MONSTER visitor figures showing a “record-breaking” season for Welsh heritage have been released.

The figures, revealed by the Welsh Government, show that Cadw sites across Wales were hugely popular last year. The success has been put down to a Welsh dragon which embarked on a tour of seven castles. The creature, measuring four metres in length and two metres wide, had reptile-like black and red scales, flaring nostrils that fired smoke and an outreached claw ready to capture passers-by.

More than that 135,000 families explored Cadw sites between July and September 2016, contributing to a total visitor figure of more than 600,000.

Rhuddlan Castle – which hosted the reptile-like creature last August bank holiday – attracted more than 7000 families to its grounds while the dragon was in residence, marking a 685 per cent uplift vs the same period last year.

Ken Skates, Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure in Wales, which includes Culture, Tourism and Heritage, said: “Old records have been broken and new ones set. It shows that innovative ideas like the Cadw Dragon help to spark a renewed interest in our heritage which not only has a positive impact on our historic environment but also on Wales’s wider economy.”