Cardiff Castle is symbolic of the city around it – a product of different influences over time. When Cardiff’s port was one of the world’s busiest, dockworkers came to Cardiff and stayed. The same thing happened with the Castle. First the Romans came, then the Normans, and each had a go at building a fort. Over time their efforts were improved on and added to, and what you see before you today is visibly a hotchpotch of different styles. The castle wall nearest to Queen Street shows the remaining part of the Roman wall, significantly different to the rest of the wall.
One of the best-loved features of Cardiff Castle is the unusual animal wall. Originally there were eight of them; perched between the South Gate entrance and the Clock Tower. Seven more animals were added to the wall after 1928, when the original animals were moved after road widening in front of the castle. The polar bear became a bear and joined his new international friends the lynx, vulture, beaver, leopard, racoon, ant-eater and pelican – none of whom are native to Wales!
Guided tours show visitors the inside and outside of the castle including a tour of the apartments. The Castle’s Black Tower was built in the 13th Century by Gilbert de Clare, the man who built Caerphilly Castle and the original Castell Coch. The Tower has a dark tale to tell. It contains dungeons where two catholic priests were imprisoned for many months before their martyrdom in 1679.Today however, the tower is home to the Welch Regiment Museum. The 40m, seven-storey Clock Tower was built between 1869-1873.
Skirting around the Cardiff Castle peacocks on the green, there is the 12th Century Norman Keep, once prison to William the Conqueror’s son, until his death in 1134. Visitors can climb up into the Keep for a good view of the surrounding area.
Cardiff Castle Events
Cardiff Castle enjoys a wonderful situation for events – it is right in the heart of the city centre. It has events all the year round from midsummer evenings with Shakespeare to Tom Jones concerts to medieval jousting to a Cheese Festival! For opening times and details of the latest Cardiff Castle events, please refer to the official Cardiff Castle website.
Directions from Holiday Cottages
From Swansea Valley Holiday Cottages, Cardiff is a convenient 45 mile drive along the M4 motorway. From junctions 29, 32 and 33 of the M4 follow signs to Cardiff city centre. Cardiff Castle is situated in the centre of the city and within easy walking distance of car parks, Cardiff Queen Street and Central Stations, and bus services.