Open Doors 2022: Explore Wales’s Built Heritage
This September sees the welcome return of Open Doors, Wales’s annual contribution to the European Heritage Days initiative, which invites heritage organisations, private owners, local authorities, and others to open their doors to historic buildings or offer activities free of charge during September.
Funded and organised by Cadw, this popular festival includes several of the country’s lesser-known sites – some of which are usually closed to the public – as well as more iconic landmarks like St David’s Cathedral, Chepstow Castle and many Cadw and National Trust sites. Over the month more than 200 of Wales’s historic sites, landmarks and hidden gems will offer visitors free entry, events or guided tours.
These will include:
Tŷ Mawr, Wybrnant, Penmachno, birthplace of Bishop William Morgan, the translator of the first complete Welsh Bible, published in 1588. Tree-ring dating by the Royal Commission shows that the present house was reconstructed in the later 16th century during the lifetime of Bishop Morgan. There will be free entry from 10am – 4pm on Saturday 17 September.
Insole Court, an outstanding Victorian mansion in Llandaff built in 1855 by W.G. & E. Habershon for local industrialist J.H. Insole. The house became derelict after the Second World War but was rescued for the community and restored by the Insole Court Trust and re-opened in 2016. A number of free 30-minute whistle-stop tours are available over the weekend of Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 September. For further details see: https://cadw.gov.wales/open-doors-insole-court
Yr Ysgwrn, Trawsfynydd, Gwynedd, the home of Hedd Wyn (1887? –1917) who famously won the chair posthumously for his poem `Yr Arwr’ at the National Eisteddfod at Birkenhead on 6 September 1917, having tragically died on 31 July at the battle of Pilckem Ridge. On Saturday 24 September, there will be free guided tours of the farmhouse (available by advance booking only) as well as free craft sessions available for children and young people throughout the day.
For further information, see: https://cadw.gov.wales/open-doors-yr-ysgwrn
There will be several events during the Open Doors weekend of September 24 and 25, and 29 September at St David’s Cathedral, one of the most remarkable medieval buildings in Britain. Tours will include areas not usually open to the public, especially the pulpitum (screen) with its 14th– century wallpaintings. These include the owl (wisdom = the clergy) mobbed by magpies (foolishness = the congregation) over the doorway into the nave. The wallpaintings are discussed in Painted Temples: Wallpaintings and Rood-screens in Welsh Churches, 1200–1800 by Richard Suggett.
A calendar showing which sites are open and when is available on the Cadw website:
Due to the present period of national mourning some events may now not take place. Please check with venues before visiting.