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Preparation is everything… and it’s no different when Cadw is about to embark on one of its largest and most complex projects at Caernarfon Castle. 

After years of planning, work is due to start on Cadw’s ambitious project to transform the main entrance to Caernarfon Castle — the King’s Gate — into an accessible visitor centre. The work will include installing a lift to allow visitors access to a new rooftop deck that will crown the upper level of the gatehouse.

In the interim, and for the first time in over a century, the gatehouse will cease to welcome visitors to the castle. Instead, the main entrance will be through the historic Watergate at the base of the Eagle Tower.

A bespoke ticket office and shop will be temporarily located within the Eagle Tower, but the transfer of these facilities — due to start in November — is expected to take several weeks.

To ease the transition, contemporary and transportable ‘pods’ will be located within the lower ward of the castle to house our custodians, to provide our visitors with a small, bespoke café and to maintain Cadw’s retail operations whilst the works are underway.

The pods, designed by our architects, can be deconstructed and moved by hand in and out of the castle and will be reused at other Cadw monuments in the future. 

This autumn, there will also be archaeological excavations within the castle to establish drainage routes for new, disabled toilet facilities in the basement of the King’s Gate.  

Some initial excavations have already taken place and enhanced our knowledge and understanding of the history of the castle. We now know where floor levels and other archaeological remains lie buried.

Within the main towers of the gatehouse, we have learnt more about the construction and use of the towers and identified the bedrock on which the castle is built. This information will help to inform the design of the new visitor facilities. Some historic floor finishes have also been exposed and these will be preserved.

The castle will remain open throughout this period and guided tours will be available.

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