Head to the Valleys north of Cardiff where you'll find two very different castles, Castel Coch and Caerphilly, both at one time owned as was Cardiff Castle by the 3rd Marquis of Bute. Other major attractions include The Big Pit, The Royal Mint Visitor Centre, Cyfartha Castle and Llancaiach Fawr.
On the outskirts of Cardiff is the ultimate fairytale castle. Its conical towers and needle-sharp turrets peek out from a wooded slope, presenting a vision more in tune with the Bavarian countryside or the pages of Sleeping Beauty .
The castle was designed by William Burgess for the Marquis of Bute, who also restored Cardiff Castle as his main home. The exterior complete with working portcullis and drawbridge echo the look of a medieval castle whilst the interior is a feast of decoration, detail and allusion.
The Anglo-Norman lord, Gilbert de Clare, built Caerphilly Castle, this massive 'sleeping giant' in the late 13th C. The fortress is a supreme example of the concentric 'walls within walls' system of defence together with outstanding water defences extending way beyond those of a mere moat. Often threatened but unsurprisingly never taken, the castle still intimidates the onlooker and sprawls over 30 acres making it the largest castle in Wales. The castle is used for filming the television series Merlin.
Cyfartha Castle Museum & Art Gallery
The Ironmaster William Crawshay commissioned Cyfartha Castle in 1824. This grand castellated mansion with spectacular views of the Brecon Beacons overlooked his immensely successful ironworks and has been called 'the most impressive monument of the Industrial Iron Age in South Wales'
Joseph Parry's Cottage
Birthplace of Dr. Joseph Parry, probably Wales' best known musician and composer. He achieved fame through his hymns and operas. His best known work the love song 'Myfanwy' is a favourite of the acclaimed Welsh Male Voice Choirs.
Visit Penderyn Distillery, Visitor Centre & Shop. The only distillery in Wales and home of the award winning single malt Welsh Whisky.
Visitors to the manor house step back in time to the year 1645. The "servants" of the owner, Colonel Pritchard, will greet you. Listen to the gossip of the day, and hear about the traditional customs and the everyday life of ordinary people over 350 years ago.
The Welsh Pit Pony Centre
This is a charity providing tender loving care for horses and ponies in need. The centre has ponies of all shapes and sizes, many come from a background of misery and mistreatment. Visitors meet the ponies, hear their stories and see them enjoying their new life.There is a chance to meet the last few Welsh Pit Ponies.
The Big Pit
Blaenafon The real underground experience! Discover Wales's rich mining heritage in this amazing, award-winning interactive museum complete with authentic underground tour. A moving , informative and entertaining exploration of the lives of miners , at home and at work. Part of the Welsh National Museums and Galleries, free entry.
The Royal Mint Visitor Centre
See the heads, hear the tales! The Royal Mint at Llantrisant is the only place in the world where you can watch the United Kingdoms's coins being made. A 45-minute Guided Factory Experience followed by an Interactive Exhibition .