Chirk Castle, Formal Gardens and magnificent Parklands in Wales – Tourist Information, pictures and things to do
Chirk castle stands proud amongst the chain of defence castles built in North Wales under the reign of Edward l, including castles such as Beaumaris, as not only a defence fortress but a family home too.
Built in 1295 and completed in 1310 by Roger Mortimer, Chrik castle still boasts original features such as the 700 year old medieval dungeon and tower, laundry and servants’ hall.
The castle was bought by Sir Thomas Myddelton in 1595 for £5,000 which is approximately £11.2million in today’s money and has subsequently gone under many historic architectural and design transformations.
Chirk Castle Facts
Built in – 1295 A.D by Roger Mortimer de Chirk by the order of King Edward I
Completed by – 1310 A.D
Area including grounds – 500 Acres approx.
Change of ownership – Bought by Thomas Myddelton for £5,000 in 1595 A.D (£11.2 million inflation adjusted 2014 approx.)
Concept – Part of King Edward I’s chain of fortresses similar to Beaumaris Castle
Distance from Cardiff – 133 miles approx.
Nearest Train Station – Chirk
Chirk castle is a fabulous day out for adults and children alike providing a two for one insight into a stately home as well as a medieval castle. There is so much to experience in Chirk castle and with a lovely cafe to keep energy levels up; it will be an exciting day travelling through much of history.
Chirk Castle Formal Gardens
One of the main attractions of Chirk castle are its award-winning gardens complete with clipped yew trees, rock garden, terrace, rose garden, pond and topiary.
The gardens date back to 1657 but the view seen today is more reflective of the 18th Century when the garden and parkland was landscaped by William Emes.
The garden was kept separate from the parkland by a ‘ha-ha’, a wall feature allowing an unrestricted view across the parkland whilst keeping livestock out. Now, the National Trust have put two brightly coloured deckchairs at the edge of the ‘ha-ha’ so this breathtaking view can be experienced by visitors.
Another feature of the formal garden includes the vast and dominating clipped yew trees and topiary of different shapes and sizes, one being a squirrel.
Chirk Castle gardens cover approximately 5 acres of land and the gardens notice board displays a map of the garden, its highlights and what flowers are in bloom at that time. There are many rare flowers and shrubs but most common are magnolias, roses and flowering cherries.
The Hawk house at Chirk Castle
The hawk house, located on the lower lawn is a beautiful thatched summerhouse with stunning views and is even licensed for civil wedding ceremonies for up to 50 people. The hawkhouse was built in 1854 to a Pugin design, also be reflected inside the castle, and the thatched roof was added later to actually house birds of prey.
Statues and Features in Chirk Castle
Dotted around the formal gardens, there are several bronze nymph statues sculpted in the early 20th Century by Andrea Carlo Lucchesi.
Each of these depicts a thoughtful pose as well as the nymph overlooking the beautiful pond. Finally, what may be an interesting feature nowadays but was a very normal one in the Victorian ages, is the classic family pet cemetery. In Chirk Castle gardens, it houses the dogs graves, secluded by yew trees and next to the path perfect for those wishing to visit.
Inside Chirk Castle
You can expect to walk through dining rooms, gentlemans’ after dinner cigar room and a library if you purchase a entry ticket to go inside the castle.
As mentioned earlier, there is also a dungeon 27ft below ground directly under Chirk Castle dating back to medieval period. The dungeon at Chirk Castle can be accessed via a very narrow set of stone stairs which can be a bit claustrophobic. It does look quite spooky with odd stains on the walls with a dark and damp setting that can give you the chills.
There are very narrow window slits on the walls to let some light in, but instead adds to the darkness of the whole room.
As is common with most medieval castles and country homes, there are servant quarters at Chirk Castle that look rather gloomy. You will come across the servant’s dining room with large wooden tables and a hearth with pots and pans hanging from the ceiling.
You will also come across a laundry room with a very old wooden drum like contraption and wooden sinks and a wooden mangle or a wringer.
Apparently, each Laundry Maid would have had her own sink, the Head Laundry Maid would wash the finest things, down to the 6th laundry maid who washed items like dusters.
Most items went through the wringer. But large things like sheets were rolled onto rollers that went through the Box Mangle. The Odd Man assisted in turning the handle.
The ironing was carried out by heating the irons on a large conical stove. Laundry maids, usually girls at that time, would spit on them to test the temperature.
How to get to Chirk Castle
Getting to Chirk Castle by car
Full address – Chirk, Wrexham, LL14 5AF
Telephone: 01691 777701
Driving directions to Chirk Castle:
2 miles off A5 and 2 miles from Chirk village
There are sufficient road signs on A483 and from local roads in and near Chirk village so it is hard to miss.
The car park at Chirk Castle is sufficiently large and parking is free of charge.
Getting to Chirk Castle by Train:
Nearest train station is Chirk. It takes approximately 3 hours by train from Cardiff to Chirk Castle.
You can visit National Rail journey planner at https://ojp.nationalrail.co.uk/service/planjourney/search and use Chirk station as destination to find out easiest routes.
It is a 1.8 miles or 40 minutes walk from Chirk Station to Chirk Castle
Chirk Castle opening times & Entrance fees
For most up to date Chirk Castle opening times and information you can visit National Trust website at this direct link – http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/chirk-castle/opening-times/
Chirk Castle Entrance Fees:
For most up to date entrance prices and opening times, you can visit National Trust web page for Chirk Castle here:
Standard main season –
Adult – £10.40
Child – £5.20
Family – £26
Group adult (minimum 15) – £8.32 per person
Group Child – £4.16
Taking your pets to Chirk Castle:
Dogs are not allowed beyond the garden gate and pleasure grounds in to the formal gardens.
Dogs are allowed in the parklands and woodlands. Dogs can also be taken in to the courtyard.