Best Castles near Cardiff

The Welsh capital city of Cardiff is rapidly becoming one of the UK’s most prominent cultural hubs and is a growing tourist destination for visitors both from Britain and further afield.

It seamlessly combines modern facilities, such as great shops, restaurants and bars, as well as an abundance of history and heritage, such as the wonderful university grounds, as well as an array of architectural features that adorn the city, and a plethora of beautiful buildings.

Yet, on the city’s outskirts lie a rich selection of historic castles, that showcase the vastness and richness of Wales’s history. This list will demonstrate the best, and most unmissable castles near to the city of Cardiff, their key points of interest and highlights, as well as practical information such as location, and opening and closing times.

The Best 8 Castles to Visit Near Cardiff

1. Cardiff Castle

With a history dating back to the 11th century, when an original motte and bailey castle stood at the site, Cardiff Castle is an iconic structure with a fascinating and exciting history that has captured the interests and imaginations of visitors for centuries.

It is believed that the castle was commissioned by William the Conqueror, or Robert Fitzhamon, who decreed that the castle be built upon the site of a 3rd-century Roman fort.

The castle is both considered a medieval castle, as well as a prime example of the Victorian Gothic revival style, as it was reimagined during the 19th century when this particular style was popular in contemporary culture.

Today, the castle is open to the public, with a museum on-site to showcase the centuries worth of history that is present.

Where: Cardiff, Wales
When: 11th century
Open for visit: Yes, check here for more information.

2. Caerphilly Castle

Originally constructed in the year 1268 by Marcher Lord Gilbert de Clare, during the growing and rising military climate of contemporary Wales, Caerphilly Castle was the biggest castle in the entirety of Wales at the time.

The primary function of this immense and architecturally stunning castle was that of a defensive structure, and there is evidence of this today still, in the form of the gigantic walls, as well as large towers and gatehouses.

After the Prince of Wales died, this castle was transformed into a palatial home, with a large hunting park and a lake; several centuries later, Caerphilly Castle was renovated into a grand and ornate style palace, by Hugh Despenser. Today, the castle is open to the public, who enjoy exploring its grounds and wonderful interiors.

Where: Caerphilly, Wales
When: 1268
Open for visit: Yes. Check here for more information.

3. Castell Coch

Best castles in South Wales-Castell-Coch

Built in the Gothic Revival style during the 19th century, Castell Coch lies in the scenic Welsh village of Tongwynlais in the South of Wales, which is just a stone’s throw away from the hustle and bustle of the city of Cardiff.

On the site of the current castle, an original castle was built, which was initially constructed in approximately the year 1081, and was built by the Normans, and had the original purpose of protecting the town of Cardiff, which at this point, had just been conquered.

The castle has a really long and rich history, and it has played a pivotal role in military conflict over the centuries, having been destroyed and rebuilt on several different occasions over the centuries.

Where: Tongwynlais, Wales
When: 11th-century origins
Open for visit: Yes. Check here for more information.

4. Old Bishop’s Palace

Located in the Welsh town of Llandaff, which is not too far from Cardiff, lies the beautiful Old Bishop’s Palace, or sometimes just known as Bishop’s Palace, which is a historic, ruined castle.

All that remains today is a large but nonetheless impressive gatehouse, that is very similar to that of Caerphilly Castle; many believe that they were created by the same masons, which, if true, would date the castle back to the 13th century, perhaps during the time of William de Braose, who was the Bishop of Llandaff.

The castle was later abandoned by the Bishops during the rebellion of 1402 to 1405 after the castle was heavily damaged after being attacked by Owain Glyndwr. Today, the gatehouse is open to the public.

Where: Llandaff, Welsh
When: 13th century
Open for visit: Yes

5. Caldicot Castle

Famous castles in South Wales-Caldicot-Castle

Caldicot Castle is an immense and architecturally stunning medieval stone castle in the town of Caldicot, which is in the Monmouthshire region of southeast Wales, just a short trip away from the centre of Cardiff.

Caldicot Castle is built nearby to the site a former Saxon Castle, which was under the possession of Harold Godwinson; it was built by the Norman Earls of Hereford, in approximately the year 1100.

Later, until the year 1391, the castle was under the control of Thomas f Woodstock, who was the son of King Edward III of England. Since the year 1953, the castle has been listed as a Grade I listed building and is an important cultural monument for Wales. Today, it is open to the general public and is a popular place to explore for tourists.

Where: Caldicot, Wales
When: 1100
Open for visit: Yes, check here for more information.

Check out: The best Welsh Castles to visit. 

6. Ogmore Castle

Situated near to the Welsh village of Ogmore-by-Sea, which lies to the south of the town of Bridgend in the Glamorgan region of South Wales, lies the beautiful and historic Ogmore Castle, which has a rich and fascinating history.

It is believed to have originally been constructed in the 12th century, with construction beginning in approximately the year 1106; it is actually a site made up of three castles, including Coity Castle and Newcastle Castle.

Like many castles in Wales, Ogmore Castle has changed its function over the centuries, depending on the needs of the time; it has been a court of justice and a prison, but since the 19th century, it has remained unused. Today, the castle is a local landmark and is open to the public.

Where: Ogmore, Wales
When: 12th century
Open for visit: Yes, check here for more information.

7. Newcastle Castle

Situated on the same site as Ogmore Castle lies Newcastle Castle, which overlooks the town centre of Bridgend, and is a medieval fortress with an impressive history.

The castle is believed to have been built in the year 1106, after a ringwork was created on the grounds, by Robert Fitzhamon, who was the Norman baron.

One of the best things about this caste is the impressive and notable stonework, which is of exceptionally high quality; it is incredibly well-preserved for its age and dates back to the 12th century.

There are also two stunning square towers, which were remodelled into living quarters during the 16th century; these still stand today and are a popular part of the castle to visit.

Where: Bridgend, Wales
When: 12th century
Open for visit: Yes.

8. White Castle

best castles in south Wales-White-Castle

Situated near to the village of Llantilio Crossenny, which is in the Monmouthshire region of Wales, lies the beautiful White Castle, which is historically known as Llantilio Castle.

Originally established in the year 1066 by the Normans, during the invasion of England, its initial purpose was to protect the route between Wales and Hereford.

It is believed that the work on the castle was commissioned by the Earl of Hereford, William Fitz Osbern. The history of the castle spans centuries, totalling almost 1000 years, and with each century comes new layers of history, that are still present at the site today.

This is a great place to visit for a day trip if you are staying in Cardiff, as it is just a short distance away, but it feels a world apart.

Where: Llantilio, Wales
When: 1066
Open for visit: Yes, check here for more information.

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