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Caerphilly Castle
Published
15 Jul 2019

Wales plays host to an array of music, art and literature festivals every summer — and this August, a celebration of heritage will join the programme as Cadw presents a new history festival for families.

Announced today (15 July), the all-new Kids’ History Festival will see hundreds of unmissable events, ‘cool’ activities and educational experiences arrive at 25 of Wales’s historic sites from 01–25 August.

It’s all part of Cadw’s Rediscover History campaign, which aims to shine a modern light on Welsh heritage and provide new ways for young people to experience Wales’s castles, abbeys and historic houses during Wales’s 2019 Year of Discovery.

Targeted at children between the ages of 4-16, the Festival will officially open at Caerphilly Castle on Thursday, 01 and Friday, 02 August — offering everything from Lego castle building workshops to feminist history lectures and even medieval character sketching lessons.

Following this, the month-long Festival will continue with a jam-packed calendar of unmissable family events at historic sites acrcoss Wales — including everything from a WWII takeover at Blaenavon Ironworks to medieval archery lessons at Caernarfon Castle and an immersive insight into Victorian life at Wales’s fairytale castle, Castell Coch.

And finally, on Saturday, 24 August and Sunday, 25 August, the Kids’ History Festival will formally close at Beaumaris Castle’s annual Medieval Extravaganza, which will celebrate its tenth anniversary in summer 2019 — complete with medieval parades, armoury displays, traditional music and entertainment from minstrels, jesters and even the Castle’s executioner!

With no prior booking required, general admission fees will apply to each Kids’ History Festival event — including the large-scale opening and closing ceremonies at the Castles of Caerphilly and Beaumaris.

Plus, guests to the opening and closing events will receive a special Kids’ History Festival wrist-band on arrival (while stock lasts) and unlimited access to all of the activities and workshops taking place on site.

The ‘Grand Opening’ weekend at Caerphilly Castle will offer a huge range of different activities, experiences and workshops for families to enjoy across the first two days of August, including: medieval character sketching lessons, Lego castle building workshops*, a medieval games emporium, medieval entertainment from Fiery Jack the Jester, sword school, face-painting and musical performances — medieval style. Festival-goers in Caerphilly can also step into a giant arts-and-crafts tent, where they’ll have the opportunity to paint a huge cardboard castle, take part in the creation of an enormous dragon mural and make their very own medieval shield, sword or crown using recycled waste.

Meanwhile, visitors will also have the chance to take part in regular interactive story-telling sessions with children’s author, Mike Church, and listen to an inspirational talk about women in Welsh history with Cadw Archaeologist, Erin Lloyd Jones — at 1pm inside the Castle’s Great Hall.

All activities will be on offer for the duration of the Caerphilly Castle event — with the exception of the Lego workshops which will be available on a first-come-first-served basis. Two sessions will take place each day, with the first between 11am and 12.30pm and the second between 2pm and 3.30pm.

Meanwhile, the finale event will see Beaumaris Castle bursting at the seams with medieval-themed activities and family-friendly entertainment, including heart-stopping battle re-enactments, weaponry demonstrations, jester workshops and Lego castle building sessions — which will be available on a first-come-first-served basis across four one-hour workshops each day, taking place at 10.30am, 11.45am, 2pm and 3.15pm.

In the meantime, visitors to Beaumaris Castle’s epic anniversary event will be able to discover what life was like at the Castle during the Middle Ages, as leatherworkers, spinners, weavers and blacksmiths showcase their impressive skills within an onsite medieval village.

Plus, birds-of-prey displays, medieval food stalls, arts-and-crafts workshops and a colourful dragon parade will also be on offer for visitors to enjoy across the two-day celebration — which will end with a spectacular tournament between the Castle’s ferocious medieval knights. Visitors will be encouraged to pick a side to cheer on to victory, with the bravest of festival-goers invited to take on the medieval warriors in an interactive battle.

Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Lord Elis-Thomas, said: “After many months of planning and preparation, I am delighted to reveal the plans for Cadw’s first ever Kids’ History Festival — which has been designed to capture the imaginations of 4-16 year-old historians and provide opportunities for children to learn new skills at Wales’s historic sites.

“We are always looking at new ways of engaging young people in Welsh history and the month-long Kids’ History Festival has been designed to do just that — with a mix of fun, unusual but most importantly, educational activities on offer for families to enjoy during the school summer holidays.

“I look forward to the festival’s official launch at Caerphilly Castle and hope that the Festival’s contemporary approach to heritage education will inspire the children of Wales and beyond to explore Wales’s unique history and culture for years to come.”

Follow @CadwWales or @CadwCymru on Twitter or search Cadw on Facebook.

