Historic Welsh sites see a monumental 15% increase of September visitors

Thursday 29 October 2015

If February has Valentine’s Day and December Christmas then September could certainly be the month of Welsh heritage, with newly released figures showing that, over its 30 days, more than 130,000 visitors chose to explore historic sites across the country.

Picture of visitors to Laugharne Castle

Visitors at Laugharne castle

The impressive figures have been released by the Welsh Government after a month in which they offered free entry to more than 20 of its most popular historic attractions, to mark the end of the successful Open Doors event.

More than 20,000 tickets were made available to the public over the last weekend in September and 19,536 people registered.

It was a big weekend, and the monuments certainly lived up to the occasion with 81% of attendees rating their visit as ‘excellent’, while16% reported their visit to be ‘very good’.

2015 was the second year that the Welsh Government’s Historic Environment Service (Cadw) organised Open Doors in Wales, in conjunction with partners across Wales. The annual Open Doors programme is the Welsh contribution to European Heritage Days which offers local people and tourists the opportunity to explore the best and most interesting examples of Wales’s built heritage.

And the month-long celebration seems to have inspired a love for Welsh heritage, as heritage sites cared for by the Welsh Government saw an overall rise in figures during the whole month of September.

Caernarfon Castle welcomed 21,794 people through its historic doors, a massive 46% increase on last year.

Harlech Castle played host to 10,598 visitors, a 39% increase, while Tretower Court and Castle, and Oxwich Castle also enjoyed a 54% and 35% increase in visitors, respectively.

In 2014, the Welsh Government made 10,000 free tickets available to the public for the first time as part of the Open Doors celebration. Due to the overwhelming demand, this figure was doubled for 2015.

Ken Skates, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, said: “We are committed to making heritage more accessible to everyone in Wales, helping communities to better connect with the amazing historic sites on their doorstep.

“Recent figures show that  tourism industry overall had a successful summer season, even compared with 2014 which was a record breaking year for Wales, and a strong September will give further boost to the industry’s confidence.

“I’m delighted that even more people have decided to visit heritage sites this September. With so much to see and do in Wales, it is encouraging to see that people are choosing to spend their time exploring and enjoying our rich heritage. We look forward to building on this success in 2016.”