Dragon Hunting at Chepstow Castle

Although BattleKid and I had visited once before, we had never been dragon hunting at Chepstow Castle until earlier this year. When my nephew and Dad were visiting when BattleKid was 4 months old, we took a drive to Chepstow Castle. However, I couldn’t explore the castle as BattleKid was so small and I had his buggy. Fast forward three years and we, as a family, finally visited this wonderful castle on the banks of the River Wye.

Our sole intention this time was to not only explore the castle, it being BattleDad’s first visit, but also to do a spot of dragon hunting at Chepstow Castle. We were sure there must be a dragon lurking inside as we’d found dragons in other Welsh Castles like Carreg Cennen.

Chepstow Castle is an amazing castle which sits on the banks of the River Wye in Monthmouthshire, Wales. It is the oldest surviving post-Roman stone fortification in Britain and is a castle not to be missed. The castle also boasts the oldest castle doors in Europe. Over 800 years old, the wooden doors hung at the main gateway until 1962. They are still on display in a special exhibition.

Construction began in 1067 and continued well into the 18th century. It has four baileys, or courtyards, each added during its long history. Perched on a clifftop along the bank of the River Wye, Chepstow Castle overlooks an important crossing point on the river which was a major artery to Monmouth and Hereford. It is a Cadw site, open to the public, and was even used for filming of the Doctor Who 50th anniversary programme.

When you arrive at Chepstow Castle, there is a car park at the bottom of the hill upon which it is located. I have been very lucky in that both times I have visited I’ve been able to get parking in the car park. I’d imagine on busy days it must fill up quickly. BattleDad, BattleKid and I parked up, used the public toilets beside the car park (as there are none in the castle itself) and up we went to show our Cadw membership cards before entering through the gift shop.

dragon hunting at chepstow castle
Chepstow Castle

We entered through the Outer Gatehouse and started our dragon hunting at Chepstow Castle in the Chamber Block and Kitchens. Checking all the nooks and crannies as we moved though, we just didn’t find any sign of a dragon hiding out. What we did stumble upon was an amazing cellar. The stonework and ceilings were stunning. BattleDad and I could just imagine it being filled with wine, grains and other assorted food for the inhabitants of the castle. But no dragon.

dragon hunting at chepstow castle

Next, we moved onto the Great Hall and although we saw no sign of a dragon, we did enjoy the amazing views from the balconies overlooking the River Wye.

From the Great Hall, we moved from the Lower Bailey into the Middle Bailey. There weren’t many places a dragon could be hiding in the Middle Bailey but our dragon hunting at Chepstow Castle took us into the Great Tower. BattleKid and I actually had a lot of fun running from one end of the Great Tower to the other. One gentleman inside must have thought we were mad. We searched high and low for the dragon but decided he must have been hiding further in the castle.

From the Great Tower we passed through the Gallery, again with lovely views over the River, into the Upper Bailey. There were lots of places in here a dragon could be hiding. We checked around the knight in the bailey, behind some trees, under the bridge that leads to the Barbican and a gorgeous wooden door at the very end of the castle. Our dragon hunting at Chepstow Castle was taking some time.

dragon hunting at chepstow castle

We knew he wasn’t in the lower end of the castle and eventually found him hiding in a hole in the wall in the Barbican near the South Tower. Finally, we had found the Chepstow Castle dragon, albeit a small one.

dragon hunting at chepstow castle

BattleKid was thrilled and even offered the Chepstow Castle dragon some flowers to eat. Hmm. Not exactly what you’d call dragon food. As our successful visit dragon hunting at Chepstow Castle was nearly at an end, we made our way back to the Lower Bailey where we took a few family selfies and checked in a well, just to make sure there weren’t two dragons in the castle. You never know these days!

We finished off our visit to dragon hunting at Chepstow Castle with a spot of roly-poly down the hill outside the castle walls. And yes, I joined in. We were also very lucky to be leaving just as the rain rolled in. All-in-all a successful visit dragon hunting at Chepstow Castle.

Things to note if you go dragon hunting at Chepstow Castle

  • Chepstow Castle is a Cadw site as mentioned and is open every day from 9.30am to 6pm from the 1st July to the 31st August. Between 1st September to the 31st October it is open from 9.30am to 5pm. From 1st November 2017 and 28th February 2018, the castle is open between 10am and 4pm from Monday to Saturday and 11am to 4pm on Sundays*.
  • Last admissions are 30 minutes before closing and costs £6.50 per adult, with children, senior citizens and concession tickets costing £4.20. Children under 5 years of age enter free. As Cadw members our admission was included in our annual pass.
  • There are no toilets on site, although there are public toilets located beside the car park.
  • The castle has some benches but there is no coffee shop.  There are also no baby changing facilities at Chepstow Castle.
  • The courtyards and walkways are mainly accessible to buggies and wheelchairs. Upper levels are not accessible.
  • There is a car park at the bottom of the hill of the castle, and it is a pay-and-display car park.

We thoroughly enjoyed our time dragon hunting at Chepstow Castle and can recommend it as a place to visit if you are in the Chepstow or Monmouth area. It is quite a big castle, with plenty of rooms are areas to explore, and dragon hunt if you wish. Chepstow is a lovely little town and has plenty of cafes to grab a cuppa and a cake after your visit. And dare I say it, dragon hunting at Chepstow Castle was more fun than our dragon adventures at Abergavenny or Tretower Castle.

