3 Castles to Visit in Cardiff and Area

Whenever I hear people talk about the places they want to visit in the UK, the No 1 priority is London. Oxford and Edinburgh are usually following as No 2 and No 3. Barely anyone mentions a city in Wales or Northern Ireland. As much as I love London and Edinburgh, there is more to explore in the UK than these two cities. Personally, I have yet to visit Northern Ireland (and the Republic of Ireland for that matter), but it is high on my travel bucket list! Consequently, I can’t give any recommendations regarding the Irish Islands (yet).

However, what I can do is to write about Cardiff and South Wales. A few years back, I was lucky enough to call Cardiff my home. Someday, I hope I’ll be able to call it my home once more.

I’ve briefly talked about how I spend my exchange semester at Cardiff University and what to keep in mind when you plan a semester abroad. So make sure to read my post ‘A Guide to Studying Abroad: Cardiff University & What to Consider’.

There is a lot I could tell you about Cardiff and South Wales in general, but I thought I’d start with its beautiful castles. Did you know that Wales has more castles per square mile than any other country? There are over 600 beautiful castles in Wales to choose from!  Three castles you can visit in or near Cardiff are Caerphilly Castle, Castell Coch, and Cardiff Castle.

 

Caerphilly Castle

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Homepage
Admission: Adult £5.50; Senior citizens, Students and Children under 16 £4.10; Disabled and companion FREE.

Accessibility: Central level paved areas, but access difficult to towers due to steps and slopes. A toilet is available for users with a disability and limited mobility.

Caerphilly Castle is one of the largest castles in Europe and the second biggest castle in the UK. Caerphilly was built in the late 13th century and sprawls over an area of 30 acres. In addition to being used as a backdrop for various TV shows and films such as Merlin, the castle is also known for its ‘leaning tower’ which out leans the Tower of Pisa.

During my time in Wales, I was lucky enough to have visited it twice. Once all by myself and a second time when my sister and a friend came to visit me. If you’re looking for activities for a day trip, a trip to town of Caerphilly should be on your list of activities. Caerphilly is a nice little town and exploring Caerphilly castle can easily take up to an entire day.

 

Castell Coch

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Homepage
Admission: Adult £5.50; Senior citizens, Students and Children under 16 £4.10; Disabled and companion FREE.

Accessibility: Steep access. Very difficult for wheelchairs and buggies. Cobbled courtyard accessible for wheelchairs. Many steep, narrow steps. Assistance dogs allowed on site.

Built in the late 19th century, Castell Coch looks like a stereotypical fantasy castle. No wonder in was also used as a backdrop for TV shows such as Merlin and Dr. Who. Castell Coch was built on the site of a 13th century castle named Red Castle.


A trip to Castell Coch can be easily squeezed into a half-day long trip. You can easily get to Catell Coch by bus from Cardiff. However, there are many parking options including 5 disabled parking spots.

 

Cardiff Castle

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Homepage
Admission: Adult £12; Child (Aged 5-16) £9; Seniors & Students £10.50; No information on price for the disabled and their companion.

Accessibility: Mostly accessible to wheelchair users and parents with pushchairs. The Castle Apartments not suitable for wheelchair users or pushchairs. Assistance dogs allowed on site. Audio Guides include a sign-language tour and a tour for the visually-impaired.

If your time in Cardiff and South Wales is too limited to either visit Caerphilly castle or Castell Coch, go and explore Cardiff castle situated in the city centre. Cardiff castle was built in the late 11th century on top of a Roman fort and is located within the beautiful Bute Park. One of its most significant features is its ‘Animal Wall’.

Even though the admission fee is higher than that of Caerphilly Castle or Castell Coch, Cardiff Castle is still a ‘must see’. A possible itinerary for a trip to Cardiff could include a visit to the Castle fist, then have a stroll through the city centre, and lastly head to Cardiff harbour and explore the Dr. Who Experience. I’ll provide an in-depth review of the Dr. Who Experience in the near future. So, make sure to stay tuned!

There is, of course, so much more to see and explore in Wales that these three castles. I’m also sure that every Welshman/woman you’ll ask will name a different castle as a  ‘must see’. This is, however, a nice start for many that never even considered travellin to Wales.

If you do know any other castles in South Wales that are a ‘must see’, leave a comment down below. If there is anything else about Cardiff you’d like me to write about, let me know!

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