North Wales architectural history

From Roman ruins in Prestatyn to castles in Conwy, the architectural history of North Wales stretches far back in time. It is easy to be swept back through history when visiting the area, made possible by the many working museums and hundreds of ancient structures still standing in the scenic landscape of North Wales. Below you can explore some of the area’s varied architectural history spanning all different eras.

Victorian seaside

Historians have uncovered that the coastal town of Llandudno originated from settlements of the Stone, Bronze, and Iron ages. Today, the town’s sandy beaches are a popular holiday spot, continuing on from Victorian architect Owen Williams’s work, who first developed it as seaside resort. Its Victorian identity can be witnessed in the architecture of multiple hotels, the Great Orme Tramway, and the magnificent pier.

Medieval masterpieces

Its little wonder when television companies wish to film historic epics, they sometimes select North Wales for their location. Many medieval masterpieces grace this part of the country, from incredible castles to cliffside churches that still hold services today.

Conwy Castle took a workforce of 2,000 to construct from 1283 to 1289. The year after completion, King Edward I was attacked by the Welsh, defending the fortress from eight towers and incredibly well-designed walls with thicknesses between 3.6 and 4.5 metres. The Welsh castle is among the most picturesque in the country and although its 38-metre-long hall no longer has a roof, one of the eight arches built to support it has been reconstructed to illustrate the exceptional design.

The town of Conwy has more to offer medieval architecture buffs than just castles. The 13th century town walls are still superbly well preserved, and Aberconwy House, erected in the 14th century and one of the first buildings to be constructed within the fortifications, still stands today.

With stunning valley views, the 12th century Llangelynin church is among the most remote churches in Wales and features a holy well renowned for curing sick children. Perfectly enclosed, the well can be found in a small churchyard enclosure, with both the walls and seats inside crafted from stone.

Historical homes

North Wales has a wealth of intriguing residences to visit. Home to the smallest house in Great Britain, Quay House in Conwy was built in the 16th century and has a floor area of 10 by nine and a half feet. Not all homes in this part of the country are quite so little, however – Wrexham’s Erddig Hall, constructed in 1687, is commonly thought to be among the best preserved stately homes in the UK. Spanning centuries, it has many unique architectural features, including the exterior walled garden and unchanged outbuildings such as the blacksmith’s shop, stable and joiner.

Whether strolling along its coastline and countryside or stepping through its bustling towns, North Wales offers those interested in historic architecture an abundance of buildings to discover. Unearth the architectural wonders of North Wales the next time you find yourself in this fascinating part of the country.

Posted by Mark
August 12, 2020

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