Caerphilly is a charming area in South Wales, not far from Cardiff and the southern coast. Perhaps its most famous edifice is Caerphilly Castle, which has the distinction of being not only the largest castle in Wales, but the second largest in all of Britain, coming in after only Windsor. This late 13th century building is in good condition, and hosts events throughout the year, such as the Big Cheese Arts Festival in the Summer. Real, working siege engines of the type used against it during its history can be found on the grounds. For students of historical warfare, this castle is considered to have been a marvel of military planning at the time, thanks to having been built on virgin soil.
The Llancaiach Fawr Manor is a 16th century house that also hosts numerous events throughout the year. In mid February, catch Crime and Punishment, where historical reenactments of 17th century trials will amuse and enlighten. There are days tailored to the delight of children in the Summer, and various other festivals, like the Manor at War give a taste of what life was like throughout the house's history.
While in Caerphilly, don't neglect to try the famous Caerphilly cheese, a hard white cheese which obviously calls the area home. Dairy enthusiasts should also be sure to visit the Hapus Real Dairy Ice Cream Parlour, situated on a picturesque farm. The ice cream is made on site in this family run business, and the grounds provide lovely walks and views while you enjoy your snacks.
For dining in Caerphilly, one can find the usual variety, but be sure to try one of the more traditional venues for a taste of real Welsh food. Blas Restaurant at the Bryn Meadows Hotel uses locally produced ingredients to create modern dishes with a Welsh flare. Truly traditional food at the Llanfabon Inn includes a peaceful atmosphere for pub fare. Though Welsh dishes can't be passed over during a visit to Wales, it wouldn't hurt to stop at the Castle Gate Indian Restaurant while in the area. This colorful India restaurant has twice received recognition as one of the 100 best Indian restaurants in Britain, and that's tall praise for a country that probably has more Indian restaurants than India.
If staying in old buildings is your thing, try the Cottage Guest House, a 17th century building that was once a girl's school. The rooms are cozy, the amenities not lacking, and the stones are antique. For a grander kind of accommodation.
Wales is full of farmland, and to partake in the wonderful goods made locally in Caerphilly, visit the Redry Kitchen, a co-op held quarterly where goods grown and produced on local farms are bought and sold.
If Visiting in December, be sure to catch the River of Light Parade, and bring your own lanterns made at any of the workshops available. This fanciful parade starts at Caerphilly Bus station and ends with a fireworks display at Caerphilly Castle.