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Cadw’s Open Doors festival returns this September

Castell Talcharn - Laugharne Castle

More than 200 of Wales’ historic sites, landmarks and hidden gems will offer visitors free entry this September — as the Open Doors festival returns for 2022.

Funded and organised by Cadw, the ever-popular festival of Wales’ built heritage will encourage Welsh residents and visitors alike to explore some of the country’s lesser-known sites ― several of which are usually closed to the public.

The 2022 programme features a range of historic venues owned by Cadw, National Trust Wales, Church in Wales, local councils, private owners, including Neath Abbey, Oystermouth Castle, Caerleon Amphitheatre and Barracks, Bodnant Gardens, Denbigh Castle, and St Davids Cathedral.

6 staffed Cadw sites, including two of Wales’ iconic medieval fortresses ― Harlech Castle in north Wales and Laugharne Castle in south Wales ― will be offering members of the public free site access during the month-long heritage celebration on select dates.

Harlech Castle

Meanwhile, 11 of Cadw’s unstaffed sites, many of which are usually closed to the public, will also offer guided tours for free on select dates in September ― including Barclodiad-y-Gawres Burial Chamber on Anglesey.

Non-Cadw sites such as St Davids Cathedral are also offering tours of areas usually closed to the public – with visitors to the site of Wales’ patron saint welcomed into the Old Lapidarium, which hasn’t been open to the public for decades.

Ffion Reynolds, Arts & Heritage Manager for said: “We warmly welcome the return of Open Doors ― Wales’ annual contribution to European Heritage Days ― running throughout September.

“Not only is it a celebration of the rich and fascinating history Wales has to offer, but an opportunity for more people than ever before to inspire a life-long love of history and culture ― especially our future generations.

“And by opening these sites for free, we hope to provide an equal opportunity for all to explore, enjoy and uncover the untold stories of Welsh history on their doorstep.”

Pre-booking for Cadw sites, whether staffed unstaffed, is not necessary – walk-ins are encouraged to simply turn up to visit their favourite monument, and can even join the complimentary guided tours at select sites.

For information on how to attend an Open Doors event not being hosted at a Cadw site, visitors should contact the relevant venue directly or visit their individual website for further information as ticket requirements vary per site.

For more information about Open Doors 2022, please visit the Cadw website or search for Cadw on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

The Cadw-specific offer for Open Doors 2022 will see a collection of unique tours and events arrive at 17 sites under its care during September ― with limited tickets available for each event. 

Visitors are advised to check the date and details of each event before booking tickets and travelling.