A Local Christmas
When you do your Christmas shopping locally, you're not just supporting local businesses. Buying local is the best way to make sure that your gift is treasured and remembered for a long time to come. Hidden away in local shops you’ll find a massive selection of unique and memorable gifts – you can be certain that you won't find the same thing sitting under the tree! You might be surprised at just how much of a bargain you can find as well.
Shop in the Clouds
Situated at the summit of the famous Horseshoe Pass in an area of outstanding natural beauty, Shop in the Clouds is a treat for shoppers. The Gift Shop and the Ponderosa Cafe next door have been run by the same family for 30 years and offers a warm welcome to tourists, travellers, cyclists, walkers and sightseers from all over the world.
The Gift Shop stocks a huge range of gifts suitable for any proud Welshman (or woman) in the form of Welsh premier Clothing, Welsh Crafts and Lovespoons. The shop is also a stockist for Clogau Gold, Sea Gems silver jewellery, St Justin, collectable Suki and Dean Bears.
There are plenty of gift ideas for the biker in your life and much more. If you can’t take your finds with you on the day, the shop can arrange delivery for anything you may have seen in the shop.
Shop in the Clouds is open daily, including Sundays. Visit www.shopintheclouds.com or call 01978 790445
Visit www.shopintheclouds.com or call 01978 790445.
Harthill Cookery School
Do you know a wannabe chef or just someone who wants to brush up on their cookery skills? Sending them on a course at the Harthill Cookery School could be the ideal Christmas gift. The school hosts a wide variety of half and full day courses on everything from baking to cooking exotic global cuisine. Half day courses are great for learning a particular new skill, while full day courses are more varied and teach participants a wider range of skills.
If you’re not entirely sure what course the lucky gift recipient would like to go on (or simply can’t choose!), then don’t fret – you can just buy a gift voucher for a full or half day course and let the recipient choose which course they would prefer at a later date.
Get a Harthill Cookery School gift voucher from www.brianmellor.co.uk or by calling 01829 782097.
Cathryn Cariad Chocolates
You’d be hard pushed to find anyone that doesn’t like chocolate, and that’s doubly true when the chocolate in question is the beautifully handmade goodies of Cathryn Cariad Chocolates. All of the luxury chocolates are made completely by hand in Snowdonia by owner Cathy, using only the finest Belgian chocolate and, wherever possible, ingredients from local Welsh producers. 'I offer a wide range of unique, beautiful designs, all handmade to order using delicious, top quality Belgian chocolate,' says Cathy. 'These fully-personalised gifts are extremely popular so it's best to order as far in advance as possible!'
There are so many different types of chocolates available from Cathryn Cariad (our favourites are the handmade truffles!) and they're all to die for! As well as chocolate bars and truffles, Cathy also makes chocolate stiletto shoes and chocolate dolls (also known as dollipops). Many of the products have won awards, and Cathy now has 11 Gold Great Taste Awards to her name.
See everything that Cathryn Cariad Chocolates has to offer at www.cathryncariad.com or give Cathy a call on 01766 762796.
Tawny Owl Toys and Gifts
If you want to get something more personal than the usual mass-produced toys for the youngsters in your life, then a handmade personalised traditional wooden toy from Tawny Owl could be the perfect gift. The range includes door nameplates, cars, trains, tractors, dragons, stools, chairs, toy boxes, skipping ropes, pencil boxes, jigsaws and much more. All the toys and gifts are carefully made by hand using locally, commercially grown and re-planted hardwoods. Most things are made completely in-house and are tailor made for your child so are truly unique.
‘My husband John and I set up this business in 1978 after he was made redundant for a second time,’ says Maureen Curry at Tawny Owl. ‘When we had children he made wooden toys for them, then for friends and neighbours. We moved to the Corris Craft Centre in 1984 but when he died in 1989, I kept the business going. We’re now seeing lots of the first children who enjoyed Tawny Owl toys returning to buy toys for their children!’
You can visit Maureen and see her wooden creations in person at the Corris Craft Centre near Machynlleth or give her a call on 01654 761234. Visit www.freewebs.com/tawnyowltoys to find out more.
If you want to give a gift that will be used frequently, then what better than a pen? A good quality pen can make the ideal present for writers, students, business people or even someone who just likes to do the crossword. Whatever the recipient might use it for and whatever style would best suit, Write Here in Shrewsbury will have something perfect.
Write Here has built a reputation as not only one of the best pen shops in the local area, but also one of the best in the entire UK, with an unmatched selection of fine and everyday pens. They stock pens from a wide variety of manufacturers, including Visconti, Conway Stewart, Lamy and their most recent addition, Sailor Pens from Japan.
