Historic Wales: Step Back in Time at The Top 8 Welsh Museums
Learn all about the history of Wales at these eight top-rated Welsh museums. From taking a pit cage into a coal mine to learning about the livelihoods of Victorian judges, these museums will open your eyes to fascinating aspects of Welsh history. Read on to learn more.
South Wales Museums
National Roman Legion Museum (Caerleon)
Head to the ancient Roman town of Caerleon at the National Roman Legion Museum. Entrance to this museum is free, and you can download the Caerleon app to access audio discovery tours and child-friendly games if you’re visiting with your family. Half a million objects are preserved at this site, providing valuable insight into the role the Romans played in shaping Welsh history. On weekends and school holidays, kids can also try on replica armour at its award-winning educational space.
Big Pit National Coal Museum
One of Wales’s leading tourist attractions, at the Big Pit National Coal Museum, visitors can descend in a pit cage and visit the spots where coal miners worked for generations. There are plenty of tours available catering to different levels of education – from adults right down to early years. They’ll have you learning all about the history of coal mining in Wales, as well as teaching visitors about the mini nature reserve of Coity Tip.
St Fagans National Museum of History
Head to St Fagans Castle and explore traditional arts and crafts at St Fagans National Museum of History. Known also as the Museum of Welsh Life, this is one of the most popular Welsh museums around. You’ll learn all about historic Wales and can explore over forty original buildings that have been re-erected over one hundred acres of parkland. This museum also has plenty of workshops where craftsmen demonstrate their traditional skills. Depending on the date of your planned visit, you could also enjoy sessions in spoon carving or lambing.
The Mythical West Wales Tour
If you find yourself in Cardiff for a few days, be sure to book onto the Mythical West Wales tour. This trip includes a guided sightseeing tour around the Welsh countryside in your own private vehicle. You’ll discover everything there is to know about the magic and mythology of west Wales and gain insight into local folklore. Plus, you’ll visit historic sites like the Dylan Thomas Boathouse and Kidwelly Castle.
National Waterfront Museum
If you’re in Swansea, head to the National Waterfront Museum. Here you’ll learn all about how the Industrial Revolution changed the course of Welsh history. Explore the changes to industry and maritime operations in Wales via traditional and interactive displays. And be sure to check out the latest exhibition on display during your visit.
North Wales Museums
Tacla Taid, Anglesey Transport Museum
Featuring cars, motorbikes, commercial and farm vehicles and static engines, the Anglesey Transport Museum is undoubtedly one of the best Welsh museums for motorheads – both kids and adults alike. Try to guess which vehicles were used in films and when. Wander the replica of a 1940s cobbled village street. Then sit back and enjoy the view of Snowdonia from the onsite café.
National Slate Museum
Like coal, slate also played a significant role in the history of Wales, and the National Slate Museum will teach you all about this industry. Built on the site of the Dinorwig quarry, you’ll learn about how slate mining shaped Wales via talks and demonstrations – including slate-splitting – that provide insight into quarry life. Admire the workshops and buildings built in 1870 as you unearth this particular pocket of Welsh history. Then take a peek at coal miners’ houses through the ages.
The Judge’s Lodging
Head to Presteigne, Powys and step back in time to the 1870s. At the Judge’s Lodging, you and your family will uncover the ‘upstairs, downstairs’ life of Victorian judges, their servants, and guests. This award-winning museum has been carefully renovated to give you a glimpse into the trials and tribulations of this household.
Take a self-guided audio tour and delve into the histories of past inhabitants, including the story of a hard-working maid and the trial of a local duck thief. There are also dressing-up boxes and guidebooks full of fun facts to keep the kids entertained.