Caerphilly is a charming town in South Wales that is located at the start of the Rhymney valleys just outside of Cardiff. The town is part of the broader Caerphilly county borough, which is a beautiful Welsh region with sweeping hills, green countryside and of course, lots of sheep! While this location may not be well known outside of Wales, it is a town you can easily fall in love with. This Caerphilly town guide will provide you with everything you need to know to plan a wonderful weekend away.
Where is Caerphilly town?
Caerphilly town is in what the locals would call a basin of mountains. This is a collection of mountains that surround Caerphilly town itself.
The four mountains that make up this basin are:
- Caerphilly mountain
- Eglwsylian mountain
- Rydry mountain
- Y Grud mountain
Each of the mountains has a nature trail which allows outdoor lovers to walk the circumference of the mountain. A climb to the peaks of any of these four mountains will provide 360-degree views of Caerphilly and the surrounding valleys.
Caerphilly Mountain (Mynydd Caerphilly)
Caerphilly mountain stands at 271 meters above sea level. From the summit, views stretch as far as Cardiff bay and you can also see the world-famous principality stadium (also known as the millennium stadium).
Locals and even people from wider districts, often visit Caerphilly mountain just to eat from the iconic Caerphilly mountain snack bar. From this snack bar, there are a variety of walks around Caerphilly mountain. The hike around the mountain is a 6.6 mile circular loop.
However, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can also hike a 26.16 mile route from Broadway up to the Taff trail which spans through the Brecon Beacons and ends in Cardiff city. This latter route is for the more experienced hiker and is also favoured by mountain bikers. This route has many picturesque viewpoints such as the fairy-tail castle Coch, known as the red castle.
If you’d like to experience some of the Taff trail without committing to the full Taff trail, take a scenic river walk instead. The River Taff runs through Caerphilly from the Brecon Beacons, down to the River Sevrn in Cardiff. This makes for a lovely leisurely walk that will enable you to take in some of the Welsh beauty, without the strain.
Y Grud Mountain (Mynydd Y Grud)
Y Grud Mountain (known as Bedwas mountain to locals) used to house a coal mine colliery on its slopes, but this was closed in the 80s following a miner’s strike. From the mountain summit, you can see the River Severn which splits Wales and England. You can also see as far as Western Super Mare which is a town in South West England near the border of Wales. Y Grud Mountain is the highest mountain in Caerphilly, but due to its location within the basin, it provides a more limited view of Caerphilly than the other mountains do. It is still beautiful, nevertheless.
Eglwsylian mountain (Mynydd Eglwsylian)
If you want to enjoy the best views of Caerphilly town itself, then head to Eglwsylian mountain. This mountain is known to the locals as Penyrheol mountain as it is located overlooking the Penyrheol village. The Eglwsylian mountain has a steeper incline than the other mountains which will appeal to hikers who enjoy a slightly more challenging hiking trail. Standing at 355m tall, the views from the peak of this mountain are superb. If you visit the area in November, the locals often climb to the summit to watch the fireworks from bonfire night light up the town.
Rudry Mountain (Mynydd Rydry)
Rudry mountain is the smallest mountain of them all (222m high) but is nestled outside of the hustle and bustle of town life. Rudry mountain is the only mountain in the basin that does not have housing estates built upon it. While you can walk there, most people will drive and park in the car park at its base.
Caerphilly Town Guide: interesting facts & history
If you have heard of Caerphilly before it is probably because you have eaten Caerphilly cheese or have seen photography of the impressive Caerphilly castle.
Caerphilly, which translates to ‘the fort of Ffili’ in Welsh (Caerffili), gets its name from a fort built by the romans during the conquest of Britain around 75 AD.
Following several attempted invasions throughout history, the Welsh retained control of the of the district until 1266 when it fell to an English nobleman. At the time, the sovereign Prince of Wales, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd regained control of the northern area of the town which instigated the construction of the great Caerphilly castle. Ironically, the castle was commissioned as the English needed a formidable fortress. This didn’t quite go to plan as several battles around the castle damaged and delayed the construction. It was still finished within 3 years.
