King of the Castle: 6 reasons why Cardiff Castle needs to be on your bucket list this summer
Cardiff really is a very special place, steeped in history and folklore which can be seen first hand in the majestic and unmissable landmark that is Cardiff Castle standing right in the heart of the city. As you walk past the castle wall, with Bute park lying just beyond it, it’s adorned with wild and exotic animal sculptures which draw you in. Children of course naturally gravitate towards the castle with all the different national flags waving high in the air. There is so much to explore inside that it will keep all the family busy for a few hours making it a well worth historical attraction to visit if you're in the Welsh capital.
So why exactly should one get tickets for Cardiff castle? Here are 6 reasons why it should be on your bucket list of places to visit this year:
1. Climb the Norman Keep for an amazing view across the city
This twelve-sided Norman Keep is one of the finest examples of this style of building in Wales. To get inside the shell keep you have to take on 50 steep stone steps and once inside you need to go up another two more sets of vertical steps to reach the top but the panoramic views across the city are well worth being a little bit out of puff.
2. Be inspired by the Arab Room
A ticket to the castle also includes entry into the Castle apartments where you can see the indulgent vision of William Burges come to life. Everything is extravagant with the piste de resistance being the awe-inspiring Arab room with its ornate golden ceiling which was painstakingly done by hand with gold leaf. It really is something a little different and children of all ages will find this fascinating, as well as exploring some of the other luxurious apartment rooms.
3. Learn about the Story of Welsh Solider
One of the newer additions to Cardiff Castle is the Firing Line museum which again is included in the ticket for the castle and celebrates Wales contribution and military history. There is a fantastic dressing up area where kids can try on different outfits, see how heavy a portable radio transmitters was as well as other hands- on activities and despite the theme of the museum it’s been designed in a very family friendly way.
4. Experience a Wartime Shelter
You'll be surprised to hear that within outer castle walls are tunnels which were used as air-raid shelters during the Second World War. They have opened up a section of the tunnels to show what it was really like during this time. There is a radio in the tunnel broadcasting music and announcements from this era as you walk past the bunk beds, kitchen and first aid posts and you get a real authentic feel of what it would have been like to take shelter here during a raid.
5. Say hello to a Hawk
There are resident Hawks and Owls in the grounds of the Castle near the further end and with their keepers close by, they answer any questions you may have about these birds. Falconry which is the ancient art of hunting with birds is something that would have been commonplace in medieval times and children certainly find these birds fascinating.
6. Take a break while the kids run free
There is a lovely cafe on site which has tables outside looking across the open green space within the castle walls. You can of course also pack yourself a picnic and bring along a blanket and sit down while the children get a closer look at the full sized historically accurate replica of a 13th-century trebuchet.
If you want a more in-depth experience you can also opt for a house tour where you will get to see the secret roof garden or you could take on more stairs and get inside the watch tower. The castle also hosts a range of one -off historical events such as the annual Joust and Victorian Weekend.