Swansea Castle in Wales will be opened up for public tours this weekend, allowing people to explore the medieval Welsh ruin. It’s only the third time in decades that people will have the chance to explore the historic attraction.
As part of the festivities surrounding St.David’s Week in Swansea, the local council has allowed for public tours to take place on Saturday February 25 and Sunday February 26. Tours will take place every half-hour between 10am and 4pm on the Saturday and 11am and 3.30pm on the Sunday.
Visitors will be able to access parts of the castle including the whole of the first floor, several vaulted rooms of the medieval castle and the cells of the 18th Century prison.
The access is being made possible thanks to funding from the Welsh Government. The funding meant experts were able to clear the castle courtyard of debris, undertake vital archaeological work and expose the historic attraction’s medieval layers.
Castle tours will coincide with the Get Welsh event at Castle Square from 9am to 5pm on both Saturday February 25 and Sunday February 26. The event will feature singing, dancing and food and drink stalls. Cookery demonstrations will show visitors how to get the best results from local produce and on-stage entertainment will be on hand between 10am and 4pm on both days.
The event’s being organised by the South Wales Evening Post in partnership with Swansea BID (Business Improvement District) and Swansea Council’s City Centre Management Team.
Wales versus England in the Six Nations Championship will also be shown live on Castle Square’s Big Screen on Saturday February 25.
Cllr Graham Thomas, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Recreation and Tourism, said: “Swansea Castle was opened up for the first time in generations last year and the interest from the public was staggering. We’ve done a lot of work alongside our partners to make the castle accessible once again and the latest temporary re-opening means many more people will be able to discover its rich history for themselves. Castle Square will be a hive of activity on February 25 and February 26. This will help boost city centre footfall while giving people the chance to celebrate everything that makes us so proud to be Welsh.”
Swansea Castle was founded in about 1106 by Henry de Beaumont who was later given the Lordship of Gower by King Henry I. It originally consisted of earthworks and timber defences. After various unsuccessful attacks by the Welsh, the castle fell in 1217 but was restored to the English in 1220 and, after this, the inner castle was probably walled in stone with at least one tower.
William de Braose built the new castle that survives today at the end of the 13th Century as a set of private apartments for his family and himself that was later crowned by its distinctive battlements. The building has served many purposes over the centuries including a barracks and a drill hall.
Surrounding buildings were badly damaged in the blitz of 1941 but today you can still see the tower containing the debtor’s prison and William de Braose’s new castle built within a corner of a walled bailey.
Visit www.swansea.gov.uk/swanseacastletour to book a tour.