Castell Coch

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Tongwynlais, United Kingdom

Castell Coch Tongwynlais Reviews

joseph98 joseph98
129 reviews
Fairytale Hillside Whimsy Sep 03, 2017
Set majestically against a leafy hillside a few miles north of Cardiff, this castle stands in strong contrast to the typical, grand fortresses that litter the Welsh landscape. Whilst it was initially built as a castle of some strategic military importance, it was restored along more fanciful Victorian lines by the third marquess of Bute, hence its fairytale book appearance, typified by the conical towers.

As a child, my overactive imagination ran wild with stories about this place every time we would drive in to Cardiff from my nearby hometown of Bridgend. When you catch your first glimpse of the castle - whether it's from the motorway, as I did in my childhood days, or from a different vantage point - it does look like a magical, enchanting place.

But returning here many years later as an adult, I can see now that it is more about the exterior than it is about the Castle complex itself…

Fundamentally, it is a rather small castle, and the Victorian-era restoration job rather does deprive of it the evocative medieval atmosphere that permeates famous Welsh castles such as Caernarfon, Caerphilly and, indeed, nearby Cardiff Castle. That’s not to say that the rooms - the ornate drawing room and exquisitely decorated bedroom of Lady Bute in particular - are not beautiful, because they are. You get some fine views of the surrounds too, and the countryside around is undeniably pretty.

It's just that it is essentially a smaller version of the even more beautifully decorated Cardiff Castle, also a restoration pet project of the Marquess of Bute, but one that manages to maintain something of a medieval atmosphere. That is much more easily accessed than Castell Coch. As such, unless you have your own wheels and/or a surplus of time in the Cardiff area, I would recommend visiting here only if you are a huge fan of castles. Instead, try admiring it from afar whilst letting your imagination run wild like I did as a boy all those years ago!
Castle exterior
Castle model
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