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Good day out for a decent price.
Chirk Castle (Wales)
Member Name: rosaliecullen
Chirk Castle (Wales)
Advantages: Good value
Disadvantages: No audio guide
==Overview & Cost==
Chirk castle is one of the properties restored by the National Trust, therefore members can get in for free. Otherwise it costs £10 for adults (including donation & gift aid). If you want to pay the standard price of £9 you have to specifically ask to pay that which I personally don't agree with. We spent almost three hours at the castle so I thought it was quite reasonable in terms of cost compared to the amount of time you could spend there. The £10 entrance fee enables you to see the castle and the grounds. You can go into the gardens for £6 so overall I recommend paying the full price to see everything,
==What to see==
There is the main part of the castle which was previously a family home. It was one of the more unusual castles I have visited as they tend to focus a lot of battles and history and royal families. This was fascinating as for the most part of the last 500 years it has been a family home. The interior is decorated from different periods and some parts are unfurnished. This part winded me in parts of Buckingham Palace which I visited last year. My main complaint here is that it was £5.50 for a guide book, the alternative was laminated plastic sheets which gave a bit of information about each room. The information is probably sufficient and I understand why there are no Information panels but I truly believe it would benefit from a short audio tour. We were in this part of the castle for around an hour.
There is also the tower which is part of the Castle, this has steep narrow staircases which are quite uneven. There is no furnished parts in this side so are less interesting than the main house. This area also houses the dungeons which is very very very steep nd dark and uneven, my husband ventured down, I decided not to bother. This part and the main house has areas where kids (and adults) can dress up in period costumes for free which looked like fun.
Within the castle are tea rooms. Two sandwiches, crips and a drink cost us just shy of £10. It was decent food but overpriced as is typical with these places. There are toilets in the castle and also down at the main entrance by the car park. At the car park there is a playground for kids, a farm shop, a gift shop and a second hand bookshop. There seemed to be ice cream carts about too but as it poured down all day they weren't open!
We spent a hour looking around the formal gardens which were stunning, truly secret gardens, hedges to walk through and gorgeous flowers. Don't miss the laundries which are sorted hidden in the gardens. There's also a woodland walk which we missed out but all in all we could have spent another hour there. I would have stayed all Darin the green but it was pouring down. One of the side gardens closest to the castle had chequers and jenga in giant versions...very cool!
This felt like a good value day out and I feel like we could have spent longer here particularly in better weather. That said t was a fairly good day out for wet weather nd well priced. An audio guide would improve this attraction.
==Things to note==
* you probably don't need to buy a guide book.
* there is a fairly steep walk up to the castle from the car park. For anyone who may struggle there is a courtesy minibus which would take about 2 minutes. We weren't told about the bus so found it a struggle in parts.
* although I'm not disabled I can't imagine this is the best area for disabled access. The tower is inaccessible, I didn't see a lift to the upper part of the house and the gardens were lawned or stoned rather than paved. Ring ahead to check about access or you may be disappointed.
Summary: Good day out
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