Another local claim to fame is the infamous Caerphilly cheese. Caerphilly cheese was initially created for the local coal minors. The thick rind made the cheese easily transportable and the perfect coal miner snack. Caerphilly cheese is hard and crumbly and made from cow’s milk. While you can buy it from many stores across the UK (and potentially worldwide), make sure to pick some up in Caerphilly so you know it has been produced in the local area.
Top Things to do in Caerphilly Town
Caerphilly castles is quite the spectacle. This brilliant piece of rustic medieval architecture is in the centre of Caerphilly. If you’re heading to the town centre for shopping, you won’t be able to miss the castle. A circular leisurely walk around the castle will take about half an hour. You can easily spend hours enjoying the views of the enchanting lake that borders the fortress and feeding the ducks.
To view the inside, bookings are needed in advance and will cost £4.20 per adult, although family tickets are also available. If you go early November, you will see a spectacular display of fireworks around the castle to celebrate bonfire night.
Tommy Cooper statue
A 3-minute walk from Caerphilly Castle will take you to a brilliant bronze statue of the comedian legend, Tommy Cooper. While Tommy Cooper spent most of life in England, he was born in Caerphilly. Tommy Cooper debuted as a comedian on television in 1947 and his gags were mainly silly humour and magic tricks that go wrong. He thrived on stage but also sadly died of a heart attack live on stage which was seen by millions. Tommy Cooper is known for wearing a fez hat in his comedy sketches and his unique style has been eternally represented in his statue.
The big cheese
If you’re not sure when to go to Caerphilly, consider going the last weekend in July. Not only will you get to enjoy everything else Caerphilly has to offer, but you will also get to revel in the ‘Big Cheese’. The Big Cheese is a local food and drink festival that attracts crowds across the UK. Expect live music, medieval re-enactments and cookery demonstrations. Best of all, it is FREE and within the grounds of Caerphilly castle!
Caerphilly rugby team
Rugby is a popular sport in Wales with the Rugby teams performing well in the leagues. If you’re a rugby fan, then head to Virginia park to watch a game of rugby union from the Caerphilly Rugby Football Club (CRFC).
Senghenydd memorial and gardens
If you enjoy the outdoors as well as learning about the local history, then visit the Welsh National and Universal Mining Memorial Garden in Senghenydd. Coal Mining is a big part of Caerphilly’s past and these memorial gardens have been beautifully crafted in memory of the fallen minors. There have been over 152 mining disasters across Wales which are represented in ceramic tiles on the wall of remembrance.
Caerphilly town Guide to places to eat and drink
Just like the rest of the UK, Welsh people enjoy a good pub (public house) to socialise with friends and of course, savour the many different drinks available. The pubs below are some of the best you will find in Caerphilly and a few of them also have scenic views. Each of the pubs also serve food so they are great for a quick stop off or a longer evening.
- Black Cock Inn. Located near Caerphilly mountain, this pub makes a perfect stop off after a strenuous hike. They pride themselves on real food and real ale.
- The Malcolm Uphill. This pub is named after one of the all-time greats within Motorcycling, Malcolm Uphill, a Caerphilly man. You will see Malcolm’s photographs and memorabilia all over the walls. As a JD Weatherspoons establishment, this is a cheap and cheerful pub that the local’s favour.
- Travellers Rest. This pub is on the peak of Caerphilly mountain; however, you can drive to it as it is on the main road connecting Caerphilly to Cardiff. As a converted cottage with a thatched roof, it is a beautiful pub that has a quaint beer garden and cosy alcoves. Perfect for the summer months.
- Maenllwyd Inn. This pub is in Rudry, nestled on the inside of a hill. It has an impressive beer garden that overlooks the flowing fields of Rudry common. This pub is a classy establishment and is therefore slightly more expensive than pubs in the surrounding areas.
