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Outdoor heritage sites, historic parks and gardens of Wales to welcome visitors

St Lythans Burial Chamber. Credit: Cadw

Cadw, National Trust Cymru and Amgueddfa Cymru — National Museum Wales have revealed plans to re-open some of their outdoor sites and open-air spaces.

The news follows the First Minister’s recent announcement that the outdoor areas of some historic sites, parks and gardens are now able to welcome back visitors from Saturday 27 March, following an easement of the Welsh Government’s coronavirus regulations.

In line with the messaging of Visit Wales’s new Addo campaign — the three heritage bodies are urging the people of Wales to make a promise to care for each other and the wider communities of Wales as they begin to return to their favourite outdoor heritage attractions and historic gardens. It’s hoped that this approach will encourage visitors to behave safely and responsibly on visits to sites across the country.

Cadw has revealed a three phase plan for the re-opening of some of the heritage sites in its care, including some of the country’s most iconic medieval castles, abbeys and prehistoric burial chambers.

As of Saturday 27th March, visitors will be welcomed back to Cadw’s unstaffed, open-air monuments — from St Lythan’s Burial Chamber in the Vale of Glamorgan to Haverfordwest Priory in Pembrokeshire and Dolforwyn Castle in Powys.

However, visitors must adhere to Welsh Government social distancing guidelines and coronavirus restrictions at all times.

From Thursday 1 April, the historic environment service plans to re-open outdoor areas at a selection of its most iconic staffed monuments.

To gain entry to re-opening staffed monuments, general visitors and Cadw members alike will need to reserve time-allotted tickets at least 24 hours in advance of their visit on cadwmembership.service.gov.wales/events. This will allow for a safe and socially distanced on-site experience for all ticket holders.

Sites set to partially re-open on Thursday 1 April include three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including Beaumaris and Conwy Castles and the world renowned industrial hub, Blaenavon Ironworks. Other re-opening sites include Criccieth, Kidwelly and Laugharne Castles.

Tintern Abbey, Denbigh, Harlech, Chepstow and Raglan Castles will re-open outdoor areas to Wales residents from Tuesday 06 April. Meanwhile, Rhuddlan Castle in Denbighshire will re-open on Thursday 08 April. In line with Welsh Government guidance, all indoor areas at re-opening Cadw sites will remain closed until further notice.

Due to essential conservation works or coronavirus safety precautions, other heritage attractions under Cadw’s care, including Caerphilly Castle and Castell Coch in south Wales and Plas Mawr and Caernarfon Castle in north Wales, will remain closed at this time.

Site entry tickets will be released on Monday 29 March for visits up to and including Sunday 11 April.

Cadw recommends that visitors check its website to find out whether or not a particular site is open before travelling. The website will also provide further detail on ticket bookings and the re-opening plans for Cadw’s collection of heritage sites.

National Trust Cymru will begin to reopen their open-air spaces to people living in Wales only, from Monday 29 March. From Penrhyn Castle in Gwynedd to Tredegar House in Newport, visitors can return to their favourite parks and gardens across Wales under Welsh Government guidelines to enjoy nature, fresh air and open spaces.

Other outdoor spaces set to re-open under the care of National Trust Cymru include: Plas Newydd, Bodnant Garden, Erddig, Chirk Castle, Powis Castle & Garden, Dyffryn Gardens, and Dinefwr Park.

National Trust Cymru is looking forward to welcoming visitors back, and visits will need to be pre-booked on the National Trust website. Opening dates and times will vary across National Trust Cymru attractions, and visitors are asked to check property websites for details. Indoor spaces at castles and mansion houses remain closed in line with Welsh Government restrictions.

More information on purchasing tickets and the re-opening of National Trust Cymru sites can be found on individual property webpages at https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/days-out/wales.

Finally, St Fagans National Museum of History will welcome the return of Wales residents only from April. Under the care of Amgueddfa Cymru — National Museum Wales, the outdoor part of the attraction will re-open on Thursday 1 April until Monday 5 April and every Wednesday through to Sunday thereafter.

Other Amgueddfa Cymru — National Museum Wales visitor attractions will remain closed under Welsh Government regulations until further notice.

All visitors to St Fagans will need to pre-book free ticket(s) in advance of their visit on Eventbrite by visiting www.museum.wales. Tickets will be available to reserve from 3pm on Friday 26 March for the week ahead. At this time, tickets can only be reserved by Wales residents, with all ticket holders to abide by Welsh Government social distancing guidelines and coronavirus restrictions.

Indoor spaces across the three Wales heritage bodies will remain closed until further advice is issued from the Welsh Government.

For the time being, outdoor attractions in Wales can open only to visitors who reside in Wales, with residents able to travel without restrictions in-Wales. Different restrictions currently apply in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, with visitors from these locations unable to travel into Wales or visit Wales’s outdoor attractions at this time.