St Fagans, Cardiff

St Fagans is one of Europe's best open-air museums

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Since opening in 1948, St Fagans National History Museum has acquired over 40 historic buildings from around Wales. Carefully re-erected and accurately furnished, the museum’s unique collection is a remarkable heritage site showcasing the ways the people of Wales have lived from the reconstructed Celtic village and 4,000-year-old Timber Circle to the solar-panelled House of the Future.

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The museum lies within the expansive grounds of St Fagans Castle, a fully-furnished 16th-century manor house donated to the people of Wales by the Earl of Plymouth in 1946. The castle’s Italian gardens and Rosary are landscaped according to original documents, and the ponds and forests feature native wildlife and ancient trees.

You can also see the site of the Battle of St Fagans. Here, in 1648, the last major battle of the Civil War took place when Parliamentary leaders John Poyer and Rice Powell declared for the King and, after taking Swansea and Carmarthen, advanced on Cardiff with 8,000 Royalists where they were met and defeated by a Parliamentary force of 3,000.

As well as re-enactments, St Fagans continues to host special events throughout the year. As well as the more than 50 heritage sites within the grounds, St Fagans boasts indoor costume and farming galleries, two children’s playgrounds, historic shops selling local produce and crafts, and an award-winning tea room. With an astounding 104 acres of woodland walks, indoor museums, and excellent outdoor attractions, you can expect to spend a full day seeing everything that St Fagans has to offer.

Don’t miss: the Gothic Revival Summerhouse from Bute Park in Cardiff, which might have been designed by William Burges.

Jessica Ramthun

Information

St Fagans: National History Museum, Cardiff CF5 6XB

029 2057 3500

www.museumwales.ac.uk

Open daily 10am–5pm. Free entry

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Cardiff tourist information: 0870 121 1258