Please sign in to post.

Central locations for castle exploration? Wales, Scotland, England, Germany

I'm exploring my options for my 17 days post a London trip. One thing I'm considering is trying to visit as many castles as possible (I have a background in history and warfare, and teach about castles every year), but I don't want to constantly be on the tramp. I would much prefer to be using public transport only - I'll be on my own, so don't really want to do the car rental and navigation on my own. I'm more of a university residence/hostel/B&B type of girl.

Has anyone else ever done this from more central bases, or even experience with using a central base? I'm looking at Northern and Southern Wales (was looking at Bangor in the north, Cardiff in the south), somewhere in Scotland (Edinburgh as a base?), and then perhaps some day trips or moving around in England.

I was also considering Germany, but am not entirely sure that this would be possible without a car rental, as there doesn't seem to be the concentration you get in somewhere like Wales.

I'm not just after castles, but good bases for general exploration. I'm not much of a point to point person, with a new roost every night.

Any opinions or experience with this approach?

Posted by
2193 posts

Your German option is possible by rail. A good home base for Rhine area castle exploration would be either Sankt Goar or Bacharach. From there, one has access to the castles along the Rhine river as well as to Burg Eltz west of there. Also west is the town of Trier - very good Roman ruins. I had a car when in that area and found it easy to visit both Trier and Burg Eltz...Burg Eltz may be a little bit tougher by rail but certainly doable. Further afield, you can access Koln, Wurzburg, and Rothenburg from the Rhine area using rail.

Posted by
77 posts

In 2004 my daughter and I went to Wales and for part of our visit made Bangor our base for 6 days, bought a bus pass and were able to explore Snowdonia, went to Caernarfon, the Isle of Anglesey, Beaumaris,Conwy, and Llandudno... Not much in Llandudno but The Great Orme and especially the Bronze Age Copper Mines were worth the visit.

Posted by
345 posts

Wow, thank you both for that information. What looks doable on paper doesn't always translate, so real experience is incredibly valuable.

I'd already liked the thought of Bangor, so that'll go onto my list. And this means I need to do more German research!

Thank you!!

Anyone done anything similar in Scotland or England?

Posted by
1801 posts

I don't have any experience with public transportation, but have visited lots of UK castles. Kenilworth and Warwick are fairly close together and make a great contrast---a substantial ruin and a completely restored castle. Also, one was a royal castle and the other belonged to a noble. Bodmin Castle in SE England is beautifully moated. Inverness would give you the option of Urqhart on Loch Ness and the possibility of day-trips to Skye for ruined Duntulm and restored Dunvegan. (I also teach about castles every year to 7th graders.)

Posted by
2779 posts

The castles from various centuries are more or less all "consolidated" in the Middle-Rhine gorge. Get a cheap flight from London to Cologne, take a train to Bacharach and explore all the Rhine and Mosel river valley castles by train. There are very affordable day tickets available...