Big Pit was a working coalmine until it closed in 1980. Then in 1983 it became a museum of the South Wales mining industry and on February 1st 2001 became incorporated into the National Museum and Galleries of Wales as the National Mining Museum of Wales.
Now it stands high on the bracken-clad moors of north Gwent importing visitors instead of exporting coal.
The highlight of the visit is the hour-long underground tour, led by ex-miners, which takes you down in the pit cage to walk through underground roadways, air doors stables and engine houses built by generations of mineworkers.
On the surface you can explore the colliery buildings - the winding engine-house, the blacksmiths' workshop and the pithead baths where you can learn more about the story of coal and its extraction from below the ground.