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Museums & monuments


Museums. The very word can sound a bit dusty. But here in Mid Wales we’re not too keen on the “look but don’t touch” approach to history.


Our museums are time machines that transport you to a very different world. And they’re not just for pointing at. They appeal to all the senses.


From the very moment you step through the baize-covered door of the Judge’s Lodging in Presteigne, for example, you’ll believe you’re back in the 1870s.


You can smell the paraffin lamps, pump water in the kitchen, feel the dampness of the cells and hear the trial of the unfortunate William Morgan, local duck thief, echoing in the vast wood-panelled courtroom.


You won’t find museums like this anywhere else in Britain. That’s because they’re devoted to local heroes – like the Robert Owen Memorial Museum in Newtown  – or they reflect the quirks and eccentricities of true enthusiasts.


Which is why we have both the largest collection of historic bikes in Britain (The National Cycle Collection at Llandrindod Wells) and the only permanent display of automata, or moving toys, at Machinations near Machynlleth.


Look out too for the famous two-headed lamb at Llanidloes Museum or the rare Sheelah-na-gig, a carved stone woman with no inhibitions, at the Radnorshire Museum in Llandrindod Wells.

Our museums aren’t just packed full of interesting stuff – they’re heritage experiences in their own right. Newtown Textile Museum, for instance, is an old weaver’s cottage. Powysland Museum at Welshpool is a former canalside warehouse.


But the prize for atmosphere probably goes to the Welsh Crannog Centre – a thatched round house on stilts above Llangorse Lake.