Caerphilly Castle is a huge medieval castle in the South Wales, located in Caerphilly, seven and a half miles north of Cardiff. The castle stands out from other Welsh castles thanks to two distinct factors. The first of these is its sheer size; it is the second largest castle in the UK after Windsor Castle, occupying 30 acres.
The second distinctive feature is the system of defences, built in large part surrounded by a system of large artificial lakes. Caerphilly Castle was originally constructed in the 13th Century, which makes the engineering behind the construction of the dams and sluice gates required to create the water defences even more impressive.
By the 18th Century, Caerphilly Castle had fallen into disrepair, including the drying up of the water defences. Several successive owners invested in restoration work, however, and in 1950 it was gifted to the nation, which completed the restoration and re-flooded the lakes.
A tour includes a quiz and treasure hunt for children, a climb to the top of the battlements (for the stunning views) and s examples of ancient weapons such as siege engines, basically giant wooden catapults designed to break down the walls of castles. There are also displays and videos outlining the history of the castle and a gift shop.
An indication of the atmosphere and impressive aesthetic of Caerphilly Castle is given by the fact that it has been used as the backdrop in TV programmes such as Doctor Who and Merlin.