Open Doors 2017 launches from Newport Transporter Bridge

Thursday 31 August 2017

City icon just one of hundreds taking part in annual celebration

Throughout September people across Wales will have the opportunity to peek inside buildings and unlock the myths and legends that lie deep within towns, cities and local communities thanks to the return of Open Doors.

Funded and organised by the Welsh Government’s historic environment service (Cadw), Open Doors officially launched today (31 August), 242 feet above the ground, from Newport’s iconic Grade I listed Transporter Bridge — one of hundreds of places taking part in the celebrations.

The month-long event offers people living in Wales and visitors the chance to explore new, hidden and renowned features of the country’s culture and history.

More than 300 of Wales’s most iconic and unusual properties will offer free entry, activities, guided tours or special events throughout the month of September, with some unique locations opening their doors to the public for the very first time.

One of the usually-charged places that visitors can experience for free is Newport’s most famous landmark — the Transporter Bridge.  

An impressive monument to Edwardian engineering and one of just seven such bridges which remain in operation worldwide today, visitors will get the chance to scale 277 steps to reach the high-level pedestrian walkway. From there, they’ll enjoy spectacular views over the River Usk, following in the footsteps of the many workers of over one hundred years ago who would have climbed the stairs and walked across the gantry twice every day, just to save the halfpenny fares for the gondola ride.

Cllr Debbie Harvey Newport City Council Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, said: “Thanks to Cadw funding we were able to undergo a significant restoration programme to bring the transporter bridge back into use and reopen it to the general public — so we’re delighted to be supporting Open Doors by offering free guided tours of this fascinating landmark.”

Also getting involved in the event is Crumlin Navigation Colliery which commemorates 50 years since its closure this year, and Neath Abbey Ironworks, a birthplace of the industrial revolution which invites visitors inside for the first time in living memory.  

From ‘Royalty and Rogues’ themed tours of Ruthin, to Cardiff’s Reform Synagogue, and even the National Assembly for Wales’s Senedd building, visitors can explore all types of the country’s fascinating buildings and sites, with over 1,000 different events to discover.

There will also be the chance to visit Taff’s Well Thermal Spring, where the water is reputed to holding healing properties, climb to the top of Tredegar Town Clock or learn a new hobby at Cardiff’s only official Croquet Club.

Additionally, Cadw is offering the first 25,000 people to register through its Eventbrite page, free entry to its 23 paid-admission sites over the final weekend in September (23rd to 24th September).

Some venues have a limited number of spaces or require advance booking.