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New project allows visitors close-up views of Caernarfon Castle not seen for centuries

27 Apr 2023 3 minute read
Caernarfon Castle

Cadw has announced the completion of a 3-year conservation and development project at Caernarfon Castle’s principal gatehouse – providing access to areas of the castle not seen close-up for centuries.

The £5 million investment has seen a rooftop deck installation and new flooring in the gatehouse towers.

It also includes the installation of a lift that allows access to all the upper levels, which Cadw believes is a first for any similar UK World Heritage site.

A new catering offer, educational and retail spaces, and accessible visitor facilities have also been included in the works, including a Changing Places facility.

The scheme is supported by the Welsh Government and by £1.04 million from the European Regional Development Fund through the Tourism Attractor Destination Programme, that is managed by Visit Wales.

The project features a new artistic interpretation, focusing on the theme: ‘the hands that built the Castle’.

The modern approach presents the story of the Castle from a different perspective, encouraging visitors to re-think how they perceive the site’s history.

Caernarfon Castle development plans – Image: Buttress Architects

Outstanding views

The delivery of the project, has been supported by Buttress Architects and Grosvenor Construction, who have re-installed the floor levels of the gatehouse towers; built new steps from the first floor to the new rooftop deck; and installed a lightweight glazed glass lift to provide step-free access to the rooftop.

Following such extensive development, Cadw is encouraging visitors of all ages and abilities to witness the outstanding views from the upper embattlements on the rooftop deck, previously unseen for centuries.

Dawn Bowden MS, Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, said: “Making our historic sites more accessible is a fantastic — and necessary — way of caring for Wales’ historical monuments for the benefit of present and future generations.

“Enhancement projects like this one ensures that everybody can access Welsh history and learn more about the nation’s heritage. Cadw’s new interpretation will further support this, inviting visitors to discover the lesser-known stories of the Castle’s history.

“This is the latest development in Caernarfon as the town has also benefitted from an extensive and ongoing development programme of investment to further enhance its status as an iconic and “must see” destination in Wales.”

Fortress

Gwilym Hughes, Head of Cadw, said: “We’d like to thank our valued visitors and Cadw members for their patience during this 3-year period of conservation and development at Caernarfon Castle.

“We look forward to welcoming visitors of all abilities to experience this area of the fortress for the first time in centuries, and hope that our new interpretation will provide new ways for visitors to understand the Castle’s story.

“The hands that built the Castle’ interpretation will encourage visitors to do just that — by focusing on the community and workers of the Castle, whose stories are often footnotes rather than the focus of historical interpretation.

“This new interpretation will demonstrate the skill and knowledge that went into building the castle that is now a World Heritage Site.

“It also provides a context that will allow a fuller understanding of a time of intense conflict between the indigenous Welsh princes and the English monarchy.”


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Geoffrey Harris
Geoffrey Harris
9 months ago

Cadw need to seriously consider where their loyalty lies, to the people of Cymru or, English tourist. They need to reassess their priorities because they spend substantial amounts on the buildings of the English invaders and allow the defensive works of our ancestors to fall into ruin.

Iago Prydderch
Iago Prydderch
9 months ago

“…between the indigenous Welsh princes and the English monarchy.”

There’s the i word again.

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