Welsh heritage organisations encouraged to open doors this September

Thursday 06 March 2014

Cadw is inviting heritage organisations across Wales to join the celebration of Welsh heritage and architecture this September by participating in Open Doors 2014.

Girl at Harlech Castle

The pan-European programme invites heritage organisations, private owners, local authorities and others to open their doors and offer opportunities for the public to discover hidden treasures and explore historic sites free of charge during September.

Open Doors is part of European Heritage Days, which take place in 50 countries across Europe every September. It is Wales’s largest celebration of buildings and architecture, and the largest volunteer event in the heritage sector in Wales, with over 1,800 volunteers participating. This year the event will be led by Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service, in conjunction with partners across Wales.

A range of buildings and historical monuments have already been discovered as part of previous Open Doors programmes, including castles, abbeys, museums, schools, churches and even a prisoner of war camp! Previous events included heritage trails, conservation talks, guided tours, lectures, exhibitions and concerts, delivered by hundreds of volunteers across Wales.

John Griffiths, Minister for Culture and Sport said: “Open Doors is a national celebration of our heritage, and an excellent opportunity for people who care about their local heritage to share their passion with visitors by showing them their little corner of Wales’s history.

There are countless fascinating historic sites and buildings across Wales, and this scheme is a great way to offer the people of Wales an opportunity to explore these unique and special places.

I would encourage anyone who owns or works in an interesting historic property, or who has an interest in heritage to get involved with Open Doors. Various heritage organisations working in partnership will ensure that this fantastic event, promoting Welsh heritage to thousands, will be a success in 2014.”

To register for Open Doors, your event needs to be free for all to attend, and should meet one of the following criteria:

  • A building or site in public or private ownership that is not normally accessible to the public;
  • A building or site that normally charges an entry fee, but which will waive the fee on this occasion;
  • A building or site that is routinely open (a church, library, museum etc.) and will be organising a special event (e.g. a talk, exhibition, access to records and treasures);
  • A free event (a walking tour, lecture, exhibition, concert, memories, historical re-enactment) that in some way engages with the local heritage.

The deadlines for Open Doors are:

  • 1 June: Registration closes
  • 1 August: Open Doors Programme website launches
  • 1-30 September: Open Doors Festival

The event can take place over a day, a weekend or over the whole month, but needs to take place during September. For more information and to register for Open Doors 2014 click here, e-mail opendoors@wales.gsi.gov.uk or follow Cadw on Twitter and Facebook to get the latest up to date news on Open Doors!