8 heritage sites to visit in Wales

Culture vultures, history buffs and romantics love visiting our castles, museums and cultural heritage centres. Keep your eyes open and you’ll learn more than you ever imagined.

  • Kidwelly Castle

    Kidwelly Castle, Carmarthenshire

    Relatively unknown and with a name which sounds more Irish than Welsh, Kidwelly is nonetheless a splendid castle. Much of the structure remains intact. Sturdily built in local stone in the 13th and 14th centuries, on the site of a Norman fort, its walls and towers glower over a quiet river valley.

  • Guardian - Six Bells Mining Memorial, Abertillery
    Guardian - Six Bells Mining Memorial, Abertillery

    Sebastien Boyesen’s remarkable, 20m steel sculpture of a miner was created in 2010 to commemorate the 1960 Six Bells mining disaster in which 45 men lost their lives. With palms held out like a guardian angel, it has a semi-transparent quality. It’s made from over 20,000 strips of steel, painstakingly welded together.

  • Cyfarthfa Castle grounds

    Cyfarthfa Castle in Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales Valleys

    This 19th century stately home was built in the shape of a castle, complete with towers and crenellations. Originally the home of wealthy ironworks owner William Crawshay, it’s now a museum of local history. On display are Laura Ashley dresses, the first steam whistle and a fine collection of porcelain.

  • An archway at Strata Florida Abbey, Ceredigion
    Strata Florida, Ceredigion

    The last remaining fragments of this Cistercian monastery, including a detailed stone arch and the feet of mighty pillars, hint at its former glories. It stood at the heart of a wealthy estate where the monks farmed and welcomed pilgrims and traders. The medieval poet Dafydd ap Gwilym is buried here, under a yew tree.

  • Interior of Oystermouth Castle in the Mumbles, Swansea
    Oystermouth Castle, Swansea

    This small, Norman stone castle has a romantic air. It gazes out over Swansea Bay from Mumbles. Recent conservation work has revealed new details, including graffiti art from the 14th century. Locals visit the grassy grounds to enjoy picnics, alfresco plays, concerts, carol singing and other seasonal happenings.

  • Stalactite's in cave under Parys Mountain, Copper Kingdom

    Copper Kingdom, Parys Mountain, Anglesey

     by ohefin

    This new heritage visitor centre tells the story of Anglesey’s former role as the world’s leading copper producer. You can get the lowdown through interactive displays and activities. In 2013, it was shortlisted for a Guardian Museum and Heritage Award for the UK’s most inspiring museum or heritage visitor attraction.

  • Caerphilly Castle and frozen moat, photo by Fillbee Visit Wales Share Wales flickr group http://www.flickr.com/photos/fillbee/3177081658/

    Caerphilly Castle and frozen moat, South Wales Valleys

     by fillbee

    Like a sleeping giant awaiting a call to arms, Caerphilly Castle is absolutely massive. In area, it’s the largest castle in Wales. It has everything a castle should have – chunky stone walls, turrets, a moat with a drawbridge and a tower that has looked ready to tumble for centuries.

  • Old mining machinery at Big Pit
    Big Pit National Coal Museum in Blaenavon, South Wales Valleys

    The South Wales town of Blaenavon is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From the 18th to the 20th centuries, it was a powerhouse of coalmining and iron production. You can get a feel for the past at the Big Pit National Coal Museum and Blaenavon Ironworks, explore the restored town and ride a steam train.

More cultural attractions in Wales.