Posted: Tue 1st Mar 2016

Opening up Open Doors even further /
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Mar 1st, 2016

This year’s Open Doors festival could be more varied than ever and even more popular than last year’s month-long programme which featured 330 sites and more than 1,000 events across Wales. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Open Doors 2015 also won a gold award from the Chartered Institute of Public Relations for media coverage that helped attract 52,074 visitors to explore a Welsh heritage site over the month of September. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Now, as national co-ordinators, working with local organisations and more than 1,000 volunteers, Cadw is asking for more sites, and a wider variety of them, to join in this year. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

An aim for the next two years is to maintain and extend the programme, and to broaden the scope of the buildings involved, to include more archaeological sites, and to celebrate aspects that have helped shape the character of local communities, be they historic, linguistic or architectural. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Given that almost half of the country’s Grade I listed buildings are churches or chapels, it isn’t surprising that 40% of last year’s programme involved faith buildings. But heritage assets of every age, style and function open their doors, ranging from castles to industrial buildings, town halls to pubs, and chapels to Buddhist temples. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

And it’s not only the buildings — over the years, a range of events has emerged, offering visitors a chance to explore their local history and culture through guided walks, talks, exhibitions, re-enactments and other interpretative activities. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

All venues participating need to offer something special to qualify for Open Doors — in 2015, 15% of the sites waived their usual entrance fees and 25% were sites that are normally closed to the public. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

We’d love you to join us this September! Open Doors is an inclusive event. Registration opens today (1 March), and closes on 1 June. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Spotted something? Got a story? Email News@News.Wales

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