Like Gaudí’s famed Sagrada Família in Barcelona, Beaumaris Castle was never completed. But now, thanks to a £170,000 investment from the Welsh Government’s historic environment service (Cadw), visitors will be able to experience Edward I’s castle as it was originally intended, for the very first time.
The new installations, which were put to the test by local schoolchildren from Ysgol Beaumaris today (28 June 2016), take visitors on a digital guided tour of the site using an interactive app to bring displays to life in a fun and modern way.
Regarded as ‘the most technically perfect castle in Britain’ thanks to its ingenious ‘walls within walls’ plan, visitors will now be able to see a dedicated exhibition about the site’s construction; meet the castle craftsmen through 3D displays and innovative soundscapes; and take part in a physical castle build activity – all designed to bring the original plans for Beaumaris Castle to life.
The brains behind Beaumaris’ complex design, master mason James St George, has also provided a strong source of inspiration for the interpretation, with an art sculpture unveiled in his honor.
Created by artist Sebastien Boyesen, who designed the iconic Guardian monument in Six Bells, the sculpture measures 7ft tall and took four months to complete.
Other site improvements include AV displays, new signage and the addition of a family trail.
Ken Skates, Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure who has responsibility for Culture and Tourism, said: “Along with Harlech, Conwy and Caernarfon castles, Beaumaris Castle forms one of Wales’s only three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, so it’s crucial that we continue to strengthen its visitor experience to attract visitors from Wales and beyond.
“We’re always looking at imaginative ways to bring Wales’s historic sites to life to appeal to new audiences, and through the use of digital technology and creative displays, the improved interpretation succeeds in doing just that.”
The £170k project forms part of Cadw’s Historic Adventures campaign which, during Visit Wales’s Year of Adventure, has brought visitors never-seen-before events and a giant reptile-like dragon, all designed to showcase Wales’s heritage in a new and exciting way.
Beaumaris Castle is open to the public daily from 9.30am – 5pm, extending to 6pm from 01 July 2016. For more information, visit www.gov.wales/cadw, find Cadw on Facebook or follow @CadwWales on Twitter.