A5, Junction Chirk; 5 minutes
Café, garden and tower: 10am-4pm (4.30pm summer)
Castle: Mon-Sun noon-4pm (5pm summer)
Check for seasonal changes
Vegetarian or vegan options
Parking available onsite
Electric car charging
Chirk Castle is a magnificent medieval fortress built on a rocky escarpment overlooking the Welsh Marches. Construction began in the 13th century and it was one of several built to keep the Welsh under English rule. Today, Chirk's 480-acre estate is free to explore, though there is a charge for non-NT members to access the formal gardens, castle and café areas. The 19th-century yew topiary remains a marvel of precision gardening.
After exploring the tower and dungeons (playing I'm the King or Queen of the Castle), browse the bookshop for a vintage read before lunch or elevenses in the courtyard café. Choose from hot and cold lunches and snacks, with cakes fresh from the in-house baker. The shop sells seasonal produce straight from the orchard and vegetable plots; the homemade fig and walnut jam is lovely.
There's a playground for children – as if a real-live castle weren't playground enough – and a schedule of family-friendly activities. Check ahead in case your coffee-break needs to become a half-day visit.
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