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A superb day out in South Wales that will cost you nothing!
St Fagans National History Museum (Cardiff)
Member Name: alyson29
St Fagans National History Museum (Cardiff)
Date: 01/05/10, updated on 02/11/11 (283 review reads)
Advantages: Fantastic museum with breathtaking views and suitable for the whole family
Disadvantages: Not suitable on a rainy or cold day
In this review I am looking at St Fagans National History Museum - a totally fantastic day out for all the family. As I used to live only 3 miles from the museum, this is where my husband and I used to spend a considerable amount of our time, as there's so much to see and learn.
WHAT IS ST FAGANS NATIONAL HISTORY MUSEUM?
It is a late 16th century castle with 100 acres of grounds. The castle and 18 acres of the land were donated to the people of Wales by Lord Robert-Windsor, the Earl of Plymouth in 1946. St Fagans National History Museum portrays the life and culture of Wales and is a museum with a difference as it's open air.
The museum was opened to the public in 1948 and within the grounds are forty original buildings from different historic periods that were carefully removed from their original locations, stone by stone, over a 20-year period and rebuilt within the grounds of St Fagans.
WHERE IS IT?
It is situated just off the A4232; some four miles west of Cardiff City Centre.
Entry to this museum is free.
The museum is open daily from 10 am - 5 pm excluding Bank Holidays
St Fagans National History Museum
Telephone 02920 573500
There is a charge of £3 per car per day, with disabled parking adjacent to the front of the main building.
WHAT IS THERE?
It is very difficult to express in a review the beauty and contents of this museum particularly as there is so very much to see and do for people of all ages. The majority of the buildings are accessible (please see section on Disabled Access) where you are able to walk around and explore and study the museum pieces.
When you enter the main building you will find the first part of the museum under-cover. There are a large number of items behind glass for you to study; all of which have full descriptions.
The real beauty with the museum begins when you exit the main building. There is a wonderful Celtic Village which dates back to the Iron-Age where you are able to see the utensils that were used at that time.
A personal favourite of mine is the famous Rhyd-y-Car Ironworkers' Houses. These are six houses adjacent to one another, together with their gardens and are partly accessible for you to peer into the past. The houses date from 1805 - 1985 where you can see the items that our ancestors would have used at that time. I always find myself wondering when I enter these houses as you can see their kitchens, bedrooms and living quarters. I always find myself thinking who lived here? Who used these items? What type of life did they have?
The interior of the houses look lived in and it always gives me a strange feeling as I feel I'm trespassing whilst the owners have just popped out. You can witness their chairs, beds, eating and drinking utensils, newspapers, radios, televisions etc.
The back gardens of the houses are equally as interesting as some have sheds which you can peer into, you can see their washing hanging on the line, the vegetables growing in the garden and items relating to the war.
Within the grounds you can see numerous buildings such as an old Post Office, St Teilio's Church, Kennixton farmhouse, chapels, a school and the Miner's Institute; all of which have been arranged in such a way that they look as if they are still fully operational.
In the majority of the buildings staff are dressed in traditional costume and fit perfectly into their surroundings. Whilst there is significant information outside each building, the staff will answer any questions you may have.
The Castle and its' breathtaking grounds has to be the main feature of this museum where you will find an Italian garden, fish ponds, fountains and picturesque walks amongst beautifully kept gardens full of delightful stunning shrubs. There is plenty of seating throughout this area where you will find many people enjoying their lunch or simply taking in the fantastic views. You are also able to walk around the inside of the castle and study how the people used to live.
There are many exhibitions throughout the museum where you will find craftsmen demonstrating their skills such as blacksmiths, bread and cake making, pottery and corn being converted to flour.
There is also the Moss Vernon Photography Studio situated near to the Rhyd-y-Car Ironworker's Houses where you can have your photograph taken in traditional dress. You simply return an hour or so later to collect your picture in readiness for hanging over your fireplace.
The House of the Future was introduced to St Fagans a few years ago where you can see the fantastic ways in which we can be more energy efficient.
The museum regularly holds special events such as dances, festivals and music; the details of which are available on the St Fagans website that I will provide at the end of this review.
Every time I have visited this museum there are always many children laughing and enjoying themselves. The museum is very popular with schools who regularly take their pupils for a day out.
There is a train service available from Easter to October which has a ramp with space for one wheelchair. The train runs between Llwyn yr eos farm and the castle gardens with various stops on its' route.
There are plenty of benches situated throughout the grounds if you need a break from all the walking!
There is ramped access into the main building, shops, restaurants, galleries and outside area. However, access into some of the buildings is not suitable for wheelchairs. Wheelchairs are provided by the museum and are free of charge. Should you require further information on disabled access I would recommend you visit the website (which I will provide at the end of this review) as it provides considerable information on the facilities available.
There is also considerable information on the website for those who suffer with visual or hearing impairments or learning difficulties.
Dogs are allowed in the museum but must remain on a lead with pooper scoopers provided free of charge on entry.
FOOD AND DRINK
There are plenty of eating areas throughout the grounds, such as a restaurant, shop and café; all of which serve tasty reasonably-priced food.
BABY CHANGING FACILITIES
These are available near the main entrance to the building.
Toilets are plentiful and available throughout the grounds. Wheelchair accessible toilets are located at the main entrance, in the castle yard and adjacent to the Rhyd y car cottages.
I would highly recommend St Fagans National History Museum and cannot speak highly enough about its' beauty and history. I would suggest you wear comfortable shoes as there is a considerable amount of walking. Unfortunately, due to the museum being open-air, it is not suitable in the rain.
There is so much to do and see so you need to allow yourself a whole day to take it all in. I would also recommend you take a picnic and sit in the picturesque gardens where you can relax, enjoy your food and take in the breathtaking views. This area is extremely tranquil and my husband and I have been known to sit here for hours just totally chilling in the peace and calm surroundings.
I hope you have found my review useful and would thank you for reading.
Summary: A museum portraying welsh life that won't cost you a penny!
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