Surely Fonmon Castle must be one of the oldest residences in Wales that is still lived in today. There can’t be many places that have been occupied since the early 13th Century. Fonmon has an impressive pedigree- the inner keep was built somewhere around the year 1200 and it’s still standing 800 years later. Over those centuries it has seen everything drama from the Civil War to a modern wedding, and a whole lot in between.
Now a popular wedding venue and a family-friendly attraction, Fonmon Castle is surrounded by beautiful gardens. Both the inside and outside are open to visitors, and they’re equally delightful.
In the gardens, creeping vines cover ancient stone walls and trimmed hedges border ornate beds and exquisitely manicured lawns. There are shady fern groves and a number of remarkable trees, some of which are associated with personal stories of past castle inhabitants. It’s been owned by the same family since the middle of the 17th Century and the sense of continued occupation and careful development is astonishing.
The interiors are largely Georgian and very fine indeed. In the more spectacular rooms, large windows look out over the gardens and the décor is tastefully chosen to complement the views. Although some of the house is still closed off as a private residence, there’s plenty to keep visitors busy.
Fonmon Estate welcomes visitors all summer long. It’s set in the working countryside of the Vale of Glamorgan and while a haven of peace of quiet, it’s also surprisingly close to the hustle and bustle of Cardiff Airport.
Address: Fonmon, Nr Barry CF62 3ZN
Postcode: CF62 3ZN
Tel number: 01446 710206
Web Address: www.fonmoncastle.com
Opening Hours: Fonmon Castle is open on from 12 noon to 5pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from April to September. Guided tours are available and run at 2, 3, and at last entry (4pm). They are available in English and Welsh.
Admission Charges: Access to the garden and grounds is free Tours of the Castle are £5.50 for adults, children (under 12) free
Parking Charges: Ample free parking
Group information: Please make advance bookings for groups of 12 or more. The Castle and Gardens do sometimes open for special events and groups outside the normal public opening hours. Snacks and meals can be provided for groups and tours arranged- the combination of a tour and tea is particularly popular.
Accessibility information: The gardens are largely level and wheelchair access has been created to almost all areas available to the public, (for some areas this is provided ground conditions allow the chair across the mown grass lawns). The North side has extensive all weather gravel paths. There is level macadamed access to the main Castle entrance and all ground floor rooms are accessible to wheelchair users (two via an external ramp 8m from the main entrance, or via a separate approach from the main drive). Due to the age of the building, parts of which are over 800 years old, some of the floors are a little uneven. First floor access for wheelchairs is via an external ramp leading to the library annex, from which two further ramps allow access to a viewing point for the Norman stairs, into the main library and onwards onto the hall gallery.