Cardiff Castle is one of the top attractions in the capital city of Wales. Located in Cardiff, this historic structure has its roots in the Norman era, though the site has seen nearly 2,000 years of significant human activity. The Romans actually erected a forum on the site of Cardiff Castle, and the Norman-built shell that remains today was founded centuries later in 1091. As is true of the history of many other castles, the history of Cardiff Castle includes a few major renovations, so what you actually see today is a fascinating mix of architectural styles and structures.
Cardiff Castle was damaged on more than one occasion over the years. Much of the damage in the earlier years came during a Welsh revolt, as the castle was a possession of the English for much of its life, and in the 1270s, an English baron named Gilbert de Clare had the structure refortified. A notorious British family overtook possession of the castle in the early 1300s, and in 1317, the popular Welsh leader, Llywelyn Bren, was imprisoned within the castle confines. The Despenser family, as the owners of Cardiff Castle were known, saw to it that Bren died in a not-so-pleasant way just one year later. In the years that followed, the castle was heavily assaulted by Welsh forces on more than one occasion, largely in response to their fallen hero.
The history of Cardiff Castle sees the powerful Herbert family taking control of the compound in the mid-1500s, and they held onto it until 1776. This is when the Butes took over, and they had much to do with the structure that visitors see today. A renowned landscape artist by the name of Capability Brown went to task converting the grounds, and many of the towers were altered. The Clock Tower is of specific interest, thanks largely to its colorful artwork. Thankfully, the Norman installments were left in place.
There is plenty to see inside Cardiff Castle as well. The gothic revival fireplace is dazzling, for example, and the immaculate craftsmanship and splendor of the Arab Room Ceiling is hard to deny. Also found inside this fantastic historic attraction are a pair of museums that focus on military history, and it warrants a short visit at the least. Much of the interior features of Cardiff Castle have a Victorian design, as they were created by the William Burges, who was among the chief architects of the era.
Should you wish to visit the landmark Cardiff Castle, it is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. between the months of March and October. November through February, it is also open daily, though it closes one hour earlier. Last admission is one hour before closing time, and a conducted tour is included in the admission price. Keeping the events calender in mind can be a good idea when planning visits to Cardiff Castle. The grounds have served as the site for many a fun affair, big ticket concerts included.