We had a lovely visit to the Royal Mint Experience in Llantrisant. It is the only place in the world where you can watch UK coins and medals being made plus it’s the world’s leading export mint, making coins and medals for an average of 60 countries every year.
The Royal Mint Experience provides an opportunity for people of all ages to learn more about the history, design and manufacture of billions of coins.
As you enter the car park you can notice the level of security with the barbed wire fencing.
There are factual information signs pointing you in the direction of the entrance.
There is a selection of information leaflets to pick up and some lovely photo opportunities to have your photo taken with Wallace and Gromit characters and a Mini Cooper decorated with 1 penny coins.
On entrance to the experience you are required to go through airport style security checks, the staff were very friendly and let the children become involved in scanning process. It was a fun way for the girls to begin the tour.
There is a short film presented by TV presenter Dan Snow with Welsh subtitles, we learnt some fascinating facts that there are 5 billion coins produced in the Royal Mint every year, 90 million per week and 750 coins made every minute. The Royal Mint has been based at Llantrisant since 1968.
The next part of the tour is a guided factory experience and photography was prohibited here for security reasons. The guide explained the process of how coins are made, through coil production, then coins going into a blanking machine, all coins start out as blank discs until they are minted into coins.
An edging machine is used to rim the coin, followed by a striking process using die to imprint the image onto the coin and lastly the telling of the coin for accuracy. The Royal Mint makes coins for many different countries all over the world.
There are two parts to a die that are used in the making of coins and due to forgery coins flooding the market, about 3% of coins are counterfeit, only one die is shipped at a time in case it ends up in the wrong hands.
You can view the coins being made and poured into large containers, hear the sound of thousands of glistening new coins pouring out and best of all getting to strike your own £1 coin. The girls got to press the golden button to start the striking process and the coins were still hot off the press as they were placed in their packaging.
This was a good keep sake as there is a new 12 sided £1 coin that will enter circulation in March 2017.
There is a photo opportunity to have your photo taken with chest full of coins that you can purchase from the gift shop. We did not purchase the photo as unfortunately we were photo bombed! The photos were around £7 each.
After the guided tour and factory experience you are walked back to the main building to a self-guided Interactive Exhibition.
The Royal Mint museum has a superb collection of some very old coins and there are displays showing the design process, artwork and the minting machines used in the making of the Royal Mint and how it has evolved over the last 1100 years.
Our guide explained that the Royal Mint started off being based in the Tower of London and it boasts some interesting displays of how medieval coins were made by hand using master tools and dies and the inaccuracy of the process.
It was also interesting to learn how new technology using lasers has revolutionised the Mint. What made this more interesting especially for the children was that the way they used technology to bring the story to life by using interactive projections onto the table.
It was really interesting to learn just how many countries have their coins produced by the Royal Mint, and the girls like looking at the different shapes and types of coins used around the world.
You are welcomed to take photographs here and the children enjoyed designing their own coins on paper.
There were lots of interesting games for the children to take part in from looking for pennies to making a wish by throwing a coin into the wishing well.
There were lots of interactive touch screens in the experience which made it interesting and engaging especially for the girls.
There was also an area where the girls had to find coins left under objects
One that was popular with my husband were some of the old fashioned games such as seeing how close you could get a penny coin against the wall to rolling a coin.
It was interesting to learn that the purpose of the monarchy on the coins was so that years ago when there was no internet the general public knew what their ruler looked like.
It was good to get up close to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic medals and also feel a mock medal and the difference in weight between the gold, silver and bronze.
You are also able to listen to the stories of those whose bravery has been rewarded with a gallery of war medals on display to look at.
Parking was free and there were lovely clean toilet facilities located in the café. We enjoyed a toasted panini in the café.
The tours are daily from 10-16.30. A family ticket is £38.50 for two adults and to children and under 5’s go free. You can book your tickets in advance or pay on arrival as we did. There is an extra £3 to strike your own coin or two coins for £5.
The gift shop has a selection of rare coins that you can purchase. Hidden away in the gift shop is a weighing scale that shows how much you would way in Gold. Not many people know about this and can be easily missed!
There are coins to celebrate the Rio Olympics GB team, the Queens 90th birthday and we did like the look of the Beatrix Potter rare 50p coin but at £10 each it was a little pricey. The coins can also be purchased from their online shop.
There was a family fun trail for the children to follow and hunt for picture logos along the tour.
The children were given a lovely pen and chocolate pennies as a keepsake as we were reviewing the experience. We were there for around two hours and the attraction was very interesting and one that we would recommend.
The experience has just newly opened on 18th May 2016 and is a great all weather attraction if you are visiting South Wales. It is situated 14 miles north west of Cardiff.
For more information please visit the Royal Mint website