THE REMAINDER of North Wales’ heritage sites will reopen over the next couple of months, Cadw has confirmed.
Earlier this month, Cadw reopened 43 of its unstaffed, free-entry monuments across Wales, and on Friday (July 18), the historic environment service has revealed a phased re-opening plan for selected staffed sites in its care, including some of North Wales’s most iconic historical attractions.
The news follows the First Minister’s recent announcement that indoor visitor attractions in Wales are now able to re-open under Welsh Government social distancing regulations and guidelines.
With a new online ticketing system in place, Cadw intends to re-open its staffed North Wales heritage sites in phases this summer, starting with Plas Mawr Elizabethan Townhouse in Conwy and the castles of Denbigh and, Harlech, which will open during the first week of August.
World Heritage Sites, Conwy and Beaumaris Castles will be next in line to re-open, preparing to welcome visitors from the second week of August.
Caernarfon Castle also plans to reopen its doors to visitors during August, with a final date yet to be confirmed due to capital investment work being carried out at the site. This work will be brought forward for completion as soon as possible.
Once the sites re-open, compulsory pre purchased tickets for site entry will be available to book via the Cadw website, with general visitors needing to purchase time-allotted tickets and Cadw and partner organisation members needing to reserve free time-allotted tickets in advance of their visit. Members will also need to bring their cards as proof of membership to gain site access.
All staffed sites are set to re-open with a reduced visitor capacity, which will allow Cadw to effectively manage the number of visitors at any given time, ensuring a safe and socially distanced on-site experience for staff and visitors alike. In addition, the sites will only be open five days a week.
Meanwhile, it is hoped that Criccieth Castle, Tretower Court and Castle in Powys will reopen their doors in September, with ticket-holders asked to visit all re-opened sites safely, respectfully and responsibly at all times.
Furthermore, to foster safe onsite environments, Cadw is introducing a number of measures at its staffed monuments, including the installation of plastic partition screens at entry desks and the placement of directional arrows and 2m distanced markers along walkways, as well as the introduction of one-way routes at some of its monuments.
Other hygiene measures will include increased cleaning practices across all reopened staffed sites with regular deep cleans scheduled alongside daily disinfection of key touch points, including door handles, railings and interactive screens.
Hand-sanitiser will be readily available for visitors to use, while health and safety-trained Cadw staff will be provided with optional PPE supplies, including facemasks and disposable gloves.
Additionally, some sites may see certain rooms, areas and site specific attractions temporarily closed to visitors.
Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Lord Elis-Thomas, said: “As we begin a phased re-opening of Cadw’s staffed sites from the beginning of August, our main priority is the safety of our employees, members, visitors and the wider communities of Wales — all of whom we are pleased to be welcoming back.
“This is why our new ticketing system and reductions on visitor numbers, complimented by new hygiene measures and in some instances, site adaptations, are essential for ensuring a safe and socially distanced experience for us all.
“We understand that there may be some frustration around the ongoing closure of certain monuments, but rest assured that we are working as hard as we can to prepare them for re-opening — and will do so when we are confident of them being safe spaces for everyone to enjoy.”