St Fagans Museum has held a special place in Welsh hearts for many years. The free government-funded museum offers an insight into how the people of Wales, past, present and future, lived. The museum is on the grounds of St Fagans Castle, a Tudor manor house gifted by the Earl of Plymouth in 1948, along with 18 acres of lush grounds. In a radical move, the museum was the UK’s first national open-air museum, reflecting the day-to-day life of an ordinary person of the past. The idea behind St Fagans Museum isn’t to preserve the dead, but to bridge the gap between past and present, providing a foundation for learning.
Welsh arts and culture blogger Claire Miles, better known by her Instagram handle, ‘@hisdoryan’, brands St Fagans Museum as the ultimate day out. “With over 40 historic buildings representing so many aspects of Wales’ history, you can easily spend the whole day there”. The museum offers a unique opportunity for people as the open-air museum can provide a day out to remember, whatever the weather. Claire suggests taking a picnic to the gardens and “retreating to the beautiful historic gardens surrounding the castle”. Claire then proposes a look around the galleries, where you can continue to explore Wales throughout history. You can time-travel back 230,000 years by looking at a Neanderthal boy who once called Wales home. “The interactive ‘Life Is…’ gallery is great for the little ones, where they can ride a vintage tractor and play the piano”.
St Fagans Museum offers an all-weather experience, so if the heavens open and a picnic is no longer on the cards, there are plenty of options. The site is home to a handful of cafés, utilising Welsh produce, where you can head when all that history has you feeling peckish. You can drop into PysgOdyn to enjoy beer battered fish and chips served in a traditional cone, or cosy up in the Gwalia Tea Room to savour some afternoon tea delights, all served on vintage crockery of course!
These grounds are frozen in time and offer a fascinating glimpse into Welsh history, whatever the weather. For more information: www.museum.wales/stfagans/