Castell Coch is a 19th-century Gothic Revival castle built above the village of Tongwynlais. The first castle on the site was built by the Normans after 1081 to protect the newly conquered town of Cardiff and control the route along the Taff Gorge. Abandoned shortly afterwards, the castle's earth motte was reused by Gilbert de Clare as the basis for a new stone fortification, which he built between 1267 and 1277 to control his freshly annexed Welsh lands. This castle was likely destroyed in the native Welsh rebellion of 1314. In 1760, the castle ruins were acquired by John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute, as part of a marriage settlement that brought the family vast estates in South Wales.

John Crichton-Stuart, the 3rd Marquess of Bute, inherited the castle in 1848. One of Britain's wealthiest men, with interests in architecture and antiquarian studies, he employed the architect William Burges to reconstruct the castle, 'as a country residence for occasional occupation in the summer', using the medieval remains as a basis for the design. Burges rebuilt the outside of the castle between 1875 and 1879, before turning to the interior; he died in 1881 and the work was finished by Burges's remaining team in 1891. Bute reintroduced commercial viticulture into Britain, planting a vineyard just below the castle, and wine production continued until the First World War. The Marquess made little use of his new retreat and in 1950 his grandson, the 5th Marquess of Bute, placed it into the care of the state. It is now controlled by the Welsh heritage agency Cadw.

The exterior, based on 19th-century studies by the antiquarian George Clark, is relatively authentic in style, although its three stone towers were adapted by Burges to present a dramatic silhouette, closer in design to mainland European castles such as Chillon than native British fortifications. The interiors were elaborately decorated, with specially designed furniture and fittings; the designs include extensive use of symbolism drawing on classical and legendary themes.



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Founded: 1875-1891
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

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User Reviews

Joji Wachira (16 months ago)
Great place for a family picnic, dog walking, walk/hike in the nearby woods and suck in the fresh air. Free ample parking. Check online for details if you need to visit inside the castle.
Christine O'Sullivan (2 years ago)
Had a lovely couple of hours here. Enjoyed audio tour & looking in all the various rooms with their stunning decor. Interactive things for young children too. Staff friendly & helpful, plenty of parking, clean toilets & usual expensive gift shop. No cafe facilities. Would definitely benefit from a few picnic tables, benches on the green outside the Castle- make it into more of a day out.
Simon Mascarenhas (2 years ago)
Didn't go in to the castle on this visit but we did the sculpture trail with our two young boys. Its was wonderful and exciting for the whole family! Well worth a visit!
Arthur Dodd (2 years ago)
Such an unusual castle the name means Red Castle... it's a french styled chateau high above the main valleys road between Cardiff and Pontypridd ..there's free parking and to walk around the stunning grounds. There is an entrance fee,it's about £7 but it's a great place and backdrop for a fabulous picnic !
D Ganesh (2 years ago)
A pleasant cycle route to the castle- can be busy at times. The hill going up to the castle is very very steep- so you may find yourself dragging your bike up by your side. Bike racks are available at the top- not sure if any are available in the car park (located on the way up). The castle is also connected to a few trails and so you can spend the whole day wandering if you wanted.
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