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Archive for tag: Caerphilly Castle

Caerphilly's Christmas Festivities

Caerphilly Christmas FayreOne 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 Christmas spirit.

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 King of Castles

With its towering turrets and sprawling water defences, Caerphilly Castle dominates the town of Caerphilly.

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.

History and Handlebars

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 Pisa.

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

Caerphilly Castle

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 weekend.

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.

St David's Day

Welsh FlagDydd 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 celebrating.

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 Market.

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 the day.

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 Cadw website.

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 Celtic.

Just 12 reasons?

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 museum
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

Proms in the Park

Caerphilly CastleGet 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 in Caerphilly.

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 large doors.

For more information on what's going on in Caerphilly this weekend visit their website www.visitcaerphilly.com/events

The Great Big Cheese Race

Cheese RaceThe Big 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 fun.

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 events@caerphilly.gov.uk or visit www.caerphilly.gov.uk/bigcheese

Visit to Cardiff

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