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Phased reopening of major heritage sites in Wales

Plans are now in place for a phased reopening of some of Wales’s most iconic historical attractions, starting at the beginning of August.

Conwy_Castle__Hawlfraint_y_Goron___Crown_copyright_2019_Cymru_Wales_-_Copy.jpgConwy Castle © Hawlfraint y Goron / © Crown copyright (2019) Cymru Wales

With a new online ticketing system in place, Cadw – the Welsh Government’s historic environment service – intends to reopen 18 of its staffed heritage sites in Wales in phases this summer, starting with Blaenavon Ironworks, Plas Mawr Elizabethan Townhouse in Conwy and the castles of Denbigh, Laugharne, Raglan, Harlech and Caerphilly, which will open during the first week of August.

Chepstow Castle in south Wales, as well as World Heritage Sites Conwy and Beaumaris Castles in North Wales, are next in line to reopen, and are preparing to welcome visitors from early August. Tintern Abbey and Caernarfon Castle also plan to reopen their doors to visitors during August, with a final date yet to be confirmed due to capital investment work being carried out at both sites.

Meanwhile, it is hoped that St David’s Bishops Palace, Caerleon Roman Baths, Castell Coch, Kidwelly Castle, Criccieth Castle, Tretower Court and Castle will reopen their doors in September.

Tintern_Abbey_c_Hawlfraint_y_Goron__c_Crown_copyright_2019_Cymru_Wales_-_Copy.jpgTintern Abbey in the idyllic Wye Valley © Hawlfraint y Goron / © Crown copyright (2019) Cymru Wales

Once the sites reopen, compulsory pre-purchased tickets for site entry will be available to book via the Cadw website, with general visitors needing to purchase time-allotted tickets and Cadw and partner organisation members needing to reserve free time-allotted tickets in advance of their visit. Members will also need to bring their cards as proof of membership to gain site access.

All staffed sites are set to reopen with a reduced visitor capacity, which will allow Cadw to effectively manage the number of visitors at any given time, ensuring a safe and socially distanced onsite experience for staff and visitors alike. In addition, the sites will only be open five days a week.

To foster safe onsite environments, Cadw is introducing a number of measures at its staffed monuments including the installation of plastic partition screens at entry desks and the placement of directional arrows and two-metre distanced markers along walkways, as well as the introduction of one-way routes at some of its monuments.

Increased cleaning practices with regular deep cleans will be scheduled alongside daily disinfection of key touch points, including door handles, railings and interactive screens. Hand-sanitiser will be readily available for visitors to use, while health and safety-trained Cadw staff will be provided with optional PPE supplies, including face masks and disposable gloves. Additionally, some sites may see certain rooms, areas and site specific attractions temporarily closed to visitors.

Harlech_Castle_-_Copy.jpgHarlech Castle in North Wales is set to reopen in August

Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism in the Welsh Government, Lord Elis-Thomas, said: “As we begin a phased reopening of Cadw’s staffed sites from the beginning of August, our main priority is the safety of our employees, members, visitors and the wider communities of Wales — all of whom we are pleased to be welcoming back. This is why our new ticketing system and reductions on visitor numbers, complimented by new hygiene measures and in some instances, site adaptations, are essential for ensuring a safe and socially distanced experience for us all.

“We understand that there may be some frustration around the ongoing closure of certain monuments, but rest assured that we are working as hard as we can to prepare them for reopening — and will do so when we are confident of them being safe spaces for everyone to enjoy.”

Janet Redler, Chief Executive of Janet Redler Travel & Tourism, added: “It is great news that these major Welsh attractions are set to reopen. It's reassuring to hear that significant measures are being taken to protect the health and safety of visitors, at the same time as helping to make sure that it remains a pleasurable experience for all. We look forward to visiting some of these wonderful places again soon!”

If you or your group would like to enjoy a tailor-made heritage tour of Wales, including visits to some of the many fascinating historical attractions, please do contact our friendly team today.

Tags: Wales  Heritage Tours  Cadw  

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