Bath Tower

Caernarfon, Gwynedd

This is one of the towers of the medieval town wall, facing the Menai Strait. Here you can have your cake and eat it – the sea at your feet in front and the pleasures of an interesting town behind you.

  • CotCot
  • Fire or StoveFire or Stove
  • Open SpaceOpen Space
  • Bath with ShowerBath with Shower
  • MicrowaveMicrowave

Beds 1 Double, 1 Triple room

  • Sleeps 5
  • 4 nights from £271
  • equivalent to £13.55 per person, per night

Looking out across the Strait

This is one of eight towers, built in the late 13th century by Edward I, in Caernarfon’s fortified walls to protect the town and secure its strategic position at the mouth of the Menai Strait. More recently, the tower was part of a Public Bath House, built in 1823 to attract tourists to the town. The present living-room was perhaps a Reading Room. Its two great windows look along the outside of the town wall in one direction, and across the Strait in the other.

Just sky and battlements

Entered either along a narrow alley from the street behind or from the sea wall itself, the tower had been empty for a long time when we bought it. The character, and inevitably sometimes the temperature, of its spacious rooms are stamped by the thick curve of its rough-hewn sandstone walls. Below the sitting-room, reached by a steep spiral stair, there is a very large room in which you can sleep like soldiers of the Edwardian garrison. But if there are only two of you, you can sleep in seclusion at the top of the tower, with just the sky and the battlements for company.

Floor Plan

‘Please may we take with us the views from the lounge windows?’

‘A special place, beautifully kept and very elegant. We’d change nothing.’

From the logbook

Map & local info

The Bath Tower, set in the medieval town wall of Caernarfon, looks out across the Menai Strait in one direction and towards Caernarfon Castle in the other. Explore the bustling, market town of Caernarfon on foot with a walk that will take you past the Castle and Segontium, the remains of a Roman fort.

The sandy beach at Dinas Dinlle, less than 10 miles from Caernarfon, is popular with watersports enthusiasts.

Escape to the tranquillity of Parc Glynllifon where you can stroll along woodland paths to admire the rare trees, plants, follies and sculptures in the extensive grounds. The delightful gardens of Plas Newydd House, set on the shores of the Menai Straits and with stunning views of Snowdonia, are another lovely place for a peaceful walk.

The Snowdon Mountain Railway will take you on a spectacular trip to the top of the highest peak in England and Wales, an adventure not to be missed. The Llanberis Lake Railway is another fun trip on a narrow guage steam railway that takes you along the shores of Llyn Padarn.

Close by is Oriel Ynys Mon, Penrhyn Castle and the National Slate Museum. You can gain free entry to all with a National Art Pass, which enables its 122,000 holders to enjoy free and discounted entry to over 225 museums, galleries and historic houses throughout the UK. The pass is presented by one of Landmark's partners, the Art Fund, the national fundraising charity for art, which has been supporting museums and galleries for over 110 years by helping them to buy and display great works of art for everyone to enjoy. Income raised through the National Art Pass goes straight back into their charitable programme. Find more about it on the ArtFund's website http://www.artfund.org/

For more information on things to do during your stay at The Bath Tower, please see our Pinterest page. 

Please Note: The Landmark Trust does not take any responsibility and makes no warranties, representations or undertakings about the content of any website accessed by hypertext link. Links should not be taken as an endorsement of any kind. The Landmark Trust has no control over the availability of the linked pages.

Bath Tower
Caernarfon, Gwynedd
Clear directions

‘ Please may we take with us the views from the lounge windows?’

‘A special place, beautifully kept and very elegant. We’d change nothing.’

From the logbook

Your questions answered

    What you need to know about this building

  • Does the property allow dogs?

    No.
  • How is the property accessed?

    Directly from the main road.
  • What is the nearest railway station and how far away is it?

    Bangor – 10 miles
  • Is there car parking specifically for Landmark guests?

    No – there is on street parking in the surrounding roads. There are steps from street level up to the entrance to the property.
  • What type of heating does the property have?

    There are electric night storage heaters and a smokeless fuel stove.
  • How can I get fuel for the open fire or stove?

    Unfortunately, there is currently no arrangement for the purchase and delivery of fuel, however details of local sources will be provided with your order confirmation.
  • What are the kitchen facilities?

    The kitchen is fully equipped with all plates, cutlery, fridge etc.
    There is also an electric cooker.
  • What are the bathroom facilities?

    There is one bathroom with a shower over the bath. There is an additional wc.
  • Does this Landmark have steep, narrow or spiral stairs?

