The Castle in the center of Cardiff stands on a site once occupied by a Roman fort; part of the Roman walls, the polygon bastions (fourth century) and the north gate have been preserved and partially restored. Cardiff Castle is really three castles in one, because in 1090 a new fortress was built on an artificial motte by Robert Fitzhamon. His successor, finding it too small, added a new range of richly decorated buildings. After the upheavals of the Civil War the Castle fell into disrepair. Between 1865 and 1920 the whole complex was rebuilt at vast expense but maintaining its original appearance. As well as State Apartments there is a library and a military museum.
Cardiff Castle Map
Official site: www.cardiffcastle.com
Address: Castle Street, Cardiff CF10 2RB, Wales
Opening hours: Mar 1 to Oct 31: 9am-6pm
Always closed on: Bank Holiday - Scotland (Jan 2), New Year's Day (Jan 1), Summer Bank Holiday - Scotland (1st Monday, Aug), Christmas Eve - Christian (Dec 24), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25)
Entrance fee in GBP: Adult £11.00, Students £9.50, Senior £9.50, Child 16 & under £8.50
Disability Access: No facilities for persons with disabilities.
Guides: Guided tour included with admission.
Facilities: Gift shop, Restaurant or food service
Cardiff Castle Highlights
The door leading to this tower is watched over by a carved figure of the Devil. Visitors enter the Winter Smoking Room with its magnificently designed fire place, cut from a single block of Forest of Dean stone. Further up the tower can be found the Bachelors' Bedroom, in which the Crichton-Stuart coat-of-arms surmounted by the Crown of Scotland has been displayed on the overmantel. A series of fragmented rocks from the Bute and precious stones add a special touch in the decor of the room.On the top floor is the Summer Smoking Room, with the figure of a chained dragon guarding the doorway. The floor is laid out in a bronze model of the world while the chandelier is a symbol of the sun.
Using mainly a Scottish theme, the tower features the lion of the arms of Scotland at the floor of the staircase. Shields hang over the doors and scenes from Aesop's Fables are found in painted insets on the staircase. At the top of the tower is the Chaucer Room with its stained glass windows depicting scenes from the Canterbury Tales. Of particular interest is the oak paneling with patterns of wild flowers and inlays of mother-of-pearl.
The second Marquess of Bute used this as his dressing room until he died in the room in 1848. Of note are the Tree of Life carved on one side of the door and a fallen tree, symbolizing the frailty of life, on the other side.
The main room of this tower is the Arab Room, done in a mock Moorish pattern with a gilded ceiling and cedarwood cupboards. Of prime value though is the chimney-piece of white marble and insets of lapis lazuli.
Murals telling the tales of Robert the Consul greet visitors to this most important room of the castle. A spectacular fireplace is the centerpiece of the hall.
Stained glass windows portray Cardiff as it was in the past. A mural, over 100 yards in length, portrays Cardiffs Roman ancestry.
Stained glass windows portray biblical themes here and fine craftmanship has been put into the paneled doors and bookcases.