Llawhaden Castle

About Llawhaden Castle

A fortified Bishops Palace rather than a castle, but impressively located on high ground overlooking The Vale of the Eastern Cleddau. This would have been a grand residence rather than a more functional fortification, but very castle like in appearance.


  • Most likely, Llawhaden began as an earth and timber castle in the 12th century, the prize of the Norman Bishop Bernard.
  • The defences were refortified with stone, in response to a siege led by the Welshman, the Lord Rhys, in the late 12th century.
  • In the 13th century, Bishop Thomas Bek (1280-93) established and expanded the village, added the hall block, with its kitchen and stone-vaulted undercrofts, and the bishop's elaborately adorned chambers above.
  • During the next century, the bishops added the twin-towered gatehouse, the most impressive structure at Llawhaden Castle.
  • At the same time, a fine range of domestic buildings was added on the southern side of the castle including apartments and a chapel.
  • After the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 16th century, Llawhaden was abandoned.
  • It is now managed by CADW, the Welsh historic buildings agency.


  • The impressive shell of the gatehouse.
  • The outer wall to the south side is fairly complete and includes a modern staircase to access the battlements for superb views.
  • The inner keep is mostly grass.
  • There are some rooms and partially vaulted undercrofts to explore.
  • Nearby are the remains of the chapel of Llawhaden hospital, founded in 1287 by bishop Thomas Beck.

Facilities: Small free parking area near the castle.

Open: All Year. No Charge.

Additional Information

Open from December to December.