Deciding to explore the confines outside of Bath, we took a day trip to Cardiff, a port city on the south coast of Wales. This 57 mile journey was an easy one hour and 15 minute train ride. Cardiff sits at the mouth of the Taff River, where it meets the British Channel, and today is the tenth largest city in the UK. Archeologists have uncovered evidence that this area was settled some 6000 years ago ( approximately 1500 years before Stonehenge). For us, the most interesting part of this city was visiting Cardiff Castle. Sitting in the city center, this structure started out as a Roman defensive fort ca. 55 AD. Abandoned around the 4th century, it was later rebuilt by the Normans ca.1081. Having made its fortune in the coal industry, the very wealthy Stuart family, which held the titled of Marquess of Bute, acquired the property during the 18th century, and renovated it to include a beautiful Georgian style mansion. During World War II, air raid shelters (for 1800 people) were built within the walls. In 1947, the then current Lord Bute, gave the castle to the city as a tourist attraction. We found this castle to be absolutely stunning, especially the living quarters for the Marquess and his family.
The main entrance to this very well preserved castle.
The castle Keep built upon a Motte (i.e. an artificially constructed mound or hill).
Looking at the mansion from the castle walls.
A view of the Georgian style mansion for the Maquess of Bute.
One of the most stunning features is this beautiful clock tower.
We began our tour of the mansion within this elaborate gentleman's smoking and drinking room. Many affairs of business and of politics were often discussed and settled in rooms like this one.
The banquet hall is unbelievably beautiful.
While we were able to visit, we were NOT invited for dinner! What a shame!
This is the family's private dining room. Notice the whole in the middle of the table. Prior to the family eating, servants would pull open the table and place a tree sapling in the hole. The table would then be closed and set for diner. How many times have you sat under a tree in your dining room?
The master bedroom is typical for the times; having a large fireplace and a four-poster bed with curtains to keep the warmth in.
This additional bedroom had a unique feature attached to it...
...a fully functioning indoor bathroom, complete with running water
The top floor of the mansion played host to this elegant roof garden with its center fountain. The rectangular boxes would be filled with colorful flowers. Water from the fountain would flow out through the channels in the floor and then pumped back to the fountain.
What looks like a stone walkway leading up to the central keep actually is all that remains of a covered passage from the main gate. During the time of the Normans, this passageway also contained a prison.
The interior of the keep shows that this was a "shell keep, meaning it did not have a roof. At one time a great hall was located here but was destroyed during the 17th century civil war.
8/21/2016 09:46:10 am
Carl and Lorraine, I have enjoyed both Bath and Wales blogs. For several years I did all the US marketing for the Royal Mint of UK in LLantrisant, S Wales near Cardiff. So I spent a lot of time nearby as well as in London. Lovely areas. I also have a close friend who owns a property in a "Crescent" near the Royal Crescent.
8/21/2016 10:09:29 am
Yes, it is a small world. Have you been to Bath? It's a beautiful city. Our daughter, Madonna, suggested we come here. We still have a lot to blog. There is usually a one week lag. Tomorrow we head to Stratford-upon-Avon, and then York. Glad you're enjoying the postings.
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Carl and Lorraine Aveni are two retirees planning on traveling through Europe for at least one year.