Planning Your Visit - Learning at St Fagans: National History Museum
This information has been designed to support your visit to St Fagans: National History Museum.
It is important that school groups read the enclosed extracts from our Child Protection Policy in conjunction with this booklet when planning a visit. The information we have provided is by no means exhaustive. If you have any further questions, please email the Education or Marketing Department.
Take Junction 33 off the M4 and follow the signs to St Fagans: National History Museum. Entrance to the Museum is free; car parking charges apply.
All group visits must be booked in advance. St Fagans: National History Museum has around 90,000 school visitors a year, and hundreds of adult groups. To avoid disappointment we recommend you book at least a fortnight in advance, as there is a limit to the number of groups that can be accommodated in a single day. This also applies to special events held at the Museum at weekends or in the evenings.
St Fagans: National History Museum is open seven days a week and most public holidays, between 10 am and 5 pm. Office-based departments (such as Education, Marketing or the Archives) are closed on weekends and bank holidays. The Education Office takes bookings between 8.30 am and 4.30 pm. The Marketing Office is open between 9 am and 5 pm.
Length of Visit
As the Museum covers around 100 acres, we recommend that you allow at least 2 hours for your visit.
All the information in this booklet can be used to complete a risk assessment. When carrying out a risk assessment, teachers/group leaders must consider the measures that they will undertake. These include:
- providing adequate information, instruction and training to the appropriate people;
- identifying who takes overall charge in an emergency situation;
- the ratio of pupils to adults, to ensure that all groups are correctly supervised.
It is important that the information in this booklet is used as the basis for training other supervising members of staff.
Museum staff will be present at the main entrance to welcome you. They will confirm the details of your visit and answer any questions that you may have.
Extreme care should be taken when crossing the car park, especially during the summer months when this area is particularly busy. It is safer for members of groups to remain on the bus until the group leader has signed in. If this is not possible, groups should wait under the awning in front of the main entrance.
The group leader must be able to give the exact number of visitors in the group to Museum staff on arrival.
Food and Drink
There is a self-service restaurant in the main building, and the nearby snack bar is open during the summer. There are traditional-style tearooms above Gwalia Stores (open all year) and in St Fagans Castle (open during the summer only).
High chairs and smaller cutlery are available. Babies' bottles can be warmed on request. Easy grip cutlery is also available.
There are picnic areas across the site. Please ask a member of Museum staff for guidance if you need to find space undercover to eat.
The Restaurant can provide special menus for visiting groups. Please phone the Restaurant directly for further information and for details of their catering options.
The main toilet block is near the front entrance. There are other toilets near St Fagans Castle, and at the Oakdale Workmen's Institute. All toilets are marked on the map. Baby changing facilities are available in the main toilet block.
There are toilets suitable for physically disabled visitors in the main toilet block and at the Oakdale Workmen's Institute.
Most of the site can be visited in a wheelchair, but access to particular historic buildings may be difficult. The terrain is steep in places on the Castle side of the Museum and may prove difficult for some wheelchair users and their helpers.
A number of wheelchairs can be borrowed at the main entrance, and during the summer a land train runs from one end of the site to the other at regular intervals.
The Museum Shops
The Museum shops are on either side of the main entrance area. They offer a wide choice of craft souvenirs, books, camera film and postcards. If you intend to visit the shop as a large group, we recommend that during school term time you plan to do this either in the morning or after 2.30 pm. In this way you will be able to avoid the most popular time for school groups.
The Museum organises a wide range of activities, demonstrations and workshops for visitors. You will find information about the day's activities in the main entrance, as well as in our What's On brochure (available on request or by phoning the Visitor Services Department).
Our interpreters provide information about particular buildings to visitors. Your group can find out more about the House for the Future, the re-erection of the medieval church of St Teilo or our interpretation of a Celtic Village by booking a talk. Please contact the Education Department for details. All talks for groups must be booked in advance through the Education Department.
Craftsmen such as the blacksmith, miller and weavers demonstrate their work to the public. Please remember, however, that they are not available every day of the week. If your group has an interest in a particular craft then you should check availability in advance by contacting the Visitor Services Department. A list of craftsmen working on a particular day will be available by the main entrance on the day of your visit.
There is a small play area for children near the main entrance. Children should be supervised at all times. The equipment is not suitable for children over the age of 12.
A room with limited space is available for groups to leave packed lunches and bags during their visit. We particularly recommend this room for those taking part in pre-booked activities. It is not advisable to leave anything of value in this room, as it is not locked.
