Castell Coch | Discover This Fairytale Welsh Castle

The magnificence of Castell Coch in South Wales is due to its distinctive conical roofs. This castle is a wonderful image of an imagined medieval world.

Even today, people vote it as their favorite building in Wales regularly. So, let us get to know a bit about this fortress in detail.

Castell Coch

Where Is The Castle?

Castell Coch, or the ‘Red Castle,’ looks like it belongs in a fairy tale in the old beech woodlands of Fforest Fawr. It is a Gothic Revival castle in South Wales built above the community of Tongwynlais in the nineteenth century.

Castle Coch Map

When Was It Built And By Who?

The Normans erected the very first fortress on the site after 1081 to safeguard the newly captured town of Cardiff and control the Taff Gorge passage. The earth motte of the castle was abandoned soon after. Gilbert de Clare then used it as the foundation for a new stone stronghold.

He constructed the palace between 1267 and 1277 to govern his Welsh holdings. The native Welsh uprising of 1314 most certainly destroyed this fortress. John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute, purchased the castle remains in a marriage settlement in 1760.

What Is The History of the Castell Coch

The Normans invaded England around 1066. Soon after, they overran the nation. Wales was a distinct entity. During the late eleventh century, there was no centrally coordinated Norman attempt to capture all or part of the Principality.

But in the early 1080s, William moved towards South Wales and built the Cardiff Castle on a previous Roman fort. Several fortifications were erected in the surrounding region to defend the new site, notably Castell Coch.

This castle dominated the high land overlooking the River Taff. Robert Fitzhamon, Baron of Gloucester, faced the Welsh Kingdom of Morgannwg in South Wales in 1089.

It was probably simply an earthen and wood fortress, but it would have remained an important facility. He marched from Gloucester, erected Newport Castle on the River Usk, and then went west into the Vale of Glamorgan. Here, he built his administrative center at Cardiff, backed by twelve Knights and their retinues.

When Robert gained additional land in Glamorgan, he pushed the Norman-Welsh border even further away from Cardiff. Castell Coch was most likely abandoned shortly after.

John Crichton-Stuart resurrected the castle in 1871, who began a full-scale reconstruction in a Gothic fantasy style. It got refurbished between 1857-1891.

Neither Marquez of Bute nor Gilbert de Clare spent a lot of time here, even after spending quite a good fortune on it.

How To See The Castle Today

In today’s pandemic scenario (at the date of writing the COVID19 situation is still with us) , the castle follows full protocol and takes all necessary hygiene measures to serve the visitors in the best way possible. You need to pre-book your tickets in advance to ensure that you get an entry.

Though the timings vary from month to month, you are likely to find the castle operating between 10 am to 4 pm on all months of the year. If you visit around the Christmas holidays, you need to be quite alert.

The castle remains closed from 24th to 26th December and also on 1st January. We hope you found all the information that you were looking for here! What are you waiting for then? Visit this architectural prodigy as soon as you have the chance.

Here are some directions to this wonderful castle anyway:

M4 (Jct. 32), A470 then signposted.


2.5km/1.5mls Taffs Well, Cardiff-Taffs Well/Merthyr Tydfil/Aberdare/Treherbert route.

1km/0.6mls Tongwynlais, route No 26, Cardiff-Tongwynlais /Tredegar or route No 132 Cardiff-Tongwynlais-Mardy.

NCN Route No.8, Taff Trail.

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