Wales's historic buildings and hidden gems set to Open Doors to thousands of visitors

Monday 02 September 2013

Wales's much-loved museums, historic buildings and hidden gems will welcome thousands of visitors throughout September 2013 as part of the annual Open Doors programme.

Children at Tintern Abbey

Children at Tintern Abbey

Hundreds of attractions will offer free entry, activities or events throughout the month, with some unique buildings even opening their doors to the public for the very first time.

Organised by the Civic Trust for Wales and supported by Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service, Open Doors offers both local people and visitors alike the chance to explore the hidden treasures of Wales’s culture and history.

From a 1950s funeral home to a colliery winding house, homes of Wales’s literary greats to a Prisoner of War Camp, and a hydro-electric power station to ancient castles, visitors can explore all types of the country’s fascinating buildings and sites, with over 700 events to discover. 

Buildings and sites that are usually closed to the public will be among the many unseen gems opening to the public, including Hay Castle, a once privately owned 12th century castle and Jacobean mansion cared for by the Hay Castle Trust in Powys, and an almost completely unaltered 1800’s valleys cottage preserved by Cadw in Rhondda Cynon Taff.

There will also be a chance to see how the Control Centre of the largest barrage in Wales works, to browse through local parish records and archives and even ride aboard a vintage tour bus around the landscape of Wales's mining valleys.

Open Doors is the largest volunteering programme in the heritage sector with over 700 events organised by  1,800 community members, including guided walks, heritage trails, lectures, exhibitions and concerts.

John Griffiths, Minster for Culture and Sport, said: 'Open Doors is an excellent scheme which aims to make Wales’s heritage more accessible and appealing to a wide range of audiences to explore and enjoy. From photographic exhibitions to guided tours, there are hundreds of fascinating events taking place across the country and I hope that local people and visitors will be inspired to get out and explore the wealth of heritage on offer.'

Anna Lermon, Project Officer at The Civic Trust for Wales, said: 'Many people would be surprised by what is hidden on their own doorstep so Open Doors is a fantastic opportunity for everyone to explore their local heritage. With a range of unusual events and access to sites that are usually closed to the public, we hope to offer something different to visitors, and they are all free of charge.'

Some venues have limited numbers of spaces or require advance booking. Visit for full event listings and details of properties taking part in the programme.

Open Doors is organised by the Civic Trust for Wales and supported by Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service. The programme is part of European Heritage Days which take place throughout September across 50 countries in a celebration of architecture and heritage.