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Cadw reveals top 8 festive events to get you in the Christmas spirit

As the festive season approaches, Cadw sites across Wales are busy decking the halls and hanging up the holly for a dazzling series of family events.

From traditional carol singing to crafty workshops and magical Christmas grottos, here are eight ways to join in with the festivities at some of the country’s most spectacular heritage sites.

1. Ice skate at Wales’s largest castle

A family ice skating experience is coming to Caerphilly Castle this winter, allowing visitors to skate within the walls of Wales’s largest castle — for the first time ever.

For two weeks only, the fortress will be transformed into a Christmas wonderland, where guests can enjoy outdoor skating on a real ice rink, indulge in treats from a pop-up pancake house and visit Father Christmas in an enchanting medieval grotto (08 and 09 Dec only).

The debut event has been organised by Cadw in partnership with Heart FM, Castle Court Shopping Centre, Caerphilly County Council, Dragon Signs, Caerphilly Town Council, Dragons Rugby and Ice Arena Wales / Cardiff Devils.

Friday 23 November — Sunday 09 December: 12pm — 9pm on weekdays and 10am — 9pm on weekends

Skate sessions should be pre-booked online at ticketsource.co.uk/caerphilly-castle-ice-rink, with tickets priced at £7 for adults, £5 for children under 14 and £22 for families (two adults and two children). Children aged 3-7 years must be accompanied by an adult.

2. Create unique Christmas gifts at an Elizabethan town house

This December, visitors are invited to Plas Mawr for a weekend of Christmas crafts.

Activities will include spiced orange pomander workshops and a chance to make festive marchpane sweets — perfect stocking fillers for the whole family.

Plas Mawr

Christmas Festivities at Plas Mawr

  • Saturday 08 — Sunday 09 December: 11am — 3pm
  • No booking required and normal admission fees apply.
  • More information here.


3. Meet Santa in his Ironworks grotto

Visitors to Blaenavon Ironworks can get into the Christmas spirit throughout December, with a winter trail on offer across the grounds.

What’s more, guests can step inside the Ironworks’ enchanting grotto to pay Father Christmas a special visit, with a small gift on offer for each child.

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Christmas Grotto at Blaenavon Ironworks

  • Every Saturday and Sunday between Saturday 01 — Sunday 23 December: 11am — 4pm
  • Blaenavon Ironworks is free to enter, with an additional £5 charge to meet Father Christmas — small gift included. Booking is essential — please call Blaenavon Ironworks on 01495 792615.
  • More information here.


4. Explore a traditional Christmas Fayre

Tretower Court and Castle will come to life with holly, ivy, mistletoe and mulled wine this December, as the site’s ever-popular Christmas Fayre returns.

The event will boast plenty of festive goings-on, including a chance for visitors to purchase some festive foodie treats and last-minute Christmas gifts. Plus, on Saturday, the Medieval Household will return to the site, inviting visitors to learn about how the Vaughan family retainers celebrated the festive season.

Christmas Fayre at Tretower Court and Castle

  • Saturday 14 – Sunday 15 December: 10am — 3pm
  • No booking required and normal admission fees apply.
  • More information here.

5. Attend a Christmas pomander making workshop

Castell Coch is gearing up for a busy weekend of Yule crafts and festive cheer.

Visitors can join a drop-in workshop to turn oranges, cloves, gilded pine cones, cinnamon sticks and ribbons into a festive scented swag or fragrant pomander the perfect home-made, Christmas gift.

Christmas workshop at Castell Coch

  • Saturday 15 — Sunday 16 December: 11am — 4pm
  • Normal admission fees apply. All natural materials will be supplied a small charge will apply for the decorative materials.
  • More information here.

 6. Make a Christmas wish with Santa Claus

Families are invited to bring their Christmas wish-lists to Raglan Castle this festive season, as Father Christmas returns to his magical grotto. Very good boys and girls will receive a small gift.

Christmas Grotto at Raglan Castle

  • Saturday 15 — Sunday 16 December: 12pm — 3.30pm
  • Booking is essential — please call Raglan Castle on 01291 690228. Normal admission fees apply, plus an additional £5 to meet Father Christmas.
  • More information here.

7. Follow a festive trail around a medieval castle

Chepstow Castle is hosting a festive family trail this December, offering visitors a chance to explore the medieval fortress with a unique Christmas twist.

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Festive family trail at Chepstow Castle

  • Saturday 15 — Monday 31 December
  • The trail is available 10am — 4pm Monday to Saturday and 11am — 4pm on Sunday.
  • More information here.

8. Enjoy festive tales of old at a Roman fort

Guests are invited to visit Caerleon Roman Fortress and Baths for a festive day of fascinating stories and traditional merry tales with a popular storyteller.

Christmas Tales at Caerleon Roman Fortress and Baths

  • Saturday 08 December: 11am — 4pm
  • Storytelling at 11am, 1pm and 3pm. No booking required.
  • More information here.

 To see the full Christmas events programme, please visit cadw.gov.wales/events, follow @CadwWales on Twitter and find Cadw on Facebook.