As said before, Castell Coch's interior is very similar to the interior of Cardiff Castle. It is the same style: Many colours, a lot of gold leaf, subjects from different cultures and mythologies (especially the Catholic religion, fairytales and fables, and the Middle Ages). Yet, I liked the rooms in Castell Coch better, it seemed to me that they looked more harmonic and were not quite as overladen as the rooms in Cardiff Castle. I think everything was a little more subdued - not much, just a little bit, but it made a difference to me.
Besides the courtyard and balcony, you can discover the following rooms: The Banqueting Hall, the Drawing Room, and two bedrooms (one of the Marquess and one of Lady Bute). In addition, there is also the kitchen and the room of Lady Margaret, the eldest daughter of the family, as well as the Windlass Room that contains the big wind for the drawbridge and other technological devices.
The pictures in this tip show:
1. The ceiling of the Drawing Room, in my opinion the most beautiful room in the castle. The vaulted ceiling is decorated with painted butterflies and birds.
2. The Banqueting Hall which was created to be like Burges and Bute imagined a medieval hall.
3. The Banqueting Hall - one of the murals, depicting the story of St Lucius who is said to have brought Christianity to Britain and to have built the very first church in Llandaff.
4. Another view of the Drawing Room
5. A detail of the Drawing Room - a chimney piece depicting the Three Fates (infancy, adulthood and old age)
You can read more about the rooms in this travelogue about Castell Coch's Interior
Castell Coch is always described as a fairytale castle, but that is indeed what it looks like! I think it comes closer to what I imagined Sleeping Beauty's castle to look like as a child than any place I have seen before!
And of course that is no wonder, as Castell Coch is a fantasy castle, transformed and renovated by - I know it's getting boring! - the Marquess of Bute.
It was built on the remains of a 13th-century castle, but none of this is visible anymore - the big towers, the round courtyard, and the big, decorated bedrooms - all this was created by the Bute family and their architect William Burges. The original castle was destroyed already in the late Middle Ages, and left as a ruin until the Marquess became interested. He had finished his project of transforming Cardiff Castle and was now looking for another toy.
When I say a toy I don't mean it as negatively as it might sound - but I still think that is what it was. Can you imagine creating a fairytale castle for yourself, although you will only spend a few days there during the year? It did not even have any guest rooms. But it was complete with a working portcullis, and a drawbridge - there is a little room above the thick walls, where the Marquess could practice winding it up and down. He also laid out vineyards on the hill to give the castle the appearance of a castle on the Rhine, these vineyards are gone now, though.
Castell Coch is very small - I was done with my exploration in about forty-five minutes - but it is a really nice place to visit. It is indeed very pretty, and the location is just very picturesque. It is located in the village Tongwynlais at the outskirts of Cardiff, high up on a hill in a wood. When you approach the village, you suddenly see the towers looming out of the trees... Fairytale, yes!
The interior is very similar to the one at Cardiff Castle, but more about this in the next tip.
Coch means red in Welsh, and is pronounced similar to the German word Koch. The ch is not pronounced as in chili, but like the hard ch in German. The castle got that name because it was originally built of red sandstone.
Admission fee to Castell Coch: Adult £3,80, child and concession £3,40, family £11,00 - included in the cadw Explorer Pass (I bought mine here!)
Opening times: 09.30am to 05.00pm daily, March to October, to 06.00pm in July and August, November to February: 10.00am to 04.00pm monday to saturday, 11.00am to 04.00pm sunday.
Getting to Castell Coch by bus is very easy: Busses 26, 132 and 26A go there. The difference between the busses is that only 26A goes all the way up to the castle, the other two only go to the village from where it is a steep walk of about fifteen minutes to the castle.
Bus 26A leaves Cardiff at 09.50, 11.05 and 13.30, monday to friday. Bus 26 leaves every hour (09.00, 10.00 and so on), monday to saturday. Bus 132 leaves every fifteen minutes during the week and at five minutes past the hour on sundays. The bus journey takes about thirty minutes.
