Cardiff Castle

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Castle Street, Cardiff, United Kingdom

Cardiff Castle Reviews

balam balam
15 reviews
The Castle Jan 12, 2017
Cardiff Castle is one of Wales' leading heritage attractions and a site of international significance , it is located at the heart of the capital within parklands and at first it does not look like the Castle's fairly modern looking walls and fairytale like towers could conceal over 2,000 years of history.

A Roman fort was probably established at the end of the 50s AD in what is now Cardiff, well placed on a strategic site that afforded easy access to the sea. Some archaeological excavations made during the 1970s indicate that this was only the first of four forts, each a different size that occupied the present site After the Norman Conquest, of south Wales the Castle's keep was built, upon the site of the Roman fort (remains of the Roman wall can still be seen today in the Visitors centre).

The site was originally divided into inner and outer wards, separated by a huge stone wall. The first keep on the motte was erected by Robert Fitzhamon, the Norman Lord of Gloucester, and would have been constructed from wood as would many of the early defences. Not long after many more medieval fortifications and dwellings followed The Castle passed through the hands of many noble families in the following centuries until in 1766 it was passed by marriage in to the famous Bute family.

It was the 2nd Marquis of Bute who was responsible for making Cardiff into what was once the world's largest coal exporting port, On his death the Castle and Bute fortune was passed to his son John,( the 3rd Marquis of Bute), who by the 1860s was reputed to be the richest man in the world.

It was the 3rd Marquis of Bute who employed the genius architect William Burges to transform the Castle lodgings were he created some lavish Victorian Interiors.

When the 3rd Marquis died in 1900 aged just 53 the castle had been transformed into a ‘Welsh Victorian style of Camelot’ now being regarded as being of international significance. Despite some huge death duties on the estate, the 4th Marquis completed many of the restoration projects that his father had started which included the reconstruction of the old Roman wall.

The Bute family continued to stay at the Castle throughout the 1920s and 30s, Until when the 4th Marquis of Bute died the family decided to give the Castle and most of its parkland, (now known as Bute Park), to the city of Cardiff.

Open every day except 25 December, 26 December and 1 January

March - October: 9am - 6pm (last tour 5pm)

November - February: 9am - 5pm (last tour 4pm)
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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slothtraveller slothtra…
109 reviews
The highlight of my Welsh trip Jan 28, 2017
Undoubtedly my highlight of visiting Cardiff in January 2016 was exploring the castle. I was excited about visiting as my mum and sister had been previously and enjoyed it a lot. I arrived at about 10.30 am and purchased an entry ticket for £12. You can also book additional guided tours at the visitor centre but I chose to walk around on my own using the free audio guide. The audio guide was really good and gave me some much needed historical perspective as I walked around. I started my exploration of the grounds by climbing up to the battlements and walking around the walls. Here I found that the walls were used as wartime bomb shelters during WW2. Next I made my way over to the impressive motte and bailey style castle keep. Getting up to the top of the keep meant climbing some very steep steps but the 360 degree views from the top were definitely worth the effort. After enjoying the views, I made my way back down to ground level and followed the self-guided tour around the house, the former home of the 3rd Marquess of Bute who was responsible for the restoration of the castle as we see it today. There is also a small falconry next to the main house.

There were plenty of staff around the site and once you buy your ticket, you are allowed to enter and leave the castle at any point during the day. I enjoyed touring the castle immensely and spent about 2 and a half hours there. I would recommend allocating at least a couple of hours to visit to do the place justice.

Address: Castle Street, Cardiff, CF10 2RB

Directions: Next to the Civic Centre and Shopping Arcades

Phone: +44 (0)29 20 878100

Cardiff Castle keep
Cardiff Castle
The keep at Cardiff Castle
The house at Cardiff Castle
Vikram Vikram
312 reviews
Make a trip to Cardiff, even if its just to see the Castle! Sep 06, 2015
There are those castles that are hyped and don't always live to your expectations, and then there are those castles one visits because, "what the heck, I'm in this town so may as well go" and then, comes out thinking "A-M-A-Z-I-N-G"! That is my 1 word description about this Castle.

Unlike other castles that one has to take trains and buses and go out of town or the outskirts to visit, Cardiff Castle is surprisingly right smack dub in the centre of the Old Town. It's almost too close, which led me to think it's probably not all that impressive (and if you read the blog entry this review is tied to, you'll know I had a less than impressive trip to Caerphilly).

About the only negative I can think of is that it was a tad expensive, but honestly, every UK attraction more or less is when you're converting it to US$. So, with that said, I bought the ticket which covered both the temporary exhibition and the Castle by itself.

The exhibition, at the basement of the ticket office was a moving tribute to Welsh soldiers and their contributions in various wars Britain has fought - WW1, WW2, Canada and India wars. There was memorabilia, mock-ups of uniforms and a whole bunch of voiceovers simulating a war environment. It was well sign posted and I was very happy.

So back to the real world, it felt like I had so many options to choose from.

- The Normal Keep shell offers some fantastic views of the museum and the adjoining park

- the reconstructed Roman walls

- The Clock tower, very ornate and is a highlight of the castle (no, you can't visit it but stand in front and take pictures)

- And then, there's the Georgian Main range, which is the "palace" of the Castle, consisting of state rooms and is home to one of the UK's most acclaimed royal rooms - the Arab Hall. There's also a huge library, two banqueting rooms and the usual splendour one associates European castles with. Brilliant.

I thought I was done and was ready to head out but the highlight was calling to me, and was a perfect way to end up my trip - the air raid shelters.

