One mile west of Chirk tunnel on the Llangollen Canal and built-in 1295 as a marches fortress. It consists of a square court with a drum tower in each corner. Since 1595 it has been the home of the Middleton family. The gates were added in 1721. Within the park, traces of Offa's Dyke can be found.
Chirk Castle, or Castell y Waun in Welsh, is a medieval fortress. It is located in the county of Wrexham in North Wales. The castle is Grade I listed and dates back to its construction in 1295. Its rich history makes it an ideal destination for a day out. The National Trust own and manage Chirk Castle.
It is located just a mile from the Llangollen Canal.
Construction and Purpose
Roger Mortimer de Chirk built the castle. He was the uncle of Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March.
It was part of a plan to establish a chain of fortresses throughout Wales. Its position was chosen to protect the entrance of the Ceiriog Valley. It played a vital role in maintaining control over the surrounding area.
Chirk Castle’s design closely resembles the famous Beaumaris Castle. Its original plan was a rectangular enclosure. It also had towers at each corner and halfway along each side. However, only the northern half of this design remains. It features central towers on the east and west sides.
The castle’s medieval origins are seen in its simple gate through the north wall. Landscaping altered the castle’s appearance over time. Some of its outer defences were also dismantled.
The Myddelton Legacy
Sir Thomas Myddelton was a well-known London merchant. He was a founder of the East India Company and bought Chirk Castle in 1593. Sir Thomas envisioned making Chirk Castle a cosy Tudor home. This marked the beginning of the family’s connection to the castle. A connection which was to last for generations to come.
Chirk Castle Information
Chirk Castle, Wrexham LL14 5AF, UK
Monday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Thursday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Friday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Saturday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Sunday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
NOTE: Canalside venues often have seasonal opening hours. They can be subject to change. So, it's always advisable to check with the venue before visiting.
Expansion and Alterations
Over time, the castle’s architecture changed to reflect its residents’ tastes.
Sir Thomas Myddelton made big changes and additions when he owned Chirk Castle. One of the most notable was the construction of a new north wing. This wing included a hall, kitchen, buttery, drawing and dining rooms. It became the main living area of the castle. Meanwhile, the old south wing was gradually converted into servant quarters.
The Myddelton Family Crest
Chirk Castle boasts impressive wrought-iron gates made by the Davies brothers in 1719. The gates feature the Myddelton family crest. The crest includes the iconic red hand symbol. The meaning behind this symbol is still a mystery. According to this legend, it originated from a race. The winner’s hand was cut off to prevent them from touching the prize.
Exploring National Trust Chirk Castle
Exploring inside Chirk Castle is a trip through history. The castle’s interior is made up of various architectural styles. The medieval tower and dungeon display the castle’s early features. These include thick walls and interesting murder holes.
The 17th century Long Gallery provides a glimpse of times past. Exquisite artworks line the gallery walls. Visitors can also discover 18th century state apartments. The servants’ hall and laundry give a better understanding of the castle’s past.
A vast 480 acre parkland surrounds Chirk Castle. It houses impressive award-winning gardens. The gardens are outstanding and include clipped yews herbaceous borders. They feature well-kept yews, vibrant herbaceous borders and fragrant shrubs. There are also enchanting rock gardens. Many mature trees offer shade and shelter to various species. They are a habitat for rare invertebrates.
You can take a leisurely walk on the terrace and marvel at the stunning views. The Cheshire plains provide a picturesque backdrop for peaceful reflection.
Chirk Castle Directions
Chirk Castle is located in Wrexham County. It’s on the border of England and Wales. If you’re travelling by car, follow the signs from the A5 and A483. The estate entrance is about 2 miles west of Chirk village. When you reach the white iron Davies gates, keep to the right. The entrance is 1.4 miles further down the road.
Plan Your Visit
Shuttle bus Service
You can ride up the steep hill to the castle. A shuttle bus for visitors runs from 10:30am to 4:45pm. Please note, Volunteers run this service. It might not operate daily so check beforehand.
Opening Times and Admission
Chirk Castle is open all year round. The estate and inner courtyard can be accessed for free. Tickets are required to enter the castle and the 5-acre garden. Check the National Trust’s Website for opening hours and other details.
The castle has a gift shop that sells souvenirs. There is a café with various hot and cold beverages, snacks, and cream teas. It’s an excellent place to relax before exploring the castle.
Canal Boat Holidays
Why not consider a canal boat holiday and visit the castle? You can choose from weekend, midweek, week or longer break with one of the independent and family-owned boat hire firms – and cruise the whole of the Llangollen Canal.