Many of Wales’s most iconic castles, abbeys and historic sites will begin to re-open their doors next week — and today (1 August), Cadw has revealed that site entry tickets will be available to book on Monday 3 August.
The announcement follows recent news that 18 of Cadw’s 25 staffed heritage sites will re-open as part of a phased action plan this summer — for the responsible enjoyment of ticketed visitors only, who will be able to visit the sites for the first time since March.
The new booking system will be accessible via the Cadw website and will require both Cadw members and general visitors to reserve or purchase time-allotted tickets, no less than 24 hours in advance of their visit.
The ticketed entry process will allow Cadw to manage reduced visitor capacities at its staffed monuments — ensuring a safe and socially distanced experience for visitors and employees alike.This approach will be further reinforced by limited on-site time allowances, with each monument offering either a morning or afternoon slot for each ticketed visitor.
Other changes include days of operation — with Cadw’s staffed heritage sites initially set to be open for five days a week rather than seven. Furthermore, all site entry prices have been reduced to reflect the recently announced reduction in the VAT charged for entry into visitor attractions. The full reduction will be passed on to visitors in order to support local tourism economies.
These details will be clearly specified through the online ticketing platform, with all tickets to be site specific and only valid for entry to the monument selected at point of purchase or reservation. For more information please visit Cadw’s FAQ page.
Plas Mawr, Blaenavon Ironworks and eight other spectacular fortresses, including the Castles of Caerphilly, Conwy, Raglan, Laugharne and Harlech, are the first set of staffed sites to re-open to visitors during the first week of August (Tuesday4 August – Saturday 8 August).
Meanwhile, Conwy Town Walls will re-open on Saturday, 08 August — complete with a new one-way system to ensure public health and safety in line with Welsh Government social distancing guidelines.
Next in line to re-open are Caernarfon Castle and Beaumaris, with both subject to a newly confirmed re-opening date of Monday, 10 August, followed by Tintern Abbey which is now set to re-open on Friday, 28 August.
At both Caernarfon Castle and Tintern Abbey, there will only be access to part of the site due to the need for essential conservation or development works. As a consequence, the admission price to Caernarfon will be reduced by 50% while adults tickets to Tintern are reduced to just £5.
At this time, visiting slots will only available to book for the staffed sites that are ready to welcome visitors in August, with further sites to be added to the ticketing system as and when they re-open.
Members will only be able to secure free tickets for the number of people included in their membership package and will be required to show their membership card upon arrival, alongside their reserved tickets and booking number.
Similarly, general visitors must reserve a date and time-allotted ticket for every person in their group, children included, at least 24hrs in advance of their visit. For those without access to the internet, tickets will also be available to book or reserve via telephone on 03000 252 239.
Visitors can expect a number of changes at the sites in question, including the installation of plastic partition screens at entry desks and the placement of directional arrows and distance markers along walkways, as well as the introduction of one-way routes, where required.
New site hygiene measures will include increased cleaning practices across all re-opened staffed sites with regular deep cleans scheduled alongside daily disinfection of key touch points, including door handles, railings and interactive screens.
Plus, hand-sanitiser will be readily available for visitors to use. For full visitation guidance, please visit the Cadw website.
Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Lord Elis-Thomas, said: “As we begin a to re-open some of Wales’s staffed heritage sites, our main priority continues to be the safety of our employees, members, visitors and the wider communities of Wales — all of whom we are pleased to be welcoming back.
“While we understand that there may be some frustrations around having to pre-book advanced tickets to visit these iconic sites, Cadw’s new ticketing process, alongside reductions on visitor numbers, is essential for us to be able to successfully manage the number of people visiting these monuments at any one time.
“Complemented by new hygiene measures and in some instances, site adaptations, this new process will allow for a safe and socially distanced experience for us all. I’m thrilled that the people of Wales and beyond will be able to explore Welsh history again — and I remind everyone to do so safely, respectfully and responsibly.”
Tickets for Cadw’s collection of re-opening staffed heritage sites will be available for purchase or reservation on Monday 3 August, here: .
For further information on the planned re-opening schedule for Cadw’s staffed heritage sites, visit cadw.gov.wales/a-phased-reopening-our-staffed-heritage-sites, search Cadw on Facebook or follow @CadwWales or @CadwCymru on Twitter.