Monday, 28 November 2011

St Fagans

On Sunday we went to the National History Museum at St Fagans, near Cardiff for our annual family Christmas present swap. This has become a habit in recent years; Brian's sister and her partner always fly off somewhere hot for Christmas so the present swap and get together has to happen in advance.

St Fagans is about half way between them and us, in fact it's half way to so many places we go to that we often use it as a stopping off point on journeys east (instead of the motorway services which are expensive and soul-destroying). Here you just pay £3.50 to park and the museum is yours to explore.

We generally wander around houses and indoor displays according to the weather, in between scoffing a roast dinner in the Vale Restaurant (of locally produced meat) and topping up our caffeine levels in cafe Bardi.

This is Kennixton, a typcial Gower farmhouse. The glorious red colour was thought to protect against evil spirits.

I love the shape of Kennixton's roof trusses. 

These lovely bronze turkeys were in the farm yard. The farm is the only original building at St Fagans, the others - and there are more than 40 - were painstaking moved there stone by stone.

Who would eat this handsome chap? I wouldn't! We'll be having chicken so he's safe from us (but I suspect he's destined for the restaurant).

The mill was grinding wheat after lunch. H9, R7 and grandmother are waiting for the flour to arrive down at the bottom of the watermill from the stone above. St Fagans is very much a living museum and you can buy the produce from the craftsmen who demonstrate their skills.

The resulting flour ready to be bagged and sold in the gift shop.

So many traditional Welsh cottages were thatched - but there's only one left in Pembrokeshire which is Penrhos, near Maenclochog. Like this one at St Fagans it was a ty unnos, a house built in one night. If you could build a house in one night on common land, you owned the freehold of that land. Tai unnos are single storey and have tiny windows.

The cottages have their own productive gardens.

There's also a Celtic village with a collection of roundhouses to give a taste of Iron Age life in Wales. We warmed ourselves by the fire in the comforting gloom of the biggest roundhouse and emerged smelling like kippers.


  1. On our recent trip to Wales from Australia, we spent a day here! It is the most amazing museum. Giving us insight into Wesh history. I loved it.

  2. The parlour in that farmhouse always reminds me of my gran's. When I lived with her in the early 60's it was stuck in time-warp, with huge brass fenders and pokers taller than me, a chaise-longue stuffed with horsehair, massive rosewood furniture and huge pictures on the wall which were from those sepia calenders with biblical verses. The piano had candlesticks which swung out from the front, but she did have electric light - just!

  3. Wonderful place to visit and great to see archeology used to give a real impression of how things might have been - so much more accessible. Wonder if the Turkeys will still be there in the New Year?

  4. I love St Fagans, have been three times already but would go again.


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