Cardiff Castle - A Toddler Explores. We have been to lots of castles but always forget the one on our doorstep. We put that right the other day and had a very quick visit. What did Bear think?
Cardiff Castle is right on the edge of the city centre and a great place to visit as a destination or as a respite from a shopping trip. There has been a fortress on the site for 2000 years. It was a Roman fort, then the Normans built the keep and eventually owned by the Bute family. The third Marquess of Bute was reputed to be the richest man in the world and from 1866 he instructed William Burges to transform the Castle lodgings. The work is lavish and breathtakingly beautiful. The Butes gave the Castle to the City of Cardiff with a vast amount of parkland.
|Arriving at Cardiff Castle on a very grey day. At the bottom of the wall outlined in red brick are the Roman remains|
So is Cardiff Castle toddler friendly? Well yes and no. There are lots of steps so the buildings are not buggy friendly. The grounds are perfect and have lots of facilities including a cafe and a shop. We were surprised to find out that they also have a Falconry and although very small it delighted Bear and, for us, made the visit worthwhile.
|What can Bear see?|
|Whatever it is he's delighted|
|A huge Eagle Owl|
|Lots of birds in the Falconry, some tiny and some huge!|
We spent two hours at the Castle and only saw a very small part of it. We didn't join the guided tour as at 50 minutes that is too long for Bear to pay attention but we did walk around the parts of the castle open to those not on the tour. I was disappointed. Many of the rooms were roped off so it was not possible to see the grandeur and beauty of the decoration especially the ceilings. A lot of the castle is only open to those on the tour.
|There are lots and lots of steps including circular staircases|
|One of the beautiful rooms but it was roped off|
|The decoration everywhere is opulent and beautiful|
|Bear ran through the doorway but slow down! What is that above the door?|
|It's a cheeky monkey about to throw fruit|
We didn't get time to visit the keep, the walls, the wartime shelters or the museum. We only saw a very small part of the castle which was enough for us with a two year old. We also bought a "Key" for £5, which if you are a resident of Cardiff, gives free access for three years. Don't forget to take proof of address and identity. This means we can just pop in whenever we are in town and see a little more.
|The clock chimes at every quarter, Bear was very impressed|
|We climbed more steps and Bear found a little hole in the wall|
|If you crouch down you can see the thickness of the walls and see the shops outside|
|Even a drainpipe is ornate and beautiful|
|The House and the Norman Keep|
|Just visible are the castellated walls and a replica Trebuchet|
We loved Cardiff Castle and will definitely return. There are lots of things suitable for a toddler but to really experience it all then we will return without him. Shh don't tell Bear he loves castles!
Cardiff Castle is open 9am - 5pm last entry 4pm. It costs £12 per adult with an extra £3 for the house tour. Children under 5 have free entry and there are concessions too. Up to date prices and opening times can be found on the Cardiff Castle website.
Have you been to Cardiff Castle? What did you enjoy the most?