Surrounded by leafy Bute Park, Cardiff Castle boasts a history spanning two millennia. The hodgepodge castle is a jumble of different architectural styles, from the Norman-era keep to the faux-Gothic apartments. It is the former home of the prominent Bute family, who helped transform Cardiff into an influential industrial port.
Cardiff Castle is one of the city’s top attractions. Many visitors see the castle from the outside during guided sightseeing tours of Cardiff. Some TV location tours include entry to the castle; Doctor Who, Sherlock, and Torchwood all filmed here.
A ticket gives visitors access to the grounds, the Norman keep, the Interpretation Centre, the wartime tunnels (which were used as air-raid shelters during World War II), and the opulent castle apartments, designed by architect William Burges. Visitors can also explore the Firing Line exhibit, which looks at Welsh military history, and make use of a free audio guide. Or upgrade to add on a 50-minute guided house tour, which provides access to additional areas, such as Lord Bute’s bedroom and the rooftop garden. Special tours, which take place on select dates, showcase other parts of the castle complex and cover different angles, such as the castle’s haunted history.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Cardiff Castle is a must for history buffs and families.
- Start your visit in the Interpretation Centre, where you can watch a short introductory film about the castle and download the Cardiff Castle app using the castle’s free Wi-Fi.
- The castle hosts a café serving hot and cold drinks, snacks, and hot meals.
- The Interpretation Centre, the Firing Line exhibition, and parts of the grounds are wheelchair accessible. The castle apartments and the house tour are not.
How to Get There
Cardiff Castle is situated in the heart of Cardiff city center, a 10-minute walk from Cardiff Central Station. For those exploring the city center on foot, look for signs directing you toward the castle’s entrance on Castle Street and High Street.
When to Get There
The best time to visit Cardiff Castle is during summer, when milder weather prevails. The castle is busiest on weekends, so come midweek to avoid the crowds.
Other Castles Near Cardiff
Wales is blessed with an abundance of castles. If, after exploring Cardiff Castle, you want to visit another fortress, you won’t have to drive far to find one. The largest castle in Wales, Caerphilly Castle, is just 10 miles (16 kilometers) north of Cardiff Castle, while the romantic ruin of medieval Raglan Castle is just over 30 miles (48 kilometers) away.