If you’re looking for the best hike near Cardiff to live out your fairytale dreams then Castell Coch to Caerphilly Castle is the perfect hike for you.
This 5.5-mile (8.8 km) castle-to-castle route in Wales begins from Castell Coch, which is a medieval castle that lies above the village of Tongwynlais and overlooks the Taff Valley and the northern part of Cardiff.
After you make your way through a network of woodland trails, you’ll find yourself in front of Caerphilly Castle, the largest castle in Wales.
Along this route, you’ll also get to summit Caerphilly Mountain, which has an elevation of 271 meters.
In this post, I’m going to share how to hike Castell Coch to Caerphilly Castle via Caerphilly Mountain near Cardiff, Wales.
- Hike Castell Coch to Caerphilly Castle
- Quick Tips
- Castell Coch to Caerphilly Castle Hiking Route
- How to Get to Castell Coch
- Castell Coch (The 'Fairytale Castle of Wales')
- Forest Fawr
- Fforest Fach to Caerphilly Mountain
- Caerphilly Mountain Summit
- Caerphilly Castle
- How to Get Back to Castell Coch
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Hike Castell Coch to Caerphilly Castle
- Check the weather before you go
- Wear proper shoes and clothing
- Prepare for muddy conditions
- Know the route or bring a map
Castell Coch to Caerphilly Castle Hiking Route
Take a look at my Komoot route or pick up an official map to help you plan your castle to castle hike.
- Ordnance Survey: Cardiff & Brigend 151
How to Get to Castell Coch
Castle Coch is located in the village of Tongwynlais near Cardiff. It’s about a 20-minute drive from the city. After getting off the M4 motorway, follow the signs for Castell Coch up the hill until you reach the car park.
You can also catch the 132 bus from Cardiff to Tongwynlais and start your hike from here.
Castell Coch (The ‘Fairytale Castle of Wales’)
Castell Coch, or “Red Castle” is situated on the top of a wooded hillside. This castle is gorgeous and it’s actually known as the ‘Fairytale Castle of Wales’.
Its original structure dates back to the eleventh century but had become a ruin by the fifteenth century. The medieval castle was inherited by John Crichton-Stuart, Third Marquess of Bute, in the nineteenth century. He commissioned architect William Burges to design and rebuild a summer home and Burges’ team carried on his work after he died in 1881.
Castell Coch’s architecture is High Victorian Gothic Revival in style, influenced by contemporary 19th-century French restorations. Today, it’s a Cadw guardianship monument and open to the public.
Castell Coch Parking
The car park is free, but it’s only open during standard site opening hours. If you don’t plan on getting back before closing hours, you should park in the street parking just below the gate.
Castell Coch Opening Hours
Castell Coch is open year-round, except for holidays and lunch hours. During summer, the castle is open from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. During winter, the castle is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Castell Coch Tickets
If you want to see inside the castle, you will need to buy a ticket. Adult tickets cost £8.70. Toilet facilities are only for visitors who pay the entry fee.
After exploring Castell Coch, you will head up the hill through the ancient beech woods of Fforest Fawr. This mixed woodland is known for its display of bluebells, wood anemones, and wild garlic in the spring. It’s gradually being returned to its native broadleaved woodland.
Forest Fawr has actually been used as a film location in Merlin and Sherlock, amongst other productions.
There are four different routes through the woodlands: Sir Henry’s Trail, Burges’ Way, Three Bears Cave Walk, and the Sculpture Discovery Trail.
Sir Henry’s Trail
We started our hike through Forest Fawr along Sir Henry’s Trail. The trail started off as an incline before it flattened out.
We hiked all the way to the edge of the forest where we enjoyed a panoramic view of the valley and surrounding hills.
There were a few horses nearby and they were so beautiful to photograph. I think I spent about 20 minutes here taking pictures.
Forest Fawr Sculpture Discovery Trail
Sir Henry’s Trail connects to the Forest Fawr Sculpture Discovery Trail. This route is great for families as there are a ton of wooden fairytale creatures along the trail.
As an adult, I appreciated the craftsmanship of the different sculptures and thought it was fun to see.
Once you reach the other end of Fforest Fawr, you will find the Fforest Fawr car park. Continue down the hill towards Hoel-y-Fforest before cutting through the woodlands of Fforest Ganol up to Rhiwbina Hill.
Fforest Fach to Caerphilly Mountain
Pass the cottage and follow the walking path sign until you reach the stile. Cross over the stile and make your way through Fforest Fach.
The trail through these woodlands is covered and definitely a bit overgrown in some places. The dirt trail was easy to follow but at one point we had to go underneath a felled tree.
I was so excited walking through this forest because I was finally able to find wild garlic! There was so much of it.
At the other side of the forest, you will climb over another stile and make your way across some farm land. Continue north through the public right of way until you reach Watford Road (A469).
Caerphilly Mountain Summit
After you cross the main road, you will see the trail to the top of Caerphilly Mountain. The trail climbs to the summit at 271 meters. Here, you’ll find a trig point.
You’ll want to head back down towards Mountain Road (B4263). This is where you’ll find the Caerphilly Mountain Snack Bar.
Caerphilly Mountain Snack Bar
Grab a coffee and some chips and enjoy a little break. On the back side of Caerphilly Mountain Snack Bar are a few covered seating booths. This is also a great spot to use the toilet.
Continue on your hike along the walking path through the woodlands north of the snack bar. Eventually, you’ll connect back down to Mountain Road, which is where you will continue along the roadside as you make your way to Caerphilly Castle in the town center.
It took us just about 3.5 hours to complete the castle-to-castle hike from Castell Coch to Caerphilly Castle.
Caerphilly Castle is the largest castle in Wales and it’s surrounded by huge artificial lakes. I plan to go back to Caerphilly Castle on a nicer day to take some better photos!
The castle was originally constructed in the thirteenth century, but was restored in the nineteenth century by John Crichton-Stuart, Third Marquess of Bute, who inherited the ruins.
Today, it’s a Cadw guardianship monument and open to the public.
Caerphilly Castle Opening Hours
Caerphilly Castle is open year-round, except for holidays and lunch hours. During summer, the castle is open from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. During winter, the castle is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Caerphilly Castle Tickets
If you want to see inside the castle, you will need to buy a ticket. Adult tickets cost £10.60.
How to Get Back to Castell Coch
Since we parked near Castell Coch and it was getting late, we caught a taxi near Court House. It’s right next to the bank so you can pull out cash if you need to.
If you have the time you can hike the Taff Trail from Caerphilly Castle back to Castell Coch. This will turn your hike into a circular loop.
Pin For Later
Do you have any questions about hiking Castell Coch to Caerphilly Castle in Wales? Let me know in the comments.