The Museum Shops
School groups can make their purchases at any point during the day, and the shop will keep them for you until you are ready to leave. Alternatively, you can pre-order packs costing a fixed amount, which can then be collected by a teacher on the day of the visit. For further details please contact the Shop directly.
There is an undercover eating area in the main visitor building. Twenty-minute slots are available for groups of up to sixty at a time. These slots are allocated as groups arrive at the Museum.
There are outdoor picnic areas across the site: please ask one of the Museum Assistants for directions. Restaurant facilities are also available, and special menus can be provided for school groups. Please phone the Restaurant directly for further details.
- Dogs are allowed outdoors on site, but must be kept on a lead.
- We ask that balls and skateboards are not brought on site, as they cause damage to historic buildings and gardens.
- Smoking is not allowed in any of the buildings.
- Visitors should not touch or feed any of the livestock on site.
- As a courtesy to other visitors, please do not use mobile phones inside the buildings. For the same reason we ask that radios are not brought on to the site.
- Flash photography can damage sensitive materials and so no photography is allowed in the Galleries or in St Fagans Castle.
The Museum reserves the right to ask groups or individuals behaving in an offensive or unreasonable manner to leave the site.
In an Emergency
In an emergency, please contact a uniformed Museum Assistant. Trained first aiders can be summoned if needed. Museum Assistants are trained in evacuation procedures in case of fire in any of our buildings.
Please advise children to tell a Museum Assistant if they become lost. The Museum Assistant can then locate one of the group leaders.
Visitors will be outdoors during most of their time at the Museum, so please bring appropriate clothes/equipment for all types of weather. Paths can be muddy in winter, and so your group should wear appropriate footwear.
St Fagans: National History Museum is a large outdoor museum. There are steep steps and slopes, lakes, streams, woodland, working machinery and livestock on the Museum site.
All groups of school students of sixteen years or under must be supervised at all times when visiting the Museum, and remain the responsibility of the school throughout their visit. Unsupervised groups may find that they are denied entry to certain buildings.
We recommend a ratio of:
- 1 teacher for every 5 children under the age of 7;
- at least 1 group leader for every 10 children for other children of primary school age;
- 1 teacher to every 15 secondary school students.
The nature of special activities at the Museum varies a great deal. The Museum will have assessed the risks involved in a particular activity, and will give a verbal warning of these. It is important that all groups listen carefully to any instructions.
St Fagans: National History Museum stands in beautiful countryside, in the grounds of St Fagans Castle, a late sixteenth-century manor house. The open-air section of the Museum now has over forty original buildings, which have been moved from various parts of Wales to show how people lived in the past.
We limit the number of visitors allowed in any one building at a given time
- to enable us to provide a worthwhile experience;
- to help ease of access;
- to ensure that as many groups as possible have the opportunity to visit certain popular buildings in safety.
For all these reasons, we ask that all large groups that intend to visit certain buildings together contact the Education Department to arrange a time to do so. The buildings for which bookings must be made are as follows:
- The House for the Future (approx. 30 in a group per half hour)
- Rhyd-y-car Houses (approx. 30 in a group per half hour)
- The Celtic Village (approx. 30 in a group per half hour)
- Maestir School (approx. 30 in a group per half hour, or longer if necessary)
In order to make the most of your visit, please ensure that you arrive at the building at the allotted time. Any delay can seriously affect the quality of your visit and the visit of others.
Preview visits are a good way for teachers or group leaders to familiarise themselves with the site before their groups visit. Please phone to book beforehand if you wish to speak to a member of staff from the Education Department or the Marketing Department on the day of your preview visit.
Resources and Activities
St Fagans: National History Museum organises a range of workshops, activities and training days. A catalogue of resources produced by Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales is available from the Education Department and a listing appears on our website. We also offer a range of trails and worksheets, some of which are available in French and German. An increasing number of trails, worksheets and resources can now be downloaded from our website.
Students and teachers are welcome to make use of the Museum's Reference Library and Archive. The Archive comprises of photographic, sound and manuscript collections. Please contact the Librarian or Archivist directly for further details. Other collections requests should be directed to the Curatorial Departments secretary.
- General Enquiries: (029) 2057 3500
- Education Department: (029) 2057 3403 / 424
- Museum Archivist: (029) 2057 3427 or (029) 2057 3444
- Museum Librarian: (029) 2057 3446
- Museum Restaurant: (029) 2057 3414
- Museum Shop: (029) 2057 3412
- Visitor Services Department: (029) 2057 3440 or (029) 2057 3433
- Marketing Department: for general queries: (029) 2057 3534
- Marketing Department: for group bookings: (029) 2057 3174
- Curatorial Departments Secretary: (029) 2057 3443