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Welsh legends to come alive this summer at historic sites

Visitors to Cadw sites will travel through time this summer, as the real characters of Wales’s historic sites return for Legends Live! — a fully-immersive historical events programme.

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Announced by Cadw this week, Legends Live! 2019 will ‘pop up’ at six monuments this summer — Castell Coch and the Castles of Caerphilly, Chepstow, Harlech, Conwy and Kidwelly.

Summer 2019 marks the third annual return of the authentic interpretation series, which was designed collaboratively by Cadw historians and Past Pleasures — the experts behind interpretation at the Tower of London and Warwick Castle.


Each event is unique to each site, allowing visitors to experience real Welsh history first-hand — from a lavish wedding celebration at Chepstow Castle to an epic plot and battle at Kidwelly Castle, led by Wales’s original feminist hero, Princess Gwenllian.

Legends Live! 2019 will begin at Castell Coch on Saturday, July 13 and Sunday, July 14, as visitors are transported into the year 1891 and Cardiff’s very own Victorian aristocrats, Lord and Lady Bute, return to show visitors around their newly-completed holiday home.

Legends Live at Caerphilly Castle

Meanwhile, the year 1290 will descend upon Caerphilly Castle on July 20 and 21, as Gilbert ‘the Red’ de Clare returns to keep his mighty fortress safe from any unwanted intruders. His wife of the time, Joan of Acre, will join him to raise a toast to their recent marriage and prepare for their first crusade to the Holy Land.

On July 27 and 28, visitors to Chepstow Castle will be invited to join in the post-marriage revelries of medieval celebrity couple, knight extraordinaire, Lord William Marshal and Lady Isabel de Clare — one of the wealthiest heiresses in Wales. The 12th century event will include courtly dances and medieval tournaments galore.

In north Wales, visitors can experience the ancient Mabinogion tale of Branwen ferch Llŷr at Harlech Castle on Wednesday, July 31 and Thursday, August 01. This will be closely followed by a bloody quest to capture Conwy Castle on Saturday, August 03 and Sunday, August 04, with visitors invited to join forces with the Welsh Tudur brothers in a scheme to trick King Edward’s guardsmen.

The events programme will end at Kidwelly Castle on Saturday, August 17 and Sunday, August 18 where visitors can witness Gwenllian, the Welsh warrior princess, lead her army into a bloody battle against the ferocious forces of Norman Lord, Maurice de Londres.

Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Lord Elis-Thomas said:

“2019 marks the third annual return of Legends Live! — Cadw’s highly-immersive programme of interpretation events — which was designed to engage visitors in the real stories behind Wales’s historic sites.

“While offering visitors a unique, first-hand perspective of Welsh history in motion, Cadw hopes that Legends Live! will also highlight the cultural significance of our historic monuments to new and returning visitors — thus safeguarding them for future generations to explore and enjoy.

“The programme is just one of many exciting experiences being brought to visitors through Cadw’s Rediscover History campaign, which will shine a modern light on Welsh heritage and provide new ways for visitors to experience Wales’s historic sites during Wales’s 2019Year of Discovery.”