Fairy-tale castle was a plaything for the rich and powerful
What happens when a patron of unlimited wealth meets an architect of boundless imagination? Here’s your answer.
Castell Coch, or the ‘Red Castle’, rises up from the ancient beech woods of Fforest Fawr like a vision from a fairy tale. Yet these great towers with their unmistakable conical roofs only hint at the splendour within.
Given free rein by the third Marquess of Bute, architect William Burges didn’t hold back. The highly decorated interiors and rich furnishings of Castell Coch make it a dazzling masterpiece of the High Victorian era.
But it’s no exotic folly. Underneath the mock-medieval trappings you can still trace the impressive remains of a 13th-century castle, once used as a hunting lodge by the ruthless Marcher lord Gilbert de Clare.
Castell Coch has been a plaything of the rich and powerful for over 700 years. Having lavished huge sums on it neither Gilbert de Clare nor the Marquess of Bute spent much time here.
But it remains a magnificent vision of an imaginary medieval world – regularly voted by the public as their favourite building in Wales.
Castell Coch Guidebook
Buy your guidebook online today
10% off for Cadw members!
*Visitor centre open daily 9.30am–5pm
Closed 24, 25, 26 December and 1 January
Please note: during extreme weather conditions we may need to close monuments at short notice, please check our social media channels before visiting to ensure the site is open and safe to visit.
*Castell Coch will be open for Santa Grotto visitors only on the following dates in December: Saturday 4 & Sunday 5, Saturday 11 & Sunday 12.
Prices & Tickets
Assistance dogs only at this site.
Audio guide available detailing the history of the site.
Unisex toilet with baby changing facilities on 1st floor.
Bike storage area available in car park or close to site.
The castle car park is free and open during standard site opening hours.
There are three dedicated disabled parking bays at the top of the car park on the right hand side.
The steepness of and gaps within the entrance bridge may pose difficulties to wheelchairs, buggies and those with walking aids.
On-site exhibition within monument.
Site guidebook available to purchase online and in selected visitor centres.
Gift shop at this site offering a range of products and guidebooks.
Cadw do not allow drone flying from or over its guardianship sites, except by contractors commissioned for a specific purpose, who satisfy stringent CAA criteria, have the correct insurances and are operating under controlled conditions.
Smoking is not permitted.
A portable induction loop is available.
One unisex toilet on the ground floor, 25 meters from the visitor centre.
One ladies toilet on the ground floor of the Well Tower.
Twin toilet facilities on 1st floor.
This site is available to hire for events, filming and exhibitions.
Cadw free public WiFi available at this site.
Postcode CF15 7JS
For further information, please contact: Traveline Cymru on 0800 464 0000 or National Rail Enquiries on 03457 48 49 50.
Telephone 03000 252239
Cardiff CF15 7JS
For contractors, educational visits and deliveries please ring 02920 810101