Caerphilly Castle

Caerphilly, United Kingdom

Caerphilly Castle is a medieval fortification constructed by Gilbert de Clare in the 13th century. Surrounded by extensive artificial lakes – considered by historian Allen Brown to be 'the most elaborate water defences in all Britain' – it occupies around 30 acres and is the largest castle in Wales and the second-largest castle in the United Kingdom after Windsor Castle. It is famous for having introduced concentric castle defences to Britain and for its large gatehouses.

Gilbert began work on the castle in 1268 following his occupation of the north of Glamorgan, with the majority of the construction occurring over the next three years at a considerable cost. The project was opposed by Gilbert's Welsh rival Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, leading to the site being burnt in 1270 and taken over by royal officials in 1271. Despite these interruptions, Gilbert successfully completed the castle and took control of the region. The core of Caerphilly Castle, including the castle's luxurious accommodation, was built on what became a central island, surrounding by several artificial lakes, a design Gilbert probably derived from that at Kenilworth. The dams for these lakes were further fortified, and an island to the west provided additional protection. The concentric rings of walls inspired Edward I's castles.

The castle was attacked during the Madog ap Llywelyn revolt of 1294, the Llywelyn Bren uprising in 1316 and during the overthrow of Edward II in 1326–27. In the late 15th century, however, it fell into decline and by the 16th century the lakes had drained away and the walls were robbed of their stone. The Marquesses of Bute acquired the property in 1776 and under the third and fourth Marquesses extensive restoration took place. In 1950 the castle and grounds were given to the state and the water defences were re-flooded. In the 21st century, the Welsh heritage agency Cadw manages the site as a tourist attraction.



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Caerphilly, United Kingdom
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Founded: 1268
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom


4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

D&C Lambert (3 months ago)
Absolutely brilliant castle to visit from a tourist point of view. Lots of interesting architecture and well placed items to reproduce the authentic feel of history, particularly the garments. The staff were friendly.
Food Critique (4 months ago)
Such a historic place dating back almost 1000 years! Although part of the castle is under refurbishment (December 2023), there are still a lot to see and climb! The staff are very friendly and helpful. Will come back again once the refurbishment work finished.
Masha Tymchenko (5 months ago)
Caerphilly Castle is a remarkable testament to Welsh history and architecture. Absolute must to visit! The castle's impressive architecture, rich history, and stunning surroundings create an unforgettable experience.
Nicola Rogers (7 months ago)
Remarkable but if history on full view. We were greeted in the gift shop by Tom and enthusiastic employee who really is an ambassador for the sight. We decided to join CADW, which we were able to do so in the shop. We were able to walk through the castle with only one restriction to the courtyard as work was being done. There is also a path outside that circles the castle. This makes a great day trip from other areas as there is a train station in Caerphilly. Quaint town with shops and restaurants to round out your visit. Highly recommend and we will be back
MARK FRITH (8 months ago)
The castle was being repaired on our visit so sections of it were closed, because of this we were given a free guide book. The size of the castle is impressive, but not much to see inside. There's a good view from the tower, but you cannot go to the very top although there are new stairways in place.
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