Castles of Edward I North Wales History School Trips - 1 & 2-Day Tours

Following two extremely expensive campaigns in North Wales between 1277 & 1282, Edward I embarked on the most ambitious & expensive military engineering project of the Middle Ages.  His Iron Ring  of castles at Conwy, Harlech, Caernarfon & Beaumaris could be resupplied by sea & each was supported by a walled township of English settlers.  Whilst consolidating English military and political authority in Wales, the enormous burden placed on the royal finances forced Edward to summon what became known as the Model Parliament of 1295.
This tour will also be of interest to GCSE groups studying AQA: Paper 2 Section B Medieval England – the reign of Edward I, 1272–1307 (specified site for Historic Environment study 2019 – Caernarfon Castle) and the OCR unit ‘Castles: Form and Function c.1000–1700’. We also offer a version of the tour for schools in Wales studying Unit 3C Development of Warfare 1250 to present day with particular reference to Harlech Castle.

For sixth form groups studying the WJEC GCE Specification Unit 3 Option 1 - Wales: Resistance, Conquest and Rebellion c1240-1415 we can offer a dedicated itinerary which includes not only three of the great Edwardian castles but also one of those connected to the Welsh princes and a visit to the Canolfan Owain Glyndŵr, Machynlleth built on the site of the famous parliament held in 1404 at which Owain was crowned.

Schools looking for a broader coverage of KS3 topics may find our Medieval Life & Faith & flexible Humanities tours to Chester & North Wales of interest. These allow a flexible combination of venues to be selected to suit the needs of each school. As well as the four great Edwardian castles options include Plas Mawr (Tudor town house), Chester Cathedral and medieval city centre, Valle Crucis Abbey, Holywell & Basingwerk Abbey ruins.

We can tailor your tour to cover your students' specific learning objectives. Please ask to speak to one of our team to discuss your requirements.   




One-Day Tour (for schools within approximately 120 miles of North Wales)

  Caernarfon Castle Eagle Tower



  • School pick-up (no earlier than 06.00 hours) & travel to North Wales Visits include:
  • Conwy Castle: first castle of the Iron Ring 
  • Caernarfon Castle: administrative centre
  • Alternative visits: Harlech or Beaumaris Castle
  • Tasks & fieldwork activities provided
  • Optional activity: take the Mount Snowdon Railway to the summit of the highest mountain in Wales • visit the Great Orme Copper Mines in Llandudno • visit the summit of the Great Orme  
  • Return to school with evening drop-off (time dependent on school location)




Two-Day Tour (for schools between 120 & 280 miles from North Wales)

  • Day 1:  School pick-up (earliest 06.00 hours) & travel to North Wales
  • Lunch-time in Llandudno & afternoon visit to:
  • Conwy Castle: first castle of the Iron Ring
  • Caernarfon Castle: administrative centre
  • Tasks & fieldwork activities provided
  • Optional activity: visit the Great Orme Copper Mines in Llandudno (additional fee applies)
  • Check-in at accommodation & evening meal
  • Day 2:  Depart after breakfast to visit:
  • Harlech or Beaumaris Castle
  • Tasks & fieldwork activities provided
  • Optional activity: take the Mount Snowdon Railway to the summit of the highest mountain in Wales • visit the summit of the Great Orme (additional fee applies) 
  • Return to school with evening drop-off (time dependent on school location)


Add an Extra Day.... 

  • With an extra day you can include further investigations and/or fun activities or
  • Combine with another department. We also have a Snowdonia Geography tour
  • Two nights' half-board accommodation
  • Our advice: Including some fun activities can help you sell the tour to your students especially if you have competition from other subjects
  • Combine with another department: This can make the tour viable if you have low numbers 


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Conwy Castle
Caernarfon Castle
Beaumaris Castle Great Hall







Conwy Castle   Caernarfon Castle Inner Ward  




Conwy was constructed between 1283 and 1289. It was the first of the chain of castles - known as the Iron Ring - built by Edward I to secure control over North Wales. In the winter of 1294-95 it withstood a siege by Madog ap Llewelyn. The walled town of Conwy was founded as a centre of English influence.


This massive castle was the administrative headquarters for Edward I's government in North Wales. The architect was Edward's master builder, James of St George. Its walls are said to be modelled on those of Constantinople. The castle and town were briefly captured during the 1294 rebellion before the castle's walls had been completed. 




