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thumbnail Castell Coch, Tongwynlais, South Wales
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Castell Coch, Tongwynlais, South Wales © Billy Stock/Alamy
Castell Coch, Welsh for "Red Castle", is perched on a wooded hill in Cardiff, Wales. Built on the ruins of the old fortification, the renowned architect William Burges redesigned the castle between 1875 and 1879. The castle is a symphony of opulence, featuring lavish interiors adorned with intricate carvings, vibrant stained-glass and sumptuous furnishings. Its external features and high Victorian interiors stand as an example of the brilliance of its designer. Melding together remnants of the mediaeval fortress with 19th-century innovations, its design achieves a synthesis that is hailed as a highlight of the Gothic Revival in Britain. The surrounding beech forest contributes to the fairytale-like background, and it contains geological features of limestone, sandstone and rare plant species such as the butterfly orchid, bird"s-nest orchid and dog"s mercury. These woods are recognised and protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.