Caerphilly is one of the largest castles in the UK, and while much of it lies in ruins, it is nonetheless a beautiful example of medieval military architecture. In fact, the dilapidated nature of the structure lends to its romantic and historic appeal. This is not to give the impression that the structure is a pile of stones, however. Thanks in part to extensive renovations, its has a fairly sturdy look, and more renovations are planned for the future, which will only ensure that this fortress continues to be a fantastic Wales tourist attraction.
Unlike many of the other castles in Wales, Caerphilly Castle wasn't built by the English king Edward I. Instead, it was built by a man of Norman descent who was known as Gilbert "the Red" de Clare. The nickname alludes to the fact that de Clare was a redhead. In addition to being a redhead, Gilbert de Clare was one of Henry III's barons, and a very powerful one at that. Those who are interested in Caerphilly Castle history will likely find the founding year to be of interest. Work on the large fortress began in 1268, and though it was attacked by de Clare's main enemy in 1270, work resumed in 1271 and Caerphilly Castle was finished.
Over the centuries, Caerphilly endured its fair share of assaults, and like many of the castles in the UK, it had fallen into a state of relative disrepair by the time the English Civil War started in 1642. Some further damage was inflicted during this monumental war, and it is believed to have led to the building of the tower on the southeast side. This tower is easy to recognize today, as it leans rather sharply. The Marquesses of Bute, who assumed ownership of Caerphilly Castle in the 1760s, began the restoration process, and in 1950, the 5th Marquees of Bute gifted the fortress to the British government. Welsh Historic Monuments is responsible for the protection and conservation of the castle today, and it also protects and conserves other historical sites around the country.
The best way to get in touch with Caerphilly Castle history is to pay the site a visit. Just wandering the grounds is enough to get a sense of its historical nature, and should you venture inside the awesome outer gatehouse, you can learn more about its past from an exhibition. Other highlights include the inner ward, as it reveals a variety of wonderful vantage points, and no visit would be complete without admiring the D-shaped towers of the east gatehouse. Fans of war history are especially likely to find interest in the siege engines that are on display, and upon entering the great hall, it is all but impossible to miss the shields that hang on the stone wall.
The county borough of Caerphilly, which is found in southern Wales, is where this eponymous medieval castle can be found. Close by are the cities of Cardiff and Newport, and this is something that you might keep in mind when trying to find hotels near Caerphilly Castle. Cardiff, for those who might not know, is largest city in Wales. It is also the Welsh capital and home to Cardiff Castle. As for Newport, it is the third largest city in Wales and part of the Cardiff and South Wales valleys metropolitan area. Should you wish to stay in Caerphilly proper, then the Premier Inn on Corbetts Lane is a good place to start. It offers great rooms at a good price, and if you can't manage to secure one of the rooms, there is another good Premier Inn at the Crossways Business Park.