Visit Write Here on Shrewsbury High Street from 9:30am to 5:30pm Monday to Saturday or take a look at some of their products at www.writeherekitenow.co.uk
One Planet Adventure
If you know someone who loves the outdoors, then why not treat them to an outdoor adventure this Christmas? Gift vouchers are available from One Planet Adventure for a variety of mountain biking courses, but if you can't decide, you can also buy vouchers for £25, £50 or £100 to be spent on courses, shop items or even just bacon baps and coffee in the cafe. If you have something specific planned, then you can always contact One Planet Adventure who can create a bespoke gift voucher for your exact requirements.
One Planet Adventure at Coed Llandegla Forest in north Wales has some of the best mountain biking right on their doorstep with over 44km of purpose-built mountain bike trails in the area. Whether you're after a new bike, a tune-up for a bike that you already have or want to go on a skills course, the award-winning centre will be able to help.
Gift vouchers can be bought online at www.oneplanetadventure.com or by calling 01978 751656.
Give someone the chance to see things as they've never seen them before with a pleasure flight from Whizzard Helicopters! 'Pleasure flights take off from Welshpool, Manchester or Snowdonia and allows passengers a unique view of the spectacular mountains of mid Wales and Snowdonia, the dramatic Brontë country or the industrial heart of Manchester,' says Pat Agnew at Whizzard Helicopters. Flights are available for 10, 15 or 30 minutes (depending on the location) and fly on weekends throughout the year. Pleasure flights are usually shared with other people, but if you're feeling particularly generous this Christmas, you can book the entire helicopter for the lucky gift recipient and a few of their nearest and dearest.
If you want to treat someone to a flight or just want to contribute towards one, then a gift certificate could be the perfect Christmas present. Gift certificates of £20, £25 and £50 are available and can be put towards any flight.
Visit www.whizzardhelicopters.co.uk or call 01938 555860 to find out more.
This year, why not leave the festive stress behind and enjoy your Christmas shopping at Snowdonia Nurseries and Garden Centre? Take an inspirational stroll through the vast array of quality plants; award-winning Christmas display and on to the highly acclaimed Olive Tree Coffee Shop. Explore the wide and colourful collection of design-led giftware including candles, cosmetics, crockery and Christmas cards to find the perfect gifts for family and friends. With products ranging from high-end rarities to ideal stocking-fillers, there really is something for everyone.
Snowdonia Nurseries is located in Glan Conwy and is open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Saturday and from 10:30am until 4:30pm on Sundays. Visit www.snowdonianurseries.co.uk or call 01492 580703 to find out more.
All of us know an animal lover, and this Christmas you can give yours the experience of a life time as they can get up close and personal with some stunning birds of prey. With Cheshire Falconry, they can spend anything from an hour to a full day flying up to six species of birds such as hawks, owls, falcons, eagles, buzzards and vultures. Whichever birds they meet, they'll be able to meet the birds then will be given a gauntlet and taught how to fly a bird to their glove, all under the watchful eye of an experienced handler, of course.
Gift vouchers for any of Cheshire Falconry's bird flying experiences as a carded voucher or an e-voucher. You don't need to specify a date when getting the voucher – the recipient just has to call and arrange a time that suits them any time within 12 months of the voucher being purchased.
Find out more or buy a gift voucher online at www.cheshirefalconry.com or call 01606 882223.
Make The Most Of
If you want to give a unique gift while supporting a talented maker or artist, then take a look at the many gifts available from Make The Most Of. 'Moving away from seeing the same gifts everywhere you look is a big part of what we promote, says Louise Barlow, founder of Make The Most Of. 'Why have a mass produced picture on the wall when you can have a limited edition from a remarkably talented artist? Why would we not choose something original and exciting that has a story to tell about the maker, artist or the item itself?'
At Make the Most of, you'll find a huge variety of gifts, home ware, jewellery and clothing – everything from woven baskets and wood work to original prints, embroidery and fashion, all designed and made by one of Make The Most Of's creative sellers.
You can see everything that Make The Most Of has to offer on their website. Visit www.makethemostof.co.uk to find out more or call 01244 345954. The first franchised shop has now opened in Denbigh and you can visit from 10:30am to 5pm, Wednesday to Sunday inclusive. You can call the shop on 01745 797647.
