Cardiff Castle was one of the most fascinating castles I have visited in Europe. It not only has a medieval castle but also has a Norman keep, a renovated Victorian mansion and the remains of a Roman fort.
I visited the castle two days ago during yet another windy and rainy day in Cardiff. After paying the admission fee, I watched a brief, well produced video of the castle and it’s history and collected my audio guide. I then explored the wartime tunnels which were built on the foundation of a roman wall. These tunnels were used as air raid shelters during the last world war. I checked out the trebuchet (medieval cantilevered machine used to bomb castles) and walked the grounds. The next stop was the spectacular Norman Keep. It was built on a man made hill in the 1090s after the Norman conquest of England. The keep was the first castle on these grounds.
My final stop was to the Victorian house on the west side of the castle grounds. A medieval house originally stood in this location and it was built for the comfort of the lord (they used to live in the keep). Over the years, the house was renovated to suit the needs of its owner. During a docent led tour of the mansion, we learned that the last owner, the Bute family of Scotland, acquired the castle a few hundred years ago. In the 19th century, the family extensively renovated the mansion to suit their high brow tastes. The butes, an extremely wealthy family, only used the house six weeks out of the year! In 1947, the family gifted the house to the city of Cardiff.