Cadw has revealed plans to re-open Wales’s historical sites, with limited outdoor-access — so this April, the heritage body is releasing seven, access-all-areas digital tours.
With the first digital experience, a 3D tour of Criccieth Castle, released today (31 March) — the content will give the people of Wales and beyond a chance to fully ‘visit’ Wales’s historic monuments and landmarks, from the comfort of home.
It’s all part of Cadw’s Virtual Visits campaign, which encourages people from across the globe to continue their discovery of Wales’s built-heritage — while full site visitation, and both UK and international travel, remain limited in light of Covid-19 restrictions.
Featuring everything from a tour of Conwy’s iconic Elizabethan townhouse, Plas Mawr, to an inside-out look at the coastal ruins of Criccieth Castle, Cadw’s package of new Virtual Visits will allow ‘visitors’ to explore the hidden depths of Wales’s past — through fully-articulated, 3D content.
Other featured sites include ancient monuments, Barclodiad-y-Gawres, Caerleon Amphitheatre and Dyffryn Ardudwy, as well as an array of religious buildings — from St Davids Bishop’s Palace in Pembrokeshire to Rug Chapel in Denbighshire.
Powered by advanced, interactive technology, the brand new series of digital excursions will bolster Cadw’s existing collection of virtual tours (previously branded as Open Doors Online) — bringing the total number to seventeen — all of which will be available to view and explore on the Cadw website, for free.
Created by Cardiff-based virtual-reality experts, 4Pi Productions, the experience-driven content makes use of 360° photography and scanning technology, which will allow users to control their journey around each virtual monument or historic site.
Designed to be compatible across all devices, members of the public will be invited to access each virtual tour on desktop computers, tablets, mobile phones and through the use of VR headsets.
The seven new ‘virtual visits’ will be released weekly on Cadw’s website and social media channels between 02 – 30 April 2021, with each tour categorised under one of five core themes.
Starting with the theme Medieval Forts, the first of Cadw’s new virtual tours, Criccieth Castle, will be available ahead of the Easter Bank Holiday weekend (Friday, 02 April).
The remaining six tours will be released in line with the following themes: Neolithic Tombs (Tuesday 06 April), Religious Relics (Monday 12 April), Roman Remains (Monday 19 April) and Historic Houses (Monday 26 April).
Other, existing ‘Virtual Visits’ include Wales’s fairy-tale castle, Castell Coch, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Harlech Castle and Blaenavon Ironworks — the best preserved 19th century ironworks in the world.
Although some staffed Cadw sites have now re-opened, with compulsory tickets available to pre-book on the Cadw website, visitor capacities are limited by number and to Wales-residents only. This has been decided in line with the latest lockdown restrictions in Wales, to help keep Cadw employees, visitors and the wider communities of Wales safe.
Artistic Director of 4Pi Productions, Matt Wright, said: “Following the success of Cadw’s Open Doors Online festival in September 2020, we were delighted to help create a new series of virtual tours — ensuring that even more of Wales’s spectacular heritage sites become accessible online during this uncertain time”.
For more information about Cadw’s Virtual Visits campaign, please visit cadw.gov.wales/visit/whats-on/virtual-visits.