City Guide to Caerphilly
More than Cheese and Castles
Of course it’s not all cheese and castles in Caerphilly. Conveniently located in South Wales just seven miles from the vibrant capital of Cardiff, a 30 minute drive from the seaside shenanigans of Barry and in easy striking distance of some sumptuous South Wales scenery, Caerphilly offers visitors the perfect base for a holiday that takes in a little of all that the area has to offer.
Back to That Castle
Let’s return to that castle, because you too will be drawn to it time and time again. If you have ever dreamed about a castle it probably looked just like Caerphilly Castle, this archetypal building is so perfect it looks as though it has been specially created for a film set. The perfection is something of an illusion as this 13th century castle was lovingly restored in the 19th century by the Bute family into what we see today.
In fact, the towers reflect so ethereally in the duck lake that lies obligingly beneath the image has often been used by filmmakers to stunning effect. It’s the perfect place to let your medieval fantasies run riot whilst the castle’s history lays siege to your imagination.
Trips to Cardiff and Barry
Staying in Caerphilly feels very different to staying in Cardiff. Although the vibrant capital is only seven miles away its suburbs are cut off from Caerphilly by the intervening hills. You can enjoy a more relaxed pace of life here yet still dip in and out of the cultural delights of the capital and the beautiful beaches of nearby Barry. There are excellent road and rail links between Caerphilly and Cardiff so you are never more than a quick trip away.
Throughout the year Caerphilly holds its own events that help it to maintain a distinctly different identity to its larger neighbour. There is a wonderful food festival in May that brings the best of the region’s produce into a celebration of gastronomy, and, of course, the unmissable Big Cheese Festival in July with music, fairs, parades and cheese galore.
Around Caerphilly you can make the most of the great outdoors. Country parks such as Sirhowy Valley offer thousands of acres of woodland and meadows to walk or cycle through by the sinuous curves of the Sirhowy River. In Cwmcarn Forest there are excellent mountain bike trails in the South Wales hills whilst anyone making the ascent to the observatory at Parc Penallta will be rewarded with marvellous views across the country and the largest figurative earth sculpture in the UK, a strident horse named Sultan galloping over the fields below.
Laid-back Caerphilly offers a more relaxed holiday but there’s plenty to pack in should you so wish.