Visit Southern Wales

Visit Southern Wales Blog

Archive for tag: 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.

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.

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

Wonders of Wye

Tintern AbbeyThe Wye Valley and Vale of Usk is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and it's not difficult to see why. 

The rolling countryside is a magnet for walkers with some well-known and popular trails including the Offa's Dyke Path.  It is also where the Wales Coast Path begins (or ends, depending on which way around you're going).  In fact, Offa's Dyke and the coast path join up so that you can complete a whole circuit of Wales if you really want to!

The plenty of historic attractions too.  There are castles galore including the first one to be built at Chepstow and the last one too at Raglan.  One of the most impressive monuments is Tintern Abbey standing proudly on the banks of the River Wye. 

Why not combine walking with history by doing the Three Castles Walk which is a 20 mile triangular walk taking in White Castle, Skenfirth Castle and Grosmont Castle.

The area also has a reputation for excellent food.  There are plenty of top class restaurants or cosy country pubs to choose from whilst Abergavenny's Angel Hotel is renowned for its Afternoon Teas - well worth indulging.  Don't miss the Abergavenny Food Festival each September which is an excellent chance to see (and of course taste) the best of the area's produce.

For more information on the area please visit the website

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.

The Big One

Big CheeseEvent - The Big Cheese
Location - Caerphilly Castle, Caerphilly
Date - 25th to 27th July 2014
For more information please visit the website

Now, if there's two things that Caerphilly is famous for, it's cheese and the castle.  It is fitting then that their Big Cheese Festival takes place in the fields surrounding the giant fort.

An extravaganza of family entertainment, the Big Cheese is one of Wales' must see attractions which attracts up to 80,000 people from all over the country.

Where else can you hear the whack of sword on shield, see birds of prey soar majestically in the sky and smell and taste the finest local produce?  There's also a packed entertainment programme including musical entertainment, craft stalls, activity marquee and a traditional funfair.

And the best bit...it's free

Have you Packed for Wales

Here it is.  The new Visit Wales TV advert. 

Asking "Have you Packed for Wales", the advert features Caernarfon Castle, the new Mountain Biking centre near Merthyr Tydfil and the Wales Coast Path amongst other places.

The full advert and campaign will be launched this Saturday - St David's Day. 

In the meantime, take a look at the advert and let us know what you think.

Christmas in Caerphilly

Caerphilly Medieval Christmas Fayre
Caerphilly
7 - 8 December 2013

Caerphilly ChristmasCaerphilly's Medieval Christmas Fayre returns once again this year on Saturday 7th & 8th December.

Once a traditional market town, Caerphilly returns to its days of old with an eclectic mix of medieval entertainment, food and drink, and an abundance of stalls selling unusual Christmas gifts such as medieval replica, traditional crafts, jewellery and Christmas decorations.

Caerphilly Castle is at the heart of the fayre, which is open to visitors all weekend; entry fee with even more market stalls, medieval entertainment and re-enactments within its walls
Visit the website for more details or see what other events are on in the area this Christmas by clicking here

Christmas is Coming

It's the end of October and the shops are starting to fill with festive offerings.  So, over the next couple of weeks, we'll look ahead to some of the events that are happening in Southern Wales over the festive period.  Today it's Caerphilly's Medieval Christmas Fayre:

Caerphilly ChristmasCaerphilly Medieval Christmas Fayre
Caerphilly
7 - 8 December 2013

Caerphilly's Medieval Christmas Fayre returns once again this year on Saturday 7th & 8th December. Once a traditional market town, Caerphilly returns to its days of old with an eclectic mix of medieval entertainment, food and drink, and an abundance of stalls selling unusual Christmas gifts such as medieval replica, traditional crafts, jewellery and Christmas decorations.

Listen to seasonal period music and laugh at the hilarious frolics of the Jester, tricks of the medieval magicians and re-enactments from the knights, but watch out for the medieval beggars who will be roaming the market and chatting to visitors!

Caerphilly Castle is at the heart of the fayre, which is open to visitors all weekend; entry fee with even more market stalls, medieval entertainment and re-enactments within its walls
Visit the website for more details