The Royal Mint Experience

Introduction

The Visitor Centre

Only just opening in spring 2016, the Royal Mint Experience offers the public the chance to see coins being minted and learn a bit about the process. It consists of a purpose-built visitor centre alongside the mint itself.

Display of a Mini Covered with Pennies

Location

The Royal Mint Experience is located in “Llantrisant”, South Wales (CF72 8YT) just off of junction 34 of the M4.

Visiting

It is recommended that you pre-book tickets but they did seem to be offering tickets to visitors on the day. They have a large car park though it is confusing how to get to the entrance from there (tip: go back to where you entered the car park, the path is to the right).

Café

They also have a cafe and, of course, a shop selling all sorts of coins and things related to coins. There is a guide book for sale (£5 when I visited) which is worth a look.

Shop

The Experience

The ticket specifies a particular date and time of your tour. You need to first clear security - a walk-through scanner which leads you into a small room where a video is shown introducing the mint and how it operates.

The Buildings of the Mint

After the brief video you are led outside to an adjacent building where there is a display of the physical process of minting coins - from ore all the way to coin. No pictures allowed in the mint buildings themselves! At this point your guide also provides more information about the process. From here you are lead to a small room with a glass wall that looks out into the stamping and counting machines where you can see coins being made. Our guide helpfully opened small windows near the ceiling so we could hear the blanks as they were loaded into machines. We spent a fair amount of time here - A good idea since this is the only place you will actually see the minting process during your tour so enjoy it!

After seeing the coins being made we were shown into another room where we were able to press a button to mint our own coins (at a small cost, of course; you can pay either in advance of the tour or on the spot, as you wish) - Don't get too excited though since the blank is put into a machine by an operator and the only thing you do is press the button. Your newly minted coin is presented to you in a sealed plastic cardboard presentation packet. You can choose to have your photo taken (for a nominal charge, of course) in front of some boxes full of coins but we declined…

Different Coins Manufactured at the Mint

Leaving the minting building you are lead back to the visitor's centre and allowed to wander around a small museum then make your way out through the gift shop. This is where the real information lies and there is a lot to see here so, as our guide suggested, spend some time. Generally, the museum is divided into the following:

  1. Early minting processes
  2. The history of the Royal Mint - Including a 3D model of the mint buildings
  3. The coins made by the mint - A room with samples of the coins they make here from other countries (mostly those who cannot afford to have a mint themselves).
  4. Designing coins - From initial design to creation of the die.
  5. Related mint activities - Including minting of medals and the yearly “Trial of the Pyx” where coins are assessed for quality
  6. 180 degree video screen showing a video following the process of producing a coin
  7. A children's “hands on” area with various displays and fun activities - We liked the coin on the ground that you go to reach for and a voice sounds out “see a penny, pick it up and all the day you'll have good luck”
  8. A small display about coin collecting and coin collectors

Initial Design of Coins

From Design to Production

Worth a Visit?

I am a bit of a coin collector (I say a “bit” because I am not too serious about it) so it was really good to be able to visit this particularly since the public have never been previously able to see the minting process. They have made an effort to make the experience interesting to all ages with a lot of emphasis on the children with the different displays and activities.

Facts and Figures

I think it was an interesting visit and worth the time/money it takes to get here…

Sign Outside