Visiting Castell Coch

Castell Coch is located North West of Cardiff and is about 30 minutes drive from the city centre. It stands in a raised position overlooking the river Taff and is surrounded by woodland making for a very picturesque approach. The castle was well sign posted and very easy to find, and on arrival we parked in the free on-site car park which, while fairly busy, still had plenty of spaces.

Starting with a very short walk up the hill from the car park to the castle, the magnificent 19th century structure, designed by the famous Victorian architect William Burges, stood before us. Home to John Crichton-Stuart, the 3rd Marquess of Bute, the castle’s exterior is in immaculate condition and presented truly eye opening first impressions with its fairytale-like features. Click here to read more about Castell Coch’s history.

After taking in the castle’s exterior, we headed over the bridge and into the circular courtyard where we were welcomed by the very friendly staff. As part of the admission cost (which we decided to pre-book) we collected an audio guide and headed off into the castle, following a one-way system setup due to the pandemic.

We entered the castle via the northern Well Tower, which led us up to the castle chapel’s vestibule. All of Bute’s homes had a chapel and while the chapel itself is no longer there, demolished likely due to structural issues, some of the stained glass windows are preserved in the vestibule.

We crossed the castle using the gallery that circled around to the south west and the entrance of the Kitchen Tower which as the name suggests housed the kitchens. The tower led onto the impressive banqueting hall which connected the Kitchen Tower to the Keep Tower at the south east corner, the tallest of the castle’s towers.

The Keep Tower housed a very lavish and impressive drawing room on the first floor, Lord Bute’s bedroom on the 2nd floor and Lady Bute’s bedroom on the 3rd. 

Lord Bute’s Bedroom

The decorations and furnishing are more subdued than rooms in the Keep Tower and Lady Bute’s bedroom.  

The stove like fireplace was the main item of personal comfort in the room and the hip bath would have been placed in front of the fire when being used.

Lady Bute’s Bedroom

Above Lord Bute’s bedroom is the lavish bedroom of Lady Bute.  

The domed roof has painted panels with a Moorish or oriental theme which contrast with the walls beneath.  The painting includes monkey’s cavorting which apparently Lord Bute disapproved of this decoration above his wife’s bed.  

In the centre of the room is Lady Bute’s elaborate bed which is a copy of a fourteenth century example illustrated by Viollet-de-luc.

The Drawing Room

The Drawing Room was my favourite room in the castle with intertwined themes of nature, fantasy and mythology.  The wonderful two-storey chimney-piece is topped with a stone carving by Burges depicting the three fates of Greek mythology.  The vaulted ceiling is brightly decorated with ascending butterflies and birds and the walls are more softly decorated with murals of Aesop’s fables including “The Hare and The Tortoise”, “The Fox and The Crow” and “The Dog and Its Shadow”.

The marvellous condition of the castle, the interior, the information and the audio guide all contributed to a most enjoyable visit and would recommend to anyone a visit!

23rd October 2021

Postcode CF15 7LL

Click below to watch our video exploring Castell Coch

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