Tag Cadw and use the hashtag #KidsHistoryFestival when sharing images on social media.

Family visitors can enjoy a 20% discount on Cadw family membership until 19 July, using the promo code: HAF2019. Visit the Cadw website for more information.

 

What's on

Kids’ History Festival: Weaving Willow Workshop

Thursday 01, 08, 15 and 22 August

Oxwich Castle

11am – 4pm

Normal site admission fees apply.

Visitors are invited to join artist in residence, Sara Holden, at Oxwich Castle to try their hand at the ancient craft of willow weaving to create their own crowns, dream-catchers or wind breaks for the garden. These family-friendly, drop-in sessions will take place regularly throughout the day.

For more information, click here.

 

Kids’ History Festival: Knights, Jesters and Wizardry Wonder!

Friday 02, 09, 16, 23 August

Conwy Castle

10am – 4pm

Normal site admission fees apply.

Visitors to Conwy Castle can enjoy a jam-packed, family-friendly day of fun and games this August as part of Cadw’s Kids’ History Festival.  From have-a-go archery and sword school with medieval knights to magical wand workshops with resident wizards, event-goers are guaranteed to leave the Castle with a brand new skill or two. Plus, the town jester will be on hand to entertain families visiting the site with his comical antics.

For more information, click here.

 

Kids’ History Festival: Discover Owain Glyndŵr

Saturday 03, 10, 17 and Sunday 04, 11, 18 August

Caernarfon Castle, Conwy Castle, Beaumaris Castle, Kidwelly Castle, Harlech Castle, Laugharne Castle

Dates for this event vary according to site location — please visit the website for more information. 

10am – 2.30pm

Normal site admission fees apply, but booking is required.

Young, budding historians are invited to discover the last Welsh Prince of Wales through the eyes of one of his loyal supporters.

This interactive event will encourage visitors to help tell Owain Glyndŵr’s story as they take on the role of a professional bard. Four sessions will take place each day. These family-friendly sessions will be available on a first-come-first-serve basis and are limited to a maximum of 30 people.

For more information, click here.

 

Kids’ History Festival: The Defence of Blaenavon

Saturday 03 and Sunday 04 August

Blaenavon Ironworks

11am – 4pm

Normal site admission fees apply.

World War II will explode into Blaenavon Ironworks this August, as the sights and sounds of the 1940s take over the historic site during the first weekend of August. Heart-stopping weaponry displays, jaw-dropping battle re-enactments and musical performances will offer visitors a real insight into the life of those who experienced this troublesome time.

Plus, stories of life on the home front will be told throughout the day by the firesides of Stack Square, while a mobile military hospital, radio room and a selection of wartime military vehicles will be present on site for visitors to discover and explore.

For more information, click here.

 

Kids’ History Festival: Knight School

Tuesday 06, 13, 20 August

Harlech Castle

9.30am – 4.30pm

Normal site admission fees apply

Harlech Castle is in search of a new garrison of medieval knights to guard the mighty fortress walls. Brave visitors are invited to attend the Ardudwy Knights’ prestigious knight school at the Castle for a day of battle, combat and defence training.

For more information, click here.

 

Kids’ History Festival: Victorian Crafts & Games 

Tuesday 06 August

Castell Coch

11am – 4pm

Normal site admission fees apply.

Castell Coch welcomes visitors for a day of Victorian games and craft activities. Games will include skittles, spinning tops and skipping ropes, while craft activities will include creating paper chains and Victorian spinning objects such as thaumatropes and whirligigs. Plus, event go-ers can enjoy listening to Lady Bute telling Aesop’s fables in the adorned drawing room.

 

Kids’ History Festival: Medieval Falconry

Wednesday 07 August

Criccieth Castle

11am – 4pm

Normal site admission fees apply.

Criccieth Castle invites visitors to enjoy an exhilarating day of fascinating falconry displays above Cardigan Bay. From rare photo opportunities with the majestic birds, to captivating tales of the kings and queens who loved to watch them take flight, experienced falconers will blow you away with a jam-packed day of history and hawking.  

For more information, click here.

 

Kids’ History Festival: History Live!

Wednesday 07 and Thursday 08 August

Cilgerran Castle

11am – 4pm

Normal site admission fees apply.

Knights, craftsmen and Barons of the Realm will transport Cilgerran Castle back to the 12th century, offering event-goers an opportunity to experience life as it was for the people who lived there during the Middle Ages.

For more information, click here.

 

Kids’ History Festival: Legends of the Sea Crafternoon

Wednesday 07 August

Strata Florida Abbey

1pm – 4.30pm

Normal site admission fees apply.

