Roman Walls of Cardiff Castle – Cardiff, Wales - Atlas Obscura
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Cardiff, Wales

Roman Walls of Cardiff Castle

The castle still holds traces of the abandoned Roman fort it was built atop. 

When you first look at Cardiff Castle, you may notice what looks like poor construction work or perhaps badly patched holes in its outer walls. However, these well-worn areas are actually Roman ruins, and it’s easy to walk right past them without even noticing these traces of the castle’s long history.

For more than 2,000 years, a fortress has stood in one form or another in the city of Cardiff, Wales. The Romans founded a fort on the spot around 50 AD. They used the site up until it was abandoned sometime during the fourth century.

Hundreds of years later, the Normans used stones left from the original Roman ruins to start building new castle walls. When the Normans rebuilt the area, installing any new stonework would have taken a lot of money and manpower. So, it was wise for them to reuse what they could and build on top of what already existed.

Sections of these ruins are still visible today for those with a keen eye. You can spot them near the official entrance gate and along the exterior walls. The Roman ruins are a slightly different color than the newer stonework, and they always start from the ground level.

The Normans weren’t the only ones to build on top of the Roman fort. A grand Victorian Gothic mansion, complete with intricate details and fantastical rooms, was built on the grounds too, adding another layer to the site’s history.

Know Before You Go

Tours of the castle are available most days, and spending a few extra pounds to take the in-depth tour is worth the cost. If you would only like to see only the Roman ruins, they can be viewed from outside the castle walls for free.