Wales unveils £9.5m ‘Castles Alive’ war chest

The Welsh government has announced ambitious plans to turn Caerphilly Castle into “a top-class tourism attraction”.

There will be an initial £570,000 investment at Caerphilly this year, and a total of £9.5 million will be spent over three years to enhance the visitor experience at Wales’s historic sites.

The plans are part of the ‘Castles Alive’ campaign launched by Cadw, the Welsh government’s historic environment service.

Tourism minister Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas said: “Cadw visitor figures have risen continuously over recent years — bringing significant benefits to our tourism economy.

“In 2017, Cadw generated £4.4m in admissions revenue — an increase of almost 20% on the previous year. It’s vital that we continue to invest in our sites to further improve the visitor experience and strengthen their role in Wales’ tourism offer.”

Caerphilly Castle in mid-Glamorgan attracted record visitor numbers in 2016 and 2017.

The new investment will see the creation of  an interactive maze, a ‘dragons’ lair’ and regular live firings of the medieval siege engines.

The planned attractions coincide with the castle’s 750th anniversary year and will be completed by this summer.

The minister added: “Caerphilly Castle in particular has seen noteworthy visitor growth in recent years, with visitors flocking to site due to a combination of innovative attractions, events and installations. I’m confident that these innovative, new features will help to cement this impressive monument’s position as a top-class tourism attraction.”

Picture of Caerphilly Castle ©VisitBritain/Britain on View.