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Usk Castle

Visited August 2010

Location Usk, Monmouthshire
Entrance Fee £1 (at time of visit)
Railway Station         No
Parking Yes
Facilities None





Before I start the review, I must first apologise for the quality of the photos. As anyone who is familiar with the great British summer will appreciate, to embark on a summer day-trip requires much planning- sun hats, sun cream, raincoats, wellies - and that is quite apart from remembering to put the picnic and the kids themselves in the car!!! I remembered just about everything plus the kitchen sink, but forgot to pack the camera! Therefore I had to rely on my mobile phone to take these photos, which was better than nothing I suppose!


On arriving in Usk I managed to miss the turning for the Castle three times, so keep an eye out for a narrow lane with a big sign saying 'Castle'. There is parking up the narrow approach to the castle but I found a space down in the town instead. There is an admission fee, it was £1 per person when we were there (NB: £4 in 2023) the kiosk is unmanned so you put the money in the box. There is a system of counting the visitors whereby you move a pebble for every person in your party from one bowl to another- quirky but the children thought it was great fun!


Once past the kiosk there is a set of fairly steep steps up to the Great Keep, thought to have been built by Richard de Clare in about 1170, and still sporting the beautiful Norman windows. During the Welsh rebellion of 1400 , troops led by Owain Glyndwr were slaughtered outside the castle walls by the English- a grisly part of the castle's history!!


Eventually the need for such a fortification in the area declined, and the castle fell into disrepair. The gatehouse was incorporated into a house which still stands today, parts of the ruins are in the private garden of this house. The whole site is privately owned, the areas open to the public are beautifully maintained with clipped hedges , pretty flowers and free-range hens and geese to complete the ambience. There is a covered gazebo if the weather turns grim, but not much other shelter from rain. There are several towers to explore, the most impressive being the Garrison Tower, which has a walkway out onto the curtain wall. There is also the remains of the Great Hall with a fireplace now half-way up the wall.






On the day we went there was a small rope swing hanging from one of the trees, this was of great amusement to my children, but I cannot guarantee it will always be there!!! There are no facilities here, but the town of Usk has many shops & Cafes. There are some public toilets in the main town car-park- we found them eventually despite the sign pointing in the wrong direction!





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