Strata Florida Abbey invites visitors to join an arts and crafts workshops this summer to celebrate the Legends of the Sea. Visitors to the workshop will find out why the sea was so important to the Monks living at the Abbey, while enjoying shell crafts, mermaid crown making, turtle-themed activities and more.

For more information, click here.

 

Kids’ History Festival: Roman Sword Make and Take Day

Thursday 08 August

Caerleon Roman Fortress and Baths

10am – 4pm

Normal site admission fees apply.

During Kids’ History Festival, visitors can join an armour craft workshop at Caerleon Roman Fortress and Baths and make their very own battle sword — Roman style.

For more information, click here.

 

Kids’ History Festival: A Medieval Weekend 

Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 August

Caerphilly Castle

10am – 5pm

Normal site admission fees apply.

A weekend of medieval mayhem will come to Caerphilly Castle this August, courtesy of the experienced re-enactment group, Bowlore.

From have-a-go archery and armoury demonstrations to sword school and heart-stopping weaponry and living history performances, this jam-packed event will offer fun for all the family.

For more information, click here.

 

Kids’ History Festival: The Princes Retinue

Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 August

Valle Crucis Abbey

10am – 4pm

Normal site admission fees apply.

For one weekend only, the Princes Retinue will be in residence at Valle Crucis Abbey. To transport visitors back in time with a range of exciting living history displays and performances.

For more information, click here.

 

Kids’ History Festival: Red Dragon Archery Club 

Saturday 10, 24  and Sunday 25 August

Caernarfon Castle

11am – 3.30pm

Normal site admission fees apply.

Caernarfon Castle will be transported back to a medieval Wales as archers descend on the mighty fortress. Visitors will be trained to use a bow and arrow and taught how to defend the castle against attack. There’ll also be a chance to listen to gripping tales of knightly adventures and watch an arrow-smith make a medieval arrowhead, while the garrison’s fine ladies will be on hand to provide medieval food discussions and herbal remedy demonstrations.

Please note, to take part in have-a-go archery, there will be in additional £3 fee.

For more information, click here.

 

Kids’ History Festival: Dragons!

Monday 12 August

Cilgerran Castle

10am – 4pm

Normal site admission fees apply.

For one day only, Cilgerran Castle will become home to a family of Welsh dragons — providing visitors with a fun-filled day of storytelling, crafts and even an interactive dragon parade around the medieval fortress.

Kindly note, the Cadw dragons will not be present at this event.

For more information, click here.

 

Kids’ History Festival: Tudor Takeover at the Abbey

Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 August

Tintern Abbey

10.30am – 5pm

Normal site admission fees apply.

The Tudor Group and the Minstrels of the Forest will entertain visitors with music, singing, dance and interactive living history performances at Tintern Abbey this August — a jam-packed family event not to be missed.

For more information, click here.

 

Kids’ History Festival: Dragon Takeover

Wednesday 21 and Thursday 22 August

Harlech Castle

11am – 4pm

Normal site admission fees apply.

Visitors are invited to join the Alchemy Dragons and Flotsam the Fool at Harlech Castle this summer for an unforgettable family adventure.

Event-goers will come face-to-face with baby dragons, enjoy a carnival dragon procession around the majestic site and have the opportunity to try their hand at a wide range of circus skills with Flotsam, the Castle Jester.

For more information, click here.

 

Kids’ History Festival: Knight Training School

Thursday 22 August

Criccieth Castle

11am – 3.45pm

Normal site admission fees apply.

This August, visitors are invited to Criccieth Castle to undertake training to become a successful medieval knight in battle. Those brave enough to complete the course will receive a special certificate to prove their ability.

Family-friendly sessions will take place every 30 minutes between 11am and 3.45pm.

For more information, click here.

 

Kids’ History Festival: Meet the Household

Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 August

Plas Mawr

11am – 4pm

Normal site admission fees apply.

Visitors can come face-to-face with costumed characters from a time gone by and find out more about the extravagant Wynn Family, former owners of Plas Mawr. Plus, event-goers will be given the opportunity to craft marchpane and join in with historical dancing and games.

For more information, click here.

 

Kids’ History Festival: Medieval Bank Holiday Weekend

Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 August

Harlech Castle

11am – 4pm

Normal site admission fees apply.

As part of Cadw’s Kids’ History Festival, visitors can step back in time with the Ardudwy Knights at Harlech Castle to experience what life was like inside a medieval fortress. From have-a-go archery to heart-stopping combat performances and birds of prey displays to medieval weaponry demonstrations, this three day event has plenty on offer for the whole family to enjoy.

For more information, click here.