[AD press tickets]
When children start learning about money, it’s an alien concept to them. The value of coins, what you can buy for the money in your hand and adding and subtracting different amounts. So when the Royal Mint Experience asked if we’d like to visit, I jumped at the chance. Another way to reinforce their learning and make money interesting.
Royal Mint Experience Guided Tour
To look around the Royal Mint, you need to go on a guided tour. It’s advisable to book this in advance so you don’t have a wasted journey. You do need to arrive for the tour in plenty of time. The Royal Mint is well signposted and has a large car park for visitors. Before going on the tour, you need to check in at reception and go through security. All bags are checked and everyone walks through a scanner.
Once security checks are done, the tour guide walks you through the first part of the tour. A short video tells you about how the Royal Mint began and its history. Next, the tour guide explains how coins are made and why particular features are on a coin. For example, there are several reasons why there is a lip around the outside of each coin. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to stack them, and they’d also stick together and be incredibly difficult to separate.
The Royal Mint workforce are hard at work 24 hours a day, nearly every day of the year. This means that during the tour, you’ll see them making coins. From behind a screen, you can watch the factory in operation. Machines produce the coins, people manually check them and large pots of coins are tipped by forklifts. Once you’ve seen how coins are made, you have the opportunity to strike your own coin. At the moment it’s a Britannia £2 coin. However, the coin you strike varies depending on the theme the Royal Mint is celebrating at the time. There’s an extra charge of £6.90 for this, and anyone can do it as it only involves pressing a button.
Throughout the guided tour, photos are not permitted. However, they do take three photos for you before moving into the exhibition if you’d like to purchase photos. Whilst the guided tour is conducted as a group, the exhibition can be taken at your own pace. I thought we wouldn’t spend long in this area, because the girls usually have a habit of whizzing past everything. Perhaps it was down to the engaging tour guide that they actually spent a decent amount of time looking around the exhibition, fascinated by the coins and medals.
From historic money and sovereign coins to Olympic medals, the exhibition displays everything the Royal Mint is known for. You can pick up a gold bar and see enough pound coins to pay off your mortgage casually left lying around for decoration. The girls were most excited to see the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic medals. I have to admit that was a high point for me too. In the exhibition, a table and chairs were set up for children to design their own coin or medal. These may even be made by the Royal Mint one day. The girls spent ages on their drawings and posted them in the post box at reception. It was a lovely way to keep them entertained and engaged in learning about what happens at the Royal Mint Experience.
Food and drink at the Royal Mint Experience
We came out of the exhibition at around lunchtime. After dragging the children through the gift shop trying to buy every single thing, we made it into the café. The menu in there was basic but really well done. My husband and I both had a baked potato with salad and the girls had a children’s lunch box. The meals were tasty and the salad was fresh, ideal for a snack after a tiring morning looking around the exhibition.
Further information about the Royal Mint Experience
- How long does the Royal Mint Experience last? I would suggest leaving about two hours to ensure you have long enough for your tour and to look around the exhibition.
- Where is the Royal Mint Experience? In Pontyclun, about half an hour drive from Cardiff city centre. The postcode for the SatNav is CF72 8YT.
- When did the Royal Mint Experience Open? May 2016.
- Royal Mint Experience price: The current price for the tour at the time of writing is £13.50 for an adult and £11 for a child on the door. Under 5s go free, concessions are £12 and a family ticket is £40. It’s slightly cheaper to book online.
- Can you visit the Royal Mint Gift Shop without going on the tour? Yes, there is no need to go through security or do the tour to visit the gift shop. It’s right by the door and you can visit anytime.
- Who is the Royal Mint Experience for? This was lovely to visit as a family and the tour guide was very engaging so the girls enjoyed it. Younger children may find it a little more difficult because the tour is very factual and could be a bit dry if they had no concept of money. It would also be great to visit as an adult without children, it’s definitely not just a family day out.
- Further information: Find out more on the Royal Mint Experience website.
[AD press tickets]