As interesting and beautiful as the walls and keep of Cardiff Castle were, I have to admit that my main reason for wanting to visit was the magnificent Castle Apartments.
They are the work of William Burges, a Victorian art-architect who sought to re-create an idealised version of Medieval England. Ornate, opulent, and at times a little bit odd, the interiors fit perfectly with my tastes-I think we've probably established by now that I am a sucker for Gothic Revival, rich colours, and anything with a hint of fairytale. Burges excelled at all these.
I was so excited looking around the apartments, although I had been before there were still new details to discover, and having a decent camera to document them this time was also a bonus.
The incredible ceiling of the banqueting hall was a particular highlight. Very dramatic.
The window alcoves were already stunning, but I was even more enchanted to look up and see the tiny birds painted into the ceiling mouldings. The colours of the paints looked so juicy and rich too.
Even the floor tiles and gratings were beautiful and highly decorated (and conveniently colour coordinated with my outfit).
One of my favourite rooms was this one, which was a little more subtly decorated than the others but still heavily ornamented with carved wood panels, gorgeous painted designs on the walls and a ceiling covered with images of birds. Despite all this, it still seemed light, comfortable and welcoming.
The amazing, jewel like carved and gilded ceilings of the Apartments are really something special, and very unusual. I loved the red, blue and gold colour scheme that was echoed through much of the building.
In the impressive library there were more beautiful window alcoves with romantic stained glass, a wonderful contrast with the deep red walls and dark wood of the interior.
Every surface in this room had been carefully planned and decorated, from the majestic wallpaper to the carved and painted bookcases, even down to the specially designed, embellished locks and keyholes.
Looking around this wonderful place was so interesting and inspiring, and I won't be forgetting it any time soon. I don't usually like to use cliches, but if any place fits the phrase "a feast for the eyes", this is it.
If you want to visit yourself, you can find details at http://www.cardiffcastle.com/