Top 5 activities to do at Cardiff museums over the holiday season
Christmas is the best time of the year but it can all get a bit too much. How long will it take to get Fed up of the festivities? Purse pinching? Kids whining? Feeling bloated? Bored of the TV? Stressed at the sales? Need to get away from it all? Look no further than Cardiff’s national museums – National Museum Cardiff and St Fagans National History Museum where there is plenty of things for all the family to do over the festive period…and FOR FREE! (open on December 27, 28, 29, 31 & January 2, 3, 4, 5, 10am-5pm).
- 1. St Fagans is good for your health! St Fagans National History Museum has over 3 miles of paths. The average person could lose over 700 calories on a leisurely 4 hour visit. What better way burn off those Christmas calories than to get out in the fresh air and discover the 100-acre parkland. Explore the St Fagans Castle, a late 16th century manor house and the surrounding magnificent gardens or get lost amongst the woodland and count how many beech trees tower above you.
- 2. In Wales, the custom of wassailing was traditionally associated with Christmas and New Year. A wassail bowl would be filled with sugar, fruit, spices and beer and carried from house to house by groups of men and boys. The party of revellers would sing or knock on the door to gain entry, and the contents of the wassail bowl shared among the company. At Kennixton farmhouse at St Fagans you can see a Wassail bowl made in the style of the Ewenny pottery. This elaborate earthenware bowl has 18 handles and is decorated with flowers, birds and animals.
- 3. 2014 is the Dylan Thomas centenary year so why not brush up on the ‘play for voices’ Under Milk Wood and visit the popular exhibition at National Museum Cardiff – Llareggub: Peter Blake illustrates Under Milk Wood. The show includes portraits of each of the characters in the cast, watercolours of the dream sequences and collages and paintings of scenes and locations in the fictional village of Llareggub.
- 4. A Child’s Christmas in Wales was Dylan Thomas’ famous Christmas short story. Take inspiration from the work of Dylan Thomas to make a treasure box for your Christmas goodies at National Museum Cardiff or join in the Winter Animal Hunt and follow the trail around the museum to solve clues. Dec 21 2013–Jan 5 2014, 11am-4pm
- 5. Fed up with all that modern Christmas tack? A walk around the many historic houses of St Fagans will give you a glimpse of how Welsh houses were decorated in the past. The old farmhouses are adorned with evergreens such as holly and ivy, traditionally a sign of fertility and life in the middle of winter. ‘Houses from the early 20th century onwards feature the colourful mass-produced decorations that we are all familiar with today. Christmas trees, cards and crackers, remain firm favourites, but, with a nod to the distant past, are often combined with greenery, such as wreaths and mistletoe.
Amgueddfa Cymru operates seven national museums across Wales. These are National Museum Cardiff, St Fagans: National History Museum, National Roman Legion Museum, Caerleon, Big Pit: National Coal Museum, Blaenafon, National Wool Museum, Dre-fach Felindre, National Slate Museum, Llanberis and the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea.
Entry to all Amgueddfa Cymru sites is free, thanks to the support of the Welsh Government.