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Museum of Welsh Life St Fagans. Time Travel!

Last Updated 08/11/2022.

The Museum of Welsh Life is an outstanding museum and day out in South Wales, at St. Fagans near Cardiff. It’s a must-do day trip from Cardiff and a must for international visitors to Wales. This Welsh museum is free and has an incredible collection of Welsh buildings throughout history. Check out our review post and trip blog to learn more!

Museum of Welsh Life St Fagans Wales
The Museum of Welsh Life at St Fagans you’ll find beautiful old cottages lovingly reconstructed. The building in the foreground is a pig sty! The Museum of Welsh Life St Fagans

My name is Alyson, I am from Wales originally but these days I’m a professional travel blogger touring the world with my kids and husband. The whole family loved The Museum of Welsh Life at St Fagans.

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.

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.

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

The museum of Welsh Life St Fagans Castle

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!

Wales Travel Blog. The museum of Welsh life
This stunning Welsh red cottage at St Fagans is very worth seeing.

You can explore the beautiful castle, its 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 rebuilt in the grounds of St Fagan’s castle. They’re well spread out, you feel like you’re taking a walk in the country, not touring a museum.  Most of them hold furniture and appliances typical of their era.

One of the oldest Welsh cottages at St Fagans
One of the oldest Welsh stone cottages at the St Fagan’s Museum

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 roof stone cottage St Fagans

Slate roofs and thatched roofs on the cottages at The Museum of Welsh Life, so very Welsh!

Welsh slate roof
A Welsh slate roof. So expensive today!
Welsh doves museum of welsh life st fagans

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

Welsh outside toilet museum of welsh life st fagans

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

Sign museum of welsh life st fagands shop
A local shop, just like I remember as a child in Wales.

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.

Old Welsh flat irons museum wales
Welsh flat irons inside a cottage at The Museum of Welsh Life.

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 inside a reconstruction cottage museum of Welsh Life
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!

Cock fighting pit museum of welsh life wales
Cock fighting pit museum of welsh life wales

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

Welsh Heritage Breed Cattle Museum of Welsh Life
Heritage Breed Welsh Cattle at the Petting Zoo, Museum of Welsh Life.

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 2022, we can tell you that The Museum of Welsh Life at St. Fagans is open Check their website for full details. Things could change.

Wales The Museum of Welsh Life Cardiff Reviews
Museum of Welsh Life Cardiff, a review and guide.

It’s wonderful for me, that even though we’re “home” in Wales 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! The other must-see museum near Cardiff is Big-Pit Mining Museum, perfect with kids.

Back to our main Wales Travel Blog page or see our full guide to things to do in Wales with kids. If you’re travelling on to England we also have England with kids.

If you'd like to hire a car during your stay, use this car rental comparison tool to find the best deal!

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.

alyson@worldtravelfamily

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

Franca

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.

alyson@worldtravelfamily

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!

Amy

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? ;)

alyson@worldtravelfamily

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 :)

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