Cardiff Castle
Castle StreetCardiff
Cardiff CF10 3RB
Castles in Britain tend to be located on the outskirts of towns but this is not the case for the capital city of Wales. Cardiff Castle is right in the heart of the city, close to the shopping quarter.
At first sight the castle seems to be a Victorian fantasy of a medieval castle but behind the Gothic Revival battlements, turrets and clock tower is an authentic castle with 2,000 years of history.
From 1766 to 1947 the lordship of the castle and its estates was held by the Bute Family. The Butes brought wealth and prosperity to Cardiff by turning it into one of the greatest coal exporting ports in the world. With their immense wealth they set about restoring the ancient castle and transforming the grounds into a landscaped park.
In 1947 the 5th Marquess of Bute gave the castle and Bute Park to the people of Cardiff.
The Castle is family-friendly and an interesting mix of history, flamboyant family apartments, pleasant grounds and entertainment.
Opening Hours
Daily except 25/26 December and 1 January.
March - October: 09:00 – 18:00 (last entry 17:00 hours);
November - February: 09:00 – 17:00 (last entry 16:00 hours).
For details of tours and specific area opening times, go to Web:  Cardiff Castle/ opening times
Admission Cost
Concessions available for Seniors, Students and Children. For up to date information go to  Web:  Cardiff Castle/ tickets & Prices
There are two types of ticket: 
* The Castle Ticket gives access to:
- The Castle Grounds with their strutting peacocks, stocks and trebouchet
- A selection of lavishly decorated rooms in the Castle Apartments
- The Norman Keep
- WWII air-raid shelters and tunnels
- The Interpretation Centre
- Firing Line: Cardiff Castle Museum of the Welsh Soldier and a
- Free Audio Guide (subject to availability).
* The House Tour Ticket
In addition to the Castle Ticket a House Tour Ticket may be purchased for an additional cost. This ticket provides access to more of the fabulously decorated rooms within the Castle. The expert guide will take you to see rooms which are not part of the Castle Ticket including The Winter Smoking Room, The Nursery, The Sitting Room, Lord Bute’s Bedroom and The Rooftop Garden. The tour lasts approximately 50 minutes.
Guided Tours
Costumed guides are on hand to assist visitors through the wartime Shelters and the Norman Keep.
Caffi'r Castell
Open daily 09:00 – 16:00 hours.
The cafe offers a selection of hot meals, sandwiches, daily chef's specials, cakes and pastries, plus a range of coffees and blends of tea, and has the best view in Cardiff! Relax inside or sit out on the terrace and take in the spectacular views of the Norman Keep and the Castle. Gift Shop Opening times as per the Castle. The shop features a fantastic selection of beautiful gifts and keepsakes, inspired by the Castle collections. Welsh gold, crystal and exquisite jewellery are on sale, castle-themed children’s gifts, plus a comprehensive range of postcards, books and stationery. Traditional Welsh crafts such as lovespoons are also available – individual designs can be commissioned.
Pick up ‘The Essential Guide to Cardiff Castle’, the definitive guide to the site, covering over 2,000 years of history and beautifully illustrated.
The shop offers a Gift wrapping service and mail order. Call the Castle Gift Shop on 029 2078 8580 to arrange a purchase.
To view product catalogue go to  Web:  Castle Gift Shop
Other Attractions
Battlement Walk with superb views over Cardiff
Craft workshops; Free family trails and Stay and Play area; Falconry, Jousting and Trebouchet displays.
Allow at least 4 hours or more to visit the castle. We recommend making the Interpretation Centre your first stop.
Disabled Access
Cardiff Castle has excellent facilities for disabled visitors and is improving them all the time. A lift provides wheelchair and pushchair access to the Castle Apartments. However, occasionally the lift is non-operational and the only access is via steep steps and spiral staircases within the house.
There is no wheelchair or pushchair access to the Norman Keep.
Assistance dogs only are permitted on the site.
