Cardiff Castle is one of Wales’s greatest heritage sites, a medieval fortress and Gothic Revival mansion boasting almost 2,000 years of history.
Archaeological surveys suggest that the Cardiff Castle site was first used by Roman legions as early as AD54, following the defeat of the Silures. Around AD1100 the Normans appropriated the site for the construction of a stronghold, and more recently Lord Bute – Britain’s richest man in 1868 – commissioned architect William Burges to transform the castle into a Neo-Gothic palace.
Visitors to the castle can explore the Norman Keep, the Battlement Walk, the Wartime Shelters and a range of lavishly decorated rooms in the Castle Apartments. Guided tours are given by costumed guides, while the Interpretation Center brings the castle’s extraordinary history to life.
A Norman castle was built here in 1093 on the ruins of a Roman fortification. A mote was raised, topped by a wooden fort.
In the 12th century a twelve sided stone keep was built and a band of red stone separates the Roman and Norman stonework. The eldest son of William the Conqueror, Robert, was held captive at the castle by his youngest brother Henry I, and died here in 1134. In 1183 the castle was damaged during a Welsh uprising. During the 15th century a gateway and stairs were added.
Over the years the castle passed through many powerful families and eventually came under the ownership of John Stuart, Earl of Butte 1766. Between 1867 and 1881 the his grandson, the 3rd Marquess of Bute, employed William Burgess to construct an ornate mansion on the site. Burgess created a great palace in the style of a medieval castle. The rooms were designed with elaborately painted ceilings, marbled bathrooms and spiral staircases. The Banqueting Hall, the largest room, has a splendid wooden roof decorated with brightly coloured shields and walls painted with murals depicting scenes from the Civil War.
In 1948 the castle was presented in trust to the city of Cardiff.
Castle Street, Cardiff, South Glamorgan, CF10 3RB
029 2087 8100