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Castles face big price hike.

Byline: Sion Morgan Reporter sion.morgan@walesonline.co.uk

TWO South Wales castles are among six popular historic sites facing hikes in admission due to funding cuts.

Prices are set to rise above PS5 for the first time at the fairytale Castell Coch in Tongwynlais, Cardiff, and the sprawling fortress, Caerphilly Castle.

Figures from Cadw, the Welsh Government's historic environment service, released by the Welsh Conservative party, show that prices will increase by between 12.5% and 22% in April.

The move is expected to raise an additional PS400,000 annual income for Cadw at a time when the body faces a PS150,000 cut in its funding from the Welsh Government in 2014-15.

A spokesman for Cadw said: "The proposed price of admission to Cadw sites remains modest in comparison with similar iconic attractions in Wales."

"The rises in admission prices at six of our sites are important to deliver the resources to develop and expand Cadw's services at these key attractions. It is also important to remember that 96 of the 129 Cadw sites are free to access."

For Castell Coch, Beaumaris Castle, Tintern Abbey and Caerphilly Castle, the standard adult admission fee will rise above the PS5 level for the first time.

Entrance to Castell Coch will rise from PS4.50 to PS5.50, and at Caerphilly Castle it will rise from PS4.75 to PS5.50.

Speaking ahead of Wales Tourism Week, which starts on Monday, Suzy Davies, Shadow Minister for Heritage, said: "Many families across Wales are looking for cheaper family days out without travelling too far, but high admission prices could act as a deterrent.

"Labour Ministers are supposed to be trying to widen access to Welsh heritage as part of their anti-poverty agenda, but it is difficult to see how such inflating-busting price hikes will help achieve that goal.

"Increasing prices at 10 times the rate of inflation will be seen as unfair and will push the standard adult admission price for some castles beyond the psychological PS5 threshold."

CAPTION(S):

Admission prices to attractions including Caerphilly Castle, above, and Castell Coch are set to rise by up to 22% this year

ANDREW DAVIES
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 22, 2014
Words:361
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