At Christmas, jewellery can be the perfect gift for that special someone and County Goldsmiths can help you to find something perfect for your loved one. Both the Shrewsbury shop and the newly opened Ludlow shop have a wide variety of antique jewellery for you to peruse. ‘Antique and vintage jewellery is now massively popular thanks to the recent vintage revival and people are now appreciating antiques more,’ says Stuart, owner of County Goldsmiths. ‘Antique jewellery is of higher quality and is better made than its modern counterpart, most of which is machine-made. Antique jewellery was handmade by a true craftsmen.
'At the moment, tanzanite is popular, as are pearls but it depends on what's in fashion,' says Stuart. 'Diamonds are always popular and are a good investment as well – in the last three years, the value of diamonds has gone up by around 60%.'
County Goldsmiths has two shops – one in Shrewsbury and one that was opened recently in Ludlow. 'We're very happy with the new shop,' says Stuart. 'We desperately wanted to get into Ludlow as it's a nice area and full of independents. Over the next couple of months we're launching our new website where customers will be able to see our stock. We have the most complete stock of antique jewellery in Shropshire and can still offer a personalised service. We're really going from strength to strength and would like to thank everyone who has supported us.
You can visit County Goldsmiths on Butcher Row in Shrewsbury or High Street in Ludlow. Call the Shrewsbury shop on 01743 588751, the Ludlow shop on 01584 878986 or visit www.countygoldsmiths.co.uk to find out more.
The Ring Workshop
With good cheer in the air and beautiful decorations everywhere you look, it’s no wonder that Christmas is one of the most popular times to propose. Creative romantics have found countless ways to make a Christmas proposal truly magical, having hidden engagement rings in Christmas tree decorations, crackers or even getting the family pets involved (for better or worse!)
Of course, if you’re planning a spectacular proposal, then you need a spectacular ring to go with it. The Ring Workshop in Oswestry offers a comprehensive collection of both traditional and contemporary engagement rings to suit every taste and budget. If you want something completely unique, then they can even make a completely bespoke ring. ‘We understand that the purchase of an engagement ring is a significant event,’ says Mark Francis-Jones, the man behind the company. ‘We understand that most couples will require a little guidance and assistance in choosing the perfect product.’ To help couples find just what they’re looking for, the Ring Workshop offers engagement ring consultations where customers can discuss their requirements.
Once you’re ready to tie the knot, the Ring Workshop can also help you to find or create the perfect wedding rings, including shaped rings to match any engagement ring.
Visit www.ringworkshop.co.uk or call 01691 238297 to find out more.
Thinking of popping the question at Christmas? Get 10% off all engagement rings from the Ring Workshop between 1st November and 24th December 2013! Just present this voucher when you make your purchase. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer, discount or promotion.
A light-hearted, slightly irreverent look at the most wonderful time of the year!
A is for Angel
An iconic Christmas image, it was usually found adorning the tree until the Christmas star, deemed by the fashion-conscious as easier to colour co-ordinate, usurped its popularity!
B is for Batteries
After all your hard work choosing the perfect gift, reading the dreaded 'Batteries not Included” on Christmas morning is likely to reduce both you and your child to tears! Check before you wrap and have a few in reserve just in case!
C is for Craze
Remember the Cabbage Patch Doll? The Gameboy? Womblemania? This Christmas, for the second year running, it’s the turn of the Furby – the interactive rodent which can now be connected to smartphones or tablets.You have been warned!
D is for Decorations
Yes, they look pretty butChristmas tree lights left on for 10 hours a day over the 12 days of Christmas produce enough CO2 to inflate a dozen balloons, so turn them off when not needed.
E is for Eve
Christmas Eve – the magical night when churches across the country, illuminated by flickering candles and echoing to familiar carols, celebrate midnight Mass.
F is for Films
The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, Oliver Twist, ET... it wouldn’t be Christmas without them!
G is for Grotto
The origins of persuading children to sit on Santa's knee to receive gaudily wrapped gifts go back as far as 1879 when the world’s first grotto appeared in Lewis’ Department Store in Liverpool.
H and I is for Holly and Ivy!
Like Ant and Dec, you can’t have one without the other! Holly, with its striking silhouette and cheerful red berries is synonymous with Yuletide, but did you know that it isused to make white chess pieces and inlays for furniture?
J is for Jingle Bells
Surprisingly, this children’s favouritewasn’t originally a Christmas song but a Thanksgiving one called One Horse Open Sleigh. On December 16, 1965, the Gemini 6 astronauts, Tom Stafford and Wally Schirra, sang it making it the first song to be broadcast from space.
