Ascending dramatically from a sea of tangled forest, the three turrets of Castell Coch are a scene straight from a fairy tale. The castle would not look amiss in any part of medieval Europe. It looks proudly out over Welsh capital Cardiff, instilling thoughts of dashing knights, dangerous dragons, and damsels in distress in even the most unromantic soul.
Reconstructed in the nineteenth century on the site of a castle originating from the thirteenth century, Castell Coch was devised with the aim of combining ‘…sumptuous Gothic fantast with timeless fairy tale’, and it’s fair to say that architect William Burges achieved this aim. For many years as a child my family drove past Castell Coch on our way to our summer camping holidays in Wales while I longingly looked out of the window desperate to see Sleeping Beauty in her castle, always wondering if inside the castle was as stunning as its exterior.
The castle comprises of a courtyard and three cylindrical towers: the Keep, Well and Kitchen Towers —of differing heights—that accomodate various rooms, all decorated in ornate Victorian style. At the top of the Keep tower lies the circular room of Lady Bute, who must have felt like sleeping beauty as she lay in her chamber at the highest point of the castle.
There is a small entrance fee, and visitors to the castle can look around all of the rooms at leisure before browsing the gift shop, or enjoying lunch in the coffee shop. I highly recommend trying the Welsh Rarebit.
Situated just off the M4 motorway Castell Coch is a must visit attraction for visitors to Cardiff, and is perfect for when you want some real fairy-tale romance in your life. It is certainly worth a place in my ‘Europe’s Fairy Tale Castles’ feature on the site – it is easily as beautiful as Peles Castle in Romania.
Have you ever visited a fairy tale castle? Which one? Would you like to visit Castell Coch?
My inner 7 year old refuses to pass up a good castle. One day I shall have one, in the center of a giant hedge maze populated by packs of hungry wolves.
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