Edward I: Where History Happened

What are the most interesting sites linked to Edward I?

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If you're wondering 'where did Edward I live?' Or you want to find our more about the places that this famous English King spent his life then we can help you follow in the footsteps of this iconic figure and visit sites that relate to his life. There's a host of absolutely incredible Edward I sites to visit to visit and among the very best are Denbigh Castle, Harlech Castle and Beaumaris Castle. If you’re planning a trip to explore sites relating to Edward I but are short on time, then these famous places are probably your best bet. But if you do have a more flexible itinerary then at the very least Conwy Castle, Caernarfon Castle and Bothwell Castle should all be on your list. To begin your journey exploring the Edward I sites to visit you can view our editor’s selection of top picks below.

1. Beaumaris Castle

Beaumaris Castle is a striking medieval castle on the Isle of Anglesey built by King Edward I. Begun in 1295, this was the last of the king’s ring of castles which he commissioned to affirm his rule over Wales. Designed to be the largest of this imposing circle, Beaumaris was never actually completed. Today, the picturesque ruins offer a glimpse into its real and potential grandeur. Together with three of Edward’s other Welsh strongholds, Beaumaris Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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2. Harlech Castle

Harlech Castle is a dramatic medieval stronghold and one of a ring of imposing castles built by Edward I in his conquest of Wales. The castle would later play a role in the Wars of the Roses, when it was laid siege by the Yorkists and eventually taken from the Lancastrians. This event was the inspiration for the song Men of Harlech.

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3. Conwy Castle

Constructed under the orders of King Edward I of England, Conwy Castle is the medieval military masterpiece of architect James of St. George. Later, Conwy would be the subject of a siege by the Welsh and would be garrisoned in several conflicts over the centuries. With imposing towers and turrets and its position over the Conwy estuary, Conwy Castle remains a picturesque site.

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4. Caernarfon Castle

Caernarfon Castle is an imposing medieval stronghold built by English King, Edward I. Grand and commanding, Caernarfon was an impressive mix of fort, royal home and seat of political power. Through the centuries the castle has fared well, remaining in a good state of preservation and standing today very much as it would have hundreds of years ago. The castle also continued to play host to important events, including the investiture of Prince Charles as the Prince of Wales in 1969.

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5. Bothwell Castle

Bothwell Castle is a stunning ruined medieval stronghold near Glasgow and one of the most celebrated of its kind. In 1301 Edward I laid siege to Bothwell with a force of almost seven thousand men and eventually succeeded in conquering the castle. In 1362, Bothwell Castle passed to the aristocratic Black Douglas family by marriage and they rebuilt it, forming the basis of what visitors can explore today.

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6. Caerlaverock Castle

Standing strong on the Scottish border, Caerlaverock Castle is in many ways a symbol of the divisions that for so many years tore England and Scotland apart. Due to its strategic location, Caerlaverock was often central to the on-going rivalry and warfare which took place between the two crowns. In the early 14th century Caerlaverock was besieged and captured by King Edward I, as he led his armies against Scotland. Despite holding off an initial assault, the small Scottish garrison could do little once Edward turned his siege machines against the fortress and it was captured within two days. Today Caerlaverock stands in the centre of picturesque countryside and is celebrated for its beauty.

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7. Rhuddlan Castle

Rhuddlan Castle was one of the iron ring of strongholds built by Edward I in his conquest of Wales. Construction of Rhuddlan Castle began in 1277 and it was built in a concentric style. Today the pretty ruins of Rhuddlan Castle are open to the public.

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8. Acton Burnell Castle

Frequented by Edward I on several occasions, the picturesque Acton Burnell Castle is a ruined English fortified Manor near Shrewsbury. When constructed, the castle had walls standing up to 40ft high, with three-storey towers at each corner. Today, Acton Burnell Castle lies in ruins, having been slowly abandoned through the middle ages and finally replaced altogether by the nearby 19th century Acton Burnell Hall. Made up of partially-preserved red sandstone walls, the site is a picturesque shell which makes for a peaceful, atmospheric visit.

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9. Scone Palace

Scone Palace was once the coronation site of the Kings of Scotland and now operates as an historic house and garden. Located on the banks of the Tay, and only a short distance from Perth, Scone Palace was the traditional resting place of the Stone of Scone. The stone, sometimes referred to as the Stone of Destiny, has a history as varied as the Palace itself. It was removed from Scotland by Edward I in 1296 and was housed in Westminster Abbey until 1996, when it was finally returned to Scotland. Whilst the Stone of Scone no longer exists at Scone Palace but rather at Edinburgh Castle, its place in history is far from over, having been used in the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

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10. Denbigh Castle

Denbigh Castle is one of the ring of castles built by King Edward I in order to establish his dominance over Wales. Edward invaded Wales in 1277, defeating its leader, Llywelyn ap Gruffydd and then proceeded to encircle it with imposing castles. Despite being in a ruined state, Denbigh is a pretty castle ruin which dominated the local skyline and is very much worth seeing. Today, the ruins form a dramatic sight and the remains still have discernible curtain walls and a well preserved gatehouse. 

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Full list of Edward I Sites

There are also some additional lesser-known sites relating to Edward I and we'll be expanding this list over time to bring you even more places to visit.

Although we’ve tried our hardest to list every sites linked to the life of King Edward I of England, it’s possible that a few slipped through the net… If you’ve noticed a site that we’ve missed, you can submit them to us by dropping us a note via our contact us page.