Museum Welsh Life, Cardiff
I could write three or four tips on St Fagans' Museum of Welsh Life but I will save you from this, and write one big one at the moment!
LIKE ALL MUSEUMS IT IS FREE!!
The 'museum' is in fact an exciting parkland of 100 acres - the grounds of St Fagan's Castle. What makes it so amazing is the large number of real Welsh traditional buildings that have been re-located to this park. They come from all parts of Wales and all types of landscape - huge stone farmhouses, small whitewashed cottages, terraced houses, shops, chapel, a school, a full-size Miners' Institute and a C13th church. And the modern 'House of the Future', designed by London architects to show how an energy-efficient house can be built in Britain for a reasonable price.
Also see St Fagan's Castle next door, which is in fact a large C16th manor house with gardens.
What makes the museum even more special is the way the buildings are brought to life. You can buy things from the shops (including a working bakery). There are animals in the fields, washing on the clothes lines and, on cold days, fires burning in the hearths. Bi-lingual (i.e. English and Welsh) members of staff can be easily found to answer questions. There is a big shop, restaurant and visitor centre.
I find that winter days are better because of the roaring log- and coal-fires and smoke rising from the chimneys. Buy some welshcakes or 'bara brith' from the bakery. Highly recommended to visit are the Rhyd-y-car row of steelworkers' cottages, furnished in different periods from 1800 to 1980.
Check the website for opening times and special events.
This is a big outdoor museum that depicts life in Wales throughout history. It is really huge and you can spend a lot of time here, walking around the different buildings and exploring the grounds. What I really liked about this museum is that it does not depict one period of history, but many different ones - the oldest depiction is a Celtic village, the newest a house from the 1980s. Thus, it gives a really good insight into life in Wales across the centuries!
I went here on a sunny day and it was really beautiful. The green grounds and lawns of the museum were perfect for strolling around, and with the good map provided at the entrance it was just a pleasure to explore. There are many historical cottages and small farms, a corn mill, a pottery, two small churches, a castle (now a manor), large gardens, a post office, a bakehouse, a tailor's workshop, a row of miner's houses across the decades... There simply is SO MUCH, and it is all so interesting!
To be honest, in the beginning of planning my trip I did not really want to go to St Fagans - I have visited many outdoor museums in Germany with my parents and never really liked them - but as several VTers insisted that it was a must see I decided to go. And I am so glad I did!!!
Picture 1: Arriving in the museum, Nant Wallter Cottage in the background
Picture 2: Visiting the Celtic Village
Picture 3: Inside St Teilo's Church, originally built in the 13th century
Picture 4: Nant Wallter Cottage from the 18th century
Picture 5: The Italian Garden, belonging to St Fagans Castle
Going from Cardiff to St Fagans by bus is easy. Take bus 32, 320 or 322 at 09.15, 10.10, 11.15, 12.15 or 13.15 (Monday to Friday), fifteen minutes past the hour on Saturday and forty minutes past the hour on Sunday. A return ticket is £3,20 and the journey takes 25 minutes.
Opening times: 10.00am to 05.00pm daily
A seperate page on St Fagans is to come soon
No stay in Cardiff is complete without a visit to the Museum of Welsh Life. It's about a 10 minute drive from the city centre and well worth the effort to get there - entry is free to all.
Buildings of varying ages and styles have been carefully removed from their original locations and rebuilt brick-by-brick here in order that you can get a feel for life in Wales over the centuries.
People dressed in costume add to the atmosphere and are surprisingly knowledgeable,so feel free to ask questions.
There's a farm and lots of animals wandering about the place, so plenty to keep the kids happy.
Be sure to try Welshcakes and Bara Brith at the bakery, traditional desserts baked on site.
Look out for my personnal favourite, the little row of terreaced cottages. Each of these is decorated in a different style, ranging from the 17th Century to the 1980s. Hard to believe families could actually live in places so small. The observant amongst you may notice the upstairs floorboards (look to the ceiling) in one of these houses are loose - to allow coffins to be removed, as the stairs are too narrow to bring them down!
The grounds are lovely too, so if the weather's good take a picnic!
Just outside Cardiff, on the western edge, lies St Fagan's Folk Museum. Here, as well as the galleries that you would expect in a museum, there are have been moved from threatened sites around Wales to be lovingly reconstructed on the huge parkland site. Best of all, entrance is now free! (Thanks to the Welsh Assembly)
The Museum of Welsh life is located 4 miles from Cardiff, at St Fagans. I'ts a 100-acre open air museum of more than 30 reconstructed buildings gathered from all over Wales. This popular outdoor heritage attraction lets you wander around the grounds and go into buildings. You’ll feel a part of the past while learning how the people of Wales lived and worked.
The buildings are fully furnished with the artifacts and furniture of the times. St. Teilo’s, a 13th century church, was brought here and during the process 16th century wall paintings were discovered on the church’s walls that told the Bible stories for the ordinary people who couldn’t read or write.
