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Welsh comedian Elis James takes a cheeky glimpse inside Cardiff Castle

Welsh comedian Elis James is marking 25 years of National Lottery support for the UK’s most treasured and historic places by taking a cheeky and comical glimpse inside the famous walls of Cardiff Castle.   

Elis James, who was born in Pembrokeshire and grew up in Carmarthen, today launches hundreds of free offers to say thank you to people who buy National Lottery tickets and give them a chance to see how their money has transformed the UK’s heritage over the past 25 years.

Elis James at Cardiff Castle. Credit: National Lottery Good Causes.

To launch #ThanksToYou for 25 Years, Elis James visited Cardiff Castle, one of the hundreds of National Lottery funded places in the UK that are offering either free entry or other exclusive offers to people who turn up with a National Lottery ticket from 23rd November to 1st December.He appears in a tongue-in-cheek film telling viewers he has ‘bought’ the 900-year-old castle and gives his own unique guide to its history.

Considered to be Cardiff’s historic heart, Cardiff Castle is a Grade I listed Scheduled Monument and is now one of the major visitor destinations in Wales. In 1998, the Castle was awarded more than £6.7 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for an extensive restoration project. It not only conserved the exteriors and interiors of the various buildings on the site – including Wales’ most ornate architectural icon, the Cardiff Clock Tower – but it also created an interpretation centre that ensures the steadily growing number of visitors can be welcomed and managed.

Comedian Elis James, who was born in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, and grew up in Carmarthen, said: “It was great fun exploring Cardiff Castle, which has been restored thanks to National Lottery funding. It’s real shame that I wasn’t given the keys to the castle, but it was fun pretending it was mine. I’m very happy to be supporting this project and the £10bn funding that National Lottery has given towards hundreds of other treasured and historic places across the UK.”

Elis James joins three other celebrities, who all seem to think they live in treasured and historic places across the UK: Derry Girls’ Jamie-Lee O’Donnell at SS Nomadic in Belfast, rapper Big Narstie at Kenwood House and Love Islander Anton Danyluk at Scotland’s Abbotsford with a special cameo from his mum.

The tours showcase just a handful of the thousands of treasured and historic places funded by the National Lottery over the past 25 years, which together have brought about a renaissance in UK’s heritage.

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of the National Lottery Heritage Lottery Fund, said:

“Over the past 25 years, money from the National Lottery has quite simply made the UK a better place to live. Since 1994, more than 44,000 heritage projects have been awarded over £8 billion (via The National Lottery Heritage Fund). Our heritage has been completely transformed. This is our way to say thank you for all your support.“

To celebrate The National Lottery’s 25th birthday, iconic venues such as Dyffryn House and Gardens in the Vale of Glamorgan will also be opening their doors to the public with free entry or other special offers anyone arriving with a National Lottery ticket from 23 November – 1 December, as part of the celebration Thanks To You for 25 Years. The offer also includes free entry at 100 National Trust Properties, special guided tours and free days out at some amazing places such as the National Trust Powis Castle an Gardens near Welshpool.

And it’s not just heritage sites taking part.  A National Lottery ticket will also get exclusive discounts and special offers at National Lottery funded arts, sports and community attractions – all the places that make the UK such a great place to live.

Visit thankstoyou.org.uk to find the full list and search all the offers taking place in your area and filter by specific interest, everything from free entry to a Royal Navy Submarine, to discounted theatre tickets and free guided walks at some of the beautiful RSPB conservation areas.