For more detailed information go to  Web:  Cardiff Castle/ Accessibility
Medieval Welsh Banquets
For a fun night out attend a Welsh banquet with food, wine and entertainment in the 15th century Undercroft. Banquets are not held every night, therefore pre-booking is essential.
Tel: +44 (0)29 20 878100
For prices and more details go to  Web:  Medieval Welsh Banquets
A Brief History
- Roman Period (55 – 400 AD)
The first fort on the site was a Garrison Fort built around the 50s AD to protect the sea access to the River Taff. Over the period of the Roman Occupation three other Forts of varying sizes were built on the site. The last one was more of a Roman army base with craftsmen and workshops, than a defensive structure.
The current outer walls are built along the line of the Roman ramparts and sections of Roman wall have been incorporated into them. The 19th century Clock Tower is built on the foundations of a Roman bastion.
After the Romans left Britain in the 5th century it is thought the castle was left uninhabited and abandoned. Instead warfare was confined to the Welsh Celtic Princes’ struggle for power and to keeping the Anglo-Saxons out of their country.
- Norman Period (1091 – 1216)
Robert Fitzhamon, the Norman Lord of Gloucester, was drawn into the quarrels of the Welsh princes. He recognised the strategic value of the site of the old Roman fort and built his Norman castle there. It was Fitzhamon, who built the 40 foot ‘motte’ or mound in the western half of the current castle. He built a wooden stronghold or Keep on top of the mound.
Around 1120 a new stone Keep was built and it is the shell of this building that we see today.
- Medieval Period
The castle has had a turbulent history, caught up in the political and royal struggles for power. It was on the frontline in battles with the Welsh princes and further defensive structures were added. Nevertheless, in 1404 the famous Welsh prince Owain Glyndwr actually captured the castle!!
- 18th Century
The Castle passed through the hands of many noble families until in 1766, it passed by marriage to the Bute family.
From 1866 the 3rd Marquess employed architect William Burges to remodel the castle’s living quarters. Within gothic towers he created lavish and opulent interiors, rich with murals depicting myths and legends, animals, birds and plants.
The rooms are filled with ornate fireplaces, gilded ceilings, intricate stained glass and carved and painted animals. Each breathtaking room has its own special theme, including Mediterranean gardens and Italian and Arabian decoration. It is these extraordinary rooms that attract most visitors’ attention.
Another bizarre addition to the exterior was The Animal Wall erected c.1890 at street level in front of the castle. Nine sculpted and vividly painted animals hung over the wall peering down at the pedestrians below. In 1922 the wall was moved about 160 feet (50 metres) from outside the Castle to its present location outside Bute Park. To see this wall, walk past the Castle entrance towards Bute Park (i.e. away from the shopping centre).
The visitor to Cardiff Castle is free to choose just how much they want to see of this cornucopia of attractions but it is well worth making the effort to see as much as possible.
Contact & Further Information
Telephone   +44 (0)2920 878100
Mail   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Getting There
Cardiff Castle is situated in the centre of the city and easy to find.
- By Walking
Look for the finger post signs around the city centre. The Castle entrance is on the junction of Castle Street and High Street.
- By Car
From M4, exit junction 32 and follow the A470 to Cardiff city centre. Please use the city centre car parks or on-street meter parking. For Sat Nav: Cardiff Castle postcode is CF10 3RB.
- Park & Ride Services
- By Rail
Cardiff Central Station is located just 10 minutes' walk away. For details of public transport, see Traveline website or call 0871 200 22 33.
- By Ferry
A Travel advice for major events is available from Cardiff Bay and stops at Bute Park, only 3 minutes’ walk from the Castle entrance.
- By Bicycle
Nearest cycle route NCR8 passes through the Civic Centre, only 2 minutes' ride from the Castle entrance.
- By Bus
Please note Cardiff Bus Station is closed for redevelopment, see details here  Web:  Cardiff Bus Station/ closure & rebuilding