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  • Cardigan Castle - A Journey Through Time

    Exploring Cardigan Castle

    Cardigan Castle is not in Pembrokeshire - it is in Ceredigion! But it is so close to the Pembrokeshire county border and also close to us in FelinFach, we have included this spectacular, recently renovated castle in our About Pembrokeshire Pages. Approaching Cardigan from the south, as you cross the bridge over the river Teifi, the castle stands there before you, guarding Cardigan town. With its timeless Georgian mansion, beautiful gardens and award winning story-telling interpretation experience, it is well worth a visit.


    Cardigan Castle
    Cardigan Castle, overlooking the river Teifi


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    Overlooking the river Teifi, Cardigan castle boasts a pedigree rooted in the late 11th century. Initially constructed by Rhys ap Tewdwr, the first native Prince of Wales to unify the country, its early life was steeped in the turbulence of medieval power struggles. Witness to conflicts and conquests, the castle underwent a significant transformation in 1244 under the watchful eye of Roger Mortimer, Earl of March. He meticulously refortified the structure, infusing it with the characteristics of a formidable stone fortress, earning it a Grade I listed building status in recognition of its historical and architectural significance.

    First Ever National Eisteddfod in 1176

    Beyond its imposing walls, Cardigan Castle whispers tales of cultural significance. It is proudly recognised as the birthplace of the National Eisteddfod of Wales, an annual festival brimming with music, poetry, and the vibrant tapestry of Welsh identity. In 1176, Lord Rhys held the first-ever Eisteddfod within the castle's grounds, laying the foundation for what has become a cherished cornerstone of Welsh culture, attracting over 150,000 visitors in recent years (BBC News, 2023).


    Cardigan Castle, home of the frist ever National Eisteddfod - Eisteddfod chair in the castle gardens
    Cardigan Castle, home of the first Eisteddfod in 1176 and an Eisteddfod chair within the castle gardens


    Cardigan Castle Gardens and Story

    But Cardigan Castle is not merely a fossil of the past. It holds a vital place in the contemporary life of Cardigan, offering a multifaceted experience for visitors and locals alike. Its grounds embrace two acres of meticulously landscaped gardens, boasting over 130 plant varieties and offering breath-taking views of the surrounding landscape (Visit Wales, 2023).


    Cardigan Castle - Georgian Mansion
    Cardigan Castle, Georgian Mansion in the castle gardens


    For history buffs, a treasure trove of exhibitions awaits, delving into the castle's rich tapestry, from the "Cardigan Castle Story" to the fascinating tale of Barbara Wood, its charismatic final private owner (Cardigan Castle website, 2023).

    Soak up the Atmosphere with an Overnight Stay in the Castle

    For those seeking a truly immersive experience, Cardigan Castle transforms into a haven for overnight stays. Nestled within the grounds, Ty Castell offers charming B&B rooms,while self-catering apartments and cottages provide a luxurious space to unwind (Cardigan Castle website,< 2023). And no stay at the castle is complete without a visit to the acclaimed 1176 restaurant, named after the year of the first Eisteddfod.It delights palates with locally sourced delicacies, offering a modern take on Welsh cuisine while showcasing the best of regional produce (Cardigan Castle website, 2023).

    Cardigan Castle - Gateway to Cardigan Town

    Cardigan Castle's allure extends beyond its own walls, serving as a gateway to the vibrant town of Cardigan and the wider region. With its charming independent shops, bustling market, and easy access to the stunning Ceredigion coastline, the town offers a delightful escape from the everyday. Hikers can explore the scenic Cambrian Mountains National Park, while history enthusiasts can delve into the nearby National Trust property of Castell Henllys, another sentinel of Wales' rich past.

    As you weave through the castle's passageways, whisper of battles fought and lives lived echo in the ancient stones. But Cardigan Castle is also a testament to resilience and creativity, its transformation from a medieval stronghold to a thriving cultural hub reflecting the dynamism of Welsh identity. Whether you're a history buff, a nature enthusiast, or simply seeking a charming escape, Cardigan Castle promises an unforgettable adventure, offering a glimpse into a world where the past whispers its secrets to the present, all within the stunning embrace of the Welsh countryside.

    About FelinFach

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    Last updated 27th January 2024

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