Historic to modern and quirky to classic: A call for Wales’s brilliant buildings to open their doors

Friday 20 March 2015

Organisations, local history and community groups, and private owners, are among those being called upon to join the celebration of Wales’s brilliant buildings, by taking part in Open Doors 2015.

Girl at Harlech Castle

For the second year running, we will fund and organise the annual event, which offers visitors free admission, special events, and a rare peek inside some of Wales’s hidden gems, throughout the month of September.

Part of the European Heritage Days programme, which takes place in 50 countries across Europe, Open Doors is the largest volunteer event in the heritage sector in Wales, attracting nearly 2,500 volunteers and 34,000 visitors last year.  

A wide range of buildings have opened their doors to visitors in previous years, including castles, TV studios, museums, and even a prisoner of war camp. Events have included heritage trails, guided tours, lectures, exhibitions and concerts, delivered by hundreds of volunteers across Wales.

Ken Skates, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism said: “Wales has a wealth of fascinating buildings, from medieval castles and industrial architecture to the pioneering design of the Wales Millennium Centre. It’s these buildings that give our cities, towns and villages their sense of place and character. We’re encouraging all types of sites, across Wales, to open their doors and help showcase our country’s diverse heritage.”

Dr. Ffion Reynolds, Heritage and Arts Manager at Cadw, who leads the Open Doors event, added: “I would encourage anyone who owns or works in an interesting property, or who has an interest in heritage, to get involved in Open Doors. Together we can offer the people of Wales a unique opportunity to explore and enjoy the stories behind their local sites this September.”

To register for Open Doors, your event should meet one of the following criteria:
• A building or site in public or private ownership that is not normally accessible to the public;
• A building or site that normally charges an entry fee, but which will waive the fee on this occasion;
• A building or site that is routinely open (a church, library, museum etc.) and will be organising a special event (e.g. a talk, exhibition, access to records and treasures);
• A free event (a walking tour, lecture, exhibition, concert, memories, historical re-enactment) that in some way engages with the local heritage.

The deadlines for Open Doors 2015 are:
• 1 June: Registration closes
• 1 August: events will be visible on the Cadw website
• 1-30 September: Open Doors.

The event can take place over a day, a weekend or over the whole month, but needs to take place during September. For more information and to register for Open Doors 2015, visit the Open Doors section or e-mail opendoors@wales.gsi.gov.uk for further information.