Wales’s heritage attractions, parks and gardens have been closed since November 2020, but Cadw, National Trust Cymru and Amgueddfa Cymru — National Museum Wales re-opened some of their outdoor sites and open-air spaces ahead of the Easter holidays.
Among the local attractions now welcoming back visitors are Cadw’s Valle Crucis Abbey in Llangollen and the National Trust Cymru’s properties at Erddig and Chirk Castle.
While no advance booking is required at the abbey it is needed for Erddig and Chirk.
The re-opening of the sites 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 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 have urged 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 says visitors to its sites must adhere to Welsh Government social distancing guidelines and coronavirus restrictions at all times.
From yesterday (Thursday), the historic environment service has re-opened 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 partially re-opening from April 1 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, Harlech, Chepstow and Raglan castles will re-open outdoor areas to Wales residents from Tuesday April 6.
Meanwhile, Denbigh and Rhuddlan Castle in Denbighshire will re-open on Thursday April 8. 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 were released on Monday March 29 for visits up to and including Sunday April 11.
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 began re-opening open-air spaces to people living in Wales only, from March 29. 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, Powis Castle & Garden, Dyffryn Gardens, and Dinefwr Park.
National Trust Cymru says it 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.
Other Amgueddfa Cymru — National Museum Wales visitor attractions will remain closed under Welsh Government regulations until further notice.
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.
* The visitor notice on the website of Valle Crucis Abbey says: “From Friday April 2 this monument is open and free to visit for residents within Wales with no pre-booking required.
“Check our opening times and facilities below; please act responsibly and be respectful of the local area during your visit.
“Please adhere to Welsh Government social distancing guidelines and coronavirus restrictions at all times and do not attempt to access enclosed spaces.
“Access is to outer grounds only and all visitor centres will be closed; there will be no access to refreshments, toilets or other facilities during this time.”
For more information, go to: https://cadw.gov.wales/visit/places-to-visit/valle-crucis-abbey
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