Kidwelly Castle is a Norman castle overlooking the River Gwendraeth. The origin of this surname traces back to when it was spelled Cygweli which means 'swan.'

The present remains of the castle date from the early 12th century. Created as a defence against the Welsh, the castle fell to the Welsh several times in the twelfth century. Later in its history, it was unsuccessfully besieged by forces of Owain Glyndŵr in August 1403 with assistance from soldiers from France and Brittany who captured Kidwelly town. The castle was relieved by a Norman army in September 1403.

The plan of the castle consists of a square inner bailey defended by four round towers, which overlook a semi-circular outer curtain wall on the landward side, with the massive gatehouse next to the river. The river prevents this from being a truly concentric plan, however a jutting tower protects the riverside walls, and the final plan is very strong. The castle is relatively well-preserved, and is managed by Cadw.

The surrounding countryside is reputedly haunted by the headless ghost of Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd, wife of the Welsh prince Gruffydd ap Rhys, who was beheaded in 1136.

Kidwelly was used as a location for the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, appearing in the very first scene after the titles.



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Founded: 12th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom


4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Jonathan Taylor (10 months ago)
We had a great time at Kidwelly castle. My kids really enjoyed learning about the history of the castle and the town. It's an interesting ruin and you can still walk the ramparts!
David Cantwell (10 months ago)
The staff were very welcoming and reasonable pricing. Everyone was socially distanced and it was a large area for us to discover. Would definitely visit again if back in the area
Maggie Slade Rudkins (10 months ago)
Castle is nice, its a shame that lunch time closing for the staff seemed to take such precedence. Anyway, felt quite unwelcome & rushed. Lack of directional signage made it quite difficult to ensure we'd seen everything, not a relaxing trip. Car park is microscopic, arrive in good time.
Mishy Belle Batten (11 months ago)
Such a beautiful castle ? We have taken our daughter and friends from overseas. It is a really part of our local history. Well worth a visit.
Eve Davies (11 months ago)
What's the best part about being Welsh? Never getting bored of visiting different castles! Lots of fun exploring here with millions of photo opportunities ?
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