancement project is new artistic interpretation, focusing on the theme: ‘the hands that built the Castle’. This modern approach to interpretation aims to present the story of the Castle from a different perspective, encouraging visitors to re-think how they perceive the site’s history. The delivery of the project, has been supported by Buttress Architects and Grosvenor Construction, who have re-installed the floor levels of the gatehouse towers; built new steps from the first floor to the new rooftop deck; and installed a lightweight glazed glass lift to provide step-free access to the rooftop.
Following such extensive development, Cadw is now encouraging visitors of all ages and abilities to witness the outstanding views from the upper embattlements on the rooftop deck, previously unseen for centuries.
Dawn Bowden MS, Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, said: “Making our historic sites more accessible is a fantastic — and necessary — way of caring for Wales’ historical monuments for the benefit of present and future generations.
“Enhancement projects like this one ensures that everybody can access Welsh history and learn more about the nation’s heritage. Cadw’s new interpretation will further support this, inviting visitors to discover the lesser-known stories of the Castle’s history.
“This is the latest development in Caernarfon as the town has also benefitted from an extensive and ongoing development programme of investment to further enhance its status as an iconic and “must see” destination in Wales.”
Gwilym Hughes, Head of Cadw, said: “We’d like to thank our valued visitors and Cadw members for their patience during this 3-year period of conservation and development at Caernarfon Castle. We look forward to welcoming visitors of all abilities to experience this area of the fortress for the first time in centuries, and hope that our new interpretation will provide new ways for visitors to understand the Castle’s story.
“The hands that built the Castle’ interpretation will encourage visitors to do just that — by focusing on the community and workers of the Castle, whose stories are often footnotes rather than the focus of historical interpretation. This new interpretation will demonstrate the skill and knowledge that went into building the castle that is now a World Heritage Site. It also provides a context that will allow a fuller understanding of a time of intense conflict between the indigenous Welsh princes and the English monarchy.”
For more information and to book a visit to Caernarfon Castle, visit https://cadw.gov.wales/visit/places-to-visit/caernarfon-castle
Notes to editors
Please find a timeline of the transformation of the gatehouse here - https://cadw.gov.wales/caernarfon-castle-kings-gate-project-0
In preparation for the developments and conservation work, a thorough excavation project – completed by the University of Salford from Jan 2019 – March 2021 – ensured the new-build elements of the enhancement works wouldn’t cover any artefacts. The archaeological efforts unearthed the Castle’s previously hidden history as sherds of 1st century Roman pottery, animal bones and tile were discovered. More information available here: https://cadw.gov.wales/about-us/news/largest-ever-excavation-caernarfon-castle-offers-new-clues-about-sites-history
Having stood for over 700 years, Caernarfon Castle is often recognised as being one of the greatest buildings of the Middle Ages in the UK. Standing on the River Seiont, the Castle forms part of a World Heritage Site alongside Harlech, Conwy and Beaumaris Castles. More information about Caernarfon Castle here: https://cadw.gov.wales/visit/places-to-visit/caernarfon-castle
Picture: Artist impression of the development work. Credit, Buttress Architects.
Further pictures will be available after the event on Thursday 27 April.