    The stairs in the property are steep, spiral and narrow.
  • Is there a garden or outside space?

    There is a roof terrace.
  • Can I access the roof?

    Yes,  but we would ask that care is taken in inclement weather and that children are supervised when on the roof.

    Booking and Payment

  • What happens if I can’t get to the Landmark due to bad weather?

    If the weather is bad, please contact our booking office who will be able to tell you whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to prepare it then we consider that it is open and available for guests. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, depending on what we have available. It may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking. If the building is accessible but the customer cannot travel due to poor weather in his/her local area then please be aware that Landmark will not provide a refund. However the customer may be able to claim on his/her own travel insurance. We recommend that all guests take out travel insurance when they first secure a booking.
  • How can I pay?

    We accept Maestro (if issued in the UK), Visa, MasterCard, direct transfer and sterling cheques drawn on a UK bank. Cheques should be made payable to the Landmark Trust except for Lundy stays and boat/helicopter tickets which should be payable to The Lundy Company Ltd. All payments must be in sterling.
  • How do I create an account?

    If you have not used the Landmark online booking facility before and you wish to register in advance, you can set up an on-line account by following the instructions below:

    Go to the Landmark home page and click on Gift shop (located at the top of the home page in red).

    Select a gift (e.g. Landmark Handbook or Anniversary Mug) and complete the ‘Amount required’ box. There is no need to complete the purchase but this step is necessary in order to bring up the registration page.

    Click ‘Next Step’ at the bottom of the page.

    This will bring you to the ‘Your details’ page.

    Please complete all the fields (name, address, contact details and create an account). Click on the green ‘Create Account’ button once you have finished.

    At the top of the page headed ‘Your details’ there will be a grey box saying ‘Signed in’ and underneath this it will say ‘you are currently signed in as ….

    Here you will also have the option to ‘Sign out’. Please do so and that is your registration completed.

    Please return to the Landmark home page.

    To check your registration or update your account details at any time please ‘Sign in’ using the icon in the top right-hand corner of the home page.

    If you experience any problems in registering or setting up your on-line account please contact [email protected]
  • How do I pick up the key?

    There are various arrangements for picking up keys. To arrange to get into the Landmark, please contact the housekeeper at least two days before your stay
  • Can I pay a deposit?

    If your stay starts more than three months from the date you make the booking, you are required to pay a deposit of one third of the cost of your stay (or £100 per booking, if greater) at the time of booking. Camping on Lundy must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • How can I cancel or change my booking?

    If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • Do you accept payment in other currencies?

    At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • What if I arrive late?

    Please let the housekeeper know if you are going to arrive late and s/he will leave a key for you in a suitable place.
  • How far in advance do I need to book?

    It depends. Some of our most popular Landmarks are booked up a long time in advance, but many can be booked at short notice. We will always have Landmarks free for the coming weekend so it’s always worth checking our availability list.
  • Do you have to be a member to book a Landmark?

    No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • Do I need a Handbook to be able to book?

    No, all the information you need can be found on our website, although we’d like you to buy one anyway as it will be a pleasure to own!

    Staying at a Landmark

  • Are Landmarks accessible for people with disabilities or limited mobility?

    Some of our Landmarks are suitable for people with disabilities or limited mobility. However, many Landmarks have steep or narrow staircases, uneven floors and thresholds, changes of level, low ceilings or beams, as well as indistinct colours on steps and in corridors. We recommend that you call Booking Enquiries on 01628 825925 if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.
  • Are Landmarks only available as self-catering accommodation?

    Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • Do you provide catering?

    Landmark does not provide catering, but we can recommend Greycoat Lumleys who can arrange for expert and well-trained staff to cater for one evening or for your entire holiday. Their cooks and chefs are able to work with you to meet your specific requirements
  • Do you allow dogs?

    You may bring up to two dogs to properties where dogs are allowed (please see specific property details for exemptions however dogs are not permitted on Lundy except assistance dogs). They must be kept off the furniture and under proper control.
  • Can I bring a pet?

    Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • Am I insured if I break something?

    We do not carry insurance for breakages. However we appreciate that accidents do sometimes happen. If you have a breakage during your stay, please let the housekeeper know and if appropriate we reserve the right to invoice you accordingly.
  • Are Landmarks suitable for children?

    Yes, most of our Landmarks are perfect for children, with gardens to play in and secret places to discover. Our furniture is surprisingly robust and we positively encourage families to stay. However, some of our buildings may not be suitable for small children; for example, some of them have steep or uneven spiral staircases. We recommend that you call the Booking Enquiries team if you would like to find out the suitability of any of our Landmarks for young children.
  • Can I get married in a Landmark?

    Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • Can I hold a big party in a Landmark?

    All our larger Landmarks are perfect for gatherings of family or friends. You may invite an additional two guests to visit you during your stay, however they must not stay overnight. This is very important because our fire regulations specifically note the maximum number of people in any one building. In addition our properties are prepared, furnished and equipped for the number of people specified and greater numbers cause damage and excessive wear and tear to vulnerable buildings. Should this condition be ignored we shall make a retrospective charge per person per day (whether or not they stay overnight) for each guest over the permitted limit, the charge being pro-rated on the total cost of your booking.
  • Are there televisions in the buildings?

    We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • Why are your access tracks sometimes difficult?

    One of the challenges of restoring unloved buildings is gaining access to them. We frequently have to negotiate rights with our neighbours and share tracks with them. In many cases tracks do not belong to us and we have no right to maintain them. Wherever possible we work with our neighbours to provide you with a good quality surface, but where this is a problem then you will be warned at the time of booking.
  • Will there be sockets for my electrical appliances?

    Yes, we have standard electricity sockets for UK appliances. If you are coming from outside the UK, you will need to bring your own adaptor plug(s).

    Facilities

  • Are the kitchens and bathrooms restored to a modern standard?

    Sometimes our kitchens and bathrooms have to be imaginatively fitted into the available space in buildings where before there were none, but they are all planned and equipped to a high and modern standard.
  • Is linen provided?

    Yes, Landmarks are fully equipped with sheets and towels. All the beds are fully made up for your arrival.
  • Are the kitchens fully equipped?

    Yes, our kitchens are well equipped with cookers and fridges. There are freezers and dishwashers (in larger buildings) and, where space allows, microwaves as well as a wide and standard range of utensils. A full equipment list is available at time of booking.
  • Do you provide logs for the open fire/stove?

    Logs are provided at many of our Landmarks for an additional cost.
  • Will there be a mobile signal in the Landmark I book?

    Mobile coverage varies. Some Landmarks have an excellent signal, but others have none at all. If you are concerned, you can check with the housekeeper before your arrival.
  • Is there Wi-Fi in your buildings?

    No. At the moment, we have decided not to implement Wi-Fi in our buildings following a consultation with our customers. Many said that they would find it useful, but many also felt that it would somehow damage the experience of staying in a Landmark. As the responses were so split, and as we have so many other initiatives requiring funding, we have decided to put this on hold for the time being.
  • What should I bring with me? Are there lavatory rolls, soap, shampoo, milk, teabags, coffee, hairdryer?

    A welcome tray with tea and sugar awaits your arrival and you will find a pint of milk in the fridge. We also provide lavatory rolls and a bar of soap, per basin but no other toiletries. We do not provide hairdryers.

Building a castle in Caernarfon in 13th century

When Edward I came to build his castle at Caernarfon in the late 13th century he would have been aware of the legend which establishes the city as the seat of Imperial power in the Welsh imagination. So instead of a castle of simple limewashed rubble walls like Conway or Harlech, Edward commanded his Master of the King’s Works, James of St George, to design 'a great castle (with) many great towers of various colours.'

In the Welsh classic, the Mabinogian, Macsin Wledig has a dream in which he 'could see a great castle, the fairest that mortal had ever seen.' In reality Macsin Wledig was the Roman Emperor Magnus Maximus who ruled for a few years after 383 AD and married Elen, a British princess. As part of her maiden fee she demanded three strongholds 'And she chose that the most exalted stronghold should be made for her in Arfon, and soil from Rome was brought there so that it might be healthier for the Emperor to sleep and sit and move about.'

When Edward I came to build his castle at Caernarfon in the late 13th century he would have been aware of this legend which establishes the city as the seat of Imperial power in the Welsh imagination. So instead of a castle of simple limewashed rubble walls like Conway or Harlech, Edward commanded his Master of the King’s Works, James of St George, to design 'a great castle (with) many great towers of various colours.' The polygonal towers and the bands of different coloured dressed stone were intended to recall the image of Constantinople. By invoking these legends Edward intended to establish his own centre of government in Wales as a direct and legitimate successor to the ancient Imperial power, and at the same time use this authority to impress his rulership indelibly on the minds of the conquered people.

