Friday, 21 June 2013

Castell Coch - Nightmare In Silver, The Vampires of Venice and Journey's End

 A few weeks ago off I went to Cardiff for some holiday shopping. I had been wanting to head back down to the Welsh capital for a few months in order to visit a recent Doctor Who location which I pass on the way, used in the Series 7 episode Nightmare In Silver. The location was Castell Coch, and I had spotted it from the road in the past and often wondered whether it had been used in the series. After searching the internet and using I discovered it had been used in Journey's End and The Vampires of Venice, but because of its little use within these episodes, it hadn't really been sufficient enough to be used as an excuse to head there up until this point.
 Luckily, the Series 7 Part 2 episode Nightmare in Silver delivered the perfect excuse, and the boyfriend begrudgingly agreed to head there alongside me. The castle was easy to find, even with my poor driving/navigating skills. The sat-nav postcode we used was CF15 7JS, but once near the site you can just follow the brown signs. The castle is located at the top of a steep road, parking is free but the entry fee is £4.50 (Adult), £3.50 (Student, Senior Citizens & Children) and £13.50 (Family). More details on the castle can be found here: 

Make sure you have a camera to hand as the castle is very picturesque, I can see why it has been used for television purposes. Anyway, in this instance the castle doubles up as Natty Longshoe's Comical Castle, an attraction within Hedgewick's World of Wonders, the biggest and best amusement park ever, where Clara uses her resources and troops in defence against the Cybermen. All the shots seen from outside the castle and within the courtyard are from Castell Coch, but from previous experience, the shots of The Doctor playing chess are from Caerphilly Castle, which I visited HERE. Be aware that this post is picture - heavy. All screen shots are sourced from the BBC.

 By reading this, I'm guessing you have either a) managed to go through all of the photos, or b) scrolled straight through them without a second glance. Either way, thanks for stopping here for a quick breather as I can now tell you that the following interior shots were from the same episode, Nightmare in Silver, but the scenes were actually filmed at a separate location, a few miles down the road at Caerphilly Castle, where I visited last year. 

 Back to Castell Coch, as previously mentioned, the Series 5 episode entitled The Vampires of Venice also used the area as a backdrop for the scene during which Rory and The Doctor are searching to find Amy. However, they soon find themselves surrounded by the mysterious vampire creatures.

 And finally, the following interior shots from Castell Coch are recognisable in the Series 4 two-parter finale entitled Journey's End, when Martha Jones flees to a castle in Germany to enter a secret UNIT bunker. 
And here's the next time trailer for Nightmare in Silver to remind you of the plot - 

Well done for trawling through to the end of this post, I understand it was VERY photo-heavy, but I thought the castle scenery was too picturesque to miss out on. I should also point out that because of its location high upon a hill, if you peer through the right castle window on a sunny, clear day, there are views right across Cardiff to the city centre. It really is a fairy tale castle, I'd love to get married in a location like this one day!

 All in all I really recommend giving Castell Coch a visit. It's not off the beaten track and about 10-15 minutes from Cardiff's city centre. It's easy to navigate to and relatively cheap to enter. There is also a cafe located inside the castle walls, where you can grab a cuppa and a bite to eat if you're feeling peckish. Everyone was very friendly and even though we visited during midday, the castle was virtually empty so we could really take in our surroundings. 

Since I last wrote I have completed my few days at my local BBC station, been awarded a 2:1 classification in my degree and I managed to finally get my hands on two tickets to the Doctor Who Proms, so I'm pretty darn happy right now :-)

 As always, thanks for reading. Any queries go to my Contact page or drop me a line via Twitter @PluckyKelly