Good for: restaurant, Interior museum, shop
Not good for: high price entrance
Lonely Planet review for Cardiff Castle
The grafting of Victorian mock-Gothic extravagance onto Cardiff's most important historical relics makes Cardiff Castle the city's leading attraction. It's far from a traditional Welsh castle, more a collection of disparate castles scattered around a central green, encompassing practically the whole history of Cardiff. The most conventional castle-y bits are the 12th-century motte-and-bailey Norman keep at its centre and the 13th-century Black Tower, which forms the entrance gate.
In the 19th century it was discovered that the Normans had built their fortifications on top of the original 1st-century Roman fort. The high walls that surround the castle now are largely a Victorian reproduction of the 3rd-century 3m-thick Roman walls. Also from the 19th century are the towers and turrets on the west side, dominated by the colourful 40m clock tower.
A 50-minute guided tour takes you through the interiors of this flamboyant fantasy world. Some but not all of these rooms can be accessed with a regular castle entry, which includes an excellent audioguide (available in a children's edition and in a range of languages).
Housed below the Interpretation Centre to the right of the entrance is the Welch Regiment Museum, which records the military achievements of South Wales' infantry regiment.