- Court House. This pub is recommended by the locals for the best view of Caerphilly castle from the comfort of a beer garden. Stop by after shopping on Castle Walk or after visiting the castle.
Restaurants in Caerphilly
If you’re looking for an evening meal, then consider the below restaurants.
Casa Mia Restaurant and Cocktail Bar
The Casa Mia is an Italian restaurant that overlooks the Caerphilly castle and its impressive moat. Not only is the Casa Mia perfect for fine Italian food and spectacular views but it also has a fancy cocktail bar. This restaurant is a great choice for an evening meal or drink.
Other restaurants that come highly recommended by locals are the Castle Gate Indian Restaurant and the Volare Italian restaurant. However, there are plenty of choices in the centre of Caerphilly that you do easily walk to on foot.
Day trips from Caerphilly: Town Guide
Caerphilly is well located in South Wales and there are many points of interest close by.
About 36 miles from Caerphilly town is Pen y Fan which is at the heart of the Brecon Beacons. This national park is an SAS training site and has one of Wales’ highest peaks, standing at 886m above sea level. The Brecon Beacons has ample trails and hikes that suit all types of walkers. There are also some fantastic waterfall sites around the area and people often go there to swim.
Pen y Fan is the second highest peak in Wales, after Mount Snowdon in the North of the Country. If you’re planning a longer trip around Wales, I recommend visiting Zip World Penrhyn Zip Wire and Quarry Carts for an adventure packed experience.
Cardiff Town Centre
Cardiff, the capital of Wales is a mere 20-minute drive or train journey from Caerphilly. Cardiff Bay is a popular location for scenic walks, as well as quality food and cocktails. Chippy Ally is somewhere you cannot miss if you want to taste traditional Welsh fish and chips. Many people from Caerphilly visit Cardiff for its nightlife which is some of the best in the UK.
Barry Island is just a 40-minute drive from Caerphilly and has recently been made famous for the smash-hit TV program, ‘Gavin and Stacey’. Barry Island is not an island, but it does have a lovely beach, coloured beach huts and promenade area. You can also enjoy mini-golf, arcades and a number of fun fair-ground rides.
LLancaiach Fawr Manor
LLancaiach Fawr Manor is a Welsh Tudor house. Interestingly, the surrounding area is filled with Welsh Heritage buildings that have been relocated from all over Wales. Visit LLancaiach Fawr Manor to be immersed into Welsh history, traditions, and culture. It is only a 25-minute drive from Caerphilly and can be visited on route to or from Barry Island.
Where to stay in Caerphilly
Caerphilly town guide | Insider tips
If you’re not familiar with the Welsh culture, familiarise yourself with the following titbits before your visit:
- ‘Butt’ is a common term used by Welsh people for meeting and greeting friends. You are guaranteed to hear it if you speak to any of the locals.
- ‘Cwtch’ is the Welsh word for cuddle or hug. There is also a pub in Caerphilly town named after it.
- The Welsh are very proud of their heritage and culture and you will see the Welsh flag or the welsh dragon everywhere throughout the town
- Whilst Welsh is the national language, people from South Wales tend to have a stronger Welsh accent than those in the north, but don’t commonly speak the language.
- If you need to grab a taxi, the number is 02920 8888888 which is very easy to remember
- Caerphilly moat is good for fishing and if you want to take part you need a buy a day from Tony’s tackle across the street.
I hope you find everything you need from this Caerphilly town guide and have a memorable trip.
More Wales travel guides:
- 12 Things to do in Tenby, Wales
- Where to stay in Tenby, Wales
- Love this hotel: The Falcondale, Wales
- Love this hotel: The Corran, Wales
About the author: I’m Kerry from VeggTravel, a British travel enthusiast with a passion for adventure, nature, wildlife and the good old outdoors. I write city guides with a particular focus on exciting bucket list travel destinations, unique experiences and adventurous things to do.