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We visited this little cafe which is located next to the castle. We were very pleasantly surprised with this super little cafe. The staff are very friendly , the food is fresh and the portions are large and good value for money. The views are spectacular and there are tables outside in a courtyard or on a lovely patio area. We now call in every time we pass Raglan !
I love going out to visit historical monuments and the other weekend we went for a drive and passed Raglan Castle so we decided to turn the car around and go inside. Raglan castle is situated near Monmouth on the A449 or you can follow the directions from the A40 but you cannot miss it as it stands proudly on a hillside looming over the road in all it's glory. Admission is £3 for an adult, a family ticket will cost you £8 .60 which admits two adults and two children under 16 years old and children under 5 are free, for the disabled and their companion it is also free and you can take dogs in as long as they are kept on a lead and not left to run around. There is of course the no smoking rule in place and if you are over 60 you can also get in for free. There is a little gift shop when you get there and this is the way you get into the castle, you go through the shop after you have paid and are then into the grounds of the castle. The gift shop sells lots of postcards, embroidery, posters of the castle, jewellery styled in the medieval designs and Celtic patterns as well as it stocking children's toys of dragons, pens, pencils, key rings and lots of other novelty gifts with the castle advertising on them. It's a very nice place to look around after you have been walking around the castle. There is a small café where you can get refreshments and this is clean and tidy but the prices are a little high as in most places like this, but if you take a flash then you can sit in the car park and have a cup of tea or coffee and the car parking is free, so you can enjoy your brew under the gaze of the dark castle walls. Inside the castle there are two rooms with exhibitions inside which tell you the history of the castle, who built it and who lived there and when it was attacked and lots of other information with pictures and diagrams to look at and read. There is also a tour if you want to go into the historical side of learning about the castle, but you can get a free brochure before going in the castle to read as you go about and there are lots of little notice boards as you go around the castle, showing you which room you are entering and telling you what the room was for with a picture of the original room so you can see what it was like in the days of old. Raglan castle is one if the better preserved castles as it is not a tumbled down as others you may visit and is in constant repair and you can see the work going on as you walk around. It has great towers with huge stone steps that you can climb to the top of and look over the walls, I got a little vertigo as I looked out over the walls, but the view is magnificent, you can see for miles around all ways and can really get a insight to how the look out guards of them days had to do their duty. The castle managed to hold off Oliver Cromwell's attacks for thirteen weeks which is brilliant to imagine when your there. The castle was eventually taken over and destroyed by parliament but managed to have enough remains left to keep it's impressive looks. Raglan was built in 1430 and has lots of rooms and bay windows which a lot of them are still intact, you can go into certain rooms and look up where the beams used to be and see the old fireplaces that have great stone mason patterns and carving one them. There are so many fireplaces you can see as you walk around the castle and you can imagine it was a hive of activity with fire's roaring in each room. There is one huge fireplace with a bench situated in it so you can sit a while in the feasting hall and imagine there used to be a huge table and the lord sat at the head of it. At one end where he sat you can still see the crest of the clan and at the other end there is a huge serving hatch where the food would have been passed through, this then leads down a corridor to the great kitchens with its own huge fireplaces . In the grounds there is a stone slab where you can see where the hole for the garden fountain used to be, there are lots of places where you can see stone steps going down into bottomless chambers where your not allowed to go. I was fascinated to find where the dungeons would have been and scoured the castle until I was satisfied I had found them, even though your not allowed down the steps you can see a little way into the darkness with the help of your mobile phone light and feel the eeriness of the dark places below. This castle is filled with atmosphere and history, it is amazing and there are so many rooms still intact that you can enter and see how things were in those days. I still believe I was born too late and would have been in my element living in the castle. Although the castle is tumbled down it is still warm inside as there are so many walls that are still intact. Some only have the roofs missing and to stand and take it all in is inspiring, this is a place anyone would enjoy visiting as it is so interesting and full of history. You can check out the pictures of the castle at http://www.castlewales.com/raglan.html just to see how magnificent this really is. Another thing that really got me excited was the fact that it has it's own moat still with water in as lots of the castles I have visited have them drained out. If your looking for a great place to visit and love castles then this one is definitely one not to be missed. I really enjoyed the day there and would recommend this to you without doubt. Have fun.