Raglan Castle

Back in the autumn, I ventured off on a couple of socially-distanced day trips, the first of which was to one of the most impressive and unusual castles in south-east Wales.

Raglan Castle in Monmouthshire dates back to the 15th century when Sir William ap Thomas, also known as the Blue Knight of Gwent, set about building a grand, sandstone pile, complete with hexagonal tower and moat (below).

The ruined great tower and moat at Raglan Castle

His son Sir William Herbert, later Earl of Pembroke, continued the construction, adding the castle’s gatehouse and pitched stone court.

The castle was later partially destroyed by the Parliamentary forces during the Civil War of the 1640s, following one of the longest sieges in the conflict. Today it’s in the care of Cadw, the Welsh heritage agency.

Gatehouse at Raglan Castle

On entering the castle via the magnificent gatehouse (above), we found ourselves in the castle’s characterful pitched stone court (below). There were lots of nooks and crannies leading off from the courtyard, so we began by exploring the rooms nearest the gatehouse.

Pitched Stone Courtyard at Raglan Castle

The castle is home to a host of unusual architectural features and as I wandered around the rooms, I made sure to look up so I didn’t miss anything. I was intrigued by the detailed carvings on the windows and at the top of the towers.

Unlike many castles that seem quite cold and imposing, Raglan has a grand yet homely feel to it and I could imagine people once living here.

Back of the gatehouse, Raglan Castle

Having explored the area around the gatehouse, we made our way across the courtyard, stopping to take a look at the remains of what used to be the castle’s office, before making our way to the pantry and kitchen (below).

Kitchen at Raglan Castle

In the kitchen, I could make out the features of what I’m assuming were once the fireplaces and ovens (above).

From the kitchen, we crossed the pitched stone court to another series of rooms – the buttery, the long gallery and the hall (below).

The hall at Raglan Castle

The hall was by far the most impressive room we visited and I was particularly taken by the large, distinctive oriel window at the far end of the room (below).

I’ve visited many a castle in my time (as regular readers of the blog will know) and it’s rare to find window frames in a medieval castle, yet alone one that’s in such good condition.

Oriel window in the hall at Raglan Castle

From the hall, we made our way to the second of the castle’s two big courtyards – the fountain court (below).

Fountain Court, Raglan Castle

The fountain court is distinguished by its large lawn and is so named because there used to be a marble fountain in the middle of it.

The rooms off the fountain court used to house the castle’s main apartments and the ruined grand staircase, which leads to the apartments (above), hint at their former splendour.

Cellar at Raglan Castle

At the far end of the fountain court, we popped inside the cellar, which lies below the apartments near the Great Tower.

The cellar was essentially a large, cold, empty room, which meant it must have been ideal for storing the castle’s wine back in the day.

Bridge to Raglan Castle's Great Tower

From the cellar, we made our way up to the narrow wooden bridge that leads to the Great Tower (above), only to find it was closed to visitors because of the Covid-19 restrictions.

Great Tower at Raglan Castle

So after stopping to enjoy the views from the bridge, we crossed back to the fountain court and headed outside, via the South Gate (below), to a small grassy area overlooking the castle.

Raglan Castle's South Gate and stone bridge

The grassy spot turned out to be a great place from which to admire the sprawling castle (below).

Raglan Castle from the side

By now we’d seen everything there was to see in the castle, so we headed down to the moat.

There’s a small path that takes you along the outer edge of the moat and loops around the Great Tower, which meant we could see the tower from every angle, including the side that had been demolished during the Civil War (below).

Ruined Great Tower, Raglan Castle

I really enjoyed our visit to Raglan Castle. It’s big, there’s lots to see and it has so many unusual features it stands out among the very many Welsh castles as somewhere special. It’s one of my favourite Welsh castles and I’d highly recommend it.


Raglan Castle, Castle Road, Raglan, Monmouthshire NP15 2BT
£6.90 adults, £4.85 children (aged five to 17), £6.40 seniors

4 thoughts on “Raglan Castle

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  1. Raglan Castle looks stunning – and what an unusually shaped moat! I’ve visited a fair few castles in North Wales, but one of these days I really need to venture further south 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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