K is for Kissing
Literally meaning ‘dung-on-a- twig’, mistletoe is so named because of the rather unfestive way it propagates! Birds eat the berries, making their droppings very sticky and causing them to adhere to tree branches. The mistletoe seeds then germinate and penetrate the host plant. Not so romantic now, eh?
L is for Lapland
The official home of Santa Claus. AtChristmas, the big man receives more than half a million letters from around 200 countries. The main correspondents come from the UK, Italy and Poland.
M is for Mince Pie
Mince Pies were originally filled with meat and made in an oval shape to represent Jesus’ manger.
N is for Nativity
Upon returning from Israel in 1223, St. Francis of Assisi was inspired to re-create the birth of Jesus with live animals and actors. During that first display, the manger was also used as an altar for Christmas Mass.
O is for Office Party The combination of mistletoe, free alcohol and your employers and colleagues in the same room is a bad one. Enough said.
P is for Pantomime
Oh yes it is!
Q is for Queen’s Speech
This traditional Christmas Daymessageis also known as Her Majesty’s Most Gracious Speech or the Gracious Address.
R is for Rudolph
The red-nosed reindeer was created by an American retailer for a children’s Christmas book in 1939 and is nothing to do with his supposed ‘siblings’ Dasher, Prancer, and erm, Scamper!
S is for Scrooge
Not Dickens but Cadburys who have been criticised for scrapping the annual Christmas gift boxes they formerly sent to thousands of retired staff, in order to cut costs. Cadbury previously sent out 14,000 parcels each Christmas, containing chocolate and sweets but this year the parcels have been replaced with £15 vouchers. From next year, the retired workers will receive no gift... not even a humbug! Bah!
T is for Turkey
The traditional Christmas dinner!Did you know thatCranberries are sometimes known in the US as 'bounceberries' because they bounce when ripe? Seven bounces is said to indicate ideal ripeness!
U is for Upside down Christmas trees
Originally only used in department stores to increase floor space, customers decided they like the idea and took it home with them. It’s not the first time in history that people have decorated with inverted Christmas Trees, however. As early as the 12th century, Central Europeans would hang trees from the ceiling to represent the Holy Trinity.
V is for Val Doonican
... and his reindeer jumpers! (V’s a hard one!)
W is for White Christmas
The Met Office defines a White Christmas as a single snowflake falling in the 24 hours of December 25.
X is for Xmas
Hated by many, this isa popular abbreviation for Christmas, the X represents the Greek letter Chi, or the first letter of the word ‘Christ’. During the 16th Century, European Christians began using the Chi as a symbolic abbreviation for Christmas just as the Chi-Rho had often been used a symbolic abbreviation for Christ. Although in former centuries this association was understood, in recent times this has led to misunderstanding and controversy.
Y is for Yule Log It is traditional to light a special 'Yule log' on Christmas Eve and keep it burning through the 12 nights of Christmas until Twelfth Night
Z is for Zoo
If you have children around, you’ll know!
Get a Movie On!
As the festive season draws near, Yattar Yattar highlights 10 timeless Christmas classics...
White Christmas (1954)
This festive favourite starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye was the top grossing motion picture of 1954. Crosby and Kaye play soldiers, who put on a show at their commanding officer’s inn and romance a couple of sisters at the same time. Cue singing, romantic entanglements and one of the most memorable Christmas songs ever!
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
Faced with bankruptcy and uncertainty about his future, George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) laments the day he was born. However, when his guardian angel, Clarence, makes an appearance and reveals how life would have been had George not existed, he re-evaluates his self-worth and concludes that it is, indeed, a wonderful life!
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
This poignant and sweet Oscar-winning film is an American fable of a seemingly crazy old man who believes he’s Santa Claus. When he lands a job as a Santa for Macy’s, he forms an unlikely friendship with the daughter of his boss (Natalie Wood), who doesn’t believe in Father Christmas... to begin with anyway!
Based on a beloved children’s book, this enchanting computer-animated film follows the adventures of a young boy as he heads to the North Pole to meet Santa Claus. Voiced by a host of A list celebrities including Tom Hanks, the film has been accused of being a little sentimental but it’s still a great Christmassy story.
Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) accidently causes Santa Claus to fall to his death on Christmas Eve and, because of a legal technicality known as ‘the Santa clause,’ has no choice but to take on the job. Silly, cheesy and extremely funny, this film thoroughly deserves its place on the list.
Considered the greatest adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge (played superbly by Alastair Sim) finds the road to redemption through some spectral Yuletide visitors. The convincing dialogue and atmospheric scenes make Scrooge one of the best-loved Christmas films of all time.
