Yessir, let’s head to Wales where you’ll find a very fine open air museum indeed, ‘St Fagan’s National History Museum’, around half an hour or a little more out of Cardiff. Have you ever had a day when travelling when you set out with a plan to see this, that and something else and by the final thing you weren’t sure if you still should go because you mightn’t have enough time, but go anyway? That was my day that ended in me taking the local bus to St Fagan’s.
The bus left from the Cardiff Bus Station. I didn’t know what times it left and basically waited an hour for the bus. The bus driver told me I was crazy going there for an hour (I’d get there an hour before it shut) but I didn’t change my mind. In the end I’m pretty sure I had closer to two hours, they didn’t shut right on closing time, not the outdoor section anyway.
The main house at St Fagan’s is pretty special inside and out. Decked out with all the trimmings inside in medieval glory, it’s great to explore. The bus stop is just outside this house – or castle if you prefer. The original building was in fact 13th century, but the present chiefly from 1616 and also 1850. It’s the beginning of one’s tour of the museum, and is interesting and beautiful both inside and out.
From there I entered the stunning gardens, full of colour and life. And pretty bloody big too. One could easily lose an hour or two in the garden. I found my way to the other side of it, and through a tunnel to the outdoor museum part.
The outdoor museum is a sort of mock village with houses and buildings from many different eras. There were a lot of places to explore – including a wooden church, a shearer’s shed with sheep being sheared, and even the cutest little post office!
At five thirty I took the bus back – I’d been there 1.75 hours. Better than nothing and I got to see what it was all about. The entrance fee – great news there, it’s free! The bus from Cardiff was, in 2011, 2.50 pounds return so that’s pretty reasonable. Go at the right time and the place is functioning almost like a real village.
One final fun fact: Back on Doctor Who locations, I had completely forgotten that St Fagan’s was actually the location for filming the 2008 Doctor Who story – Human Nature.
All in all, it’s an interesting and worthwhile place to visit that won’t drain your funds if you’re on a backpacking budget. Cardiff Castle alone was 11 pounds to give you a comparison, and I thought St Fagan’s was much more interesting. Highly recommended place to go if visiting Cardiff! May the Journey Never End!