Explore 2,000 years of Welsh history inside Cardiff Castle. Located in the heart of Cardiff, this castle was stormed during the revolt of Owain Glyndŵr, has housed many prominent families, and maintained extensive air raid shelters during WWII. See why you should visit Cardiff Castle on your next trip to Wales.
Cardiff Castle History
This strategic site once held a Roman fort, the first of four, beginning around the 50s AD. You can still see the remains of the Roman wall inside the castle’s walls today.
The original motte and bailey Cardiff Castle was built after the Norman Conquest. Throughout its history, the castle passed through the hands of many prominent families, including the de Clares, the Despensers, the Beauchamps, the Nevilles, the Tudors, the Herberts, the Windsors, and finally the Butes.
During the era of the Despensers, the Welsh independence rebellion of Owain Glyndwr broke out. Owain broke through the west gate of the medieval town and set fire to the castle.
During WWII, the castle only suffered damage to two adjacent lodges. The castle’s outer walls were converted to air-raid shelters with a holding capacity of nearly 2,000 people.
In 1947, upon his death, the 5th Marquess of Bute gave the castle to the City of Cardiff.
Touring Cardiff Castle
A ticket to the castle gets you an audio guide, access to the castle grounds, castle apartments, Norman keep, wartime tunnels, and the interpretation center.
With your audio guide, you get to tour the castle at your own pace. Inside the castle, you get to see the ornately decorated apartments and the original stonework from the castle’s Roman period.
50 steep steps take you up to the Norman keep, and then up more steps to the top where you get panoramic views of Cardiff. This is one of the best views in the city.
In the wartime tunnels, you’ll walk parts of the eight sections of air raid shelters dug into the castle walls during World War II. This was probably the safest place to be during an air raid in Cardiff.
If you want to upgrade your ticket, you can take a guided House Tour of the castle’s Victorian living quarters to see the Winter Smoking Room, Nursery, Sitting Room, Lord Bute’s Bedroom, the Rooftop Garden, and the Chaucer Room. An upgrade is well worth it to see the full scope of the castle’s lavish interior.
Visiting Cardiff Castle
The castle is open daily March through October from 10 a.m. — 6 p.m. on Mondays-Fridays and 9 a.m. — 6 p.m. on Saturdays-Sundays; and November through February from 10 a.m. — 5 p.m. on Mondays-Fridays and 9 a.m. — 5 p.m. on Saturdays-Sundays. Last entry is an hour before closing.
Admission costs £14.50 for adults; £12 for seniors, students, and disabled; £10 for children ages 5-16; a free for children under 5. The upgraded House Tour and Clock Tour are each an extra £4 for adults; £3.50 for seniors, students, and disabled; and £3 for children.
Read next: 24 Hours in Cardiff, Wales
Ready to visit Cardiff Castle in Cardiff, Wales? Plan your trip with these tips.
- Book your flight: Find the cheapest flights using Skyscanner, my favorite flight search engine.
- Find accommodation: You can find top hotels in Cardiff using Booking.com.
- Get packing: Make sure you’ve packed everything you need with my packing list resources.
What is your favorite castle to visit in Wales? Let me know in the comments!