Cadw has released its summer holiday events schedule, offering families a huge variety of activities to enjoy and experience Welsh culture and history, much of it medieval-themed.
Cadw, the historic environment service of the Welsh Government, administers over 130 historic places, including some of the most important medieval castles in the country. Over the summer months it will be running a series of events, including hands-on with archery, archaeology and even enrolling at Knight School. Here are some of their top picks:
Relic photo spheres
This summer, Cadw will re-launch an exciting experience for guests with a trail of relic photo spheres, giving a distinctive perspective of the various abbeys, castles and neolithic sites in which they are placed.
The installations will encourage visitors to challenge what they know of typical photography, as well as highlighting the preservation of the monuments over 10 years. The relics will form part of Visit Wales’ Year of Trails – with Wales by Trails story maps available to view on the Cadw website.
Relic location dates: Raglan Castle (27-28 July); Tintern Abbey (29-30 July); Blaenavon Ironworks (31 July-1 August); Porthgain Quarry and Harbour (7 August); Pentre Ifan Burial Chamber (8 August); Castell y Bere (10-11 August); Valle Crucis Abbey – (19-20 August); Caernarfon Castle – (21-22 August); Din Lligwy Hut Group – (23-24 August).
Children’s Archaeology Taster Day (Rhuddlan Castle)
What better way to kick off the holidays than an archaeology taster day. Great for budding archaeologists or just those with a curious mind, visitors can have a dig in Rhuddlan Castle’s sandpit to see what surprises can be found. There will also be medieval workshops, and storyteller Mair will share local legends and play her harp throughout the day.
Event info: Friday 28th July, 11:00 – 15:00
Castle Scavenger Hunt (Castell Coch)
Over the August bank holiday weekend, families can explore the fairytale castle on the outskirts of Cardiff like never before with a scavenger hunt in and around Castell Coch. The hunt will take visitors on a quest inside and outside the castle, making exciting discoveries along the route – a great way to get out into nature.
Event info: Saturday 26th Aug – Monday 28th Aug, 11:00 – 15:00. Tickets will need to be booked online in advance.
Birds of Prey (Laugharne Castle)
Get up close to magnificent birds of prey at Laugharne Castle’s falconry event. With a variety of species on display, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about these majestic creatures from the experts themselves. The displays will run twice a day at 12pm and 3pm and are not to be missed.
Event info: Sunday 27th Aug – Monday 28th Aug, 11:00 – 16:00
Juggling Jim (Kidwelly Castle)
This August, head down to Kidwelly Castle to see Juggling Jim for some fun for the whole family. With a mixture of circus workshops and silly knight school for children, there’s an opportunity for everyone to have a go. Visitors can also try their hand at being a jester themselves, learning skills such as juggling, diabolo, plate spinning and more.
Event info: Tuesday 1st Aug – Wednesday 2nd Aug, 11:00 – 16:00
Medieval Festival (Beaumaris Castle)
Another event taking place over the bank holiday, this medieval festival at Anglesey’s Beaumaris Castle will show what life was really like in medieval times. Knights, lords and ladies, musicians and jesters will transport visitors back to the period.
Visit the medieval encampment to see demonstrations on arrow making, how to wear armour, as well as listening to grim stories of torture from the castle executioner. The day will culminate with a battle between Lord Gerard de Rhodes and Captain Nicholas Horton, to see who can claim the castle’s victory.
Event info: Saturday 26th Aug – Monday 28th Aug, 10:00 – 17:00
Tretower’s Summer Quest (Tretower Court and Castle)
Over the summer holiday, take part in Tretower’s Summer Quest to find all the hidden treasure before Walter the Wrecker of Dunraven Castle arrives and causes too much havoc. The route will take you around the castle and its grounds, searching for Walter’s treasure in a race against time.
Event info: Saturday 22nd July – Sunday 3rd September, 10:00 – 17:00
Knight School (Harlech Castle)
Wanted: individuals to train as loyal knights of Harlech Castle. Every Tuesday during the summer holidays, children can see whether they have what it takes to become a loyal knight and protect one of Edward I’s mightiest castles.
Event info: 25th July, 1st Aug, 8th Aug, 15th Aug, 22nd Aug, 11:00 – 16:00
Jester School (Chepstow Castle)
Chepstow Castle’s Jester School is the perfect way for children to see whether they would make the cut to entertain medieval lords, ladies and their guests. The castle’s resident jester, Juggling Jim, will be on hand to teach the tricks of plate spinning, juggling and tightrope walking to become a pro in the game.
If that’s not enough, you can also learn about the history of this magnificent clifftop fortress and its 900-year history in a popular location in Welsh history.
Event info: Saturday 22nd July – Sunday 23rd July, 10:00 – 16:00
Virtual Visits (Various sites)
For those who want to explore sites further afield, but are unable to travel, five new virtual tours are now available on the Cadw website: Tinkinswood Burial Chamber, Strata Florida Abbey, Chepstow Castle, Tretower Court and Castle and Kidwelly Castle.
Powered by advanced 3D scanning technology, these virtual visits will allow people to immerse themselves in Wales’ religious relics, historic homes, Roman remains and more, exploring Wales’ sites like never before. Cadw’s Virtual Visits can be accessed here.
The events planned by Cadw for this year’s summer holidays are designed to cater to a wide range of interests and ages, offering a sense of adventure for a great day out and making lifelong memories. You can find a full list of events on Cadw’s website: https://cadw.gov.wales/visit/whats-on/find-a-cadw-event