Skip to Content

Museum of Welsh Life St Fagans. Time Travel!

Just outside Cardiff, the little town of St Fagans is pretty and ancient enough to be a museum in its own right. A gorgeous old church and a collection of thatched cottages nestle in the unspoiled green valley. A little further along the road, a lane really, is the Museum of Welsh Life St Fagans AKA Wales National History Museum.

I’d never visited until recently and it’s been there forever, over 50 years, so we took the kids to find out what Welsh life used to be like.

Museum of Welsh Life St Fagans Wales
The building in the foreground is a pig sty! The Museum of Welsh Life St Fagans

The Museum of Welsh Life

St Fagans Museum of Welsh Life is fabulous. We had a great time, not just because of the exhibits, but because we could roam around some beautiful Welsh countryside checking out the wildlife and the kids could run some of their energy off fairly safely.

Give or take some mud. But mud for kids is a bonus and you expect that in Wales with kids.

The Museum of Welsh Life is not just a museum, it’s a lovely spot for a walk and the sort of place you can go again and again.

All museums in Wales are free so if you’re in this part of the UK, try to get to St Fagans, no excuses. In 2020, we can tell you that The Museum of Welsh Life at St. Fagans is open, but you will need to book a free ticket in advance and not all of the site is fully open yet. Check their website for full details. Things could change.

What The Museum of Welsh Life St Fagans is All About.


The magnificent 16th Century St Fagans castle is at the heart of the museum. The building and grounds were donated to the people of Wales by the Earl of Plymouth. That was nice of him!


You can explore the beautiful castle, it’s grounds and gardens to see how the other half lived back in the day and when you’re done with the aristocracy you can move on to take a peek into simple people’s lives in Wales.

They have moved over forty original buildings and re-built in the grounds of St Fagan’s castle. They’re well spread out, you feel like yo’re taking a walk in the country, not touring a museum.  Most of them hold furniture and appliances typical of their era.


We loved this slate miner’s cottage from North Wales, it was home to 10 people. The parents, their six children, the maid and a lodger. A guide kept a gorgeous coal fire blazing inside and could answer all our questions, in English and Welsh.


Slate roofs and thatched roofs, so very Welsh!


The original dove cote that belonged to the castle is still home to dozens of white doves. They used to be kept for food.


I had one of these in the garden when I was a kid. A  garden from a Welsh cottage last century.


There are grocers, ironmongers, a post office and a bakery. It’s strange how familiar a lot of the exhibits were to me, memories of my childhood.


This place is very similar to Herberton Historic Village, back home in Queensland, another collection of old buildings and articles that’s well worth a visit ( post coming!) unfortunately you have to pay for Herberton, I believe it’s privately owned, St Fagans is funded by the Welsh government and the Heritage Lottery.

Welsh coal fire. Museum Welsh life St Fagans
Plenty of Welsh coal fires to warm frozen gingers.

This was a purpose built cock fighting pit. I’ve never seen anything like that before!


There are animals too! Traditional Welsh breeds. These Welsh black cattle were the only ones out braving the cold when we visited, they were gorgeous!


It’s wonderful for me, that even though we’re “home” we’re still learning, travelling and experiencing new things. It’s taken me a very long absence to appreciate what a magnificent country Wales is. I love it, come visit!

Back to our main Wales Travel Blog page

Traditional Nepali Food Guide. 3 Nepalese Dishes and Text
What is Nepalese Food Like? Nepali Foods to Enjoy
Best areas to see in London
Best Areas of London to Visit

Melissa R

Thursday 12th of May 2016

We are about to start a year long trip to the UK with our kids. We will be staying for a week in St Fagans so I was very happy to learn about this museum. Can't wait to visit and to incorporate this into our kids' education. Loving the confidence and inspiration your blog is giving me.

[email protected]

Thursday 12th of May 2016

Thanks Melissa, this museum is an absolute must-do, we loved it. If you want more information on this area let me know, it's my home turf.

Natascia Russo

Friday 3rd of January 2014

Wow! Such an incredibly beautiful place. I love the photos and your adventure. Thanks


Tuesday 31st of December 2013

I lived in the UK for almost 7 years before starting this round the world trip and went to Wales only once, that's definitely not enough. I heard so many good things about Wales that I must go back one day and see more of it.

[email protected]

Thursday 2nd of January 2014

Hi Franca, thanks for stopping by. Wales has totally blown us all away this time, it's been fabulous, one of the highlights of our trip so far. When you live somewhere for a long time you often miss what's right under your nose, I did!


Tuesday 31st of December 2013

Andrew had already promised to take me here in the summer, now I'm even more excited! Since he grew up in Wales Andrew doesn't see it as a touristy place so he always forgets to take me out to see the sights when we visit his family.

Melanie Murrish

Monday 30th of December 2013

It's amazing the places you don't visit when they're on your doorstep isn't it Alyson? So pleased you are having a great time in your home country (somewhere we haven't visited I'm ashamed to say). By the way, no offence Chef, but are you sure you had anything to do with those boys? ;)

[email protected]

Monday 30th of December 2013

I know! There are so many attractions round here that I've never been to and most of them are free. Plus there is incredible countryside and beaches. I just love it here, particularly Cowbridge,I'd love to live here. I'm putting it on my vision board right next to the money fairy :)

nomadic family life


Creator of World Travel Family

Alyson is the creator of World Travel Family travel blog and is a full-time traveller, blogger, and travel writer. A lifetime of wanderlust and now over 7 years on the road, 50+ countries allowed the creation of this website, for you. She has a BSc and worked in pathology before entering the travel arena and creating this website. World Travel Family Travel Blog has been helping you travel more, better, and further since 2012, when Alyson and James first had this life changing idea. On this site you can find endless travel information, tips, and guides plus how to travel, how to fund travel, and how to start your own travel blog.