I was back in Cardiff for a week after term ended and I thought I should take advantage of the time to explore the area that I call home. I have actually been to most of the touristy sites around the city but back when I was younger and my memory doesn’t seem to stretch that far back. The Times did an article a few months ago about the best castles in the UK and Caerphilly Castle was listed; seeing as it’s just a few minutes away from us, I figured we should take a little trip to see what all the fuss is about.
Caerphilly Castle has been described as a ‘dormant giant’ because it dominates the small town of Caerphilly (famous for the cheese) and it really adds some character to the otherwise sleepy town. It’s the second largest castle in the UK, second only to Windsor Castle, and was built in the 13th Century; it’s a perfect mix of beautiful ruins and restored masonry. The tower you can see above is angled at 10 degrees, which means it is leaning even more than the Leaning Tower of Pisa!
The Castle itself is surrounded by a moat, home to a large gaggle of geese who act as though they own the place. I didn’t dare go closer to take photos because a) I have a feeling geese might be rather dangerous (or am I just thinking of swans??) and b) the grassy area around there was not particularly pleasant to walk on given how much muck the geese had left lying around…
The surrounding Welsh hills and Caerphilly Mountain add a picturesque backdrop to the Castle; we were lucky to visit on one of Wales’s few dry days so you can get a fairly good idea of how pretty the scenery is. When we visited, there was a wedding party reception who had rented out the Great Hall so unfortunately we didn’t get to see inside but I was happy just wandering the grounds anyway. The couple’s wedding photos will be absolutely stunning and they all seemed to be having a wonderful time!
This last photo just made me laugh a bit. The juxtaposition of the beautiful ruins of the fortress with the modern town (and what better represents modern life than Tesco Metro…?) is just odd. But as I said, Caerphilly Castle is slap-bang in the middle of the town so all life here revolves around it.
If you’re interested in visiting Caerphilly Castle, you should go to the Cadw website for up-to-date admission times and prices. Currently admission is £4 for an adult ticket.
Caerphilly Castle: The Twyn Caerphilly, Mid Glamorgan CF83 1JL