Top 5 historical days out in South Wales
Now that spring is in full bloom, the weather has improved, giving everyone the chance to enjoy the best attractions Cardiff and South Wales have to offer. Whether you're interested in history or not, there are some brilliant museums in Cardiff and its surrounding areas that are well worth a visit!
1. St Fagans National History Museum
Situated only a short drive from Cardiff city centre, St Fagans National History Museum is a large open air museum which tells visitors about Welsh life through the ages. You can meander through the large park stopping at different buildings that have been moved here as part of a large scale conservation project. The buildings at St Fagans are from different eras, from the stunning 15th century St Fagans castle and farmhouse to the 18th century corn mill and the 19th century Oakdale Workmen's Institute, all buildings from various areas of Wales. One of the museum’s biggest attractions are a row of Welsh terraced houses - each house representing a different period of time from the 1500’s to the 1980’s - and the famous Gwalia Stores where you can purchase old fashioned sweets and other traditional products. The Gwalia Stores are also regularly used by the BBC for filming shows such as Doctor Who – all they do is change the name of the shop, but with a keen eye you can recognise St Fagans’ attraction.
2. National Museum Cardiff
The National Museum of Cardiff first opened in 1927 and has since held exciting exhibitions and events featuring a range of local art and natural history collections which take you on a journey through the evolution of Wales from prehistoric times to the present day.
3. Big Pit National Coal Museum
Wales has a strong mining history, so it is not surprising to see one of Britain’s leading mining museums - and the first one to ever be free to visitors - Big Pit National Coal Museum, based in Torfaen, a half hour drive from Cardiff. Big Pit was designated as a World Heritage Site in 2000 due to its importance in the industrialisation of the UK through iron and coal production, making it a unique place to visit, a core point of Welsh culture and legacy. On visiting Big Pit you can enjoy the exhibits which will teach you more about the historic landmark, and the highlight of a trip to Big Pit has to be the underground tour where you can descend 300 feet underground into the mines guided by a real miner, all geared up as a miner! This visit is also perfect when you’re looking for something to do on a rainy day around Cardiff.
4. National Roman Legion Museum
The National Roman Legion Museum is situated in Caerleon, a 30 minute drive from Cardiff and is clearly signposted from the M4. Caerleon boasts a rich Roman history, having been chosen as outpost by the Romans who built there a fortress in AD 75, which guarded the region for over 200 years. Today, the National Roman Legion Museum tells the story of the Romans at Caerleon and boasts a wide selection of artefacts and gemstones which have been excavated from the site and are on display for you to enjoy. Once you’ve experienced what the museum has to offer, a short walk will take you down to view the remains of the amphitheatre, and the ruins of the Roman Legionary Barracks which are the only Roman barracks on view anywhere in Europe!
5. National Waterfront Museum
If you travel a little further West to neighbouring Swansea then you can pay a visit to the National Waterfront Museum which celebrates the vast industrial and maritime history of Wales. The museum has plenty of interactive technology along with traditional displays to teach you about industry in Wales today and over the last 300 years.
Have you visited any historical places of interest in Wales which we haven’t included on our list? Please feel free to let us know if there are any places you recommend visiting where you can delve into Wales’s heritage and culture. Get in touch via our Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages.