The seaside resort of Beaumaris, on Anglesey island, is home to beautiful Georgian buildings and Victorian terraces as well as black and white Tudor houses.
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Moated Beaumaris castle is the star of the town and was instrumental in its growth. It was the last castle built in the region as part of Edward I's defenses to keep Wales subdued. The concentric castle, begun in 1295, was never completed and saw action only in the civil war.
The castle has both an inner and outer ring of defense. The inner ward covers ¾ of an acre and is surrounded by six towers and two gatehouses. The castle is a designated World Heritage site. When visiting, don’t miss the exhibition on Edward I’s castles in Wales.
15th century pubs and an early 17th century Court House and a Gaol add to the architectural diversity of the town. On display at the courthouse is a 1614 courtroom and judge’s room. Here you can find out about executions, punishments, and notorious crimes and criminals. The last assize court was held in the building in 1971.
The gaol was built by Hansom in 1829 as a model prison. The last hanging was held in 1862. The prisoner, Richard Rowlands, cursed the church clock opposite when he climbed the scaffold. Visitors can explore the dark corridors, the forbidding punishment and condemned cells, and the treadwheel. On display are the chains and fetters worn by prisoners 100 years ago. The museum shop is stocked with unique souvenirs.
The Museum of Childhood is a bit more uplifting with its displays of toys from the past 150 years in nine different rooms.
The stone built St Mary and St Nicholas church was the original garrison church built in 14th century for Beaumaris castle. Inside are 16th century choir stalls with fine misericords, a 15th century table tomb and the stone coffin of Princess Joan, the illegitimate daughter of King John and wife of Llewelyn the Great.
Beaumaris puts on a number of yearly events, among them festivals, regattas, fairs, firework displays, performances and exhibitions.
The name Beaumaris is a corruption of the Norman-French name Beau Mareys and means ‘fair marsh’. The town sits on the Menai Strait and looks over to the mountains of Snowdonia. With its historical attractions and convenience to watersports, beaches and the rest of the island, it makes for a good holiday base.
On Anglesey, opposite Bangor, Anglesey, off A545
Tel. 0248 810361
Open late March-late Oct, 9.30am-6.30pm daily; rest of year until 4pm; Sat and Sun from 11am-4pm
To see an aerial view of the castle go here: Castles of Wales
At Castle Street, on the A545 at Beaumaris, Anglesey Island.
Tel. 01248 8109211
Open 10:30-5pm daily, Easter to Sep
Steeple Lane at Beaumaris
Tel. 01248 810921
Open Easter to Sep, 10.30am-5pm
Museum of Childhood
1 Castle Street, Beaumaris, Anglesey
Tel. 01248 712 498
Open Easter-end Oct, 10.30am-5.30pm, Sun 12-5pm
Tourist Information Centre located at the village of Llanfairpwll
Tel. 01248 713177
Photos courtesy Wales Tourist Board and by Barbara Ballard