Today, Cadw, National Trust Cymru and Amgueddfa Cymru — National Museum Wales have announced plans to re-open a number of their indoor museums, indoor areas of historical sites and exhibitions from week commencing Monday 17 May.
The news follows the First Minister’s announcement around plans to re-open Wales’ indoor visitor attractions and hospitality amenities next week, under Welsh Government social distancing regulations and guidelines.
Indoor spaces belonging to the three heritage bodies, including historical monuments, country homes and museums, will re-open for the responsible enjoyment of ticketed visitors only.
All indoor spaces will re-open with strict social distancing measures in place to ensure a safe visitor experience for people across Wales and the wider UK.
While outdoor areas at many Cadw sites started to re-open to visitors from the end of March, as of Monday 17 May the heritage service will re-open indoor areas of historic sites that have already welcomed the return of visitors, plus, a further iconic heritage monument under its care will re-open for the first time: Conwy’s Plas Mawr Elizabethan Townhouse. South Wales’ fairytale castle, Castell Coch, will also re-open for the first time in the coming weeks.
World Heritage Site, Caernarfon Castle, will also be open for indoor visitors from Saturday 22 May.
At Caernarfon Castle, there is significant conservation work happening at the King’s Gate to improve long term access to site. Therefore, all visitors will receive a complementary guidebook, to compensate for any disruption. Access to the castle will now be through the grand Eagle Tower, rather than the site’s main King’s Gate entrance, which is currently out-of-access. Disabled access can be arranged at the time of booking.
To gain entry to all staffed Cadw sites, general visitors and Cadw members alike will need to reserve their time-allotted tickets at least 24 hours in advance of their visit, with tickets available now on the Cadw website.
Gwilym Hughes, Head of Cadw, said:
“We are pleased to announce that the majority of Cadw sites will now be re-opened during the week beginning 17th May, and we are delighted to invite visitors back to more of our much-loved heritage sites across Wales.
“We would like to thank Cadw members and visitors for their ongoing patience as sites re-open, and we apologise that visitors may not be able to access all areas of our sites due to the need to comply with the ongoing rules relating to social distancing.
“Nevertheless, we are delighted that due to the change in the regulations Cadw now can open even more of our sites for visitors to enjoy and explore.”
Meanwhile, the staff and volunteers at National Trust Cymru are looking forward to welcoming the return of visitors to indoor areas at some of its properties over the coming weeks, including Penrhyn Castle, Powis Castle and Garden and Newton House at Dinefwr.
Visitors will need to look at the National Trust property websites before visiting to check re-opening arrangements for individual properties and visitors are asked to adhere to Welsh Government Regulations at all times.
Finally, from Wednesday 19 May, Amgueddfa Cymru - Museums Wales will be re-opening indoor spaces at three sites under its care, including St Fagans Museum of History, National Museum Cardiff and National Waterfront Museum Swansea. These sites will be open for visits between Wednesday – Sunday each week.
Big Pit National Coal Museum will re-open on Thursday 20 May for weekly visits between Thursday – Sunday.
The indoors of National Slate Museum, Llanberis will re-open on Thursday 20 May and will be open every Thursday - Monday in May and will revert to Wednesday – Sunday from June onwards.
The National Wool Museum and National Roman Legion Museum in Caerleon will also re-open on Thursday 20 May and will welcome visitors every Thursday–Saturday.
Visitors will need to pre-book free tickets in advance of any Museum visit by visiting www.museum.wales and must adhere to strict social distancing regulations, one way systems and enhanced hygiene regimes at all times.
The three heritage bodies are working together to encourage their members and general visitors to make a promise to care for their wider communities and Welsh heritage, in line with the messaging of Visit Wales’ Addo (pledge) campaign.
It is hoped that this will prompt visitors to behave in a safe, respectful manner when returning to visit their favourite monuments, or when taking a trip to visit a new site of historic significance for the first time.