This had to be the highlight. It turns out that this was actually actively used during the war, and has today been turned into a tourist area - visitors can walk along the long tunnel that has still retained some of the old posters and a mock-up of a kitchen and other areas where food was provided. I have to admit, whilst this didn't compare to the War experience attraction in London, it had its own charm. I got a kick reading some of the posters!

I went in to the Castle thinking I'd be here for no more than an hour, I ended up spending two!
The fabulously appointed Arab Room
Outside the Norman Keep
Close up of Norman Keep
Part of the exhibition showcasing …
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
joseph98 says:
It's a great castle, no doubt - combines Victorian romanticism with medieval ruggedness beautifully :-)
Posted on: Nov 22, 2015
Cho says:
Although I was in the UK multiple times I never made it to Wales (only England). I regret it now. Well, I suppose there's still time. Thanks for sharing.
Posted on: Nov 10, 2015
mewall21 mewall21
7 reviews
Clearly Cardiff Castle Oct 28, 2014
I visited Cardiff Castle in Cardiff, Wales on a cold wet day. In fact it was pouring rain, practically non-stop. However, the rain seemed to add to the mood environment.

I walked about the castle grounds and found the descriptions throughout the complex to be quite informative and thorough.

The detailing of the castle decor was absolutely stunning and well preserved.

As a tip: be mindful of walking up and down the castle stairs when it rains...I slipped on the stairs - thankfully for my friend to caught me before anything dangerous happened!
Cardiff Castle Wall
Amusing cartoon
SamsTravels SamsTrav…
56 reviews
A bit on a non event! Jan 10, 2011
I love castles and everything they have to offer, history, architecture and mystery!! But I have to stay that I was a bit disappointed with Cardiff Castle and felt it lacked so much.

Upon paying the ridiculous price of £11.00pp for a standard (no tour) ticket I walked through the gates and declared my ticket to a gentleman who seemed to pop up out of nowhere.

He very politely pointed me to the direction of the café and other on site gift shop and prompted me to get a FREE audio hand held to take round the grounds of castle, which would provide me with information about history of the castle etc (this I think would have been nice to have been told when purchasing my tickets)

I decided that this would be a good idea and got the audio phone and FREE map!! When walking outside I realised that actually I had no idea where I was going and nothing was actually signposted which was a bit annoying! I was also told there was no particular way round to listen to it so wandered off assuming I would find a number of boards to prompt the use of the handset. There were few boards and those usually had exactly the same information, though the numbers on the board did not always match to the tour. There is no commentary when you enter the main castle building and whilst the rooms you do see are spectacular there is so much of the castle you do not get to see because it has been roped off :0(

I decided walk towards the keep on the outward wall which was by far my favourite bit of the castle. I wandered down the dark 'wartime tunnels' and listened to my audio… it was very interesting. Again it would have been nice to have signs and plaques along the tunnel to explain things but as mentioned this was one area that was lacking throughout. (Please Cardiff Castle consider putting some photos of the period, props or audio commentaries in there)

There is also a huge stately house on the grounds which is very grand indeed, I however was denied access due to having a back pack on! Ok slight problem…. Don’t most visitors particularly the ones who “backpack” always have one on??? This I think needs to be addressed. My advice.. take a carrier bag in and put your pack inside this when looking inside.

The actual castle itself as in the main structure again looks more amazing that is actually is. Firstly you have to climb very steep stairs indeed to reach the entrance, if you have any disability at all, I think this may be rather challenging and in some cases impossible. Also once you get to the entrance you quickly realise that in reality it’s more of a shell and doesn’t have anything inside it. You can climb the ever so steep stairs to an upper level which does provide fantastic views of Cardiff, this was the highlight of the visit.

Overall it was a very disappointing visit, it’s overpriced and you really don’t get anything much for your money. My advice would be to stand at the entrance for a quick snap and go to the FREE Museum instead, its much better!!
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
HelenP says:
I think that you would have liked Caerphilly castle much better for £4
helen P
Posted on: Aug 30, 2012
jdennis474 jdennis4…
7 reviews
cardiff castle Aug 07, 2011
I went into cardiff castle and i thought it was ok not much to see and the audio guides wernt very informative it was pritty expensive to enter even for a student i thought they could have offered tours every hour but it was like every 3 hours the underground tunnels were cool but alot of walking seeing its cardiff main attraction i didnt find it interesting
cotterb cotterb
71 reviews
No Knights here May 27, 2008
The Cardiff Castle is well maintained and accessible. The incredibly knowledgeable and humorous guide made the tour interesting and worthwhile. The castle is actually a summer home which was disappointing to me because I have always viewed castles as the home of kings, and the centerpiece of battles. I expected stories of dames in distress rescued by heroes.

Despite the castle not meeting my expectations it was interesting all the same. The cost wasn't bad and the tour is worth attending. Admission includes the tour which is the only way to see the interior of the castle. Farther into the castle courtyard is the dungeon which has stairs to get you high above the city.
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
ctjevans ctjevans
13 reviews
Cardiff Castle Aug 11, 2002
Having rode the train from Bristol England, I had a brief, but pleasant jaunt to Cardiff Castle. The castle is small and not all that much to look at, but it's atop a round hill and offers some satisfying vistas of the surroundings. From the castle, it's about a 40-minute train ride to Pembroke station where you can catch a ferry to Ireland.

Wales seems to be a quiet country, save for the ruckus of football hooligans when a game is in town. There are lots of pasture lands and grazing sheep to be seen, but not a lot else, so Cardiff Castle is a worthy stop if you're passing through.

I can't recall if there was an entrance fee, but I'm sure it was cheap if not free.

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photo by: Vikram