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GTOA All Set for Southern Wales

Caerphilly CastleA 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 civil war.

Back in the present day, and the group will then head for Wales' only distillery at Penderyn in at the top of the Rhondda Valley.

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 stores.

Dinner at Llanerch Vineyard will round off the day in a relaxing manor.

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 Guiding.

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.

Marvellous Melee

Cardiff Castle JoustEvent - Grand Medieval Melee
Location - Cardiff Castle

Date - 16th & 17th August 2014

For more information please visit the website
Cardiff Castle is transported back in time as it becomes a medieval village for the weekend.  The bloodthirsty knights will be taking part in brutal brawls and ferocious fights in a series of re-enactments.

As well as battles, there'll be the sights, sounds (and smells!!) of medieval times with plenty of demonstrations and entertainment to keep the whole family happy.

Joust in Time

JoustThe fanfare sounds, the tension mounts, the sensational Knights of Royal England are back at Cardiff Castle this summer (22 & 23 June) for the annual Joust extravaganza!

Pomp, pagentry, amazing horseback stunts and bruising falls await the crowds as the Knights go head to head in the noble art of Jousting.

As well as the main jousting arena, there will be a medieval encampment to explore, minstrels to meet, storytelling sessions and you can even learn a few jousting skills of your own.

A packed programme of medieval action throughout the day makes this a great value family day out, topped off by a mass battle with everyone invited to join in.

For more information visit the Cardiff Castle website

Cardiff Castle Hosts the Grand Medieval Melee

Event - Grand Medieval Melee
Location - Cardiff Castle, Cardiff

Date - 18 - 19 August 2012
Further Details - www.cardiffcastle.com

Cardiff CastleIn the very heart of the city, Cardiff Castle has stood for over 2000 years.  Once occupied by Romans and Normans, it was transformed into a lavish home for the 3rd Marquess of Bute in the 19th century.

Celebrating this fascinating past the castle holds a number of spectacular events throughout the year and this August sees the return of the Grand Medieval Melee.

Be transported back 700 years to experience the sights sounds and smells of Cardiff Castle.

Taking over the Castle Green is a medieval encampment - a mass of colourful tents where characters go about their daily chores; cooking, weaving and preparing for battle.  To survive, you had to know how to win in battle. See the drama of the fight unfold in some breathtaking combat displays as the knights in armour clash and the sound of crossed swords echoes through the site. With an amazing falconry display, sword fighting school, Have- A- Go archery, armour to try on and juggling classes there are a host of activities to keep everyone in a medieval mood.

Join in the Jousting

The fanfare sounds, the tension mounts, the sensational Knights of Royal England are back at Cardiff Castle this summer (16 & 17 June) for the annual Joust extravaganza!

Pomp, pagentry, amazing horseback stunts and bruising falls await the crowds as the Knights go head to head in the noble art of Jousting.

As well as the main jousting arena, there will be a medieval encampment to explore, minstrels to meet, storytelling sessions and you can even learn a few jousting skills of your own.

A packed programme of medieval action throughout the day makes this a great value family day out, topped off by a mass battle with everyone invited to join in.

For more information visit the Cardiff Castle website

The Romans Return

Cardiff CAstleCardiff Castles is perhaps best known as being the lavish home of the Marquess of Bute in the 19th century. However the castles history goes back much further than that.

The first signs of a fort on the site came over 2000 years ago when it was fist built as a Roman stronghold.

And now the Romans Return to celebrate the castle's link with this time.  Over 2 days from 19-20 May the castle will be the scene for vivid flashbacks to a time when the site was a Roman Fort teeming with soldiers and civilians.

This great family event will give you a chance to see and hear how the Romans invaded and conquered Cardiff in a series of dramatic military displays and drills by soldiers in full, authentic costume.

A living history encampment will demonstrate how people lived during this time.

More information is available on the Cardiff Castle website.

Cardiff Goes Back in Time

Re-enactmentCardiff will have a slightly old world feel to it this weekend with two great events.

Cardiff Castle hosts the Grand Medieval Melee.  Take your self back to medieval times as the castle green is transformed into a medieval village as the See the characters go about their daily chores.

Falconry displays, combats and mass battles are all part of the entertainment.  Look out too for the firing of the Castle's mighty trebuchet siege engine.

