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Visitors flock back to historic Welsh sites

24 Apr 2023 2 minute read
Conwy Castle

Figures released by the Welsh Government have revealed visitor numbers to historic sites in Wales have returned to 92% of pre-Covid levels over the last 12 months.

Over 1.1 million visits were made to 23 staffed Cadw sites between April 2022 and March 2023.

It is also estimated well over 1 million visits were also made to unstaffed sites.

Income, including from visits to Cadw sites, has also surpassed pre-Covid levels, reaching £9.6m for the year ending March 2023 compared to £8 million before the pandemic.

Conwy Castle remains the most popular site, welcoming 227,000 visits in the last year, an increase of 5% on pre-Covid levels.

The largest increase was however at St. David’s Bishop’s Palace which saw visits increase by 49% on pre-Covid levels.

Major works

Following major works and improved visitor facilities at Caernarfon Castle and on-going work at Caerphilly Castle, Cadw expects a bumper year in 2023.

Early indications are that visitor numbers over the recent Easter holiday exceeded the equivalent period prior to the pandemic.

This income generated by visitors helps to support Cadw’s work in conserving and protecting Wales’ heritage for the benefit of present and future generations.

Cadw has recently completed major conservation work at Coety Castle, Bridgend and Neath Abbey and earlier this month announced the acquisition of the only visible surviving court of the medieval Welsh Princes at Llys Rhosyr.

In March, the Senedd passed ground-breaking new legislation that will make the law that helps to conserve and protect historic sites of national importance become more accessible and better understood.

Welcoming the figures, Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport Dawn Bowden said: “I’m pleased to see such encouraging visitor numbers across our fantastic Cadw sites. After an extremely difficult few years, we are well on track to make a full and record-breaking recovery.

“In 2017 we put in place new governance arrangements for Cadw and I recently announced the appointment of Roger Lewis to lead a task and finish group to review these with a view to making them even stronger.

“The intention is to allow Cadw to continue to undertake its vital work in an effective way while remaining a part of the Welsh Government.

“The Welsh Government is committed to conserving and protecting Wales’ rich historic sites for the benefit of current and future generations.”

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