Earlier this year before we flew out to Rhodes for our disaster of a holiday we were lucky enough to bag a visit to Fonmon Castle in the Vale of Glamorgan. We never really visit Wales despite it being just down the road from us so it was nice to pay it a visit.
Castles are one of my favourite attractions to visit. Fonmon is a fortified medieval castle and Grade I listed building and is seen as a great architectural rarity. It was built back in the 12th century and only has 2 known owners from Norman times – the St John family, and from 1656, by the descendants of Colonel Philip Jones who took over it from the St. John family.
Colonel Philip Jones (1618 – 5 September 1674) was a Welsh military leader and politician … of the Parliamentary Army under Fairfax during the English Civil War Fonmon. Source Wikipedia
Where to find Fonmon Castle
Fonmon Castle is a medieval castle built in the 12th century. Located in the beautiful Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales, United Kingdom.
Fonmon Castle Barry Vale of Glamorgan CF62 3ZN – Follow the brown signs to the village of Fonmon from the B4265 – What3Words location : ///investors.copy.modest
During school holidays Fonmon Castle is Open every day 10am – 5pm with last entry available at 3pm.
Outside of school holidays they are open Friday – Sunday & bank holidays.
They do a wide variety of events which have different opening hours. View events and times here.
Entry to the Castle
Under 3yrs: – free
Family of 6 (any six): £62.00
Carer – free
Concession (over 60s, NHS, student, and blue light card holders): £13.50
The family offer is a great deal – If you are a family of 2 adults and 4 children over 3 you would be saving £25! You can also get a discount by prebooking online.
Toilets & Baby Change
I have a real obsession with Toilets – I need to know where they are and they need to be clean! Because I always think (especially in places where I plan on eating) if they can’t keep the toilets clean, what will the kitchen be like?
You’ll find toilets located near the main entrance / opposite the fuselage and they have baby changing facilities. Round the back of these you will also find an accessible toilet.
More toilets can be found by the tea room (see below)
Medieval Farm & Market
Rhys greeted us inside the Medieval farm area and showed us his skills which included how to milk a goat and how to hand feed them grass. He also had a whole host of chickens whow ere very keen to see what we were up too (or were they just trying to get us to feed them? who knows)
The girls and Oscar also got to hold some very tiny baby bunnies who were just a few weeks old.
You can find handwashing stations by the entrance/exit of the medieval farm area for you to use before you head on into the rest of the park.
Cistercian Monk’s Living Cell & The Painted Church
Fonmon castle hosts a range of real life medieval style homes and living quarters. The kids were surprised by how little people had to live with back in the post-medieval period.
We soon made our way over to what we really came for – Dinosaurs!
Fonmon has these lifesize models in the field. You can hardly see Holly here standing next to the Diplodocus as he towers over her!
Alongside the caged area of animatronic dinosaurs is the Dinosaur gift shop – Oscar wouldn’t go near the moving dinosaurs but Holly was fascinated by the part eaten dinosaurs leg and wanted to know where the rest of it was.
Around the route you’ll find various play areas to stop and have a rest at. You’ll also find Gary & Sarah with their handlers Ranger Mikey and Ranger Grace.
Sarah was happy to have selfies but I wasn’t keen on getting too close to Gary!
The Walled Gardens
The extensive gardens at Fonmon Castle were created back in the 18th century when some of the castle building were demolished to make way for them.
The shop at the entrance sell Fonmon Apple Juice made from apples grown in the on site orchard. They also have a Bee Meadow wildflower mix to create a bee haven in your own garden.
The weather stone was a favourite for the girls – what an accurate way to predict the weather! Oscar was more interested in the low flying planes arriving into cardiff airport by this point.
Fon and Mon are waiting for you to join them on an adventure where you’ll discover how they saved the castle from the dragon!
The trail begins once you’ve passed under the fairylight tunnel. You’ll find the start of the storybook here guarded by 2 knights (Oscar was very excited about them!)
Each stop has a new page of the story (in English and Welsh) with an activity to take part in.
You’ll also meet Wizard John down in the woods where he will share all his stories with you and show you where all the fairies live. The trail ends at the watch tower where you’ll need to help defeat the dragon
Mad Hatters Garden
Leading you back from the end of the story trail to the tearoom is the Mad Hatters Garden. I love Alice in Wonderland so I was excited to see this as part of the things to do.
Food at Fonmon Castle
I love fresh doughnuts and the kids love Nutella so it was win-win. They were £3 for 4 sugar ring doughnuts or £4 for 4 Nutella doughnuts.
The kids approved and I managed to get 2 before the kids ate them all! I also grabbed some sweet cones for later.
The Dino Dome
The Dino Dome which is home to 2 animatronic dinosaurs, a small ball pit, sand pit and a large undercover seating area.
Each table has a QR code on for you to scan, this will take you to the menu online. You can then order your food from the dino hut opposite the fuselage.
The menu has a good selection of meals including some healthier options. The Little Explorers childrens meal deals are a good price too – £7 for a main, a sweet and drink.
The portion sizes were really good – I think I probably could have had a childrens meal and it would have been plenty for me!
The childrens meals also come in a dino themed box with activities on the outside.
Lady Anne’s tearoom
At the end of the Fairy trail you will find Lady Anne’s tearoom located in the core of the castle. Due to the present owner living within the castle only a small amount of it is open to the public.
The internal decoration of the tea rooms is beautiful although there were a few too many breakables within Oscars reach for my liking.
Alcohol is available in the Tea room (including my favourite Barefoot Rose) along with all the usual cakes and brownies.
You can take your pick of picnic areas including one of the minor modern additions of the Fuselage area where you’ll find plenty of seating undercover. This is located to the left of the entrance court.
You can also take cover in the dino dome and next to is is also a large outdoor seating area.
Along with the play areas I already mentioned, there are more! This sandy play area is located next to the Dino Dome and again has some picnic benches to the side.
Ranger Louise looks after the bug hunting area and is more than happy to share her bug knowledge with you and answer any questions you have. You can also borrow her binoculars or have a read of one of her many books.
You can also book and collect your Disc Golf accessories here. It is £4 per person with £2 refunded when you return your items.
The girls loved the hand puppet set too.
If you want (or need!) to rest your feet for 10 minutes, you could grab yourself a seat in the ranger station that overlooks the forest area and lake. Do take a minute to read the nature related jokes on the wall, I won’t spoil them for you but they will make you smile.
The Pirates on Fonmon
You’ll find another play area in the Pirates on Fonmon area – Pirate themed of course!
With a climbing frame, mini boat and even a tug of war rope which kept them amused for ages trying to beat each other.
Would we recommend Fonmon Castle?
Well can you believe even with all the things we did do we still didn’t manage to get around everything! You could easily spend a whole day here exploring all the different sections of the site.
We had such a great time, we will definitely visit again. The staff are all so friendly and clearly enjoy their roles and they were all really knowledgable about the castle (and dinosaurs!) and happy to tell you more and answer the kids questions.
The majority of the site is pushchair friendly however smaller strollers may struggle in some of the more ‘off road’ areas our nipper or iCandy would have been fine. I would advise taking a changing mat for emergency nappy changes as it is quite a walk back to the toilets if you were at the bug hunt for example.
I hope you have found this review useful and look forward to your visit to Fonmon Castle soon! You can find out more about booking by clicking here Fonmon Castle.
Follow me on Social Media just click to go straight to my profile
Or join my mailing list below – We promise not to share your information and only contact you with information related to my blog and posts