A fortified tower from the 12th century, World War II tunnels and Welsh military history make a fascinating day out at this magnificent castle.
Cardiff Castle is a medieval stronghold and Victorian Gothic mansion with approximately 2,000 years’ worth of history. The magnificent structure was built on the site of a Roman fort and a Norman castle and during its existence also served as a home, a concert venue and a World War II shelter.
Start your exploration of the castle at the Interpretation Centre and watch the short film presentation about the stronghold’s history.
Then go on the House Tour, a 50-minute guided tour that runs on the hour and takes in some of the sumptuous and richly decorated rooms. These include the Winter Smoking Room and Lord Bute's bathroom and bedroom. The Bute noble family owned the castle for nearly 200 years, from 1776.
Climb up the steep stone steps to investigate the 12-sided Norman keep. The original fortified tower was constructed around 1091, while the structure you see today dates back to the 12th century.
Venture into the tunnels, which were used as air-raid shelters during World War II and housed kitchens, bunks and toilets. Peruse more war accounts at the castle’s museum. Exhibits commemorate over 300 years of the serving history of Welsh regiments, including their time at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 and recent missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Among the other highlights of a visit to the castle are the remains of the Roman wall and a replica of a 13th-century siege engine.
Find the castle in the center of the city, about a 10-minute walk from Cardiff Central Station. For drivers, there’s metered street parking nearby. Alternatively, use the Park and Ride service. There are three sites, each one running bus services to and from the center.
Cardiff Castle is open daily except for Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day. Admission charges apply with discounts for students, senior citizens and children aged between 5 and 16 years. Younger children get in for free. Note that the House Tour has a small supplementary charge.