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Visiting Raglan Castle, Wales

By alison - January 9, 2012 (Updated: December 3, 2014)

Raglan Castle, Wales

Raglan Castle, Wales

While Belgium has hundreds of beautiful castles to explore, sometimes it’s nice to step beyond our borders and step into the history of another country. One of our favourite non-Belgian castles is the late-Medieval Raglan Castle, in Wales.

Raglan castle is a beautiful ruin. It has everything you could ask for in a storybook castle: a moat with a drawbridge, towers, fireplaces a huge dining hall and a dungeon. Of course, before you could move in, it does need a roof and some floors. But now we’re just nitpicking.

Interior of Raglan Castle

Interior of Raglan Castle

The castle ruin, as it stands today, dates from the early 15th to 17th century. However it was probably built on a former Norman castle. It was rebuilt by Sir William ap Thomas, a veteran of the French wars and minor noble.

His son, William Herbert, found his fortune as a wine merchant and supported the House of York during the War of the Roses. He was the first Welshman to become an Earl. He used his wealth to expand and remodel Raglan Castle.

In 1492, Raglan Castle passed to Herbert’s daughter Elizabeth, who married Sir Charles Somerset, the Earl of Worcester. The Somerset descendants continued to prosper and update the castle until civil war broke out in 1642 between the Royalists and the Parliament.

At that time, Raglan castle was owned by Henry Somerset, then the 5th Earl of Worcester, and his son Edward, Lord Herbert, who were both Royalists. The castle was fortified by 300 men and canons and Lord Herbert went off to fight the Parliament. He was captured in Ireland and the castle was attacked. The siege lasted several months and eventually Raglan castle was surrendered.

Raglan castle was ordered destroyed, but it was so strong, only a few walls were damaged and the building and moat were looted. During the Restoration, the Somerset family regained possession of Raglan but the castle continued to be looted for stone until 1756 when it became a tourist attraction.

When we visited, it was a beautiful sunny day and there were very few other tourists exploring the site.

View of Raglan Castle from the grounds

View of Raglan Castle from the grounds

Walking around Raglan Castle you are struck by the sheer size of the building. It must have been a truly imposing sight during its day.

The impressive moat and tower of Raglan Castle

The impressive moat and tower of Raglan Castle

From the tower, you have an almost endless view of the surrounding countryside.

View from the tower of Raglan Castle

View from the tower of Raglan Castle

Getting to Raglan Castle from Brussels:

When we visit Wales, we drive our car from Brussels to the Channel Tunnel. After crossing the Chunnel, we head west, towards Bristol. From Bristol, drive into Wales and toward Abergavenny/Y Fenni and on to Raglan Castle.

Alternatively you can take the Eurostar train from Brussels to London where you can continue by national train to Abergavenny.

Indirect flights are also available to Bristol from Brussels International Airport and Charleroi Airport.

You can find more information on getting to the Abergavenny area of Wales here

Raglan Castle
NP15 2BT
Phone: 01291 690228

 

For more photos of Raglan Castle, Check out our Facebook Page. Love castles, palaces, and ruins like in this article? Us too! Don’t miss the full listing of Castles we’ve visited in Europe and beyond.

Post sponsored by Hotel Club Sydney.

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Alison

Alison

Big Cheese at CheeseWeb
Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of Cheeseweb.eu. She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
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