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The stones of this magnificent clifftop fortress trace 600 years of history

Beautifully preserved Chepstow Castle stretches out along a limestone cliff above the River Wye like a history lesson in stone.

There’s no better place in Britain to see how castles gradually evolved to cope with ever more destructive weaponry – and the grandiose ambitions of their owners. For more than six centuries Chepstow was home to some of the wealthiest and most powerful men of the medieval and Tudor ages.

Building was started in 1067 by Earl William fitz Osbern, close friend of William the Conqueror, making it one of the first Norman strongholds in Wales. In turn William Marshal (Earl of Pembroke), Roger Bigod (Earl of Norfolk) and Charles Somerset (Earl of Worcester) all made their mark before the castle declined after the Civil War.

These magnates and power-brokers were constantly on the move. Chepstow was just one residence in their vast estates – an impressive shell into which they would bring their gold and silver vessels, rich silk and brightly painted furniture.

The sumptuously restored Earl’s Chamber built by Roger Bigod is a vivid reminder of Chepstow’s magnificence.

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Travel to Chepstow Castle by train

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Nearest Station: Chepstow

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7min walk - view map

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