Wednesday 17 April 2019

Review: The Royal Mint Experience, Cardiff

Outside the Royal Mint Experience

Miss E has been avidly collecting 50p and £2 coins for nearly a year now. This is the kind of collection that I am right behind, as basically I see it as a great way to save money. Where other kids might collect rubbers, Beanie Boo teddies or football cards, Miss E’s collection isn’t really costing her anything, as all the time the coins remain legal tender, they are still worth the same.

For her the excitement is finding the coins and getting others to look out for them too. Of course you can buy coins to complete your collection but she isn’t interested in doing that as it is about the thrill of the hunt. Due to her collection she has developed an interest in coins in general and as we were heading to Minehead for our yearly Spring Harvest holiday I said to my hubby we could, perhaps, do a little detour on the way to stop off at the Royal Mint experience, just outside of Cardiff.

Coin covered Grommit

Royal Mint Experience
Newport Premier Inn was only £24.50 for the four of us for a Sunday night, so you can’t go wrong with that and it’s only about 15 miles away from Bristol, were we normally break our journey and stay. This was around a 30 minute journey along the M4 down past the outskirts of Cardiff and stopping at Llantrisant, Pontyclun for the Royal Mint Experience. It was an easy drive and there is plenty of free parking at the venue.

We spent around two hours at the experience, but you could spend more or less time there depending on what you do and how fast you move about. We started in the gift shop and it is really nice, there are some super unusual coins and commemorative items that you can buy, some costings hundreds or thousands of pounds, but also lots of smaller items for the kids to enjoy like stationary, pin badges and non-circulatory coins. I’d booked online and you need to arrive around ten minutes before your booked time slot to check in.

In our tour group there was probably around 25-30 people and this was a good number. You could always hear the tour guide and see all the things she was talking about or pointing out. Our tour guide was Megan and she is a little diamond, so friendly and nothing was too much trouble for her. She made it fun for us all by asking questions and engaging people. It was cool to see Miss E could answer all the questions about coin markings and rare coins.

Tween girl at the Royal Mint Experience

You start by watching a short video to give you a taste of what the Royal Mint is about and what you’ll see on the tour. Then your tour guide takes you through and shows you the inner workings of the machinery that is used to mint coins. You find out all sorts, what metals are used, how the blanks are made, how long a coin die lasts and the amount of money stored there - it’s a lot! You walk along special glass walled corridors to see some of the Royal Mint staff at work, making and checking the coins. Sadly, you can’t take any photos on the factory tour.

You have the opportunity to mint a special Britannia £2 coin for yourself to take away as a keepsake, this is £6.90 per person and my girls were both pleased to do this. As with most tourist places there is a green screen opportunity to have your photo taken against a backdrop of pouring coins. You can choose to buy a photo keepsake book with three A5 photos for £10, so that isn’t a bad price, but it’s a shame we couldn’t just take a photo ourselves of our daughters minting their own coins.

Royal Mint Tour with Megan

Led Tour and Exhibition
After this led tour you move through to the open exhibition and your tour guide will give a little information and visual talk on the history of coins. Then you’re free to make your way through the exhibition yourself. It’s interesting to see all the different nations that our mint makes coins for – places you’d never imagine like the Philippines, Papua New Guinea or Cyprus. Also made here are medals for military and sporting events too.

The girls entered a competition to design a coin and we enjoyed finishing our tour with time in the fun zone, playing some games identifying coins and rolling pennies. As it was Easter the girls were given a themed treasure hunt leaflet to work out the words from the clues around the exhibition and it was quite funny at first, as they both looked unimpressed, as if to say 'we’re 11'. Until I told them there is a prize and Megan advised them the prize was a lucky dip into the non-circulatory A – Z coins that are out at the moment. This made them both very happy and they manged to get an M and and E for their initials. Considering they cost £4 when mint in their cardboard presentation packaging, a free coin as the prize felt like a nice little gift, and they were both happy.

The Royal Mint Exhibition

It looks like there a various events throughout the year and they are actively working to make it engaging for kids.

Special for this Easter
There are the 'Tale of Peter Rabbit' storytelling and workshops available on selected dates over the Easter period; 18th, 20th, 22nd, 24th and 26th April 2019.  During the storytelling, children will be invited to take part in games and activities inspired by the book’s characters. Each workshop, including the storytelling and activities, will last approximately 45 minutes. If you have a tour ticket this will be included or it can be booked as a separate activity at £5 for a child and £1 for the accompanying adult.

Gift Shop and Restaurant
Once you’ve finished the tour and seeing the exhibition you go out into the gift shop and are free to use the restaurant. You can tell it is all pretty new as it looks clean and pristine. The toilets we used where in very good condition and were well replenished. We didn’t use the café in the end as we had seen lots of shops just a short drive away and the girls wanted to go to them, but the prices looked reasonable and the food offering good.

Tween girls at the Royal Mint

Prices and Useful Information
The cost for our family (2 adults and 2 children) was £38.50 when booked in advance. It is £13 for an adult, £10.50 for a child and £11.50 for Seniors (60+) or students. You can book your tickets online here. 

Address:  Llantrisant, Pontyclun, CF72 8YT
Phone number:  0333 241 2223
Accessibility:  Looked good, we had a lady in a mobility scooter on our tour and she was able to access everywhere and see everything easily
Car Parking:  Loads onsite for cars and coaches

Why not pin this post for later?

Royal mint experience pin

Disclosure:  None necessary, as we paid for this trip ourselves. As usual I remain honest and have not been instructed what to write. 

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