Have you taken your children dragon hunting yet?

Thanks for reading,

Cath x

*Prices and visiting times correct at the time of writing this post.

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Be In The Picture 3

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the Be in the Picture linky as it has encouraged me to hand over the camera on days out and get some pictures of BattleKid and I together. As a blogger I always have a camera in my hand on days out in particular, but have been guilty of never being in front of it. Well Be in the Picture has changed that and I’d like to think it means BattleKid now has more pictures of his mum to look back on in the future.

It is also an opportunity to look back on the month and see what we’ve been up to and it has surprised me yet again. I had forgotten all about visiting Chepstow Castle and our visit to Dublin seems so long ago!

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Spotting boats across the River Wye
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Peeking through windows at Chepstow Castle

We’ve had a busier month than I initially thought and it all kicked off with a visit to Chepstow Castle as mentioned. I had forgotten all about this castle until Kerry mentioned it on Facebook and I knew we had to go dragon hunting there. BattleKid and I had visited nearly two years ago with Lolo but BattleDad had never been. Well, we changed that and we also found the Chepstow dragon too!

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Giving me his flowers

The weekend after dragon hunting, BattleKid and I headed home to Ireland to visit family. While we were there we visited Powerscourt Waterfall with a few of my sisters and my niece and nephew. While it was a bit drizzly we still enjoyed seeing it and I was glad I’ve finally visited a place I’ve always wanted to.

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At Powerscourt Waterfall

Next trip during our busy month was a visit to Bristol Zoo before our annual passes expired. Bristol Zoo is only an hour from us and although it’s quite a small zoo, it still makes for a nice day out. We had fun seeing all the animals, particularly the penguins which are BattleKid’s favourites and we also had fun in the “stick your head in here” pictures. Well, it’d be rude not to join the boy!

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Watching the penguins at Bristol Zoo
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Having fun

To round off a very busy month we visited Legoland last weekend with some friends of ours. We spent quite a bit of time in the large playground near the Duplo section and BattleKid thoroughly enjoyed himself here. We even had a bit of fun together and BattleDad kindly captured a lovely moment between us for us to treasure. I think this one is my favourite picture of myself and the boy from this month.

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Fun at Legoland

Oh and we got our comic on for Comic Relief too!be in the picture 3

Joining in with Kerry of Kerry Louise Norris and Alana of Baby Holiday in their Be in the Picture community in which they encourage us to get in front of the camera instead of always being behind it. I’m guilty of this and by joining in with Be in the Picture, it ensures BattleKid will have pictures of me as well of himself when he grows up. Here’s February’s Be in the Picture post.

Living Arrows 10/52

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth

Kahlil Gibran

This weekend we decided to make the most of the break in the rain and headed to Chepstow Castle for another spot of dragon hunting. Yes we do that a lot but it keeps BattleKid entertained and means we get to explore the big number of Welsh Castles around us with a toddler in tow. It gets us out of the house and keeps us all sane.

BattleDad hadn’t visited Chepstow Castle before, and the last time BattleKid and I were there we were confined to the ground floor as he was only about 6 months old, and old castles and buggy’s don’t mix. So this time around it was a special treat for us too.

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We explored the castle together, helping a little person climb some towers and down stairways to the cellar too. We even said hello to a Knight on his horse.

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We did of course find the Chepstow dragon who was hiding at the far end of this vast castle. BattleKid was very kind and offered the dragon some daisies to eat, but when he refused he tried blowing it like a Jinny Joe (dandelion). He didn’t understand why it didn’t blow away. living arrows

Once we had explored this gem of a castle, we let BattleKid do some roly-polys down the hill just outside the castle entrance and the dirty, mucky trousers were worth the laughs and giggles from our boy. This is my favourite picture that I captured of him from the day.living arrows

Linking up with Donna of What The Redhead Said. If you’d like to take part or see some other Living Arrows posts, please click the badge below.

Living Arrows

10/52 My Sunday Photo: 05/03/2017

I had Friday off work and had great plans to keep BattleKid off nursery and take him out but one look out the window that morning told me my plans were on hold. Only until Saturday it turned out. With a bit of blue sky we headed to Abergavenny for BattleKid’s overdue haircut and breakfast. From there we made our way to Chepstow Castle.
BattleKid and I had visited this castle nearly 3 years ago when my Dad and nephew came to stay but it was BattleDad’s first visit. It was also my first chance to properly explore the castle as last time BattleKid was only about 6 months old so I was confined to the ground floor with him and his buggy.
And I was so glad he was old enough this time to allow me to see the fabulous rooms and architecture inside this gem of a castle. My particular favourite was the cellar. It had the most amazing ceiling and my pictures simply don’t do it justice.
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I also liked this window in one of the castle walls in the Middle Bailey. It’s like a window to the past and present and looks out over the River Wye. This castle is a stunning one and quite vast compared to some of the others we have visited. I’m glad we went and explored it before the rain came back at lunchtime on Saturday.my sunday photo
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Photalife