Trip tips for South Wales #1: Caerphilly

While Faith is away in Africa, I decided to embark on a long and strenuous voyage of my own. To Wales.

As any reader of my other blog will be aware, I am a supporter of Cardiff City FC and this was the main reason for my trip last weekend, but that of course provided a pretense to see some of the other sights of South Wales.

I know many people go to Cardiff for the Dr. Who Experience or to see Cardiff Castle. Fine; but in my opinion, there are much more interesting things to see in the area. Here is the first one:

Caerphilly

If you are spending any length of time in Cardiff (even just a day!), it would be absurd not to take the short train ride up to Caerphilly. It’s only £6.40 roundtrip from Cardiff and is maximum 20 minutes by train. From the station, it’s a short walk to the massive castle (2nd in size only to Windsor) that is the focus of the town.

There is a part of the castle that you can pay something like £4 to enter, but it is a concentric castle, so you can walk inside the outer walls and through much of the castle grounds without paying anything.

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No, it's not a floating castle Obligatory selfie Enough of that guy already!

Having walked all around the castle, I still didn’t feel I’d gotten an appreciation for the scale of the thing. Surveying the surrounding hillsides, I decided to try to climb one to see if I could get a good view of the castle from above. After some wondering around, I started marching up “Mountain Road.” After a little while, the pavement ended, so I had to trudge through the grass and mud along the side of the road. Every now and then I would turn around to see if the castle had yet come into view, but it didn’t and so I kept climbing. As I was nearing what seemed like the “summit,” I was starting to wonder if this was a fool’s errand. Then suddenly on my right, Caerphilly Common came into view. Hurrah! Walking trails and a splendid view.

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Looking down at the castle, and looking the other direction

Looking down at the castle, and looking the other direction

The pictures, or at least my pictures don’t quite do it justice, and there’s a very peaceful calm up on the hillsides. I will say this: Everyone else up there seemed to be wearing wellies. That probably would be recommended if you have them, even though it hadn’t rained that day (there are, allegedly, only three kinds of weather in Wales). Nevertheless, my Pumas, though slightly soiled, were equal to the task.

 

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