Hugh Edwards’ perfectly clipped British voice welcomes you as you log in for a tour of Cardiff Castle—shaped by almost 2,000 years of history.
From Romans to the Victorian aristocracy—all have left an indelible mark on the structure and the atmosphere around the castle.
As you let your cursor take you wandering over the Roman and Norman features of this Welsh castle, you come to what is perhaps the most recent addition to the castle—the North Gate, built in the 1920s.
The gate was originally Roman, informs Hugh, before the English decided to fortify it further. In fact, zoom in and you can still see a few reddish bricks of the Roman age that are a part of the gate.
With Hugh explaining the various cosmetic changes the castle underwent over the years, other characters enter with their opinions.
You have the Reverend Richard Warner, for example, sounding extremely unhappy about the initial changes brought on by Lancelot Capability Brown.
“We were not pleased,” he says, thrilling you with the dramatics as you almost envision the deep frown on his face.
The app uses inputs by archaeologists, members of the Bute family who last owned the castle, and also the staff who worked under them.
The tour is divided into two parts—one a detailed tour, and the other a smaller one for family. The role play wonderfully draws the viewer in.
The castle may ooze charm today, but it has had its fair share of darkness thrust on it by the many occupants.
In a hushed and solemn voice, Hugh speaks of Rollins White, a local fisherman and a Protestant, who was imprisoned here at The Black Tower during the reign of the Catholic Queen Mary in the 16th century and later burnt at the stake.
Later, as times changed, two Catholic priests—Father Philip Evans and Father John Lloyd—were locked up here till they were finally hanged, he says.
Probably one of the best things about the audio guide is the fact that the grandson of the Fourth Marquess of Bute—who once spent his childhood years here—lends his insights.
Peregrine Bertie and his brother stayed as children in a nursery in what was reputedly the most haunted part of the castle.
Now, in his sunshine years, Peregrine remembers how one night his brother was gently pushed out of his bed, as if by a ghost hand.
“But we did not actually see anything,” he says. Makes it sound even more alluring, we say!
Cardiff Castle was finally handed over to the city of Cardiff. Today, it is a favourite with tourists and is also leased out for weddings and functions.