£5m Caernarfon Castle conservation project completed

Image: Caernarfon Castle, Wales, UK

A new rooftop deck allowing views not seen for a centuries, and an artistic interpretation shedding light on the Welsh community within the castle are among improvements

A three year conservation project at the gatehouse of Wales’ most famous castle is now complete, and will provide access to areas of the castle not seen close-up for centuries.

Cadw, the historic environment service of the Welsh Government announced the completion of the conservation and development project at Caernarfon Castle’s principal gatehouse today.

A £5 million investment sees the addition of a rooftop deck and new flooring in the gatehouse towers. The new deck will provide views from the upper embattlements on the rooftop deck, previously unseen by visitors for more than 100 years.

The project also sees the installation of a lift that allows access for all to these upper levels, which Cadw said is a first for any similar UK World Heritage site.

Also new is an artistic interpretation focusing on the theme ‘the hands that built the Castle’, which presents the story of the castle from a different perspective, encouraging visitors to re-think how they perceive the site’s royal history.

Gwilym Hughes, Head of Cadw, said the interpretation will focus “on the community and workers of the Castle, whose stories are often footnotes rather than the focus of historical interpretation.

The rooftop designs by Buttress Architects

“This new interpretation will demonstrate the skill and knowledge that went into building the castle that is now a World Heritage Site. It also provides a context that will allow a fuller understanding of a time of intense conflict between the indigenous Welsh princes and the English monarchy.”

A new catering offer, educational and retail spaces, and accessible visitor facilities have also been included in the works. The scheme is supported by the Welsh Government and by £1.04 million from the European Regional Development Fund through the Tourism Attractor Destination Programme, managed by Visit Wales.

Dawn Bowden MS, Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, said: “Making our historic sites more accessible is a fantastic — and necessary — way of caring for Wales’ historical monuments for the benefit of present and future generations.

“Enhancement projects like this one ensures that everybody can access Welsh history and learn more about the nation’s heritage. Cadw’s new interpretation will further support this, inviting visitors to discover the lesser-known stories of the castle’s history.”