Today is Calan Gaeaf in
Wales. Translated into English, this means the start of
winter and is an ancient celebration to mark the Celtic New
These days the more modern celebration of Halloween is more widely
celebrated although this has its roots in the Calan Gaeaf
One place you should visit today is Llancaiach Fawr, a
16th century manor house and, reportedly, the most
haunted house in Wales. Many sightings and strange goings on
have been reported in almost every room of the house. Ghosts are
believed to include a former housekeeper named Mattie and that of
an unidentified young boy.
Llanciach Fawr is marking Halloween with a spooky ghost tour where
visitors can see if any spirits are coming out to play. Take
a look for yourself on the Ghost Cam, if you dare.
Aside from the ghost tours, Llancaiach Fawr itself is a great day
out. Visitors can step back in time to 1645 and the time of
the Civil War.
The house is decorated in the style of the era and visitors get
the chance to meet the mansion's servants who will tell you of what
life was like at that time. Servants you might come
across include the maids, the cooks and the groom. And if you're
lucky you might even get the chance to meet Colonel Pritchard, the
master of the house himself.
Take a look at their website for more details.
a small town with a big history.
At the centre of the town is the beautiful Bedwellty Park. The 26
acre park dates from the 19th century when it was
created for the Master of the local iron works, Samuel Homfray.
The parkland is full of interesting features such as cascades, a
bandstand and an ice house. It also boasts the biggest single
lump of coal ever mined.
The park's centre piece though is Bedwellty House. Once home
to Homfray, the house has a remarkable history. As well as
being a residence, the house also became the headquarters of
Tredegar Town Council.
And it was in this council chamber that a young Aneurin Bevan took
his first steps into politics, before he went on to become the
local MP and founder of the NHS. Visitors can take a look
inside this historic room and watch a short film as well as browse
through a number of other exhibitions.
Bedwelty House and Park is open all year round to the
Visitors to the house and park can relax and unwind in the Orchid
House tearoom where they can sample a range of homemade
specialities, including produce grown in its very own kitchen
For more information please visit the website
Standing on the banks of
the River Wye in the pretty
village of Tintern, it's hard to imagine a more tranquil setting
for one our biggest historical attractions.
Tintern Abbey was built in
the 12th century by an order of Cistercian monks who lived in the
Abbey for 400 years. Latterly the Abbey attracted the
attention of celebrated poets and artists such as Wordsworth and
Despite the shell of this grand structure being open to the skies,
it remains the best-preserved medieval abbey in Wales.
These days the remains are popular with visitors to this corner of
Wales and walkers exploring the nearby Wye Valley and Offa's Dyke
Other attractions nearby include the Abbey Mill Craft Village and
Tintern Old Station, a delightful country park with an award
winning tea room based in the station's old ticket office.
For more information please click on the following links
Tintern Old Station
Visit Wye Valley
Just to the north of Newport lies Caerleon, a
small town with a big history. The town was once one of the
most remote outposts of the mighty Roman Empire and one of only
three permanent fortresses in Britain.
The legacy of that past is clearly visible today with many relics
and remains throughout the town. The amphitheatre is the most
complete in Britain while the barracks are the only one of
its kind still on view in the whole of Europe. A short stroll
through the town brings you to the Roman Baths, in their time a
state of the art leisure complex with heated changing rooms,
exercise rooms and an open air swimming pool.
Telling the story of the town's Roman past is the National Roman Legion
Museum. Exhibitions and artefacts show how the
town and its garrison lived, fought and died.
Visit the museum's website for more
With its towering turrets and sprawling water defences,
Caerphilly Castle dominates the town
It's actually the second biggest castle in the UK behind
Windsor. It has been there since the late 13th
century when Gilbert de Clare decided he needed to keep the
rebellious locals at bay.
They're much more welcoming to visitors these days. They've
even built a bridge over the moat to stop you getting your feet wet
on the way in.To find out more about this impressive castle, take a
look at the video or visit the website.
In the tranquil surroundings of the
Bridgend's Garw Valley, lies
the beautiful Bryngarw Country Park.
113 acres stunning parkland to explore, including native
woodlands, formal gardens and secluded glades.
And lurking amongst the flora and fauna are the Ancient Keepers of
Bryngarw - four mythical guardians of the park's woodlands,
meadows, gardens and river. Awaken the keepers with your
special 'talisman' (available from the visitor centre) and hear the
stories, myths and legends of this mysterious area.
For more information on Bryngarw Park visit the website
A busy weekend is in
store for us as welcome the Group Travel Organisers Association
Western Branch to the region for a familiarisation visit.
The group, who are in Cardiff for their AGM, will also take time
to visit some of the area's best attractions and sample some
legendary Welsh hospitality.
The tour will kick off with a visit to Llancaiach Fawr, a
17th century manor house near Caerphilly, which takes you
back in time to see how the servants worked and lived during the
Back in the present day, and the group will then head for Wales'
only distillery at Penderyn in at the top of the
From there they head to the McArthur Glen Designer Outlet
near Bridgend, to browse (and
spend) in some of the centre's 90 designer and big name
Dinner at Llanerch Vineyard will round off the day in a relaxing
The following day, the group will head for the St Fagans National
History Museum and enjoy a trip aboard the Cardiff Bay Road
Train. Whilst in the Bay, they'll also visit the Norwegian
Church and the Senedd.
The weekend will then be rounded off in unforgettable style with a
sumptuous feast at Cardiff Castle's famous Welsh Banquets.
The group will be guided by Steve Griffin from Griffin
We hope the GTO's have a great time and that they will be inspired
to return with their groups in the not too distant future.
This weekend sees Wales' biggest and best food festival
come to Abergavenny.
The historic market town, which has a great reputation amongst
foodies will be full of stands, stalls and exhibitors giving
visitors, quite literally a taste, of Wales.
Complementing the stalls are a variety of masterclasses, tastings
and talks whilst there is plenty to keep the kids happy with
workshops, story telling and live music.
Don't worry if you can't make it to Abergavenny, there are two
more great food festivals coming up over the next few
Look our for the Bridgend
Food Feastival (26-27 September) and the Newport Food Festival (4 October)
Event - Porthcawl Elvis Festival
Location - Porthcawl
Date - 26 - 28 September
On the face of it Porthcawl seems to be a typical British
seaside resort. Just 30 minutes from Cardiff, the town has
everything you would expect - sandy beaches, a fairground, seafront
Grand Pavilion and of course fish and chip shops.
Every September, the otherwise tranquil town comes alive as the
unlikely venue for one of the world's biggest and best Elvis
The Porthcawl Elvis Festival sees the town swamped with fans,
lookalikes and tribute acts all enjoying the atmosphere and the
various concerts and events throughout the area.
The festival is centred on the historic Grand Pavilion, a
traditional sea front theatre which is host to the main concerts
but the whole town gets in on the act with various events happening
throughout the resort all weekend.
The highlight of the weekend is the big Elvies award ceremony
where the best Elvis impersonators are rewarded for their work.
Continuing to build on the success of hosting the 2010
Ryder Cup, the Celtic Manor Resort near Newport will find itself
back in the golfing spotlight this week as it hosts the 2014 Wales
First held in 2000 the tournament is now firmly established on the
European Tour and attracts some of the biggest names in golf.
This year's competitors include Lee Westwood, Jamie Donaldson and
More information is available on the website