Since industrial tourism is one of the fastest growing areas of tourism, it is no surprise that a growing number of people visit a minting institution each year. Many government mints throughout the world offer guided tours of their minting facilities but it is Britain’s Royal Mint that has lifted such a factory visit to the status of event tourism with its visitor experience that it has named as “The Royal Mint Experience”.
Britain’s Royal Mint is the oldest mint in the world and it is known among bullion buyers worldwide as the producer of the Britannia and Sovereign coins. Its modern minting facility is located near Cardiff (about 12 miles north-west of the city) in the South Wales region of the United Kingdom. At this location, the Royal Mint recently opened a new visitor center with lots of exhibition space as well as a café, gift shop and education/corporate space. Visitors are advised to pre-book their tickets for The Royal Mint Experience online or by telephone.
When visitors arrive there, they will be led through security checks by a host. The Royal Mint Experience then starts at the pre-show area that provides a short introduction of the Royal Mint and its activities. The visit then continues with the Guided Factory Experience (no photos or filming allowed!) which takes about 45 min. Visitors are led through the manufacturing areas where they will learn how blank pieces of metal are made before being struck to become coins. The viewing area provides a glimpse of the striking hall where coins are produced continuously. At this part of the visit, you can have your picture taken surrounded by a chests of coins or even strike your own £1 coin that you can then take home as a souvenir. Both of these activities are optional and will cost you an additional fee if you decide to partake in them.
The Royal Mint Experience’s Interactive Exhibition
After you finished your factory tour, you will have time to go through the self-guided Interactive Exhibition. It has six different zones that focus on the Royal Mint’s history, coin and medal products, coin production processes, coin collecting and the different roles of coins in our lives. After you completed both parts of The Royal Mint Experience, you might want to relax a bit in the attached cafe or go hunting for souvenirs in the Royal Mint gift shop.
Overall I would say that The Royal Mint Experience is perhaps not unrivaled in the market for mint factory visits but certainly one of the best such experiences you can have. Other mints such as Australia’s Perth Mint are also trying to make their mint visit really special so perhaps the best thing to do is to visit them all!