£2.6m boost for Welsh historic sites as tourist season begins

Tuesday 28 March 2017

Improvements include new visitor centres, medieval chapel restoration and new interactive displays

A number of Wales’s historic sites — including a medieval chapel and ancient abbey — are getting ready to welcome visitors this Easter following a £2.6m investment from the Welsh Government’s historic environment service (Cadw).

Vast improvements have been made to a number of historic monuments over the past twelve months, ranging from refurbishments of shops and visitor centres, improved on site information for visitors, opening access to previously closed off areas and restoring parts of the historic buildings to their former glory, all aimed at improving the visitor experience and attracting more visitors than ever to Cadw sites.

One of the sites benefiting from the funding is Beaumaris Castle, and the results were unveiled today (28 March 2017) during the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, Ken Skates’ visit to the 13th century monument.

The Castle, which attracted more than 80,000 visitors last year, has seen a range of improvements to the visitor experience, while its chapel has undergone major renovation work, helping to restore the religious building to its former glory — just in time for Easter.

New stained glass windows, which take inspiration from the site’s rich history, have been installed as a focal point for the chapel; while a replica ‘portable altar’ will help visitors to explore the Castle’s religious past.  

Much-needed conservation work, including a new roof, floor and doors, installed in their original intended positions, have also been completed as part of the £123k project. 

Other developments at Cadw sites include:

• Significant improvements to the access to Carreg Cennen Castle
• Refurbishment of the visitor centre at Caerphilly Castle
• A new roof in the Earl’s Chamber and new, handmade entrance gates at Chepstow Castle
• Renovated tea rooms, offering an authentic Victorian experience, and a new digital trail at Castell Coch
• Renovation of the seven-foot Talaith Llywelyn (Llywelyn’s Coronet) sculpture at Conwy Castle
• Significant improvements to the visitor centre, including bespoke hands-on and digital interpretation at Criccieth Castle
• Renovation of  the former visitor centre to create a flexible education and community space at Harlech Castle
• Significant masonry repairs at Neath Abbey
• New visitor displays and digital trail at Rhuddlan Castle
• Newly refurbished visitor centre and new, handmade entrance gates at Strata Florida Abbey

Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, Ken Skates, said: “The 2016/17 financial year was a record for Cadw, attracting over 1.4m visitors to its sites and generating £6.6m income. The aim of the investment in improvements to these sites is to attract even more visitors to the historic monuments over the next twelve months.

“Across Wales, our historic environment supports thousands of jobs and contributes millions to Wales’s economy each year, so it’s vital that we continue to invest in strengthening our heritage tourism offer to attract even more visitors.

“As we celebrate the Year of Legends this year, I encourage people from Wales and beyond to come and discover the fascinating historic tales of these sites through the new and improved facilities and experiences on offer.”

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