ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Visiting Wales's Swansea Castle: Imposing, Late 13th or Early 14th Century Ruins

Updated on May 28, 2019
Flag of Wales
Flag of Wales | Source
BT Tower and Swansea Castle
BT Tower and Swansea Castle | Source
Swansea Castle
Swansea Castle | Source
Map location of Swansea, Wales
Map location of Swansea, Wales | Source

How new is 'new'?

Old and new are juxtaposed at Swansea Castle (Welsh: Castell Abertawe ) and the BT Tower ('British Telecommunications Tower'), at Swansea (Welsh: Abertawe ), Wales (Welsh: Cymru ). Whether this is aesthetically good, bad or indifferent, the visitor certainly gets the idea of imposing buildings, old and new, and maybe a sense of just how awe-inspiring a tall, Medieval castle must have seemed to the individual unconnected with the rich and powerful of the day.

Historical background

The castle was originally built in 1106 by Henry de Beaumont, a Norman nobleman, who also owned a small estate in Normandy. The original, Norman-held castle was repeatedly subject to Welsh attacks. Remains of the 11th century castle have not survived, but the visible ruins at Swansea Castle today date from later than the 11th century. Their exact date is uncertain but it is thought that they are from the late 13th or early 14th century.

These surviving ruins consist of two sides of a castle structure which was built in a rectangular shape. North Americans may find the following piece of information amusing but, because these castle walls are newer than the original 11th century structure, these 13th or 14th century ruins have sometimes even been known as the 'new castle'! (By way of comparison, remember that at Oxford there is New College; its date of foundation? 1379 —yes, really! — but of course there are other Oxford colleges that are older ... .) Of the surviving part of the castle, an arcade structuring is particularly well-preserved.

Swansea is Wales's second city and the castle must have formerly given a focus to its downtown area, where it is located: indeed, the castle was there long before Swansea developed.

What you see isn't what you got

The fact seems to be that, by the time of the building of the part of the castle which actually survives today, the castle was already outliving its military usefulness. In Swansea, there was no Medieval military-industrial complex to 'wag the dog', as it were.

Among other uses than the military one, the castle, having sound walls (at least, previously) was used as a prison.

Unfortunately, in the early 20th century developers were allowed to demolish part of the castle; but we may have much more confidence now that these fine ruins that remain will be preserved. Now it is tourists and those who are interested in historical and architectural heritage for whom the castle provides the main point of attention.

Also worth seeing

In Swansea itself, Oystermouth Castle , at Mumbles, is another Norman structure. Singleton Abbey is a striking old building, set in parkland, belonging to Swansea University.

Castell Coch, Tongwynlais (distance: 65 kilometres) is a 19th century restored castle, prominent on a hillside.


How to get there: Continental Airlines flies to London Heathrow Airport , from where car rental is available. London Heathrow is 286 kilometres from Swansea. There are also rail (from London Paddington railroad station) and bus links to Swansea. Some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. You are advised to check for up to date information with the airline or your travel agent.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)