I was very excited to talk about the Big Pit, the National Coal Museum of Wales. It is a free museum and is so worth a visit. Saying that is a museum is a bit strange, because it is more like an experience. Unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to take pictures inside the mine, but I will talk about that a bit later in the post.
Big Pit is a lovely museum where you can get refreshments in the tea rooms, a tour of the mine, an immersive tour of the how the mine operated through the years, starting with a short clip of less than 10 minutes. There are a few areas where I could take pictures and I shared those.
If you want to visit the Big Pit, make sure you allow plenty of time to do everything. To see everything and have a break for tea/coffee or lunch you would need about 3 to 4 hours. Only the mine tour is 1 hour and there is a bit of a waiting time for that one. There are a few more tourist attractions nearby and so you can easily make a day out of it, if you are not too tired though.
This is me, before going in the mine. We weren’t allowed to take with us anything that might give a spark, as it was a risk of explosion. We had to give out any lighters, phones, cameras, car keys, and watches, before we were allowed in the mine. Because it’s pitch black in the mine, we were given a lantern to place on our very useful hard hat.
After a brief safety training, as in, don’t bang your head during the tour, we were taken down into the mine with a miner’s lift. The tour of the mine was incredible. We had to duck more than half of the tour, we found out terrible things about the people and horses who worked in the mine. It was such an interesting tour, very memorable. I think it should be a bit more clear that the tour is suitable for fit people, able to walk on a slippery surface, carrying a 5kg lamp, and ducking a lot of times. These downsides are the things that make the tour worth it and more of the experience I mentioned before.
After the tour, we went to the battery charging station to give our batteries so they could be recharged. Besides the lamps we also had a mask each. Our guide was a miner and his stories were so interesting. I’ve enjoyed it a lot. Please make sure you are giving a small donation, if you can. After visiting the mine, I think they could charge £10-£15 per tour without a doubt, as it is so exciting and different.
There are a few more buildings which can be visited and they worth going to as well.
The medical facilities were very interesting to see and also to hear about, as a recording of a nurse who worked there was played.
When in Wales… I had to get a couple of welsh cakes. My husband picked a delicious apple pie.
After seeing the showers, cleaning area, the lockers, and the museum, we went to see the 10 minutes clip, followed by a tour of the history of the mine. It is very interesting, so don’t miss it.
Big Pit is in Pontypool, NP4 9XP. They have a good sized car park, which is pay and display.