Every September buildings which are not normally open to the public take part in the annual Open Doors programme. The website www.opendoorsdays.org.uk is now live with full listings of sites and events that have registered to take part in Open Doors, Wales’ largest volunteer event in the heritage sector. All the sites and events are free.
Visits to private houses, archaeological sites, religious buildings, castles and fortresses, together with the best of contemporary architecture give a once a year opportunity to learn about Wales’ special buildings.
This year there are many new and exciting entries in addition to sites which regularly take part in the programme. Among the new sites this year, is Stackpole Estate in Pembrokeshire, which will be offering a virtual tour of this once grand but now ruined mansion house.
Thirteenth century Swansea Castle, which has not been open to the public for around 40 years, will also be taking part. And the Royal Mint at Llantrisant will open its doors to visitors.
This year there are new clusters of sites in areas such as Bridgend, Caerphilly and Rhondda Cynon Taff. Cardiff, Newport and Swansea all boast an Open Doors line up of civic buildings, castles and religious sites representing different faiths. Towns which boast an Open Doors programme include Denbigh, Brecon, Flint and Cowbridge.
The breadth and diversity of the programme means there is something for everyone. For visitors who like to explore on foot there are guided walks and heritage trails. There are also concerts talks and lectures. New and award-winning buildings are included and present a unique view of the ‘heritage of tomorrow’.
Among the highlights of the programme will be a selection of the most impressive buildings looked after by Cadw, such as Rhuddlan Castle in Denbighshire, Chepstow Castle in Monmouthshire and Cilgerran Castle in Pembrokeshire. Treasures in the care of the National Trust such as Erddig Hall and Gardens near Wrexham, Dinefwr Park and Castle near Llandeilo and Bodnant Garden near Colwyn Bay are also taking part.
Open Doors is organised by the Civic Trust for Wales, on behalf of Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service. The programme is part of European Heritage Days. Throughout September 50 countries across Europe celebrate architecture and build heritage.
With over 300 sites taking part and more than 500 events in all local authority areas of Wales, Open Doors is a fantastic chance to take a fresh look at buildings which may be familiar to you.
Some venues have limited numbers of spaces or require advance booking. Visit the website of the Civic Trust for Wales www.opendoorsdays.org.uk for full listings of all events and properties taking part in Open Doors throughout September.
For more information on Open Doors please contact Derw Thomas or Jo Coles at the Civic Trust for Wales on 029 20 343 336 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Wales is one of 50 countries taking part in Open Doors which is known internationally as European Heritage Days. The programme is the largest annual free celebration of architecture and heritage to be held in Wales and the wider UK and the largest volunteer event in the heritage sector. It gives members of the public free access to fresh aspects of the built heritage and draws visitors to Wales from countries throughout the world. Follow the programme on Twitter @CivicTrustWales