Temi Odurinde got in touch recently with a guest piece about a first trip to the wonderful Castle Coch. Have you been there? If not, you should really check it out. Magical indeed! Helia x
A Fairytale Castle in a Magical City
Castles were always these grand buildings I dreamed about as a child and that were brought to awe-inspiring life when I went to the cinemas; never had I seen one in person. Instead of beautiful countryside and magical castles growing up, I was surrounded by reflective skyscrapers, dull grey buildings, and new build homes. Now, I come from a place that my fiancé likes to call “Yankee doodle land”, so on top of a bit of culture shock upon arrival in the UK, I had this silly notion that there would be a few castles here and there throughout the England and Wales (of which I was eager to plan my assault to visit them all). I never realised that there were over eight hundred visible castles across the UK. My mind was boggled by the sheer number, but I made it my mission to travel to the most prominent castles as soon as I could.
My first stop was Edinburgh Castle – a gorgeous and regal building with absolutely stunning grounds. My trip up in Scotland was very enlightening, especially since most general US knowledge about the Scottish comes from the movie Braveheart. Next, I headed down to the heart of the Lake District and enjoyed a day at Muncaster Castle. The castle was nice, but lacked many of those spires and Hogwarts-esque features that I so longed for (though the owl exhibit and show on the grounds really made up for it!).My next visit was to Wales – beautiful Cardiff to be exact.
My sole purpose in Cardiff was to visit Castle Coch because I heard of how beautiful it was. Upon arrival though, I admit I truly fell in love with this stunning and historical city more so than I had anywhere else on my journey. I expected constant rain (something I was getting used to in the UK already), and names of places that I couldn’t possibly attempt to pronounce. Well, I wasn’t completely off – it did sprinkle a bit the first day, and it became a game between my fiancé and I as I tried (failing miserably) to pronounce the names on signs; however the locals were absolutely lovely people and the city itself had such beautiful buildings and an intriguing history attached to almost everything!
The trip to Cardiff, for my fiancé and I, was absolutely magical. We visited the port in the evenings where we were delighted to see all of the store lights were reflecting off the water – making for a truly picture perfect scene. On the second day in Cardiff we got to explore around the City Hall and that was an incredibly regal building with a stunning dome atop the main entrance, and a plethora of windows adding to its architectural beauty. We also stopped by for a visit in the Natural History Museum at St. Fagans where we got to learn more about the history of Wales, the city, and see some excellent exhibits in a stunning building.
Overall, though, the best part of our trip was Castle Coch. The castle stands proud in the northern part of the city and its tall spires make it look like the quintessential, dreamy fairytale castle. Once we stood outside its entrance (which has a marvellous medieval type bridge leading you into a large arched door), you can’t help but marvel at this 19th century revival. Its size is definitely impressive when you look at it from head on, but an aerial view of the castle and a visit throughout its corridors, reveals that it’s a lot bigger than you might have first thought!
As a person who absolutely loves castles, I admit I filled up an entire memory card for the trip to Cardiff, most of which was taken during the tour through Castle Coch. My favourite spots of the castle, and parts that I recommend every visitor see during their tour, include:
- The great hall – a stunning room with an abundance of old paintings and an absolutely fabulous ceiling that immediately captures your interest. The fireplace also bears a large statue above it that is a must see.
- Drawing room – another section of the castle that is, if possible, even more stunning than the great hall. This room features a very black and tan style of décor but it also boasts a fantastic chandelier and the famous Three Fates chimney-piece I had been longing to see for some time!
- The courtyard – while there is no main feature in the courtyard, except maybe just the fact that it’s the courtyard of the Castle Coch, it does give you an absolutely priceless moment to look up at the magnificent walls of the castle around you. Definitely a surreal feeling to be standing in a castle courtyard!
Overall, the visit to Cardiff, and especially Castle Coch, was absolutely magical. The city itself is filled with a fantastic combination of history, stunning architecture, and modern conveniences while the castle allows you to take a step back straight into the medieval times of Wales. For any visitor heading to Wales, take even a few hours to stop by and visit Cardiff and you’re sure to fall in love with this marvellous and wondrous city like my fiancé and I did.
Temi Odurinde lives in the Wye Valley, that lovely region where parts of Wales meet part of England. He blogs about Welsh & rural issues, dating and relationships for Singles Dating Wales. You can contact him via the website or Google+.
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