If you’re a regular reader of my blog then you probably know that I love a good castle! During my recent trip to Wales I was determined to visit as many castles as possible – they have more castles per square mile than anywhere else in the world! The first on my list was Caerphilly Castle, which is easily accessible from Cardiff.
Regular trains run between Cardiff and Caerphilly and the journey is about 20 minutes. From Caerphilly station it’s about a 10 minute walk to the castle. If you are driving there are pay and display car parks a few minutes’ walk from the castle, although we managed to find free street parking.
Caerphilly Castle is the largest castle in Wales and the second largest in the United Kingdom, after Windsor Castle. It was constructed by Gilbert de Clare in the 13th century and was one of the earliest castles to use lakes and bridges as a method of defence.
In the late 15th century, it fell into disrepair with the lakes being drained away and the walls robbed of their stone. In the late 1700s the Marquesses of Bute acquired the property and it underwent an extensive restoration. In 1950 the castle and grounds were given to the state and the water defences were re-flooded. The site now operates as a tourist attraction and is managed by the Welsh heritage agency Cadw.
Subsidence and landslide have resulted in cracks in many of the castle towers, but the most visible example of this is the castle’s South Eastern Tower.
Affectionally known as the ‘the Welsh Tower of Pisa’, this Medieval tower has a 10 degree lean and a sculpture of the 4th Marquess of Bute sits at the bottom, appearing to hold up the tower.
The rooms in Caerphilly Castle are unfurnished so there’s not much to see inside but its still fun to explore the castle walls.
From the top level you also get a beautiful view over the rest of the castle and the Welsh countryside.
- Caerphilly Castle is open year round except for the Christmas period and New Years Day.
- Admission to the castle is £7.95 for adults, however if you are looking to visit multiple castles in Wales you might be better off getting a Cadw Explorer Pass. Many historic attractions in Wales are managed by Cadw including Caernarfon Castle, Conwy Castle and Raglan Castle.
- Visiting Caerphilly Castle only takes around half a day so you could also fit in a visit to Raglan Castle or Cardiff Castle on the same day.
Have you been to Caerphilly Castle? What is your favourite castle in Wales?