Which castles in Wales offer interactive medieval tournaments for visitors?

As you delve into the pages of history, you would stumble upon the medieval era where castles stood tall as symbols of power and authority. These fortresses were not only residences of the nobles but were often sites for grand events such as tournaments and feasts. Today, many of these castles have opened their gates to welcome visitors from around the globe, offering a unique glimpse into the past. In Wales, a country known for its rich history and legacy of castles, interactive medieval tournaments have become popular family-friendly events. This article will explore some of the Welsh castles where you can witness these chivalrous spectacles.

Cardiff Castle: Embracing History and Hospitality

Cardiff Castle, located in the heart of Wales' capital city, is a site where history and modernity blend seamlessly. Known for its 10th-century Norman Keep and the Victorian Gothic Revival mansion, Cardiff Castle has stood as a silent observer to Cardiff's transformation over centuries. The site hosts interactive medieval events that are certain to engage every member of your family.

For a truly immersive experience, the castle offers 'Knight School' for the children, run by professional historical interpreters. Here, your kids can learn about chivalry, sword fighting, and the life of a medieval knight. The castle also holds regular jousting tournaments, where you can cheer the knights as they battle it out in the castle's grounds.

Apart from these, Cardiff Castle hosts medieval feasts where you can dine in the historic Undercroft, enjoying traditional Welsh cuisine. With a wide array of events, Cardiff Castle ensures that your family steps back in time yet feels right at home.

Conwy Castle: A Majestic Witness to the Past

Set against the backdrop of Snowdonia and overlooking the Conwy estuary, the Conwy Castle is a breathtaking site of medieval Welsh architecture. Built by Edward I during his conquest of Wales in the 13th century, Conwy Castle is part of the 'Iron Ring' of fortresses constructed by the English monarch.

Today, this site has been transformed into a lively space for visitors who are eager to experience the medieval era in a fun and interactive manner. Conwy Castle hosts yearly medieval tournaments that are replete with drama and action. Skilled knights in authentic medieval armor wielding swords engage in combat, while minstrels provide background music, creating an atmosphere that transports you back in time.

In addition to the tournaments, the castle also offers 'Castle Quest', an interactive game for both children and adults. Participants will have to solve puzzles and complete tasks around the castle, making their visit both entertaining and educational.

Caerphilly Castle: The Giant of Wales

Caerphilly Castle, the largest castle in Wales and the second largest in Britain, is a testament to the innovative defense mechanisms developed during the Medieval period. With its concentric walls, water defenses and looming towers, it stands as a symbol of the power of the medieval Welsh lords.

The castle, managed by Cadw, the historic environment service of the Welsh Government, is a hub for family-friendly events throughout the year. The highlight is the Grand Medieval Melee, a yearly event where you can witness authentic medieval combat. The castle’s extensive grounds fill up with tents, where skilled reenactors demonstrate medieval crafts and daily life.

For the children, the castle organizes a 'Knight School', similar to Cardiff Castle. The young ones can try their hand at archery, learn about medieval weaponry and even dress up as knights or princesses for the day.

Harlech Castle: Where History Comes Alive

Perched upon a cliff and offering panoramic views of Snowdonia and the Irish Sea, Harlech Castle’s formidable beauty has inspired poets and artists for centuries. Built by Edward I, it played a crucial role in several wars and withstood multiple sieges.

Today, Harlech Castle is a hive of activity, especially during the Summer when it hosts the 'Harlech Medieval Festival'. The event features a medieval tournament complete with jousting, combat and archery demonstrations. Alongside the battles, there are also traditional craft demonstrations, storytelling sessions and even falconry displays.

While the brave knights steal the show, there is plenty of entertainment for the younger visitors as well. The castle offers treasure hunts and a dedicated craft area, ensuring that the children are kept engaged and entertained throughout the day.

These castles in Wales offer a unique way to experience the country's rich history. The interactive medieval tournaments not only provide a glimpse into the past, but are also a fun, educational activity for the entire family. So, don your armor, pick up your shield, and step back into the medieval era!

Caernarfon Castle: A Timeless Monument

Caernarfon Castle in North Wales is a UNESCO World Heritage site of immense significance. Conceived by King Edward I in the late 13th century, it is considered one of the most impressive castles of the British Isles. Its unique polygonal towers and massive town walls are a testament to the architectural prowess of the Middle Ages.

The castle hosts a variety of interactive medieval events throughout the year, immersing visitors in the rich history that shaped the region. It hosts a yearly 'Tournament of the Knights', where skilled reenactors in full medieval regalia recreate the intense and thrilling battles of the era. The charged atmosphere, the clashing of swords, the heraldic banners fluttering in the breeze - all contribute to a truly immersive experience.

Guided tours are also available, offering detailed insights into the castle's history, from construction to sieges, and its role in the late century Welsh rebellion. Meanwhile, the on-site gift shop sells a range of merchandise, allowing you to take a piece of history home with you.

For children, Caernarfon Castle offers a unique 'Castle Adventure' experience. Children can participate in a medieval quest, solving riddles and puzzles to find hidden treasures within the castle walls.

Beaumaris Castle: The Unfinished Masterpiece

Beaumaris Castle, located on the Isle of Anglesey, North Wales, is part of Edward I's famed Iron Ring. Despite being left unfinished, it is considered a perfect example of symmetrical concentric castle design. Its massive water-filled moat and imposing double walls make it one of the most admired castles in Britain.

Beaumaris Castle offers numerous interactive medieval events for visitors. The highlight is the annual 'Medieval Festival', where visitors can witness staged battles, jousting tournaments, archery displays, and falconry shows. Against the backdrop of the castle, these events transport you back to the Middle Ages, offering an immersive historical experience.

Apart from the tournament, the castle also hosts guided tours to provide a detailed insight into its fascinating history. The knowledgeable guides bring to life the castle's unique story - its ambitious design, the reasons for its incomplete state, and the role it played in the history of North Wales.

Families visiting the castle can also purchase a family ticket, which provides access to not only the castle but also to the interactive exhibits and children’s activities. These include a 'Knight School' where children can learn about medieval warfare and participate in mock battles.


A trip to any of these Welsh castles is sure to be a memorable one. From the towering walls of Conwy Castle to the sprawling grounds of Caerphilly Castle and from the historic grandeur of Cardiff Castle to the majestic beauty of Harlech Castle, each offers a unique experience. Add to this the interactive medieval tournaments at Caernarfon Castle and Beaumaris Castle, and you're in for a historical treat.

These venues excel in infusing education with entertainment, making learning about history a thrilling experience for adults and children alike. Here, the Middle Ages are not just recounted, they are brought to life! So, whether you're planning a family outing or an educational trip, the castles of North Wales and South Wales await, offering a journey back in time that is sure to inspire and enthral.