Wednesday 27 August 2014
Wales’s much-loved museums, historic attractions and hidden gems are expecting to welcome thousands of visitors next month (September 2014) as part of Open Doors – the largest volunteer event in the heritage sector in Wales.
This year, Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service, has for the first time both funded and organised the annual event, as part of its 30th anniversary celebrations and ongoing commitment to making heritage more accessible to the people of Wales.
Part of the wider European Heritage Days programme, Open Doors will see hundreds of attractions offer free entry, activities or events throughout the month of September, with some mysterious buildings even opening their doors to the public for a rare glimpse inside.
From a Synagogue and its righteous Muslims exhibition, to a WW2 Prisoner of War Camp, and a Cardiff cemetery to an almost completely unaltered 1800s valleys cottage, visitors can explore all types of the country’s fascinating buildings and sites, with over 700 events to discover.
Buildings and sites that are usually closed to the public will be among the many unseen gems taking part in Open Doors, including Dolbelydr, a 16th century house with a claim to be the birthplace of the modern Welsh language.
There will also be the chance to take an audio tour revealing the secrets of Swansea Market, to walk the corridors of a one-time Victorian workhouse and even to pay a visit to the control deck of the Cardiff Bay Barrage.
Additionally, Cadw is offering the first 10,000 people to register through its website free entry to its paid-admission sites over the final weekend in September, as well as hosting a packed programme of activities and events in celebration of Open Doors.
John Griffiths, Minister for Natural Resources, Culture and Sport, said: “Open Doors offers local people and visitors alike the opportunity to explore Wales’s fascinating built heritage, whether it’s through free access to sites or special events that inspire people to visit and connect with their history.
“Through the invaluable support of volunteers and community members, Cadw has been able to organise an event that truly showcases the breadth and diversity of Wales’s rich culture, and I hope that people will be encouraged to explore and enjoy the stories behind their local sites this September.”
Some venues have limited numbers of spaces or require advance booking. Visit the Open Doors page for full event listings and details of properties taking part in the programme.