Arts and Culture

Wind back the clock: A historic tour of Cardiff

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With a stunning 2,000-year-old castle located in the heart of the city, it is unsurprising that Caerdydd, more commonly known as Cardiff, is a popular holiday destination for those with a passion for history. The Welsh waterfront capital is a must-visit location for travellers with a thirst for history that is a little off the beaten track.

Cardiff Castle

The first stop for any visitor to Cardiff should be the famous castle, situated in the very city centre. First established as a Roman keep in 400 AD, the castle is made up of a mix of fascinating history and architecture.

Keep an eye out for the original Roman stonework visible on the outer castle wall, and then head inside to explore the walls, fortress and palace.

Climbing the internal fortress gives you a unique view of the grounds and outer city, while the castle itself is filled with many beautiful and fragile books, trinkets and tapestries.

You can also take a walk through the brick-lined tunnels within the walls of the castle that were used as shelters during the Second World War. This immersive tour – led by an Air-Raid Warden in full costume – incorporates the sounds and sights of an authentic air raid, when more than 1,800 Cardiff residents took shelter in the walls.

Even outside of the keep, there are sights waiting to be seen. Take a stroll along the street to enjoy the animal wall. A collection of statues, this attraction is a delight to behold, with a range of common and rare creatures set in stone and watching over on the passersby.

Castell Coch

Although a relatively modern castle, Castell Coch is a relic of a bygone era. Victorians were just as fascinated by the Middle Ages as we today are enthralled with Victorian culture, and so designed Castell Coch in the classic gothic style.

Built by William Burges in the 19th century, this is a truly beautiful castle, which evokes thoughts of those classic fairytales.

Complete with dazzling ceilings, pointed towers and extravagant furnishings, Castell Coch is just a quick bus or train ride from the city centre and is a treasure to explore.

St John the Baptist Church

As the only church dating back to pre-mediaeval times in the city centre, St John the Baptist Church is a must-see for those interested in Cardiff's past.

Built in 1180, the Baptist Church has a tempered history. The original structure was sacked during the Owain Glyndwr rebellion in 1404, and then rebuilt in the second half of the 15th century.

The open battlements are a unique sight to see, complete with a tower that dates back to the 14th century. A tour through the grounds will reveal a beautiful interior and all the classic trimmings of a traditional church.

The Bishop's Palace

These rundown stones are the ruined residence of the bishops who once worked in the Llandaff Cathedral. The stonework is similar to that of local castles and churches built in the 1200s, so it is likely the palace was constructed in that time.

Once a grand building, now only an impressive gatehouse and courtyard remains. You can spot these gorgeous ruins within a public garden in the suburb of Llandaff near the Cathedral – which is also worth a visit! 

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