Much as we love the beach, when the weather seems determined to spoil things and to have settled into an unpromising pattern, we fall to negotiating an alternative. A tour around a Castle is our usual wet weather option. Initially, the consensus of opinion settled on our old favourite at Caernarfon. I fancied a change, however, and suggested travelling a little further to Anglesey and Beaumaris. Much to my surprise, as you can probably tell from the title of the post, my suggestion won the day.
Don’t be fooled by this photo, which I took later on: when we first arrived the skies were grey and the wind was bitterly cold.
Like Raglan Castle, which we visited at Whit, Beaumaris has a proper moat, a wet moat, full of water. In the kids eyes this seems to qualify it as more authentic, and I must admit that, under their influence, I’m beginning to see it that way myself.
The outer wall is quite low and, having persuaded the others to drive past Caernarfon to come here, I was slightly concerned that it may turn out to be a disappointment.
I needn’t have worried; this is a really imposing castle, with plenty of exploring to be done.
The boys and I toured the outer wall, whilst the rest of the party went….well in the opposite direction I think. The boys do tend to tear around at breakneck speed and ear-splitting volume. I think it’s the breakneck speed part that makes our friends inclined to be elsewhere: watching the two of them leap about near huge drops does tend to fray the nerves more than somewhat*.
The three of us were soon exploring the passages and the the wall-walk in and on the massive inner wall. I managed to convince them to stand still long enough for a photo…
…although I suspect that S may well have maimed me with his sword shortly afterwards. I was regularly decapitated and/or disembowelled. All good clean fun.
Enclosed by those huge walls, the inner ward is enormous. A substantial gatehouse and a large keep face each other across the ward.
Raglan and Goodrich (which we also visited at Whit), both show signs of having been lived in and adapted; Raglan is ornately decorated; Goodrich has been built in stages, by several different owners. Beaumaris is quite different; it still has the feel of an entirely functional military outpost. It’s symmetrical lay-out suggests the work of a single designer rather than an organic evolution over several periods of alterations. It also looks like it was all built at around the same time.
Beaumaris (the name is Anglo-Norman not Welsh, meaning beautiful marsh) is one of Edward I’s ring of fortifications built in the aftermath of his annexation of Wales. Apparently, the money ran out before it was finished and Edward’s focus moved to wars with France and Scotland.
As well as views of the castle itself, the walls give great views along the mainland coast.
Of course, similar terrific views can be had from the sea front at Beaumaris, The apparent island seen here is the limestone headland of Great Orme at Llandudno. Looking along the Anglesey coast we could also see Puffin Island which lies just off Anglesey.
Carneddau across the Menai Straits
Since the weather had improved considerably, we took a little stroll along the Anglesey Coastal Path onto a slight rise, from where, if anything, the views were even better.
Down the coast to the Great Orme again.
Carneddau and the Menai Straits again.