Take a walk down memory lane

If you are looking for a day out to enjoy some fresh air and find out more about the heritage of Wales, then St Fagans, on the outskirts of Cardiff, is hard to beat.

Once known as The Welsh Folk Museum, it has been renamed as St Fagans National History Museum in recognition of the incredible breadth of buildings and artefacts taken from across the country and painstakingly rebuilt on the site.

Recognised as one of Europe’s leading open-air museums it opened almost 70 years ago and stands in the grounds of the 16th century St Fagans Castle and gardens.

Since that launch in 1948, an incredible 40 original buildings from different historical periods have been re-erected in the 100-acre parkland, including houses, a farm, a school, a chapel and a splendid workmen’s institute.

Currently the museum building is undergoing a major Heritage Lottery funded refurbishment, but the outdoor experience remains as popular as ever.

Craftsmen demonstrate traditional skills in their workshops and their produce is usually on sale, including delicious hot-from-the oven bread and cakes from Derwen Bakehouse.

Visitors gain a real insight into the rich heritage and culture of Wales, and the Welsh language can be heard amongst craftsmen and interpreters.

Highlights include:

  • Native breeds of livestock in the fields and farmyards and demonstrations of farming tasks take place daily.
  • An 18th century Smithy where horses were shod, household items made and mended, and metal tyres put on wagon wheels.
  • The Woollen Mill, built in 1760, produces traditional shoulder shawls and Welsh blankets and the entire process from dyeing the fleece to finishing the fabric happens on site.
  • The Melin Bompren Corn Mill is typical of a Cardiganshire water-driven mill, built to convert corn into flour.
  • For a spot of shopping try Gwalia Stores, originally built in 1880, which sells fine Welsh foods.
  • You can also visit the clogmaker’s workshop (from Carnhedryn in Pembrokeshire) and see him demonstrating traditional techniques. The clog-maker is always happy to take orders for his custom-fit, traditional clogs, available in some non-traditional colours too!
  • Have a picture taken in period costumes and hats at Moss-Vernon’s photography studio.

Throughout the year, St Fagans comes to life with traditional festivals, music and dance events. There are also plenty of ghostly goings-on with evening guided walks of the most supernatural nature!

For further details visit www.museumwales.ac.uk/stfagans

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