Caernarfon Castle

Continuing northward through Wales, we stopped to admire the majesty of Caernarfon Castle. The original Norman castle on this site was replaced in 1283 when King Edward I began building his stone structure.


The walls were built to suit the lie of the land which resulted in the internal grounds being shaped like a figure eight. The towers within the walls were not the usual round ones of other Edwardian castles but polygonal, each with a different number of sides.


All were accommodation towers, the grandest being the ten-sided Eagle Tower. It has three turrets which were once decorated with stone eagles that have since weathered away.


Walkways within the castle allowed for a closer look at the workmanship.


From above we gained a different perspective of the towers


and could really appreciate the expanse of the castle.


The views of the River Seiont


and harbour were captivating.


I would love this pair of cannons for our driveway entrance.


Long before there was a castle, the Romans built a fort nearby to defend the north Wales coast. Established around 78AD, Segontium held about a thousand soldiers.


The fort was abandoned in the 4th century and there is not much left to see of the ruins.


The stone was plundered and used to build King Edward’s Caernarfon Castle.

Cilgerran Castle

There are many medieval castles throughout Britain but Cilgerran Castle is unusual in that it was built with one side directly onto a cliff face.


The existing ruin dates back to the 13th century, although there was first mention of a structure on this site as early as 1165.


Having withstood many battles and changes of ownership, the castle was left to ruin in 1400.


The castle is in a stunning position high above the Teifi Gorge.


We spent some time wandering around, admiring the workmanship of a past age.



We could almost hear the clamour of chain mail echoing from the stairwell.


The views over the Pembrokeshire countryside were spectacular.


Across the gorge, Coedmore Mansion rested peacefully within the woodland.


The gorgeous early 19th century country house was, sadly, divided into flats in 1990.

Cornwall conclusion

There were so many beautiful places in Cornwall, it was difficult to decide where to go next. Our last day loomed and we made the most of it. Padstow was traditionally a fishing port, situated at the mouth of the River Camel estuary.


It is now a popular tourist destination and yachting haven.


The former customs house offers accommodation in a gorgeous old 3-storey building.


Restaurateur Rick Stein owns several restaurants and businesses in the town, in fact, we have heard the town referred to as ‘Padstein’. There are also many eateries not owned by him.


We had a bite to eat in the sunshine at The Shipwrights

6.The Shipwrights

while taking in the peaceful surroundings and magnificent view.


Our next port of call (no pun intended) was Port Isaac, a fishing village since the 14th century. We explored the narrow, winding streets lined with old white-washed cottages,

glimpsing the majestic cliffs across the harbour.

14.Port Isaac

On top of the cliff, this impressive Victorian house, now a B&B, would have the most stunning views.

15.Hathaway B&B

True to form, we found a pub. The Golden Lion dates back to the 18th century and has a smuggling tunnel leading down onto a causeway on the beach.

16.The Golden Lion

We found a sunny spot on the terrace with a different perspective of the cottages

17.Port Isaac

and a fabulous view of the harbour.

18.Port Isaac

Those who have seen the TV series Doc Martin are probably thinking this is all familiar.

Bert Large’s restaurant was incognito

21.Port Isaac

but there was no mistaking this well trodden path.

22.Port Isaac

I don’t know how the Doc could be so grumpy with this outlook from his house.

23.Port Isaac24.Port Isaac

The time had come to move on, we were too late getting to Tintagel to walk up to the castle ruins.

25.Tintagel Castle

The legend of King Arthur has surrounded Tintagel since it was named as the place of his conception in the 12th century.

26.Tintagel Castle

This may have inspired the Earl of Cornwall to build a castle on this site in the 13th century.

27.Tintagel Castle

In the cliff below Tintagel Castle, Merlin’s Cave can be explored at low tide

28.Merlin's Cave

but not today.


The Old Post Office in the village of Tintagel was built in 1380 as a farmhouse. It has served many purposes but has always been a home, its final use as a letter-receiving office for the village during the 1870s.

30.Old Post Office

The nearest village to our accommodation at Trevigue Farm was Boscastle. We had ventured there the previous night and dined at The Wellington Hotel, one of the oldest coaching inns in Cornwall dating back to the 16th century.

31.The Wellington Hotel

The steaks were mouthwatering.

32.The Wellington Hotel

We returned to Boscastle for a closer look.

The area was settled in the 12th century and, being the only safe harbour along 40 miles of coastline, was a commercial port throughout most of the 19th century. The houses along the River Valency were idyllic


belying the devastating floods of 2004.


There were a few dining options

including The Cobweb Inn, an off-licence since the 1700s.


We had a wonderful meal at The Riverside, built around 1854. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a photo.

Benabbio Castle

In the hills behind the village of Benabbio lie the ruins of Castle Benabbio. One afternoon, we took a walk to the top of the village and found the path that would take us there.


There were intriguing reminders of the past as we made our way further up the hill.

We left the village behind


and the views across the valley and village were breathtaking.


Within the castle walls is the ancient church of San Michele, founded in 1218.

It is thought to be the first parish church of Benabbio but ceased religious activities after the dismantling of the defenses of the castle in 1334.

In 1855, the old medieval cemetery was used to bury the 44 victims of a cholera epidemic. There is a plaque, in their memory, on the outside wall of the church.

The castle has been the site of archeological excavations for years, with many important finds. Some parts of the walls remain intact.


The castle was owned by the Lupari family who swore to the City of Lucca to guard the Apennines against enemy invasion.

When war broke out between the Florentines and Lucchesi in 1334, Lupo Lupari deceived the Lucchese who, in turn, travelled to Benabbio to punish Lupo. They claimed the castle and the Lupari family fled to Bologna. However, legend has it that Lupo is buried in a tunnel accessible from the existing well.


Launceston Castle

Following our adventure in Britain, our plan was to relocate to Tasmania and rent a house in Launceston while we searched for a property of our own. Little did we know, in the early 19th century, Launceston had been given the name of the town in Cornwall (although there it is pronounced ‘lawn-sten’). Known as the Gateway to Cornwall, Launceston is just across the border from Devon and so, to control the river crossing, a castle was built soon after the Norman Conquest of 1066.

2.Launceston Castle

Originally a wooden structure, the castle is set high on a grassy mound and was replaced with a circular stone keep in the 12th century.

3.Launceston Castle

We wandered around the castle, marvelling at the stonework from so long ago.

4.Launceston Castle6.Launceston Castle7.Launceston Castle8.Launceston Castle9.Launceston castle

The views across the town and the Tamar Valley were breathtaking.


From the top, the remains of the moat are evident.


By the middle of the 17th century, after the Civil War, the castle was virtually in ruins

16.Launceston Castle17.Launceston Castle

and large parts of the wall are now missing.


In the 19th century, the castle area was landscaped and turned into a public park.

19.Launceston Castle

We ended our perfect day with a pint at the Bell Inn, a three storey 15th century Inn reputed to be the oldest public house in Launceston.

20.The Bell Inn

It doesn’t get much better than that.