Over 1.1 million visits were made to 23 staffed Cadw sites between April 2022 and March 2023.
Visitor numbers to Cadw’s staffed sites have recovered to 92% of pre-Covid levels.
An estimated well over 1 million visits were also made to unstaffed Cadw sites.
Income, including from visits to Cadw sites, have recovered past pre-Covid levels to £9.6m for the year ending March 2023
Visitor numbers to Cadw’s staffed sites have made an impressive recovery in the financial year 2022/23, reaching to 92% of pre-Covid levels with some sites performing better on pre-Covid levels.
Conwy Castle remains the most popular site welcoming 227,000 visits in the last year, an increase of 5% on pre-Covid levels. The largest increase was however at St. David’s Bishop’s Palace which saw visits increase by 49% on pre-Covid levels.
Following major works and improved visitor facilities at Caernarfon Castle and on-going work at Caerphilly Castle, Cadw expects a bumper year in 2023. In fact, early indications are that visitor numbers over the recent Easter holiday exceeded the equivalent period prior to the pandemic.
The successful recovery has led to a significant increase in commercial income for Cadw, now at a record level of £9.6m compared to the pre-Covid level of £8m.
This income helps to support Cadw’s vital work in conserving and protecting our outstanding heritage for the benefit of present and future generations. For example, Cadw has just completed major conservation work at Coety Castle, Bridgend and Neath Abbey. Just last week, Cadw announced the acquisition of the only visible surviving court of the medieval Welsh Princes at Llys Rhosyr.
In March, the Senedd passed ground-breaking new legislation that will make the law that helps to conserve and protect our historic sites of national importance become more accessible and better understood.
Welcoming the figures, Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport Dawn Bowden said:
“I’m pleased to see such encouraging visitor numbers across our fantastic Cadw sites. After an extremely difficult few years, we are well on track to make a full and record-breaking recovery.
In 2017 we put in place new governance arrangements for Cadw and I recently announced the appointment of Roger Lewis to lead a task and finish group to review these with a view to making them even stronger. The intention is to allow Cadw to continue to undertake its vital work in an effective way while remaining a part of the Welsh Government.
“The Welsh Government is committed to conserving and protecting Wales’ rich historic sites for the benefit of current and future generations.”