Visiting a Fairy Tale Castle (Castle Coch)

Those of you who have been long term visitors to Savidge Reads will know that I adore fairy tales. I love the unadulteratedly dark originals, I love the old Ladybird and (most of) the Disney adaptations, I love retelling and I love modern fairy tales. I even named my first pet, a duck, Rapunzel. Basically this is all just a very long way of saying I REALLY love fairy tales. So when we visited Castle Coch (and yes there may have been a smattering of giggles about the name, the ‘ch’ is meant to be quite throaty not a ‘k’ – snigger – or ‘ch’ as you might automatically do) I was greeted by what to my mind was like Sleeping Beauty’s castle as we arrived towards it.

I won’t lie this is a photo of a postcard I bought as you can’t quite get the magnificence in some of the photos I took from the back of a car on a motorway. After we made it (we almost didn’t) up the windy drive we were in fact greeted by this wonderful silhouette because Dom, Michelle, Polly seemed to bring the sun to Wales with us…

And possibly a ghost if that random blue orb is anything to go by. One up the drawbridge and inside you feel even more like you are in Sleeping Beauty. It is utterly silent. 

We were the only people there and the design of the building is that you open doors and just wander, seriously just wander anywhere. Well anywhere that isn’t locked, as with visiting the farm meant to be Wuthering Heights Polly tried to get in anywhere extra she could only with little success unlike in Haworth. Anyway… as I was saying it’s so still and so silent and the rooms have been left like everyone has just vanished. I imagined Sleeping Beauty would have had this suite, I know she’s not real, at the top of one of the turrets…

And Castle Coch does give great turret…

It also has some of the most beautiful paintings, murals, tiling and utterly breathtaking frescos. I was smitten with the one below which I would love on my own ceiling in my next house or maybe as inspiration for my next tattoo. Isn’t it stunning?

After we had done the inside we went back out for a wander of the grounds which you could quite easily imagine Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf wandering through.

It also had a pretty fantastic moat which also showed the depths of the very, very creepy dungeons plus its ramparts and battlements. Okay, I am just using castle based words I think I know the meaning of but might actually not, so let’s move on.

All in all it was pretty magical really. The perfect way to start our trip away in Cardiff. Who doesn’t love an amazing old castle, or a manor, or stately home. Plenty of room for a huge library… One day guys, one day.

If you are ever in the Cardiff vicinity please do visit this wonderful, wonderful Welsh castle. It’s an absolute treat. Speaking of treats if you tell me about your favourite castle (this one might compete with my other favourite, Warwick) or your favourite manor/stately home (mine is Hardwick Hall thanks for asking) then I might have a spare Castle Coch bookmark for one of you. Yes I know, how could you not want that?


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21 responses to “Visiting a Fairy Tale Castle (Castle Coch)

  1. FeminstsCreate

    What a treat to see this! Thanks for sharing.

  2. FeminstsCreate

    Oh. . . and just had another thought. . . have you read Michael Cunningham’s Wild Swans?

  3. Dabarai

    Castle Coch is surreal, Illived the vivid paints used inside, decorations are out if this world! Hardwick Hall is a completely different experience (reminds me that I haven’t finished reading Bess of Hardwick!), but my favourite is Chatsworth. Whole place there is worth visiting if you haven’t been yet. Beautiful. Also reminds me that I have Duchess of Devonshire’s autobiography to finish and all those books on Mitford sisters, aaaahghh! (I’m slightly obsessed with both families…)

    • I am from Matlock so we went to Chatsworth a lot. We just really used to begrudge the prices.

      • Dabarai

        hahahaha! Chatsworth was a highlight of my holidays 3 years ago! I wish I had a luxury to visit it more often, sod the prices! Also Haddon Hall was great, esp gardens. And Hever Castle (completely different place). Ah, and while on holiday in Wales we have seen crew filming Dr Who in Caerphilly Castle! We have a photo of Matt Smith’s chair!

  4. You were in my neck of the woods and didn’t let me know.??? Shame, you could have dropped in for tea and a natter. For non Welsh speakers Castell Coch is Welsh for Red Castle and is a lot more modern than it appears. It was built as a second home to a marquess who already had a stonking huge castle just down the road but for some people one just isn’t enough.

  5. This looks like a wonderful place to visit – it really does look like it just stepped out of a fairy tale. It reminds me of my visit to Château de Menthon, a French medieval castle above Lake Annecy – it is stunning!

  6. I live an hour away from it and haven’t been there, yet. Thanks for the post which serves as a much needed reminder to go and see it.

  7. Gina

    How beautiful. Love how you were able to roam – no guards or velvet ropes!

  8. Karen B

    Absolutely stunning! I would love to go there. That’s amazing that they just let you wander. What a great way to experience it! I live in America and I can’t say we have such old and interesting castles. I’ve been to some of the famous U.S. ones: Boldt, Gillette, Hammond and Lyndhurst. My favorite is probably Belvedere Castle in Central Park. It’s this little castle that was really build just for show, but it’s a special little spot in the middle of the park. It brings back happy memories of being a kid and going there with my Dad and brothers. Enjoy your trip!

  9. Hoorah! Thrilled that you went to Castell Coch while you were down in Wales. It’s about 10 minutes away from me, and I love it so much. Hope you had a wonderful time in Cardiff.

  10. This looks amazing! And I felt slightly overexcited at your mention of Warwick Castle (the fairytale castle of my childhood!) But have you ever been to Kenilworth? A little tumbledown but beautiful, I highly recommend.

  11. Pingback: What Should I Read Whilst Staying in an Old Manor House? | Savidge Reads

  12. I love Castell Coch. Haven’t been for years but I grew up not so far away and we would drive past quite often. One of my favourite from-the-motorway landmarks, for sure. I also have a soft spot for the nearby Goodrich Castle, which is your more traditional mostly-fallen-down affair, and of course Tintern Abbey, which is just magnificent.

  13. I was there as a teenager several times. I saw jousting being filmed. Now looking at these pictures I realise that I set all my fairy tales in this castle. Recently I was reading what was perhaps the first Gothic Novel, “The Castle of Otranto”. Without knowing I had set it all in Castle Coch.

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