Cardigan Castle

Top choice in Ceredigion

Cardigan Castle holds an important place in Welsh culture, having been the venue for the first competitive National Eisteddfod, held in 1176 under the aegis of Lord Rhys ap Gruffydd. Neglected for years, it's sprung from the ashes via a multimillion-pound refurbishment and now stands as a major centre of local Welsh culture, with permanent exhibitions on the castle, Cardigan and the Eisteddfod, live performances, language classes, festivals and more taking place within its hollowed-out walls.

Kids and mammal-lovers will get a kick out of 'bat-cam' – a live feed from the colony of greater horseshoe bats that squats in the medieval cellar beneath the handsome Georgian house that now dominates the grounds. Below the main buildings are the 2-acre Regency Gardens, where many rare and archaic plants are among the 130 species cultivated. Last, there's a restaurant, and pleasant accommodation in the castle's old stables and other outbuildings. Bed-and-breakfast doubles start at £90, or £420 per week for self-catering.