Terraced houses portray life in a Welsh mining community that spans over 200 years. The Gwalia Stores is a general store where you can buy cheese and other items from the 20’s. The Llawryglyn Smith is where you can watch the blacksmith shaping horseshoes and farm tools. Fleece and flannel are manufactured in the Esgair Moel Woollen. There is a mill that produces stone-ground wheat flour used in the Derwen Bakehouse where traditional and bara brith bread are made - you can it nice and hot. You can see a wood turner, a cooper, a clogmaker and a leather worker demonstrating their works.
There are farmhouse filled with Edwardian furniture. A Celtic village shows household and hunting equipment of 3000 years ago.
There is a large indoor museum showing farming implements and vehicles, costumes, crafts, and artifacts of daily living from the Middle Ages to today. The craft collections include woodworking, leatherwork, metalwork, basketmaking, and pottery. A textile craft collection includes quilting, embroidery, lacemaking, tailoring, and woollen products.
There’s a library of over 40,000 volumes for research studies as well as photo archives. Special events are held throughout the year.
Allow about 4 hours to visit.
Restaurant, snack bar and tearoom on premises. Do have a Welsh Cake from the snack bar - delicious.
This tremendous museum depicting Welsh life from Celtic times to modern day is set on a huge property. Actual historic buildings have been imported, pieced together, and set into authentic-looking surroundings to give you an idea what life was really like in that time period. There are lots of special events, regular displays of craftsmen plying trades like blacksmithing and weaving, and incredible an incredible landscape and gardens.
The museum lies on the grounds of St. Fagan's Castle - a manor house worth exploring in itself. Another house, called 'The House of the Future', is an energy efficient home set on the property. It also can be explored. There is a shop, visitor center, and a lunchroom-style restaurant.
We spent most of a day there, but it wasn't enough time to do justice to this great museum. If you want to truly feel like you've stepped back in time visit the Museum of Welsh Life.
A great place to spend some time. Walking from one house to another really gives you an idea of how the people of Wales lived, worked and spent their leisure time over the last five hundred years.
The original buildings have been moved from various parts of Wales and re-erected to show how the people of Wales lived at various times in history.
I must declare that I am very biased when it comes to this place. I lived a couple of miles up the road from it as a child and have visited it dozens of times over the years. In those days it was called the Folk Museum. It just gets better and better (apart from the crowds).
This place is fantastic. If you set aside a whole day I doubt if you would see everything. It is well worth paying to see - the fact you can get in for FREE now is a tremendous bonus.
It is split into two half’s. There is the Castle half - this has lakes, formal gardens, collections of coracles etc.
The other half is the collection of historic buildings and the Museum. Examples of traditional buildings have been taken down brick by brick and reassembled exactly as they were in the grounds of the museum.
There are all sorts of buildings here: a cock pit; school; farm houses; terraced valley's houses; toll houses; mills; black-smiths; the list goes on and on.
One of the great joys for me about this place is that it is a living museum. When you walk into one of the old farmhouses there are no taped-off rooms - you walk around and see it as it would have been maybe a hundred years ago. Maybe the fire will be lit; there will be a musty smell in the air; the old furniture smells of beeswax. I think it must be just about as authentic an experience that you can get.
Most buildings will have a custodian who knows that building inside out. They will be happy to explain how it was made, what life was like for those that lived in it.
If all this was not enough, many of the houses actually produce something. So the old bakery bakes, the mill grinds wheat into flour; the blacksmith produces wrought iron work etc. You can buy items at the Museum shop.
If you're into this sort of place, then go, you will not be disappointed.
[For more photos see my travelogue].
one of europe's biggest open air museums.centuries of welsh tradition,culture,industry,and costume are gathered together in a hundred acres of beautiful countryside. icould go on butyou would not believe. just go there.
The day we went to St Fagans, (an open air Folk Museum just outside Cardiff), it was very nice day, and it was free to enter ,which pleased us sooooooooo much, but you need to pay to park your car,as we are little creatures we did not need to pay, so we are not sure how much it cost.
It is set in large parklands and it takes quite a lot of walking to get round to see everything.
First we saw the red house, it's painted red to keep evil spirits away.
Then we went to the old bakery and shop, here you can buy freshly baked bread yummy. We also saw a Celtic Village, and we had our photo taken in an old Celtic house. There was a school and a church, we could even have had a ride on a train.
Next we went to the Castle which was more like a Mansion than a castle, but it was nice and had a tea room, it had some beautiful gardens to walk round or maybe to have a picnic in.
We had a great day.
St Fagans is one of Europe's foremost open–air museums and Wales's most popular heritage attraction. It stands in the grounds of the magnificent St Fagans Castle, a late 16th-century manor house donated to the people of Wales by the Earl of Plymouth. During the last fifty years, over forty original buildings from different historical periods have been re-erected in the 100-acre parkland.
The re-erected buildings include houses, a farm, a school, a chapel and a splendid Workmen's Institute. There are also workshops where craftsmen still demonstrate their traditional skills. Their produce is usually on sale.
Native breeds of livestock can be seen in the fields and farmyards, and demonstrations of farming tasks take place daily. Visitors gain an insight into the rich heritage and culture of Wales, and the Welsh language can be heard in daily use amongst craftsmen and interpreters
St Fagans explores all aspects of how people in Wales have lived, worked and spent their leisure time. Like generations of visitors, you will be inspired by its celebration of Welsh traditions and lifestyles.