Travel UK

Cardiff Castle

As you saw from my post last week, I got to spend a glorious weekend in Cardiff as a guest of Visit Wales as a part of the #XmasCardiff campaign. Cardiff Castle is in a word, awesome. Seriously. There’s no two ways about it. It essentially has a history that spans two thousand years back to the Romans. But nowadays it includes a Norman Keep and a gothic Victorian palace (created by one of the world’s wealthiest men.) Also it’s free to wander around- the 4th Marquess of Bute donated it to the City of Cardiff, which was a pretty generous and amazing thing to do. Although I suppose it’s easier to be generous when you have more money than Midas.

I’d allocate at least 2 hours to see everything at Cardiff Castle. A tour of the Victorian palace alone takes about 50 minutes. And it’s worth every minute of that time to gaze at the crazy, over-the-top luxury. There are rich murals, elaborate carvings, complex stained glasses pieces, intricate wood carvings, concealed drawers, stunning terrace features. It’s certainly one of a kind!

It’s also really neat to have the time to stroll through some of the World War II wartime tunnels. Within the walls of Cardiff Castle are tunnels that were turned into air-raid shelters. An estimated 1800 could seek refuge there! If you’re going to explore the Norman Keep, make sure that you are okay with stairs. There are over 50 stairs that take you up to the entrance to the Keep alone and lots more to different viewing platforms above. I’m not scared of heights but even I have to admit that some of the stairs were preposterously narrow and steep; however, it’s totally worth the view at the top!

chandalier  great hall
The 2014 NATO diner banquet was held here in the Great Hall.

hall bomb shelter
One of the tunnels used as air raid shelters in WWII.

hall christmas tree
The castle was decked out to the nines in honour of the upcoming holidays.

A truly fantastic library!

mirror mirrored bedroom celing
Lord Bute’s bedroom in the tower had a mirrored ceiling to encourage religious reflection.

stained classmonster   nursery
A scene that I’d never put in a nursery as art nowadays, but hey ho! The Victorians had a completely different relationship with death so I guess this didn’t terrify the children!

madonna and childroof garden
The rooftop gardens.

normal keep 2
The Norman Keep.

Reflection of the Keep in the moat.

norman keep  towerwalls of cardiff castle
The exterior castle walls.

The trebuchet. Obviously. No home is complete without one!

view  well

winter wonderland from cardiff castle
Views from the top of the Norman Keep.

Cardiff Castle is open from 9 am to 6pm in the summer and till 5 pm in the winter.

Have you ever been inside Cardiff Castle?

This visit took place as part of my trip to Cardiff with Visit Wales as part of their #XmasCardiff campaign.  However, as always, all opinions and photos (unless stated) are my own.  I would recommend this attraction to anyone who is planning a trip to Cardiff.

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