St Fagans National Museum of History

The Gweithdy building at St Fagans National History Museum Photograph by Tom Martin / Wales New Service © Hawlfraint y Goron / Crown copyright (2022) Cymru Wales

ST FAGANS National Museum of History is Wales’s most-visited heritage attraction, standing in magnificent castle grounds on the outskirts of Cardiff.

This museum holds a special place in the hearts of the people of Wales because it is a people’s museum, where you can explore history together through people’s everyday lives.

It stands in the grounds of the magnificent St Fagans Castle, a late 16th-Century manor house donated to the people of Wales by the Earl of Plymouth. During the past half a century, over 50 original buildings from different locations in Wales and from different historical periods have been re-built in the 100-acre parkland. Each building is frozen in time and opens a door into Welsh history offering a fascinating glimpse into the past.

Visitors can see how people in Wales have lived, worked and spent their leisure time. The re-erected buildings include farmhouses, a row of ironworkers’ cottages, a medieval church, a Victorian school, a chapel and a splendid Workmen’s Institute.

The gardens at St Fagans are among the best in Wales. You may walk through the elegant formal gardens of St Fagans castle or see the cottage gardens that provided food for working families. Native breeds of livestock can be seen in the fields and farmyards, and demonstrations of farming tasks take place daily.

There are also workshops where craftsmen still demonstrate their traditional skills. Their produce is usually on sale. See one of the last working clogmakers in Wales or meet the blacksmith. There is a weaver working in an 18th Century woolen mill and a miller producing flour in the 19th Century corn mill.

© Hawlfraint y Goron / © Crown copyright (2022) Cymru Wales

Visit Llys Llywelyn – a medieval prince’s hall, see the Victorian school or pick up some Welsh food from 1920s Gwalia Stores.

Visitors gain an insight into the rich heritage and culture of Wales, and the Welsh language can be heard in daily use amongst craftsmen and interpreters.

The Gweithdy building celebrates the culture, heritage and skills of Welsh craft in a gallery, workshop and visitor hub for the Museum.

Translating from the Welsh as ‘made by hand’, Gweithdy provides flexible workshop and demonstration spaces for a huge range of craft, science and archaeology activities and a hands-on exhibition which hosts 500 items from the craft and archaeology collections of the National Museum of Wales.  

St Fagans Castle Picture: St Fagans National Museum of Wales

A built-in forge under cover of the building canopy is used for metalwork demonstrations and other heavy crafts activities and creates a focal point for this part of the park. 

Designed to be a good example of environmentally responsible architecture, Gweithdy is integrated into the renewed 19th Century woodland landscape setting through its form and materiality.

Situated next to a stepped amphitheatre and at a crossing of paths, the pavilion is a natural destination for visitors, drawing more people further into the museum park.

(sources include Visit Cardiff, Cymru Wales, Visit Wales)