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.
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.
You'd be forgiven for thinking that Caerphilly is all
about the castle.
To be fair, covering 120,000 m2 Caerphilly Castle does tend to
dominate the town. It was built by Norman invaders but it was
an attack during the 17th century that left the castle
with its most striking feature - a leaning tower, which at 10
degrees has more of a tilt than its more famous counterpart in
When you've finished exploring it there is a lot more to do in
this corner of Southern Wales. A journey of 8 miles and
almost 400 years brings you to Llancaiach Fawr Manor and the
year 1645. You'll meet the servants of the manor who are busy
looking after the house for the master, Colonel Pritchard.
They'll regale you with tales of what life is like for them
amidst the turmoil of the civil war which rages around them.
What you need with so much history in an area is a museum to bring
it all together. Well, luckily for Caerphilly there's the Winding House. As the
name suggests, the building housed the winding mechanism for the
local colliery (in fact you can still see the engine in action on
special days throughout the year). Today the museum is home
exhibitions and artefacts charting the area's past.
Back in the 21st century and over in the next
valley is Cwmcarn Forest's
Mynydd, quite possibly the biggest, hardest, most
technical downhill mountain biking track in the country. It
also has terrific views over South Wales, not that you'll be able
to take them in as you hurtle down the side of the mountain.
There are also a number of other tracks at the centre if you're not
quite up to the big one or if you're after something a little more
sedate you can enjoy the beautiful 7 mile long forest drive.
To find our more about Caerphilly, please visit the website
It's a big weekend in Caerphilly this weekend with the
annual Big Cheese Festival. It all starts tonight with the
Great Cheese Race and the festivities continue throughout the
At the centre of the celebrations is of course the town's
fantastic castle, one of the biggest in the country.
To find out more about it take a look at this video where the King
of the Castle, (or Head Custodian to give him his proper title)
Tony Payne tells us all about this magnificent fort.
Gwyl Dewi Hapus (Happy St David's Day). Okay, I'm a couple of
days early, but this week does mark our National Day and on
1st March, up and down the country, people will be
The day commemorates our patron saint St David and marks the day
he died in 589AD. He is said to have performed many miracles
including when he caused the ground to rise beneath him when
preaching so that everyone could see and hear him.
The Cathedral of St David's in Pembrokeshire, where his remains
are buried, became a popular place of pilgrimage. It was said
that two pilgrimages to St David's equalled one to Rome.
The highlight of the festivities is the annual St David's Day Parade through Cardiff
City Centre. Beginning from outside City Hall at 12:30 pm the
parade snakes its way through the capital's streets before ending
up outside (quite fittingly) St David's Hall where there will be
traditional musical entertainment as well as a St David's Day
If you fancy taking in one of our castles then Cadw, the
organisation responsible for most of our historic sites have
announced that their properties will be opened free of charge on
These include the biggest castle in Wales at Caerphilly, one of
the oldest at Chepstow and the best preserved medieval abbey in
Wales, Tintern Abbey. More details can be found on the
Porthcawl will also be marking the occasion, when the
town hosts the annual Celtic Music Festival.
Dancers, singers and entertainers from all over the world descend
on the seaside town for a weekend celebration of all things
According to a recent tweet, Visit Britain said there are
12 great reasons to visit Wales. Great news of course, but
I'm sure there are many more.
Here are 12 of my own suggestions but please feel free to add some
of your own below.
Reasons to visit Wales
1. Spectacular Scenery
2. Rugged coastline ( a new 850 mile round Wales coastal path will
be opening soon, allowing you to enjoy every inch of it)
3. Friendly people
4. Caerphilly Castle - one of the biggest in Europe
5. St Fagans National History Musueum - a fantastic open air
6. The highest mountain in England and Wales (and a train to take
you to the top of it)
7. Visit the locations used to film Doctor Who (which as it
happens was the subject of a different Visit Britain blog)
8. Three World Heritage Sites
9. Three National Parks
10. Penderyn Distillery, making fantastic Welsh whisky
11. Great surfing beaches including Rest Bay, Porthcawl
12. The magnificent Millennium Stadium, home to our equally
magnificent rugby team
Get your flags and streamers ready as the world's
largest classical music festival, the Proms come to a spectacular
conclusion this Saturday. Whilst the main celebrations happen
at the Royal Albert Hall in London you can join in the fun at the
Proms in the Park event which is being held for the first time ever
With the town's might castle providing a stunning back-drop the
evening's entertainment will feature performances from Wynne Evans
and Elin Manahan Thomas and will be presented by the One Show's
Alex Jones. The evening will then culminate in a live TV link
up with the main event in London for the rousing finale and a
spectacular firework display above the Castle.
The party in the town however will start much earlier with
Fringefest - an eclectic mix of music, comedy, entertainment and
art. From midday the streets of Caerphilly will be full of
entertainers whilst the towns Castle will throws open it's rather
For more information on what's going on in Caerphilly this weekend
visit their website www.visitcaerphilly.com/events
Cheese weekend is fast approaching (29th - 31st July) with lots of
fun events and activities being organised to make this year's
festival one to remember.
One of the highlights of the weekend is the Great Cheese Race and
organisers are looking for teams of fun loving people to take
part.This year teams will run a in a relay format and the course
takes participants around a special course through the main event
site and around the grounds and over the drawbridge of the
magnificent Caerphilly Castle. The race is open to adults and
children and while fancy dress is optional it all adds to the
A relay baton of cheese will be passed between team members as
they runtheir lap (half a lap for each pair of juniors, a full lap
for each pair of adults).
Adults will be expected to use the traditional cheese stretchers
to carry the cheese truckles on.
The first race will take place at 6.30pm on 29th July
and will form part of the opening celebrations for the Big Cheese
Festival on the Friday evening.
All entrants will receive a certificate and medal, with overall
winners for best fancy dress and each race.
To receive an entry for this year's race, email email@example.com
or visit www.caerphilly.gov.uk/bigcheese
Most of my previous blogs have been me telling you wonderful
Wales is. Well that is true but how about seeing it through
the eyes of a tourist? I found this great video of a
guy and his father's visit to Cardiff
and Caerphilly. It looks like they had a good time.
Video courtesy of Johnny Jet - www.johnnyjet.com