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.
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.
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.
From the tower, you have an almost endless view of the surrounding countryside.
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
Phone: 01291 690228
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Post sponsored by Hotel Club Sydney.