This is the castle we ‘swung by’ on the way home from our visit to the National Roman Legion Museum. Unless you have a special connection to this spot or are a massive Merlin fan (or Time Bandits, or — unreliable sources tell me — Skyrim — or Dr. Who fans who can travel back in time), this spot is probably not a day out all on its own — but it is a great book-end for a day on the Welsh border.
Raglan Castle is a Cadw site — so bring along your English Heritage passes and get in for half price (or free, depending on how long you’ve been a member). The Castle was built late, and benefitted from the political wheeling and dealing of the typically ambitious border family who lived here. Here’s some background. We have a Norman invader whose descendants supported the English against the Welsh (and fought with Henry V at Agincourt, huzzah) and then a later family who supported the Yorkists (insert obligatory fist shake at sky) and then fought Cromwell and then gave up and left the place in ruins. I think that sums it up.
Except for the incredible romance and drama of the castle ruins. Holy Meatballs! It’s amazing!
The octagonal shape of the towers are said to mimic the more ancient Caernarfon in north west Wales.
One view of the Great Tower, the castle-within-a-castle I mentioned in an earlier post.
A more dramatic view, from the other side. Easy to see why Raglan would be used as a film location — walk three paces in any direction, and you seem to be in a totally different environment. The ruins glow and gleam, there are reaching shadows, twisting stairs, wide grassy courts, grand stairs, and windows and views for miles.
And toilets. Never forget the toilets. We crossed the drawbridge to the Grand Tower, and while I swooned over the watery stairs to the moat, what did my children find and exclaim over, immediately, loudly, and repeated? The toilet.
We arrived at Raglan about an hour and a half before it closed, and didn’t feel rushed in our walkabout. If your interest is pricked by these quick shots of our day out, check this out for a far more detailed tour and history.