Castell Coch translated is Red Castle, and is a
19th century fairytale castle built on the remains of a 13th century
fortification. The building you see today is a full reconstruction, nothing of
the original castle remains as the site was completed cleared of vegetation and
debris by the Marquess of Bute, of Cardiff Castle and his architect William
Burges for this new build. Most refer to it as a romantic folly.
It stands upon a platform overlooking the gorge
of the Taff and was protected towards the higher ground by a deep dry moat from
the bottom of which the walls rise with a very broadly battered base. It is
surrounded by woodland on approach its three towers peep out of the trees and is
a magical site when you first arrive.
This is a stone keep castle, full of beautiful
features and definitely something that looks like it came out of a fairytale
book. It has 3 conical roofs to its towers and the interior of the rooms are
decorated to the same standard and lavishness of Cardiff Castle, with dazzling
ceilings, over-the-top furnishings and lots of it.
The three towers, of the Keep, Well Tower and
Kitchen Tower, incorporate a sumptuous, series of apartments of which the
Castellan's Rooms, lie within the Keep. The Hall, the Drawing Room, Lord Bute's
Bedroom and Lady Bute's bedroom comprise, in total, one of the most exhilarating
suite of rooms in the High Victorian Gothic style. The ceilings and wall
paintings are dazzling in their richness and almost equal the best achieved at
Cardiff Castle. Work on the interiors was not complete by the time of Lord
Bute's death in fact it carried on 10 years beyond being finally completed in
1891. It was never intended to be the main residence of the family, however in
1900 the Marchioness and her daughter, Lady Margaret did reside it for a period
following the death of the Marquess. The army sided it during the Second World
Ware and in 1950 it was placed in the care of the Ministry of Works and is now
administered by CADW as a national treasure.
There are many rooms to explore including the
lavish bedrooms of its designer, at the top of one of towers is a chapel highly
decorated with painted glass. Some of the rooms are overwhelming with design and
it is a place to stop and admire. You can also go into a small room to see the
mechanism of the castle gates and how they are put into place. The rooms at
ground level include a cafe and exhibition rooms, toilets all very narrow and
tiny, but quaint. Most of the rooms are on the first level. However you can also
walk around the top of one of the towers outside. All rooms are accessed via
stone staircases, which are narrow and in some cases steep.
Highly decorated Doorway
One of the Chapel Windows