You can even try your hand at archery and try on some authentic costumes.More information is available on the Cardiff Castle website.

Meanwhile over at the St Fagans National History Museum you can come and meet the villagers as they prepare for the Battle of St Fagans during this 1648 Civil War re-enactment.

Throughout the weekend the museums grounds will be home to a military camp where various skills, trades and crafts can be seen.

You'll be able to meet various people including barber surgeons, cider-makers, weavers and craftspeople will also be on hand to give you an insight into ordinary people's lives during the era.

At the military encampment the soldiers will be gathering for the coming battle. The troops will be happy to show you how the firearms of the period worked - try your strength at handling a 16 foot pike.

Meanwhile over in the Castle you can spy on the party of Royalist officers and local gentlemen planning the campaign, whilst in the make-shift field kitchen, watch the cooks prepare food for the soldiers and view the formal dining of the commissioned officers at dinner time.

Take a look at their website for more information

Cardiff - One of the best Trips of Summer 2011

National Geographic know a thing or two about travelling the world, so when they publish their list of the 10 Best Trips of Summer 2011 the people tend to take notice.

That's why we were thrilled to see that on the list at number 6 was Cardiff.  Now I know we are slightly biased but we've known all along that Cardiff with it's mixture of modern facilities alongside historic attractions is a great place to visit but it's now great to see National Geographic agreeing with us.

Joining us on the list were the likes of Patagonia, Alaska and Honduras.Here is what they've got to say about Cardiff:

Historically a city of castles and coal, Wales's capital is emerging as a modern sports-entertainment destination.  Summer action centers on Cardiff Bay, once the world's largest coal-exporting port, now a 500-acre freshwater lake with eight miles of waterfront. Surrounding diversions, part of Europe's largest waterfront development, include shopping and dining at Mermaid Quay, rafting and kayaking at Cardiff International White Water, and windsurfing and powerboating on the bay. Celebrate the August bank holiday weekend (August 27-29) at the Cardiff Harbour Festival featuring tall ships, free activities, and, new for 2011, the Breitling Wingwalkers aerobatic formation team.  From Mermaid Quay, take an Aquabus or water taxi up the River Taff or bike along the Taff Trail to Cardiff's compact city center.  Signature sites here include the free National Museum Cardiff (closed Mondays), iconic Cardiff Castle (host of the Grand Medieval Melee, August 13-14), the 150-store St. David's (named Global Retail Leisure International's 2010 international shopping center of the year), and Millennium Stadium, site of several London 2012 Olympic Games soccer matches.


See the full article and list here

Join in the Jousting

The fanfare sounds, the tension mounts, the sensational Knights of Royal England are back at Cardiff Castle this weekend (18&19 June) for the annual Joust extravaganza!

Knock-about humour, amazing horseback stunts and bruising falls await the crowds as the Knights go head to head in the Joust arena.  Join the children's parade, come in your own costume and be ready to cheer for your favourite knight.

A packed programme of medieval action throughout the day makes this a great value family day out, topped off by a mass battle with everyone invited to join in.

There's plenty of action happening throughout the day including jousting displays, combat displays and a sword fighting school (although you need to book in advance for this)

For more information visit the Cardiff Castle website

Trebuchet Trouble

Cardiff CastleVisitors to Cardiff can't miss its castle.  After all it's situated right in the heart of the city.  Tours of the castle and it's impressive apartments have always been popular but today there's another reason to visit as the castle is now home to a colossal catapult known as a trebuchet. 

The trebuchet is actually a prop from the movie Ironclad, which was shot in nearby Bridgend.  Trebuchets were used in the 13th century to attack the solid walls of castles.  Using a sophisticated counter balance system, large rocks and stones could be placed in a catapult sling and hurled with such a force they could breach the strongest of fortifications and were capable of firing missiles in excess of 150 kilograms.   

The trebuchet is still in working order and is fired on special occations by the castle's 'Trebuchet Team'.  The trebuchet stands at 10 metres (approx. 35 ft high), weighs up to 6 tons and it takes 8 people to load and fire the machine.  

The next firing of the trebuchet takes place on Saturday 4 June.  More information is available from the Cardiff Castle website