The fortress sprawls over a huge area making it the largest castle in Wales, and like the famous cheese, it has long been synonymous with Caerphilly. It dominates. Hogs the limelight. It’s also a great backdrop for TV and film. It secured a starring role recently in the popular BBC TV series Merlin.
This stone masterpiece, surrounded by a series of moats and watery islands, was the brainchild of Gilbert ‘the Red’ de Clare, a redheaded nobleman of Norman descent. He also built the original Castell Coch, ‘Red Castle’, located the other side of Caerphilly mountain.
Gilbert de Clare and Llywelyn ap Gruffydd were contemporaries at war and early attempts by Gilbert to build a castle were thwarted by the Welsh prince. Gilbert eventually won through and built a mammoth stronghold using the concentric ‘walls within walls’ system of defence. He also made sure there were large and comfortable rooms to live in.
However, once the threat posed by Llywelyn was quelled by Edward I, the raison d’etre for this massive fortress changed. The castle’s condition worsened until late in the 19th century when the third Marquess of Bute began preservation work. We have a lot to thank the Butes for in South Wales!
09:30 – 5:00pm – Last admission 30 minutes before closing
Closed 24, 25, 26 December and 1 January
Adult – £5.50
Family – £16.50*
Senior citizens, students and children under 16 – £4.10
Disabled and companion – Am ddim/Free
Photo Credits: © Crown copyright (2015) Cadw
For further information please visit: http://www.cadw.gov.wales