10 group travel ideas: free attractions in Wales

Date Posted: 14/04/2014

Cardiff bay at night.

Pictured: Cardiff Bay at night.

The ten most popular free visitor attractions in Wales according to the latest statistics from the Welsh tourist board. Why not incorporate them into your next group trip?

1. Wales Millennium Centre

With its impressive, uber-modern façade, the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff first opened in 2004 and has already established its reputation as an iconic arts and culture destination.

Group travel organisers might recognise its exterior from BBC drama series’ Torchwood and Doctor Who; with the interior housing everything from West End musicals, opera, ballet and contemporary dance, to art exhibitions and workshops.

Although there is a cost involved in seeing the majority of the events in the centre, it is free to go into and visiting groups can also see a free daily foyer performance. Behind-the-scenes backstage tours, as well as more specialist technical and architectural tours are also on offer.

2. St Fagans: National History Museum

St Fagans is an open-air museum and one of Wales's most popular heritage attractions, comprising  over 40 original buildings from various historical periods in Wales which have been re-erected in the 100-acre parkland.

Group visits to St Fagans can take in demonstrations of traditional skills by craftsmen, and daily presentations of farming tasks.

Part of the National Museums Wales, group travel organisers arranging a trip to St Fagans must book in advance and can benefit from a free guided tour of the museum as well as free entry.

3. National Museum Cardiff

Also part of the National Museum Wales umbrella, the National Museum Cardiff promises a busy programme of exhibitions and events.

Take a journey through The Evolution of Wales exhibition. The story begins in space with the Big Bang and takes you on a 4,600 million-year journey, bringing you face-to-face with dinosaurs and woolly mammoths along the way. Find out how life evolved in Wales and which dinosaurs roamed the land.

The National Museum Cardiff.

Pictured: A cast of Rodin's The Kiss at National Museum Cardiff.

The Clore Discovery Centre offers hands-on exploration of museum objects such as insects, fossils and Bronze Age weapons and invites you to get to grips with some of the 7.5 million items normally buried away in the museum’s stores.

4. Bellevue Park, Wrexham

Bellevue is a traditional Edwardian park within walking distance of the town centre of Wrexham which was awarded Green Flag accreditation in 2005.

There are a large number of mature trees which make up the avenues around the park’s bandstand area, along with areas of new tree planting and ornamental shrub beds. A landscaped rockery containing plants authentic Edwardian period plants leads up to the bowling greens.

There is also a sensory garden at the entrance to the park overlooked by an imposing statue of Queen Victoria.

5. Cardiff Bay Visitor Centre

Cardiff Bay Visitor Centre provides a wealth of information, maps and leaflets for group travel organisers looking to plan a trip to the area.

In the Cinema and Exhibition room, a new film showcases the development of the area from its early origins to present day events and water activities with Glamorgan Archive imagery and S4C heritage footage.

6. Cardiff Museum Project

Cardiff Council has created a museum in close development with the local people; the Cardiff Story is housed in the Old Library building, right in the heart of Cardiff, and its first galleries opened in April 2011.

In the interactive galleries, groups can discover how Cardiff was transformed from the small market town of the 1300s, to one of the world's biggest ports in the 1900s, to the cosmopolitan capital it is today.

The museum, in the beautiful and historic Old Library building, is rich in stories, objects, photographs and film telling the history of Cardiff through the eyes of those who created the city - its people.

Wales Millennium centre.

Pictured: The exterior of Wales Millennium Centre.

7. St David’s Cathedral

There has been a church on the site of St David’s in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire since the sixth century.

The St David’s Cathedral Festival runs through the Whitsun school holiday each year. The cathedral choir perform an annual concert, as well as the festival chorus and orchestra who perform a major work on the final night of the festival.

8. National Waterfront Museum

The National Waterfront Museum in Swansea tells the story of industry and innovation in Wales over the last 300 years.

The museum is housed in an original, listed waterfront warehouse and is chock-full of original exhibits including a video timeline charting the history of Wales’s maritime tradition.

Groups can discover the transport, materials and networks that were so important and the 'big things' that contributed so much to the industrial history of Wales through all of the museum’s interactive exhibits.

9. Cardiff Visitor Centre

The staff at the Cardiff Tourist Information Centre can help you plan your visit with ideas on where to go, what to do, how to get there and where to stay.

The Tourist Information Centre also sells local and UK guide books, city maps and Welsh souvenirs.

10. Margam Country Park

Margam Country Park in Neath Port Talbot has been home to a herd of deer since Norman times, and groups can get up close to the herd on a tour with one of the keepers.

GTOs organising a trip for those who are less able might be interested in taking the Margam Train on a trip through the park. The train is a diesel powered locomotive that takes you from the car park to the castle.

The route takes you through the park’s historic landscape, with views beside the pond and the lake to the castle walls beyond.

This Wales visitor date is courtesy of the Visit Wales’ report on Visits to Tourist Attractions in Wales 2012.

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