WHEN Wales begins to open up following the latest lockdown, many people will be looking for places to visit for nice, relaxing days out and a change of scenery.
Here we look at the top five places in the Caerphilly borough to visit according to reviewers on TripAdvisor which may provide some inspiration for when you are able to travel.
Please note that due to the coronavirus restrictions in place in line with Welsh Government guidelines, many of the attractions are closed to visitors at this present time.
1 Caerphilly Castle
Caerphilly Castle is the largest in Wales, covering 30 acres and in the heart of Caerphilly town. It was built in 1268 by Marcher lord Gilbert de Clare. It is three times the size of Cardiff’s Principality Stadium.
It was inspired by Prince of Wales Llewellyn ap Gruffudd – who tried to knock it down twice – as de Clare needed a defence against the Prince. After the Prince died, it was transformed into a palatial residence with a hunting park and northern lake.
The great hall was given an ornate revamp when the castle was passed to Hugh Despenser. The south east tower is Wales’ own leaning tower of Piza after an attack on the castle during the Civil War involving gunpowder left the tower leaning at a precarious angle.
‘Daniel’ said: “Caerphilly castle is simply stunning. It’s a great walk for the kids, they can feed the ducks and enjoy the walk around the castle. There is an entry fee to go inside the castle but it is a must do and is very interesting. A great day out.”
‘Christopher W’ said: “Caerphilly castle is situated in the centre of the town, easy access of the moat via a bridge, impressive looking castle in great condition, strolling around the grounds you have a great view of the castles features. Access to the castle is good with parking close by or a short walk away.”
‘ValleysGirl’ who visited in August when there were less restrictions in place said: “Due to the current situation we have been trying to support local businesses by taking day trips locally. Today we drove to Caerphilly and parked in the car park near Argos
“When we arrived, the castle was closed so we took a walk around the town (most of the shops were closed because it was too early). When we got back to the castle it was open. The staff at the castle were very Covid aware and took the task of cleaning seriously. The castle is what you would expect. It is a very interesting place to visit especially for older children and people with an interest in history or buildings. The castle grounds are stunning.”
2 Llancaiach Fawr
Llancaiach Fawr is a historic manor which transports the visitor back to 1645. The manor house is thought to have been built around a century earlier. The house that is standing there today was built for the Pritchard family.
It has walls that are 1.2m thick and the stairs to access other floors were inside the walls. If attacked, the house could be divided in two and only those in the east wing would have had access to the latrine tower.
Through the 1600s, the family demonstrated their growing prosperity and affluence with a number of improvements to the manor house, most notable the grand staircase added in 1628. A formal garden was laid and several of the staircases were sealed off.
It is said that the passages and stairways that have been walled up over the years leads to an interesting situation where you can see more windows outside the manor than you can inside.
There are servants in costume to help enhance the experience of life in the 17th Century, all speaking in line with the time itself.
‘SudseyC’ said: “Enjoyed this tour of an evening when the characters made it all so very real and intriguing. The manor is amazing kept up to the highest standards. The ideas behind the way this tour is portrayed is just brilliant taking you back in time. So enjoyed this experience would recommend it to other groups and individuals to pay a visit to this venue.”
‘Sue’ said: “There was a friendly welcome when I walked in. I was warned that a primary school group had arrived, so it might be a good idea to go straight through to the house, rather than have a look at the museum first. Good advice. The children were well behaved and it’s nice to see the youngsters getting immersed in the history of the place but as there were a lot of them it could have detracted from the experience.
“I was a bit apprehensive about the guides acting in historical character as I thought it might make me cringe a bit, particularly as I was the only person in the house for most of the time. I needn’t have worried. They kept in character, yet didn’t overdo it. The guides were extremely knowledgeable and were very good at balancing my 21st century questions with their 17th century answers. They brought the place to life and made it a very interesting visit.
“Some reviewers have commented that the price is too high. I only had to pay for myself but I didn’t think so. I’ve been to a lot of attractions in South Wales that are more expensive and not any more value for money. The gift shop is a bit pricey but no more so than other, similar gift shops and the items seem like good quality. I didn’t go in the restaurant.
“Would definitely recommend Llancaiach Fawr.”
3 Caerphilly Mountain
Caerphilly mountain is 271m above sea level and has views across the borough and neighbouring Cardiff. There is a 10.6km circular walk around the mountain and surrounding countryside that is available to walk.
Near the summit is a small wooden snack bar that is popular with locals and visitors.
‘Daniel’ said: “The mountain car park is always really busy and I’m not sure if it’s because the snack bar is so good or because the people are actually enjoying the view from the mountain but I can personally recommend both as fantastic.”
‘AHT’ said: “I walked the route over Rhiwbina Hill, through the ancient woodland, passed the Black Cock Inn and up to Caerphilly Common. A lovely walk. The views over Cardiff and Caerphilly from Caerphilly Mountain are wonderful. With a 360-degree view including spectacular views over Cardiff-to-Cardiff Bay and beyond.
“On a clear day, you can see most of the coastline opposite, Weston-Super-Mare and much further afield. There is a lovely mountain cafe nearby where you can get some lovely refreshments including cooked food.
“If you are looking for a good walk through ancient woodland and ending with a magnificent view over Cardiff and Caerphilly, this is the walk for you. I live locally and walk this (and other) routes several times a year.”
4 Pen Y Fan Pond
Pen Y Fan Pond is a man-made reservoir which was built around 1794. It is one of the last canal feeder reservoirs in Wales. It is a historic and protected industrial monument with fields and trees surrounding it and plenty of grassy areas to relax on. A lap of the pond is 1,275m.
‘Terry T’ said: “Lovely place to walk around. Cup of tea and cake. What can you say a really nice day out. We will definitely go again.”
‘Gemma O’ said: “It was a random find, but I absolutely loved walking the dogs around here.
“Such a pretty place. I’d recommend it for sure.
“Look forward to going back with the dogs again soon!”
5 Blackwood Little Theatre
Blackwood Little Theatre has been around since 1929 but the building they have used since 1956 is a converted Methodist chapel that has been around since 1904. It was used as a Methodist church between 1904 and 1939.
When the Second World War began, it was used as storage for the War Office until 1945 before being converted into a theatre in 1956. Much of the original features of the chapel remain, however work has been done to modernise the auditorium.
‘NnudEilrahc’ said: “Everyone at the theatre is dedicated and passionate about it, every show is top notch and it is such an amazing littleTheatre.”