Come out to play and explore on National Children's Day

Friday 01 May 2015

Entry to sites free of charge to children on 17th May to encourage our younger visitors to play and discover the fascinating stories at historic sites across Wales

Picture of children entering Caerphilly Castle

Children entering Caerphilly Castle

To celebrate National Children’s Day UK 2015 (Sunday 17 May) Cadw, in partnership with Play Wales, will be opening its sites free of charge to children under 16 on Sunday, 17 May. Families across Wales are encouraged to visit their local heritage monument with their children, to discover the fascinating stories behind these spectacular historic sites.

A number of Cadw sites will also be offering special opportunities to play and explore. These include activities at St Davids Bishop’s Palace, music and games at Rhuddlan Castle, costumed fun at Caernarfon Castle, teddies, trails and puppets at Cilgerran Castle, and a medieval Magna Carta tournament at Chepstow Castle.

Also, to mark the national celebration, Play Wales has published a short guide aimed at parents and carers – Why playing matters and what we can all do about it. It explores the importance of playing outside and contact with nature for all children and their families and it provides tips for supporting children to play out confidently.

Playing contributes to children’s wellbeing, resilience and happiness. Having welcoming places, enough time and the company of others to play with, is very important to all children – as adults we need to foster environments that support this.

Children under 18 will also be able to enjoy free entry to the National Trust's Chirk Castle from 10-5 and enjoy a wide range of activities for the whole family including meeting costumed guards, dungeons to explore estate walks, and State rooms to visit.

A wealth of activities are also available at the Abergavenny Museum as visitors can grab a castle back pack to explore the castle grounds. Hands on activities will be available in the Victorian Welsh kitchen and there is a chance for visitors to imagine themselves at the Battle of Agincourt as they design their own shield. The museum is open from 2pm until 5pm and children must be accompanied by an adult.

A family fun area will also be offered at the National Roman Legion Museum in Caerleon where the young and old(er) alike are encouraged to join in with dressing up, colouring in and the infamous latrine game. The museum is open from 2pm until 5pm and more information can be found on the National Roman Museum website. Tenby Museum and Art Gallery would also be participating with free entry for children and fun activities. Weekend family workshops are also available at the National Museum of Wales – Cardiff.

A unique chance to see inside the only working windmill in Wales – Llynnon Mill – is available from 10:30 – 5:00pm on this date. Journey back in time over 3000 years as the two roundhouses on site give all visitors a glimpse into the life of Iron Age farmers.

Beaumaris Goal and Beaumaris Courthouse are both open from 10:30 – 5:00pm and provide a fascinating insight into the life of the justice system in North Wales from the 16th century. From standing in the dock at the courthouse to visiting the condemned cell in the goal, visitors are provided with a unique opportunity to step back into the past.

The aim of National Children’s Day UK is to get as many people as possible to take part in events and activities that highlight and celebrate the Rights and Freedoms of Children. This year’s campaign celebrates how important play and playfulness is to the health and wellbeing of both children and adults.

Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates AM said:

‘I want to make Wales the most active nation in Europe and ensuring children have the opportunities to play outside and enjoy nature has an important role to play in this aim.

‘I am pleased that we are offering children across Wales the chance to access our fantastic Cadw sites for free on the 17 May. This will give them the chance to explore and play in safe and engaging environments and importantly enjoy new experiences as a family.’

This year’s National Children’s Day UK (NCDUK2015) is about the ‘Science and Magic of Play’. Lots of things have conspired to reduce the amount of play in children’s lives (such as a risk averse society and the pressures of the schooling system) and this really matters, not only for their own health and wellbeing, but also for the happiness and wellbeing of adults too.

An initiative of the Save Childhood Movement, the day is being used to raise awareness about the issue and bring together all the people who want to see play reinstated as essential to human creativity and innovation. For more information or if you have any media queries please contact the Cadw marketing team or Angharad Wyn Jones from Play Wales.