Free Day Out, Caldicot Castle
Hello readers. Many of you may know if you follow me on Twitter or know me in real life, I love castles. And yet Caldicot Castle, despite being very close to where I live is one I’ve never visited.
However this week Mr A is on holiday, so we decided to rectify that situation.
Caldicot Castle is set in south Wales, not far from Chepstow and Newport. It is a medieval castle but has had extensive renovations over the last hundred years. So unlike many castles in the area which are magnificent ruins, Caldicot castle actually has rooms to explore.
Entering the castle from the main carpark, visitors cross the the drawbridge and passed under the keep into the main courtyard. The keep is a mix of medieval walls and extensive Victorian rebuilding which was carried out by the Cobb family who bought the Castle in the late 1800’s.
This form of rebuilding would certainly be frowned upon by modern castle keepers, but I personally think it is quite wonderful. It allows visitors to wander around real rooms rather than just the ruins. For me it gave a real feel for what it might have been like to live in the castle in medieval times. I can imagine children visiting the castle would love to pretend they are lords, ladies and knights.
To the left of the keep is the oldest parts of the castle. This tower, like the rest of the castle had been renovated in the early 1900’s.
The tower contains the castles dungeon, a dark and dismal hole in the ground.
I should issue a warning here to people who are frightened or allergic to bee stings. The walls either side of this tower have been taken over by bees as their home. We could see them buzzing about and found one of their hive entrances.
On the far side of the courtyard is the Woodstock Tower. This tower was built by Thomas of Woodstock who was a younger son of Edward III, and Constable of England during the reign of Richard II. Although the nobility wouldn’t usually spend much time in smaller castles like Caldicot, Thomas did spend time living there in 1381 during The Peasants Revolt.
Towards the end of WW2 there was a great shortage of housing in the local area. Geoffrey Cobb the owner of the castle at the time made several maisonettes in the castle for local people to rent. Evidence of this can be seen in the Woodstock tower today.
Entry to the castle is free and it is open 11-4 Tuesday till Sundays unless they are hosting a wedding or party.
What else is there?
As well as exploring the castle, there is a decent sized playground adjacent to the car park for kids to play on. The castle has some beautiful parklands which are dog friendly. Inside the castle is a small cafe which sells drinks and cakes and even alcoholic beverages for the non drivers.
Throughout the year Caldicot also holds special events, from medieval re-enactment days, food festivals, pirate weekends and it is the end point of the Hoggin The Bridge event which involves a huge veriety of motorbikes. I plan on adding many of these to my diary for next year.
Have you ever been to Caldicot Castle?
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