Harlech Castle
Beaumaris Castle
Harlech Castle Gatehouse   Beaumaris Castle  


Harlech is considered one of the finest examples of medieval military architecture in Europe. Built of local stone, it is concentric in design with a huge gatehouse. Of the £80,000 that Edward spent on castle-building, Harlech accounted for roughly 10% of the costs; an enormous amount for the period.   Symmetrical in its groundplan, Beaumaris is a fine example of a concentric castle. It was built to control the Menai Straits but was never completed due to lack of funds. As with all Edward's castles, a walled English settlement was also established; a concept reminiscent of the bastides of Gascony.   
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Outward Journey / Pre-Tour
Conwy Castle

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  • Henry III & his barons
  • Simon de Montfort's rebellion
  • Battles of Lewes & Evesham

  • Edward military experience
  • Welsh Revolt of 1277
  • Edward I's campaign in Wales

  • First phase of castle building
  • Llywelyn ap Gruffyd's rebellion
  • The campaign of 1282-83




North Wales

  • Edward's Iron Ring of castles
  • Statute of Rhuddlan
  • Location of Edward's Castles
  • James of St George
  • Medieval warfare & technology
  • Weapons & armour
  • Castle design & key features
  • Castles & military control
  • Castles & administrative control
  • Walled townships (Bastides)
  • English colonisation in Wales
  • Social & economic impact
  • Madog's rebellion, 1294-95
  • Welsh capture of Caernarfon
  • Sieges of Harlech & Conwy
  • Relief of Conwy by sea
  • Royal power reasserted
  • Cultural & political impact

Return Journey / Post-Tour

  • The Royal Finances
  • Model Parliament, 1295
  • Edward I's legacy
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Study Materials Relevant to Your GCSE/National Curriculum KS3
  Conwy Castle Inner Ward

Our study materials are designed by teachers with examining experience.  When you book with us, you will receive a copy of both our student study packs & teachers' notes, free of charge.  You can:

  • use our study materials exclusively
  • use your own study materials
  • use a combination of your own & our materials

The Student Pack Includes


The Teacher Pack Additionally Includes

  • Factual detail on each location visited as well as background information
  • Maps, illustrations & a time line of events
  • Eye-witness accounts
  • Tasks, activities & discussion points to provide a focus for each location visited
  • Further guidance notes giving a broader context to each visit
  • A curriculum matrix linking each location to assessments objectives
  • Mark schemes for written tasks

Integrate with Your Scheme of Work

  Study Materials:  Skills & Concepts  
  • Introductory materials can be used on tour or as part of your pre-tour preparation
  • Study materials are also suitable for post-tour follow-up
  • Knowledge, recall & comprehension 
  • Historical concepts
  • Understanding, analysis & evaluation of evidence
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Our Guides


  Harlech Castle Gatehouse







We believe a study tour is an educational experience best delivered by people with a knowledge and understanding of the educational system & culture. You can discuss learning aims & objectives with your guide so that the tour meets your requirements.

  • Our guides are former teachers, excellent communicators & have examining experience.
  • They have organised tours themselves so understand the demands placed on accompanying staff.
  • They have an enthusiasm for imparting knowledge & ideas & engaging with young minds.


Steve Clarke, BA (Hons), PGCE



Steve is a former Head of Humanities & prior to retiring was an Assistant Head. Steve joined Galina in 2010, having led school groups as a client for a number of years. His experience includes battlefield tours to the Western Front, RS tours to the Netherlands & a range of UK tours.

Steve has 30 years' teaching experience in secondary schools in Hull.

"As always, Steve, our guide, tailored the tour to suit our needs & adapted his information & stops to meet our requests. Excellent – we have always been very satisfied with the service provided.”

Merchant Taylors' Girls School, Liverpool

  Steve Clarke  


Selected & Trained by Galina 

  • We have our own training programme to ensure consistently high standards.
  • Our guides up-to-date with current examination specifications & amendments to Key Stage 3.
  • All guides are DBS-checked.
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  YHA Conwy




The accommodation we use regularly is audited following guidelines laid down by the School Travel Forum and incorporated into our Safety Management System.


YHA Conwy


YHA Conwy is situated on a hillside ten minutes' walk from the centre of town. Conwy Castle & town walls are less than a mile from the hostel. The beach is also easily accessible. Llandudno is five miles from Conwy & Caernarfon Castle is 20 miles (or a half-hour drive) away. Nant Ffrancon Valley, Llanberis, Snowdon Mountain Railway, Dinorwig & Electric Mountain are all within 20-25 miles.

YHA Conwy Bedroom

YHA Conwy Dining Room

YHA Conwy Lounge  


  • Capacity for 82 guests in 25 rooms.
  • En-suite facilities
  • Rooms accommodate two to six people
  • Bunk beds
  • Staff accommodated in twin/quad rooms
  • TV lounge
  • Restaurant
  • Bar & lounge area
  • Observation area
  • Roof terrace
  • Garden
  • Games room
  • Meeting room for hire
  • Disabled access
  • Free WiFi
  • Bed linen provided. Take your own towels
  • Coach parking
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  Edward I's Castles
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Marling School, Stroud, Gloucs

"Excellent! Very informative and enjoyable for all."


Mellow Lane School, Hayes, Middlesex

"We had a wonderful time. I was very impressed with the guide's knowledge – he was fantastic. I shall definitely be using Galina again!"


Ardingly College, West Sussex

"Excellent preparations ensured things went very smoothly. Thank you very much."


Lady Margaret School, Parsons Green, London

"Superb drivers – flexible, amenable and well-organised."

  Beaumaris Castle Great Hall
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