Discover the story of black gold as you explore
one of the area's finest mining museums. The Rhondda Heritage Park is
based on the site of the former Lewis Merthyr Colliery in the heart
of the Rhondda Valley.
Visitors are able to get a taste of what life was like as a
collier with an underground experience tour in the company of a
former miner. Don your safety helmet in the lamp room, ride
'the cage' to 'pit bottom' where you will 'live the experience' of
life as a miner and hear from your guide about the hazards and
tasks miners endured as part of their daily work.
However, in the run up to Christmas, the tunnels and
workings are transformed into Santa's Toy Mine. Descend in
the lift but instead of the usual mine tour, you will embark on a
quest where you must follow the clues to find Santa's secret hide
Tours run daily right up until Christmas Eve. For more information, please head to the
Still stuck for that final Christmas gift, then worry no
more. Festival Park is bound to have
Located near Ebbw Vale, Festival Park is one of two branded designer outlets in Southern
Wales. It is home to over 40 high street shops
all under one roof. You will find some of the top
brands selling some of their latest goods at discounted
There's plenty to keep you occupied if shopping is not your
thing. It is situated in a 70 acre parkland setting in the
heart of the Southern Wales Valleys. There are cafes and
restaurants to keep you fed and watered and even an owl
Visit the website for more details
to the Food Festival, one of the biggest and best annual food
festivals in the country, the pretty market town this weekend (13
& 14 December) hosts their
Christmas Food Fair.
Every culinary taste is catered for - rare and exotic, innovative
or traditional. There'll be over 80 specialist exhibitors
selling everything from fresh and cured meats, cheeses, chocolates to
local wine, ales and ciders.
There'll also be chef demonstrations and activities for children
as well as plenty of seasonal music, choirs and bands to ensure a
truly festive atmosphere.
Take a look at the website for more
One of the biggest and best Christmas markets in Wales
gets underway this weekend.
The Caerphilly Christmas Fayre
attracts visitors from far and wide to experience the festivities
in this historic town. With the giant medieval castle
providing the backdrop, the fayre is sure to get you in the
Visitors will experience Christmas through the ages as the fayre
embraces the traditions of Christmas past and present.
Over 100 stalls will be ready to tempt you, including a Farmers'
Market selling the best local produce and a Continental Market,
ensuring that you get a taste of a European Christmas.
Caerphilly Castle itself will
also get in on the act as it is transformed into a Victorian
fairytale castle full of decadence and romance. There'll also
be traditional fairground rides, mulled wine and of course a visit
from Father Christmas himself. There'll also be free entry to
the castle for children.
For more information on the fayre take a look at the website or see what other
Christmas events are coming up over the coming weeks by clicking here.
The Bridgend Elfsteddfod is back.
Back in 2010, the town of Bridgend took on
mighty New York in the battle of the Elves. The Big
Apple held the record for the most elves gathered together in one
place. Bridgend decided to take on the challenge and ended up
smashing the world record with 794 elves gathering in the town
Every year since then,
Bridgend has successfully topped their record with more and more
elves coming to the town to be part of history and the current record, set last year, stands at
Not one to rest on their laurels, the town is looking yet again to
break its own record.
This Saturday, 13th December, people are being invited to gather
in the town for a day of festivities which will culminate in the Elf World Record attempt. To
take part, just turn up in a red or green jumper and collect one of
the official elf hats that will be provided.
Who knows, you might end the day as a World Record Holder.
This is the village of Merthyr Mawr near Bridgend. It's an
idyllic little settlement, as picturesque as they come, with an
outstanding collection of thatched cottages positioned around an
old village green.
Despite being a relatively small village, there's plenty of
interesting places to visit. The 'Dipping Bridge' was built
in the 15th century, the holes in the sides allowed farmers to push
their sheep into the River Ogmore for a seasonal dip!
Just down the lane lie the remains of Candleston Castle, once a 15th
century fortified mansion house, whilst nearby Ogmore Castle is
probably the most picturesque castle in Wales.
Just beyond the castle is one of the biggest sand dune systems in Europe. It
once stretched for miles, right around Swansea Bay and some of the
dunes are as big as small mountains. The dunes are an
important wildlife habitat and site of scientific interest, which
shelters a rich variety of plants. Parts of the Hollywood
blockbuster 'Lawrence of Arabia' were filmed here.
Every year, just before Christmas, hundreds of amateur athletes
descend on the village for the annual Christmas Pudding Run.
The race is a challenging multi-terrain, six mile run that winds
its way through the sand dune system. The route starts with
an ascent of the highest single sand dune in Europe - the fearsome
But it doesn't end there, the race then continues with even more
climbs, over rough moorland and through several streams before
eventually the runners get to the finish line.
And the prize for completing this gruelling course……a Christmas pudding of
the chance to visit the Guardian Mining Memorial this
Towering above the village of Six Bells, in the heart of the Valleys, the Guardian
stands as a monument to the mining industry that once dominated
this landscape and commemorates the lives lost in the 1960 Six
Bells Colliery disaster.
Despite visiting several times in the past, the monument never
fails to impress. And this time we were lucky to get a guided
tour of local expert Meg Gurney.
She has a wealth of knowledge on the Guardian - the process of
building it, the history of the Six Bells site and the mining
industry locally. She also told us some poignant stories of
those who perished in the disaster and those who had lucky
escapes. Hearing these stories added so much more to the
If you're visiting, be sure to call in to Tŷ Ebbw Fach. The former
coaching inn has been transformed into an information centre about
Guardian, whilst also providing light snacks and refreshments in
its excellent coffee shop.
For more information on the Guardian or Tŷ Ebbw Fach click on the
Did you know Wales produces its own
whisky? It might not be as well known as its Scottish or Irish
counterparts, but that is changing.
Penderyn Whisky (which takes
its name from the village in the Brecon Beacons National Park where
the distillery is based) started production in 2000 and the first
bottle was released on St David's Day in 2004. It was the first
whisky to be (legally!) produced in Wales since the 19th century.
The distillery is situated on a natural spring and it uses this
water, to produce the whisky.
The visitor centre opened in 2008 and gives visitors a tour
explaining how the distilling process works. Even better, at the
end of the tour you get the chance to sample the whisky (or vodka,
gin or cream liquor that they also produce).
And if you're really into your whisky, why not try the Penderyn
Distillery Master Class tour. This includes a detailed
tour of the distillery, an in-depth look at how the whisky is made
and also an expert tasting session.
For more details take a look at their website - www.welsh-whisky.co.uk
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