The ‘Ironmaster’ William Crawshay commissioned Cyfarthfa Castle in 1824. This grand, castellated mansion overlooked his immensely successful ironworks and has been called “the most impressive monument of the Industrial Iron Age in South Wales”. The museum houses the first steam whistle, the first voting ballot box and dresses by Laura Ashley and Julien McDonald. The surroundings, Cyfarthfa Castle, home to William Crawshay II and family, serve as a reminder to the Ironmasters dominance over the town and the wealth the iron industry brought to the area. At the Castle you can admire the extensive fine and decorative art collections. This includes Swansea, Nantgarw and Wedgwood porcelain and art by Penry Williams, the Welsh Turner, and George Frederick Harris. Stroll through the atmospheric social and industrial history galleries which chart the rise of this once great ironmaking town. Learn about Richard Trevithick’s Penydarren Locomotive of 1804, the first locomotive to pull a load along rails.
Normally and I have to say this with the upmost honesty, when castles and museums are run by local authorities, they tend to be under funded and partially run, but that can not be said about Merthyr Castle and it’s fantastic museum. Before you even walk through it’s majestic doors, they have a vast parkland that is really beautifully laid out and a pleasure to walk around, with or without your four legged friend. Complete with its 2000 year old artefacts and its many stunning collections and as if that wasn’t enough, the museum also plays home to a really good miniature railway, tennis courts, you can even have a round of golf located within the park. I found the staff to be super friendly, really helpful and with its cute little tearoom, you won’t go hungry or thirsty either. All these and many more, are the reasons why we have chosen Merthyr Castle along with its Museum and Parkland to be one of our Top 100 Attractions in Wales.