From Bath, it’s a short train ride to Cardiff, Wales. And from the Cardiff train station, it’s a short walk to Cardiff Castle.
Cardiff Castle is, hands down, the most ornate place I have been ever inside. It’s mind-blowingly beautiful.
Literally every inch of the place is decorated. Look at these ceilings!
And the walls and floors are equally splendid.
Some of the details were so whimsical. Like this fish.
Cute little animals were sculpted in everywhere.
Stained glass, too.
I think you could live in this castle for years and not notice all the details.
The library was beautiful.
They have a small collection of birds of prey, too. I was especially taken with the owls. As I always am.
During WWII, the exterior castle walls was used as bomb shelter. They have a fantastic walkthrough, with it set up just like it was.
and metal bunkbeds.
Plus, they had sound piped in, of bombs falling, and sirens, and period music, and other things. I spent a long time in here, it was so deeply evocative for me.
Afterward, I walked along the Animal Wall. The story goes, that the owner wanted to put in a zoo, but the townsfolk refused to allow it, because of fears of the animals escaping. So he built a wall with stone animals perpetually in the act of escape. Some of them have glass eyes, and they are pretty creepy…in a completely awesome way.
This wall and its animals are definitely making it into the next book series I’m going to write.
Cardiff has several Victorian-era shopping arcades, with lovely little shops under a glass roof. This one, Castle Arcade, was my favorite. Largely because of the button shop. I bought a bunch of cool hobbit-y buttons there.
When I finished shopping, it was time to grab a cab to Cardiff Bay, and the Doctor Who Experience! After you travel with the Doctor through an interactive experience, you get turned loose in an immense warehouse filled with costumes, props, and sets. Nothing is behind glass – although they do have the occasional guard to make sure you don’t actually manhandle the treasures.
The TARDIS set was particularly cool, because you could walk around inside it.
There was creepy stuff.
And you always need to remain on your guard…
But I was thisclose to Ten. His suit, anyway. Guys, you don’t know the struggle it was not to reach out and touch…
It was awesome being able to get so close to all the costumes.
I took a billion pictures, including closeups of most of the costumes. You can find them here, if you’re so inclined.
I really liked Cardiff. It’s definitely on my list of places I’d love to visit again.