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Three castles in one day...?

Brampton, Canada
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Three castles in one day...?

Good evening, everyone.

My original plan was to visit Cardiff from about Noon-6 PM on an upcoming Saturday in March. I would be coming via train from London, and then taking a train to Bath in the evening, to continue our trip.

I saw that I could get reasonable train fare London-Cardiff on the Friday evening, so thought I might just take the train that night and stay in Cardiff, instead of London. This would give me extra time in Cardiff.

According to my original plan, I was going to visit Caerphilly & Cardiff Castles. But if I had the entire day, that is, 9-6, would it be possible to visit Chepstow, Caerphilly & Cardiff Castles? I will not be visiting any other castles during our tour, so I'm not concerned with getting 'castled out'. I thought it might be something like this:

Cardiff-Chepstow: Arrive at 9:47, Return to Cardiff at 11:48, arriving in Cardiff at 12:23

Cardiff-Caerphilly: Leave at 12:31, arrive 12:50; return to Cardiff 15:10, arriving in Cardiff at 15:29 (will be having lunch in Caerphilly)

Cardiff Castle: 15:30ish to close @ 6 PM.

We'd then have dinner in Cardiff, pick up our luggage, and take an evening train to Bath.

This gives me at least an hour and a half at each castle. Is this too much? Any alternative suggestions? I really just consider it to be something like a day tour, except it's by train, and without a guide (and I'm going exactly where I want, which is why I'm not taking an organized tour in the first place). The tickets are off-peak & anytime, so I could move on later/earlier depending.

Thanks in advance! :)

Sacramento...
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1. Re: Three castles in one day...?

Awww man... Chepstow Castle looks cool too. I'm kicking myself for now allowing more time for Cardiff.

Sorry, I'm no help!

Milford, New Jersey
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2. Re: Three castles in one day...?

Too much at each castle? No, not at all, if castle exploration is what you are after. By pure arithmetic (and assuming 99% on-time connections), this itinerary is do-able - however, there is always the danger that you will start to feel hassled by midday and looking at your watch anxiously instead of just enjoying the experience.

Castle rankings and favorites is always tricky, as each person has their own point of view for what makes that particular castle memorable. You have chosen a fine group, but my immediate reaction is that you will be short-changing Caerphilly to get back to Cardiff.

Granted, the Cardiff venue is a great, worthwhile destination, but as a pure castle comparison, Cardiff Keep is simply not in the same class as Chepstow, and especially Caerphilly.

Linear Chepstow, high on its bluff overlooking the Wye, and the sprawling moats and defenses of Caerphilly, evoke all of the legends and emotions one would attach to medieval fortresses. Simple Cardiff Keep, although impressive, is set on the grounds of a well preserved Victorian enclave. Of course, the historical value is high and the Bute house itself, castle museum, and ring wall provide for a very enjoyable tour. But, if it were me trying to visit all three in a single day for fortress experiences, I'd definitely allocate more time at Chepstow and Caerphilly.

Like I said at the outset - one man's opinion - you'll have to factor in your own perspectives to make any final choices. To help in that, if you haven't found this already, take a look at www.castlewales.com

In any event, you're going to have a great time in March. Enjoy.

Brampton, Canada
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3. Re: Three castles in one day...?

Awesome - thanks, NJXJ - exactly what I was looking for. I really just have 15:30-18 at Cardiff as that gives me room to push things around. It's not a set schedule - especially since the tickets are off-peak/anytime, so I don't have to catch a particular train.

I'll take a look at the site you provided. I chose those three castles really because we have to rely on rail, instead of driving, and they were the closest, most easily accessible, to Cardiff. Fortunately, as you say, they are three very important and popular castles.

Suffolk, United...
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for Cephalonia
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4. Re: Three castles in one day...?

Hi,

Just to throw a spanner in the works; have you looked at going to Castell Coch? - a Victorian fairy castle just outside Cardiff accessible by local bus

cadw.wales.gov.uk/daysout/castell-coch/…

Bob

Ebbw Vale, United...
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for Santa Eulalia del Rio, Ibiza
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5. Re: Three castles in one day...?

Just walk around the outside of Cardiff. Most of it is not a real castle. From the official website - "in Victorian times was transformed into a gothic fairytale fantasy".

Somerset
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for Somerset, Solo Travel, Exmoor National Park
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6. Re: Three castles in one day...?

It is possible but I do think you may regret it. You are going to be clock watching and alert the whole time and not really taking in the atmosphere or any extras that you might see there.

You will see them but only the essentials, quick wizz round. I did two major places in one day and still had to skip stuff. Also the amazement, interest and taking in everything at the first meant that much as I loved the second I decided my attention was wearing thin and I would have to go back to appreciate it. So 3 would leave me dizzy.

Having said that there were plenty of people there who were happy to wizz round with the audio guide and just look at what they were told.

Brampton, Canada
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7. Re: Three castles in one day...?

Thanks, Bob. I read about Castell Coch, and it's gorgeous. It didn't make the short list because a. it requires local bus travel, which seems a bit more complicated to me; and b. it's sort of a reproduction, and relatively new. Though it's probably the prettiest castle I'd ever have the chance of seeing...

Whitcop - This is starting to sound like a better idea. Is it the outside that's older, but the inside that was redone in the Victorian era? One thing that I'd really like to see, though, is the animal wall. Looking at pictures, it seems it may be on the outside, though I'm not sure exactly where.

Sue - It seems the consensus is to cut out Cardiff Castle, and keep the other two. Do you think that's more reasonable? I certainly don't want to wizz through, though I wasn't aware that either castle had an audio tour. I'll have to look into that.

Seeing Caerphilly & Chepstow, and taking a walk around Cardiff Castle seems like the best option at this point.

St. Dogmaels...
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8. Re: Three castles in one day...?

There are a couple of tour guides in Cardiff that may be able to get your round to see more places and save you time and money, this is the link to the visit cardiff site visitcardiff.com/things-to-do/sightseeing-an… which may mean you can choose St Fagans Folk Museum, Castell Coch and Tintern which are all great. Click on navigation bar ontop as other tour guides in the area may be better, I just thought this one looked like it'd do the castles you wanted. Also pop round the museum which is next do orisl to the Cardiff Castle.

Cardiff, United...
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9. Re: Three castles in one day...?

Don't miss out on Cardiff Castle. Yes parts are victorian but you can view all the developments since it was a roman fort through to the norman keep - and the tour is excellent. Caerphilly Castle is also well worth visiting. Chepstow is fantastic too but you just don't have enough time to do both

Your timetable is far too tight - you're in severe danger of just skimming through a checklist and missing out on the joy of a proper visit.

I've been the Bath several times but find new things to see each time. You could easily spend a week there and still find more to do. Maybe concentrate on quality rather than quantity.

It seems like somebody arriving at a sweetshop and wanting to taste everything

Bucks, UK
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10. Re: Three castles in one day...?

I'm with Rhiwdragon, Cardiff castle is a fanstastic creation which is well worth a visit. The fact that much of it is only 19c should not put you off. As to the rest, I don't think you have time to do Chepstow and caerphilly without rushing around clockwatching, missing important detail and rueing missed connections.

To throw another spanner in your works, you could alternatively do one castle and the collection of historic buldings at the St.Fagans Museum of Welsh Life.

museumwales.ac.uk/en/…