You can easily combine Castell Coch with Caerphilly Castle and thus make a nice day trip: Just take bus 26 from Tongwynlais to Caerphilly (departing in the village), and then bus 26 home from Caerphilly to Cardiff (see respective tip).
This late nineteenth-century 'fairytale'-style castle was built on the medieval remains of a previous castle and was designed for the third marquess of Bute by William Burges.
April - October: Monday - Sunday 9.00 - 17.00
November - March : Monday - Saturday 9.30 - 16.00, Sunday 11.00 - 16.00
Adult - £3.60, Concession - £3.20, Family - £10.40
Entry is free for Welsh residents aged 60 and over or 16 and under who have a valid pass. A joint ticket for Caerphilly Castle, Castell Coch, and Cardiff Castle is available: Adult £14.00, Concession £12.00.
Castle Coch ( Red Castle) is a delightful little fairytale castle which is nestled amongst the trees high up on the hillside overlooking the Taff Valley to the South West of Cardiff. The Castle was built on the site of a 13th Century Castle. In the 1870's John Crichton-Stuart, the 3rd Marquess of Bute employed his good friend and Architect William Burgess to re-create the 13th Century Gothic style of architecture of the former Castle and this he did in style. A mere £3.60 entrance fee into this wonderful little Castle will be money well spent. The lavishly decorated drawing rooms and bedrooms are out of this world, William Burgess was an incredibly talented man. He designed furniture, metalwork and beautiful fresco's on the walls and ceilings.
There are three towers for you to explore containing the wonderfully designed drawing room which has colourful pictures denoting Aesops fables on the walls and the bedrooms which are a joy to see and are beautifully designed. There are also some informative exhibitions in one of the towers giving lots of information about the history of the Castle.
There is a lovely little gift shop here selling all sorts of Welsh gifts and also a quaint little Coffee shop offering home cooked food and delicious looking home made cakes.
Castell Coch (Red Castle) is a 19th-century Gothic Revival castle built on the remains of a genuine 13th-century fortification. It is situated on a hillside near the village of Tongwynlais, in the north of Cardiff in Wales.
In 1871, when John Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute, ordered the site to be cleared of vegetation and debris while his architect, William Burges, drew up plans for a full reconstruction. Burges and the Marquess had been working for over three years on the rebuilding of Cardiff Castle The aim at Castell Coch was to achieve another Gothic Revival masterpiece in the appropriate thirteenth-century style.
A castle nestled in the hills. A great place for a wander around in the morning or afternoon.
Take a picnic as the grounds outside are extensive.
April - May: 9.30am - 5.00pm daily
June - Sept: 9.30am - 6.00pm daily
October: 9.30am - 5.00pm daily
November - March: 09.30am - 4.00pm Monday to Saturday; 11.00am - 4.00pm Sunday
Last admission half an hour before closing
Closed 24- 26 December and 1 January
Closed in 2005 between Jan 5 and Feb 13 for conservation work
Children under 16: £2.50
Children under 5: Free
Family Ticket: £8.50 (2 adults and up to 3 children under 16)
Although spelt Castle Coch, in Welsh its spelt Castell Coch (pronounced cork).
It was built by William Burges in the late 19th century,A wonderful way to spend a couple of hours,the entrance fee was only £8.50 for a family ticket which I feel was very reasonable.Its open 7 days a week , they hold festivals and other events there.
Castell Coch ( Red Castle )
This fairy tale castle just outside the city, was built by the 'Marquis of Bute' about 100 years ago on the site of a crumbling Norman castle. It was built as a residance, but was rarely used. The architect, 'William Burges' used his travels around Europe as his inspiration for this Gothic building.
Castell Coch, meaning Red Castle in Welsh, was built in the 1870s, for the 3rd Marquess of Bute to a design by William Burges.
An interior of the Castell Coch, showing the ornate decorations.