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WHAT IS CARDIFF CASTLE FAMOUS FOR?
Cardiff Castle is a Norman marcher stronghold, founded by William the Conqueror himself, and built on the site of a Roman fort dating from the 1st-century AD, parts of which were reconstructed in the 20th-century. However, the Castle is most famous for its incredible Victorian apartments, designed by William Burges for the wealthy 3rd Marquess of Bute. Both men were fascinated by medieval history and little expense was spared in realising their neo-Gothic vision of the past.
Today, Cardiff Castle is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Wales, with a unique opportunity to explore almost 2000 years of incredible history all in one place.
THINGS TO SEE AND DO AT CARDIFF CASTLE
Climb the mighty Norman shell keep and see our replica medieval trebuchet. Marvel at the lavish Castle Apartments, created for one of the world’s richest men. Discover the Roman remains and Chariot Corner. Explore the Firing Line military museum and experience the Wartime Shelters. Enjoy a scenic stroll along the Battlement Walks, then relax in the Castle’s café and browse the gift shop.
Included With Your Ticket
THE ROMAN WALLS
Cardiff Castle owes much of its present layout to a Roman fort that occupied the site in the first century AD. The Marquess of Bute rediscovered the fort’s remains in the late 1800s and began an extensive programme of reconstruction. Today, the still impressive remains of the original Roman stonework can still be seen around the exterior of the Castle and inside the Visitor Centre.
THE CHARIOT CORNER
Hidden beneath the Castle’s south-east tower, situated opposite one of the remaining sections of Cardiff’s third century AD Roman fort, is an incredible mural made out of cement and plaster, finished in metallic gold paint. Commissioned by Cardiff City Council in the 1980s, the mural depicts scenes from the Roman invasion of the area and conflict with the local Silures tribe.
THE NORMAN KEEP
It’s possible that the first motte and bailey castle here was founded by William the Conqueror himself, while returning from a pilgrimage to St David’s. The original timber palisade and structures were replaced by the impressive shell keep, built in stone by Robert of Gloucester during the early 1100s.
THE VICTORIAN APARTMENTS
The core of the house at Cardiff Castle dates from the 1400s, with substantial extensions and alterations having been made over the centuries. However, the spectacular interiors seen today are all the result of a collaboration between the wealthy 3rd Marquess of Bute, a Victorian aristocrat, and the genius art-architect, William Burges.
FIRING LINE MUSEUM
Firing Line is a unique and ground-breaking concept, developed through a joint vision of 1st The Queens Dragoon Guards and The Royal Welsh. A world-class exhibition commemorating over 300 years of distinguished history including the Battle of Waterloo and Rorke’s Drift, as well as more recent service in Iraq and Afghanistan.
THE WARTIME SHELTERS
Few people realise that within the walls of the Castle are tunnels which came into their own as air-raid shelters during the Second World War. Research has revealed there were dormitories with bunks, kitchens, toilets and first aid posts concealed within the walls. Now, you can see what the shelters may have looked like and hear the sounds from a bygone age.
The Trebuchet was one of the deadliest military machines of its time, using a sophisticated counter balance system to large stone projectiles with such a force that they could breach the strongest of fortifications. The example seen at Cardiff Castle was originally built by local set makers for the Hollywood movie, Ironclad.
Centuries ago, Roman legionaries and medieval men-at-arms would have patrolled the Castle walls, keeping a watchful eye on the surrounding landscape in a hostile frontier territory. Today, you can enjoy a far more leisurely stroll along almost three sides of the Castle’s outer defences from the south wall, around the east and north, ending at the Watch Tower on the western wall.
FREE AUDIO GUIDE
Download the FREE Cardiff Castle app on your smartphone or tablet and follow our self-guided walking tour entirely at your own pace. At each of the numbered information points you can listen to some of the Castle’s fascinating history.
BLACK TOWER TALES
Local Welsh hero Llywelyn Bren’s medieval struggle against the oppressive Sherriff of Glamorgan is the subject of ‘Black Tower Tales,’ an immersive new family attraction at Cardiff Castle.