The town walls were built at the same time as the castle and most of the masonry was complete by 1285, although significant work was required only ten years later after parts had been 'thrown down' by the Welsh. The walls now stand practically as built, with only a few later openings and alterations to the towers. There are two main twin-towered gateways, and eight bastions - half towers originally open at the back. The encircling wall-walk would have been carried over on bridges.  This survival of the walls is remarkable and is due at least in part to the poverty of Caernarfon in the 17th and 18th centuries which meant that it did not need to expand through or over them.

In about 1800 the Corporation set about renovating their dilapidated town. Some new gates were pierced through the walls, including the church gate, and St Mary’s church was rebuilt.  During the 19th century, with the great expansion of population caused by the slate industry, houses were built against the walls, inside and out, so that they almost disappeared from view. In the 20th century many of these buildings were cleared to leave open space around the outside, and in places, inside as well. The result is one of the most complete survivals of a fortified medieval borough in Europe.

When Speed produced his map of Caernarfon in 1610, Bath Tower was still in its original open state, backing onto what looks like a formal garden, which were the grounds of a famous mansion called Plas Isaf. This house had gone by the end of the 18th century and its grounds continued as an open space until the Marquis of Anglesey built a Public Bath House in 1823 to help attract tourists. It is from this that the tower gets its name. This establishment was described as 'replete with every accommodation - hot, cold and shower baths, supplied with sea water by an engine, and furnished with every requisite appendage.' It also included a news room, museum, billiard room and concert room/theatre.

However the success of the Baths must have been limited because in 1856 they were obtained by the Bishops of Bangor and St Asaph for use by the North Wales Training College. Bath Tower had probably already been enclosed and annexed to the Baths by this time. The upper room with its large windows and fine views perhaps being used as a reading or writing room for its patrons. The College used the Tower as a pantry for such purposes as cleaning knives and shoes. In 1871 the upper room was adapted by the College for use as a chapel and the stained glass was inserted.

Ten years later there was a serious fire and the College moved to Bangor. The Baths now become the first County School in Wales, opening in 1894. The Bishops sold Bath Tower separately to a surgeon, John Williams who converted it into a dwelling. Unfortunately he died a year later, but his wife lived on until 1907. 

To read more about the history of Bath Tower please click here.

18 inches out of true

The Bath Tower was one of Landmark’s earliest restorations, bought from John Williams’ descendants in 1967. It had been empty for some time, and on inspection by our architect, L Beddall Smith, was found to be suffering from subsidence. The wall on the quay side was leaning so severely that at the top it was 18 inches out of true! Underneath the Tower was a cavity big enough for a man to crouch in. To stabilise the whole building and provide firm foundations, cement was grouted in to a depth of twenty feet.

All this meant that the floor to the dungeon had to be taken up and it was decided to relay it with slate slabs instead of the red quarry tiles it had had before. The entrance from the back at ground floor level was replaced with a window.

On the next two floors the fireplaces were taken out and the masonry cleaned and re-pointed. On the first floor, a bathroom was removed to leave the actual bastion as one space - now the dormitory.

The same was achieved on the second floor by fitting all the services into the Victorian part at the back. This necessitated the removal of the staircase from the north to the south side. A kitchen, which was in an adjoining building stuck onto the north side, was removed and replaced by the terrace. New oak boards were laid in the sitting room.

On the top floor the pitched roof was very unsatisfactory and leaked so badly that it and the chimneys were removed. The slates were later used for the roof of another Landmark building - Ty Coch at Rhiwddolion, near Betws-y-coed. The flat roof which replaced it not only formed a terrace, but also gave enough room to build the top bedroom without it showing above the battlements. The battlements were partly rebuilt with new stone copings instead of the previous cement ones.

Since the original work was done in 1967, improvements were carried out in 1997 when a wood burning stove was added to the sitting room, and all the previously bare stone walls limewashed, resulting in a warmer and lighter building. An oak screen has also been introduced to the dormitory to separate it from the basement stairs. Of the bastion towers that were turned into dwellings in the 18th or 19th centuries, Bath Tower is now the only one that remains so, which makes it more than just a curiosity and gives it an importance beyond that of its own charm and situation. It is vital that it should not only be preserved, but properly lived in and enjoyed.

In 2008 the roof was re-lined to address the problem of water seepage into the outer walls.  Further works were carried out during spring 2010 to re-point the external stone work, which we hope over time will reduce the water stains on the limewashed walls of the sitting room.

Select a changeover day to start your booking...

What's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?Explain MoreQuestion

A changeover day is a particular day of the week when holidays start and end at our properties. These tend to be on a Friday or a Monday but can sometimes vary. All stays run from one changeover day until another changeover day.