Sunday, 1 December 2013

The Egypt Centre and St Fagans

Below is my “Days Out” column from The Weekend supplement in the Saturday, November 30, 2013, issue of the South Wales Evening Post

Days Out!
With Richard Thomas
The Egypt Centre opened in 1998 and holds a major selection of Egyptian antiquities largely formed by the 19th century pharmacist and archaeologist Sir Henry Wellcome, who collected them from excavations. Admission is free.
WHERE? The centre is located within the Taliesin building on the Swansea University campus. 
WHY? The Egypt Centre is the only museum of Egyptian antiquities in Wales. There are over 4500 items in the centre's collection. Egypt Centre staff have published over 100 online pages concerning individual items, which you can find on the Egypt Centre website at The funerary items on display include amulets, shrouds, statues, coffins and fragments of coffins, and even canopic jars, which were used by the Ancient Egyptians to store and preserve the internal organs of the deceased for their journey through the afterlife.
WHEN? The Egypt Centre is open Tuesday to Saturday between 10am and 4pm. Next Thursday and Friday the Egypt Centre will be getting into the Christmas spirit with the gift shop open until 6pm and food and drink on hand for visitors.
CONTACT: Phone 01792 295960.
HOW LONG WILL THIS TAKE? An hour is plenty of time to see all the exhibits but you can spend as much time as you like until closing time.
WHO WILL ENJOY IT? There is something for all ages.
WHAT ABOUT THE KIDS? Children will want to pick something up in the Egypt Centre Shop, located in the foyer of the museum. Some of the more unusual gifts available include books of Egyptian spells and curses, as well as a wide range of statues, recycled glass, papyrus from Egypt, and exclusive hand-made jewellery. Pens, pencils and key-rings are also available to buy.
WHERE CAN I PARK? There are some car parks close to Swansea University, the Foreshore car park opposite St Helens Rugby ground and the Recreation Ground Car Park on Mumbles Road.
ANYTHING ELSE IN THE AREA? There is a lot more to see inside the Taliesin Arts Centre which provides a wide variety of performances and exhibitions. Visit

Enjoy a walk through history from Celtic times to the present at St Fagans: National History Museum.
St Fagans is one of Europe's leading open–air museums and Wales's most popular heritage attraction. Open to the public since 1948, the museum stands in the grounds of the magnificent St Fagans Castle and gardens, a late 16th-century manor house donated to the people of Wales by the Earl of Plymouth. Entry is free. For more information visit:
WHERE? St Fagans is situated on 100 acres of parkland near Cardiff. Located inside the site are over 40 original buildings from different historical periods, which have been re-erected over the last 50-years.  Among these historical gems are old fashioned houses, as well as a farm, school, chapel and a Workmen's Institute.
WHY? At St Fagans traditional crafts and activities help bring the past back to life. Inside the museum’s workshops craftsmen demonstrate traditional skills and their produce are for sale if you want to take home some souvenirs. Native breeds of livestock can also be seen in the fields and farmyards, and demonstrations of farming tasks take place daily too.
WHEN? The museum is open daily between 10am and 5pm.
CONTACT: Phone 029 2057 3500.
HOW LONG WILL THIS TAKE? Allow at least between 2 and 4 hours for your visit. With so many interesting buildings to see, you can spend the whole day at St Fagan’s and have lots left to see on your next visit.
WHO WILL ENJOY IT? Anyone with an interest in Welsh history and culture will enjoy exploring the 100-acre area packed with re-erected historical buildings. A visit to the Rhyd-y-Car Ironworkers' Houses is almost like traveling through time as you see six homes, their contents and gardens change from 1805 to 1985. Other popular locations include St Teilo's Church built in stages between 1100 and 1520, as well as Kennixton Farmhouse dating from 1610.
WHAT ABOUT THE KIDS? Children under 11 must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
HOW TO GET THERE? St Fagans: National History Museum is located 4 miles west of Cardiff City Centre, just off the A4232. For sat-nav users the full address and postcode is: St Fagans National History Museum Cardiff CF5 6XB.
LUNCH:  The assisted-service Vale Restaurant, situated on the first floor of the museum, serves hot and cold lunches; a range of sandwiches, baguettes & salads; home-made soup; cakes; and hot and cold drinks. The restaurant is family friendly and a range of children’s sandwich boxes and meals are also available. There is also the Gwalia Tea Rooms, a traditional 1930's tea room serving light lunches and afternoon teas, as well as the Cafe Bardi, situated in the Main Entrance Hall, which as well as hot and cold drinks, serves a variety of home-made cakes, sandwiches, boxed salads and soup.
WHERE CAN I PARK? There is a car park on site, but this costs £3.50.
ANYTHING ELSE IN THE AREA? Dominating Cardiff city centre is Cardiff Castle, a remarkable site with a history that spans over 2000 years to Roman times.

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