ruthin castle

Photos courtesy of Ruthin Castle








Llywelyn, a prince of northern Wales, was the only Welsh ruler officially recognized by the English as the Prince of Wales. For years he struggled to drive the English out of Welsh territory. When Edward I inherited the crown of England in 1274, Llywelyn refused to attend his coronation or to pay either homage or the annual tribute. Greatly offended by such bad manners, King Edward ordered his troops to invade Wales and seize most of Llywelyn’s land. Edward built a series of castles as part of his plan to conquer and annex Wales, and in 1277 work was begun on Ruthin Castle.

With seven 100-foot-high round towers and eight-foot-thick walls that withstood uprisings, revolts, and the War of the Roses, the castle was once quite impressive. In 1400 Welsh rebels kidnapped one of the de Greys, in whose family Ruthin Castle now belonged. After paying an enormous ransom, the family never recovered financially and sold the castle to the Tudors.

At one time, one of Henry VIII’s illegitimate sons, Henry Fitzroy, owned the castle.

In 1646, when Cromwell ordered that all fortresses in northern Wales be destroyed, Ruthin was the first to go. With supplies brought in through an underground passage, the defenders held on for 11 weeks. The garrison surrendered only when they learned the walls had been mined with gunpowder. Nearly destroyed, a free quarry was set up, and stones and timber from the castle were carted off.

In 1632 Sir Thomas Myddelton bought the property but later abandoned it. In the 19th century, a descendant, Maria Myddleton West, took an interest in the property and rebuilt it, incorporating parts of the old structure with a new castellated building.

Pamela’s Perspective

Ruthin Castle Hotel is slowly undergoing a much needed remodeling. Book one of the newly done rooms to avoid disappointment.


Ruthin Castle

A 13th-century castle


Ruthin, Denbighshire
North Wales CH7 4EW
Tel: ++44 (0)1824 702664
Fax: ++44 (0)1824 705978
Hotel website
Reserve with

Fast facts

62 rooms

Double rooms: £110–160
Suites: from £170–220
Rates include breakfast and VAT

Open: all year

Getting there

Ruthin is about 25 miles west of Chester on A494

What to do

Nearby: hiking; trout and salmon fishing; pony trekking; tennis; golf


Yes. Civil ceremonies booked with reception.


Two pink monumental lions welcome you at the front doorway of this ancient castle.

Inside you’ll find paneled rooms, wood floors, and gold-and-pink molded ceilings. Elegantly appointed, public rooms feature carved wood and stone fireplaces. Oak paneling and leather furniture make the library bar an enjoyable spot to have a drink.

Guest rooms are both large and small and are furnished in both traditional (one has a four-poster bed) and contemporary style. They have views of either the gardens or the ancient battlements.

The castle is currently refurbishing the guest rooms. Some of these new rooms will have working open fireplaces, plasma TVs and large “feature” beds.

Highly regarded cuisine is presented in “Berties Dining Room,” which overlooks the garden. Reservations are essential.

When strolling among the peacocks on the castle’s 50 acres of parkland, it’s hard to believe that Ruthin had such a bloody history. But the dungeons, drowning pool, and whipping pit in the ancient ruins are silent reminders.

Something special

curlicueMedieval banquets