Castell Coch and its magical forest

Lion – Casi

Hey, coucou

Olala, a new post already, yes it can happen! On top of that, today we’re going to visit a castle which is located 20mn away from Cardiff centre and very easy to find, you can drive there, take the bus or even take your bike and you’ll have a nice promenade. Before I start, let me introduce you the castle with its name: its name is Castell Coch in Welsh, Castle Coch in English. Castell is pretty easy to translate but what about coch? Coch means red in English and it comes from the red rubble sandstone the castle is made of. That’s it! Simple as ABC and we’ve learnt a new word in Welsh ✓

Let me take you upstairs…

It’s a medieval castle (1240-65) which was left abandoned until 1880 when the 3rd Marquis of Bute, passionate about Middle Ages decided to take care of it. He appointed William Burges and they renovated the castle to bring it back to life. This castle is a side-castle because the Marquis’ residence was Cardiff castle (my post about Cardiff castle). Burge died in 1881 but the work continued thanks to the plans he made and the castle was refurbished.

The first room we visited was the banqueting hall and I was immediately attracted by the windows… Well, the view isn’t blocked by buildings! I don’t know about you, but I will be completely okay with this view when I wake up!

Here’s the room. It is decorated on the walls with paintings relating the exploits of St Justin, the man even has the privilege to have his statue on the fireplace. I like this room, especially the view, but wait until you see the next one… My favourite of the whole castle!

I want to live in this room, under this ceiling. I often have my head in the clouds (literally, or not) so I kind of have a fascination for beautiful skies and beautiful ceilings and this one is probably one of the beautifulest I’ve ever seen. Don’t you think? The blue is sparkling, decorated with magnificent birds and golden stars. I admit, it may be a little bit too much but it is the drawing room, they didn’t have tv so they needed something to be occupied and there are so many details in this room that you will be busy for a long time. There are a beautiful fireplace with persons, a chandelier, benches near the windows to admire the view, to dream and on the walls are painted characters from the Fables de La Fontaine. Exactly what I told you, that will keep you busy; look at the walls, find who is who and recite the Fables. There are also paintings of dedicate flowers.

We visited the bedrooms and although Lord Buke’s is quite small and basic, Lady Buke’s is quite spacious. I think it is almost my apartment size. Strangely, even though it is empty it appears oppressive because of all the dark colours and gold everywhere. This being said, I like the dome.

Of course, if you follow the blog or if you know me, you know that food and I are in a close relationship and we appreciate each other very much so I could not not go in the kitchen and stay for a while, to Le Barbu’s utter despair. I could easily imagine it busy with the cooks and the servants, bringing it to life. I loved this kitchen, very spacious! It is in front of the banqueting hall and there is an opening to the left so the cooks could give the plates to the servants. There are 3 red doors in the kitchen which means that it used to be three kitchen fireplaces in the Middle Ages, yet only one was used during Victorian time. It may be a detail for you but for me, such a beautiful table means a lot, it’s a dream. A real dream. I would love to cook in a kitchen like this one. Welsh cakes anyone?

We continued to walk in the castle, go upstairs and visit all the nooks and the prisons (I would like to be locked in there!). The cool thing in this castle is that it is a nice visit, it won’t take 3 hours to see everything, it is not Tower of London, but a fine castle.

It looks like a “Disney Tower” don’t you think?

The castle tour being done, we continued visiting around the castle and there, you have to open your eyes, it is green! There is green everywhere. It is so magnificent that it’s magical.

I though I was in a fairytale, a legend or a movie with princesses and princes, knights on horses, druids and little fairies. I’m not crazy, I’m just overwhelmed by those Welsh legends. It is completely in me at that time.

As you can see, the castle is surrounded by green, even the foam has covered the foundations. Oh! I almost forgot! You definitely should visit the shop, nice stuffs there! You can buy books about history, knights, the country, woolen plaid (I want one SO badly) and… bookmarks made of sheep poo. Yes! In Wales, there are 3 sheep for 1 inhabitant, so they use them for meat, wool and some smart persons though “hey, why not use their poo?”, very clever indeed because it is ecological (poo for paper instead of trees) and funny so I think people will be curious enough to buy it. I was very happy to buy a poo bookmark but I lost it, I’m very sad now :(

I didn’t retouched this photo, not the colour, not the framing. If you look closer, you’ll see that the horizon line is very horizontal, it is just that the path is on a slope. Now, tell me, can’t you imagine princesses and princes, knights on horses, druids and little fairies? I am sure you do!

We would advise you to enter the forest and walk, it worth it because it is extremely beautiful, the nature smells good, the colours are extraordinary, you might find animals, walkers with their dogs, runners… And walk, walk, walk and let yourself be guided by the smell of a tearoom. I confess, you can go to the tearoom with your car but, the walk in the forest is magical. The tearoom, Forest Cafe, will guide you with the smell and then you could enjoy a good time surrounded by nature. Sit outside with the peacock and the squirrels or inside, near a fireplace. The boss is very very nice. The food is simple but it’s not a restaurant, it’s just a tearoom and it’s the perfect place to relax.

I hope you enjoyed our tour, I’m writing those lines and I just want to go to the forest again (and I need to buy another poo bookmark). Those photos were taken in spring, I’m sure it looks fab in the autumn. See you here soon, des bisous.

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