Cadw has released its packed May half-term schedule, offering unique activities for families to enjoy and bring Welsh history to life.
From 27 May to 4 June, Cadw sites — including an ancient fortress, abbeys, and castles — are playing host to a wide range of historical and cultural activities providing an exciting day out for the whole family.
Hinging on Wales’ ‘Year of Trails’, visitors are encouraged to curate epic adventures over the holidays. Cadw sites allow you to create your own experiences by transforming Wales’ history into engaging activities to inspire the next generation.
Here are some of the top picks available at Cadw sites across Wales during the half term break.
Men at Arms (Beaumaris Castle)
Across the bank holiday weekend, you can train to be a medieval knight at Beaumaris Castle’s Knight’s School for Children, learning how to attack and defend the castle in combat. Adults can master basic sword fighting skills and find out about weapons used in the medieval period.
For the jokesters, there will also be a jester’s circus skills workshop to learn tips and tricks, and families will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in medieval Wales through cooking displays, medieval medicine, music, leather work, and storytelling for ‘townspeople’ to enjoy.
Saturday 27 May – Monday 29 May 10:00 – 17:00
Living History in the Castle (Harlech Castle)
For those who enjoy re-enactment style events, Harlech Castle will be hosting its very own tournament of fully armoured knights in battle. Witness the clash of steel and the thundering hooves of the warhorses as they charge towards each other in a display of strength and skill. And as if that wasn’t enough, precision archery displays, graceful dances and musicians will make you feel like you’ve spent a day in the Middle Ages.
Saturday 27 – Monday 29 May 11:00 – 16:00
Minstrel Tom (St. Davids Bishop’s Palace)
Keeping in with the medieval theme, families can be transported back in time with music from Minstrel Tom at St. Davids Bishop’s Palace. Learn about the instruments and style of music from the 12th century while roaming the walls of the palace’s remains.
Visitors will also have the opportunity to meet two significant figures in the history of the site: Bishop Henry de Gower and Dame Agatha Barlow. Listen to their stories and discover their roles in the rise and fall of the palace throughout time.
Wednesday 31 May - Thursday 1 Jun 10:00 - 16:30
Summer of Stories (Various sites)
The half-term break kicks off Cadw’s Summer of Stories – a celebration of Wales’ rich oral traditions across 12 sites this summer.
During your visit to any participating Cadw site, join a storyteller to experience the best of Welsh tale-spinning, including historical characters, legends, myths, culture, and heritage. Take a moment to relax and enjoy listening to a 30-minute historical tale in between your exploring.
Available at Tretower Court and Castle, Beaumaris Castle, Conwy Castle, Denbigh Castle, Blaenavon Ironworks, Caerleon Roman Fortress and Baths, Castell Coch, Chepstow Castle, Tintern Abbey, St Davids Bishop’s Palace, Criccieth Castle & Kidwelly Castle.
Let’s Discover… Whose Poo? (Chepstow Castle)
Visit Chepstow Castle and learn about the dietary habits of the people who lived and worked in the castle in the Tudor ages, and you can even dissect a fake poo…
This event is perfect for children who love to learn about alternative history and science in a hands-on way. And a chance to learn about the home of some of the wealthiest men in history.
Saturday 3 – Sunday 4 June 10:00 - 16:00
The Wise Woman and the Surgeon (Plas Mawr)
Visitors to Plas Mawr in Conwy can immerse themselves in the world of Tudor medicine and surgery with a multi-sensory experience. Get hands-on with medicinal herbs and remedies, experiencing their scents and textures and interacting with authentic replica surgical instruments while learning all about their uses, and what it meant to be a surgeon during the Tudor period.
Sunday 28- Monday 29 May 11:00 - 16:00
Falconry at the Abbey (Tintern Abbey)
Discover how our ancestors used birds of prey during the Tudor period and why falconry was one of the favoured sports of this era.
There’s even the opportunity to have your photo taken with one of the majestic birds and take home a unique souvenir.
This event is also available at Kidwelly Castle on Sunday 28 May.
Saturday 3 June 10:00 – 16:00
Medieval Murder Mystery (Raglan Castle)
Put your detective skills to the test at Raglan as you scour the castle for clues, interview suspects and solve puzzles to uncover what happened to the body of Sir Charles’ trusted army captain.
This will transport you back to 1489, as Raglan’s mystery will give you a taste of medieval life – complete with intrigue, drama, and a murder to solve.
Sunday 28– Monday 29 May 11:00 – 15:30
Search for the Caesars (Caerleon Roman Fortress and Baths)
If your family likes searching for hidden treasures, this is the event for you. Head to Caerleon Roman Fortress and Baths to see if you can find the famous Roman Caesar in hidden locations around the site.
Legend has it they’ve been at the baths for nearly 2,000 years, so keep your eyes peeled as you make your way around this legionary fortress from first century Wales.
Saturday 27 May - Sunday 4 June 10:00 - 16:00
Birds of Prey (Laugharne Castle)
Experience the thrill of seeing magnificent birds of prey up close at Laugharne Castle’s falconry event.
With a variety of species on display, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about these majestic creatures from the experts themselves. The displays will run twice a day at 12pm and 3pm and are not to be missed.
Saturday 27 – Sunday 28 May 11:00 – 16:00
The events Cadw has planned during this year’s May half term are designed to cater to a wide range of interests and ages, offering both educational and entertaining experiences. Find a full list of half-term events on the What's on page.
For those looking to take advantage of the events available during the half-term period, Cadw membership offers free event entry and unlimited access to over 130 historic places across Wales, offering a unique way to explore Wales’ rich heritage.