Bastion of the Crawshay dynasty
Cyfarthfa Castle Museum and Art Gallery was once the home of the Crawshay family, ironmasters of the Cyfarthfa Ironworks in Park, Merthyr Tydfil.
Back at the time of the industrial revolution when Merthyr was the iron and coal capital of the world, industrialist William Crawshay commissioned the spectacular mansion, one of the most imposing buildings in the area, to keep watch on his empire.
When it was built in 1924 it commanded a view of the valley and the ironworks he ran but today serves as a reminder of the ironmasters' former dominance over Merthyr Tydfil and the wealth the iron industry brought to the area.
Surrounded by 160 acres of beautiful parkland with formal gardens and a lake, there is also a brewhouse, icehouse and extensive storage cellars that once contained more than 15,000 bottles of wines and spirits.
Now home to a fantastic collection of artefacts spanning 2000 years of Merthyr's history, the museum and gallery on the ground floor exhibits precious historical items from around the world, not just from across South Wales.
The atmospheric museum charts the rise of this once great iron-making town and visitors can learn about the first locomotive to pull a load along rails, designed by Richard Trevithick in 1804, and discover the roots of the Labour movement from the Merthyr Rising of 1831.
The museum also houses the first steam whistle, the first voting ballot box, dresses by Laura Ashley and Julien McDonald, and impressive collections of Swansea, Nantgarw and Wedgwood porcelain.
There is also a tea room, model railway and plenty of activities for children including a play area and splashpad.