St. Fagans is home to the Welsh National History Museum, a three dimensional outdoor museum where visitors can take a first-hand look at buildings representing Welsh history and culture from across the ages.
The goal of the Welsh National History Museum is to represent the original look and feel of these houses that people like you and me lived in hundreds to thousands of years ago. Like any historic site or cultural museum, school buses full of ten-year-olds are commonplace.
Many of the structures at St. Fagans are historic and have been excavated, moved and rebuilt to exacting standards to give the best possible interpretation to visitors. One of the most powerful elements of this museum is the ability to walk inside and touch the buildings, including the wooden support beams that were felled when King Henry VIII was looking for his next wife.
Even the gardens attached to each of the houses are period; using heirloom breeds of crops that are no longer common but would have likely been used by the inhabitants of the house. Other structures like the Iron Age village, are reproductions, but they are based on the archaeological record and are impressive in their detail.
Regardless of the individual structure, the interpreters are knowledgeable and patient, and scattered across the grounds to answer questions. They have extensive knowledge about the buildings, Welsh history and language, ancient technology like how the paddle wheel gristmill works, or how to make a basket out of plants growing outside in the garden.
Inside the modern museum building are a series of galleries and exhibitions as well as a large restaurant and shop.
It would be easy to make a full day of exploring the museum and surrounding area that features the Parish Church of St. Mary and the site of the English Civil War Battle of St. Fagans. Across Crost Y Genau Road (out the front gate from the castle grounds) and up a bit is Plymouth Arms Pub, a nice spot to have lunch and a pint before heading back.
A restored pub will be opening on site in 2024, adjacent to the fish and chip shop.
Know Before You Go
Parking at the site is a flat rate of £6 per vehicle, which is good value for money for families, as entry is free.
By bus from Cardiff Central Bus Station (at the main rail stop) Coach Stand D3 offers buses 32 and 322 that go directly to St. Fagans.
Much of the site is level and accessible (except upstairs in the historic buildings), although the outdoor museum and castle grounds are vast, which might affect some people with limited mobility.