MORE than 20,000 people have visited two Torfaen tourist attractions in the past few months. HAYLEY MILLS and KATEY PIGDEN report.

IN JUST over six months since it opened Llanyrafon Manor in Cwmbran, has attracted more than 10,000 visitors – beating its annual target of 8,000.

Around 2,000 people attended the open day on June 9, following the manor’s £1 million transformation.

The Grade II-listed building, one of the oldest nonreligious buildings in Torfaen, is now used as a rural heritage centre and has hosted several events including a Christmas event on Saturday, December 15, and Sunday, December 16.

Around 1,000 visitors flocked to the manor to browse Victorian fashion and trends.

Children were able to meet Santa and join in a workshop to make Christmas crackers, and a Christmas produce and craft market was held on the Sunday.

The open day in June let people step back in time and meet characters from more than 400 years of history.

Families enjoyed storytelling, falconry displays, historical games and activities, food and craft taster sessions and guided tours.

The refurbishment of the building was funded by the rural development plan, the Welsh government, Cadw, the Department for Economy Transportation, the Cwmbran Operations Group and Torfaen council.

Cllr Bob Wellington, Torfaen council leader, said: “This magnificent building has been completely transformed and it is now a facility the community can truly be proud of.”

Events have been successful throughout 2012, such as a Second World War day, which saw 900 visitors at the Manor Homefront with American GIs bringing luxury items for resident land girls. Children had the chance to patrol with the Home Guard and practise Blitz survival techniques, while adults enjoyed cidermaking demonstrations and talks from local volunteers.

The manor also runs education sessions, which are proving popular with Torfaen schools and schools from outside the borough.

Meanwhile, the Rhymney Brewery visitor centre has attracted 10,000 visitors after opening eight months ago.

The first public tour of the new brewing centre and visitor facility on the Gilchrist Thomas Industrial Estate, Blaenavon, took place in April.

The Rhymney Brewery, which was at Merthyr Tydfil for seven years, relocated to the site next to Big Pit, hoping to expand its total beer production by 30 per cent over the next three years.

It has also brought new employment opportunities to the area, with the company expanding from 18 staff to 30.

Sales manager Andy Thomas said: “The move to Blaenavon was seamless.

The logistics of moving brewery equipment was like a mini D-Day landing, ensuring that nothing or nobody was left behind.”

The £1 million brewery and visitor centre is open to visitors Monday to Sunday, 11.30am until 5.30pm. Entry to the visitor centre is £2.50 per person. For more information call 01685 722253.