The Welsh Government’s deputy minister for culture, sport and tourism, Dafydd Elis-Thomas AM, has said further investment in Caerphilly Castle is worth “looking at”.
Lord Elis-Thomas also called for talks on improving public transport access to the 13th century monument.
The minister oversees Cadw, the Welsh Government body which has responsibility for the castle.
Cadw published a five-year ‘masterplan’ outlining £8.1 million worth of improvements earlier in 2019.
Ideas such as boats on the moat have been mooted as part of the masterplan.
Speaking at Cadw’s Kids History Festival, which was held at the castle on Thursday, August 1 and Friday, August 2, the minister told Caerphilly Observer: “We’ve emphasised, particularly in the last two years, the importance of not looking at these as just monuments to look at, but places to enjoy and places for things to happen.
“It’s about looking at historic sites and monuments as living places where people can find knowledge, entertainment and education, but it’s also part of our history and part of our identity.
“Of course the whole history and the size of the castle and the quality of the building means it does have a high number of visitors and we think it is worth looking at further investment, especially around the area of the Great Hall.
“Here you have a facility which is ideal for public use and for concerts, banquets and all sorts of activities and we hope to develop that.”
Lord Elis-Thomas added: “There have been discussions about access to the castle. It’s mainly pedestrian access although people can park fairly close by, but we would like to see a discussion with Transport for Wales and Caerphilly County Borough Council on whether it’s possible to improve the access by public transport, because obviously if we can offer people a visit to a monument of this kind and the attractions and activities that go on here on sustainable transport that is a very big plus for us and for the environment.
“This is our biggest castle and we have seen from the number of visitors here that people enjoy coming here. It is a very safe site, now obviously there are issues occasionally with things like the moat and safety is paramount to whatever we do.
“There are safety-related issues which we need to deal with and if we are to make the attraction even more interesting for people with more activities, especially water-based activities, that will require further investment.
“As part of work on the masterplan for this site and others, there will be public consultation and that will continue and any decisions that we make about the future development of this castle will be based on agreement with the local authority and with the visitors that like to use the castle.”
Gwydion Griffiths, head of marketing at Cadw, said: “The masterplan is a set of options that we were proposed and the process is now is going through those suggestions and ideas and shortlisting them.
“It’ll be over the forthcoming years you’ll see development happening in Caerphilly – 2020, 2021, 2022 and so on.
“It’s a process we want to get right, which will take time.”
The Kids History Festival began at the castle and will be held across Wales throughout August.
Nearly 2,500 visitors went to the castle for the two-day event, which offered everything from Lego castle building workshops to feminist history lectures and even medieval character sketching lessons.
Caerphilly Castle played host to a series of five live events last month.
The Stranglers, The Ruts DC, Public Service Broadcasting, The Zutons, Black Stone Cherry, and Groove Armarda all performed.
Promoters Orchard Live said the events attracted 10,000 over the two weekends.