There’s a brand new attraction in the Valleys - The Royal Mint Experience - where the pennies in your pocket are made. This is where legends are, quite literally, minted on gold and silver coins and medals celebrating our sporting and military heroes. Behind the scenes you can watch money coming off the production line and strike your own coin to take home. There’s an amazing exhibition detailing 1000 years of money making in Britain, which shows you how the craftsmen create their eye-catching designs.
In the nearby town of Llantrisant there is an ancient tradition of money being thrown into streams and ponds for young boys to jump in and recover. It was part of the ‘Perambulation of the Parish’, when the Freemen of the town walk the parish boundary. Taking place only once every seven years, the next ‘perambulation’ will be on June 17th 2017!
We’ve got another type of gold in the Valleys too - Black Gold. That’s what the rich seams of coal found here were called. You can take a Black Gold Tour at Rhondda Heritage Park, led by miners who worked at the Lewis Merthyr Colliery. Don’t miss their ‘Bracchi’ café, a reminder of a time when every street corner in the Rhondda had an Italian café serving frothy coffee, ice cream and glassy-coloured pop! Thousands of Italians moved here at the height of the coal boom, bringing Italian café culture with them.
Love in the Valleys
25th January - St Dwynwen’s Day The Welsh equivalent of St Valentine’s Day.
How about creating a Welsh love spoon for your beloved, a tradition that goes back centuries. Under the expert tuition of wood carver Phillip Williams, at Cwm Tawel Yurts, you can craft your own masterpiece. And if the love spoon has the desired effect you know where to go to find a shiny silver sixpence to put in the bride’s wedding shoe!
Until 28 January 2017 Zoomorphic – the half world between animal and human at Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre. The zoomorphic transformation of humans taking on animal form has long been part of folklore and religion, from Egyptian gods to European fairy tales.. The work in this exhibition explores the half world between human and animal through ceramics, textiles and print.
Chinese New Year To celebrate Chinese New Year on 28th January pay a visit to the Royal Mint Experience and treat yourself to a special edition coin to celebrate the Lunar Year of the Rooster in 2017, one of a series of coins celebrating the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac. Tradition has it that people born in the Year of the Rooster love to stand out from the crowd, just like the Rooster crowing to meet the rising sun!