Chaos and confusion ensues when a lovable, but misguided, elf (Will Ferrell) tracks down his cranky father (James Caan) in New York and discovers his true destiny in this good-natured family comedy.
Tim Burton’s animated fantasy sees Jack Skellington, the pumpkin king, bored with celebrating Halloween every year. One day he stumbles into Christmas Town, and is so impressed that he tries to get the resident ghouls of Halloween Town to help him deliver his own variation on the festive season.
Wordless (save for the song Walking in the Air and a rather odd introduction by David Bowie) animated adventure about a young boy who makes a snowman which comes to life and takes him on a magical adventure to the North Pole to meet Santa Claus.
Another Rock ‘n’ Roll Christmas!
What’s your favourite Christmas tune? Is it an uplifting ballad from Sir Cliff, or a cheesy 80s sing-along from those handsome Wham! boys? Do you enjoy rockin’ around the Christmas tree to Brenda Lee or simply walking in the air with Aled Jones? Whatever your preference, you can’t escape the fact that it’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas!
Here’s a selection of our favourites…
Peace on Earth / Little Drummer Boy by David Bowie and Bing Crosby makes our list simply because its strange, oil and water combination actually works extremely well, despite the 43 year age gap between the crooners! The odd couple teamed up in 1977 for a television Christmas special, although Crosby admitted to not knowing who Bowie actually was, whilst the Starman himself claims to remember nothing of the recording!
Bing Crosby makes our list again with the timeless White Christmas. This ultimate festive ballad remains one of the world's biggest selling singles of all time, and many consider it the quintessential Christmas song. Its composer, the legendary Irving Berlin, thought it was rather special too, boasting, ‘Not only is it the best song I ever wrote, it's the best song anybody ever wrote!’
Somebody who might just disagree with that statement is the opinionated Sir Bob Geldof – after all, he did co-write Do They Know It's Christmas in order to raise money for famine-hit Ethiopia. Sting, George Michael, Boy George, Bono and a whole host of pop royalty joined forces under the name Band Aid, and its success led to the release of the American charity single We Are the World a few months later... although that particular tune failed to impress our panel!
Yule just isn’t the same without the eccentric Noddy Holder screeching ‘It’s Chrrissstmaaas’ from every pub jukebox, car stereo and shopping precinct from the end of September onwards. Slade’s ubiquitous festive anthem, Merry Xmas Everybody, occupied the number one slot in December 1973, beating another Christmassy song, Wizzard's, I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day.
Although Jona Lewie’s Stop the Calvary was conceived as a protest song about the futility of war, the line, ‘Wish I was at home for Christmas,’ as well as its festive oompah beat and sleigh bells sealed its fate as a Christmas favourite.
Another song that failed to conform to the tried and tested formula of jolly offerings is the gritty Fairytale of New York by The Pogues and the late Kirsty MacColl. This antidote to the festive norm tells of a warring couple breaking up over Christmas and features the unforgettable line, ‘You´re a bum, you´re a punk’and others which we can’t possibly mention in the pages of Yattar Yattar!
Christmas All Over the World!
In the UK, when we think of Christmas, we think of tinsel and turkey, Santa and Slade and the Queen’s speech. However, this special time of year is celebrated in many different ways throughout the world, and Yattar Yattar has taken a festive peek at just a few...
As Christmas falls during the Australian summer, many people spend Christmas in the great outdoors, going to the beach11 for the day, or heading to camping grounds for a longer break over the holiday period. It has become traditional for international visitors who are in Sydney during the festivities to descend on the famous Bondi Beach where up to 40,000 people visit on Christmas Day.
In China, Sheng Dan Jieh, meaning Holy Birth Festival is a colourful and vibrant affair. Homes are decorated with a ‘tree of light’, which is adorned with beautiful lanterns, flowers, and red paper chains symbolising happiness and good fortune. Christian families cut out red pagodas to paste on the windows and walls, and children eagerly await the arrival of Dun Che Lao Ren (the Christmas Old Man) who rewards their excitement (and good behaviour) with gifts and tasty treats.
On Christmas Eve, children in France leave their shoes by the fireplace to be filled with gifts from Père Noël(Father Christmas). In the morning, they also find sweets, fruit, nuts and small toys hanging from the lower branches of the Christmas tree. A grand feast called le reveillon – held after midnight mass on Christmas Eve – is enjoyed by young and old alike, not least because of the traditional Yule log-shaped cake called the buche de Nol, which is served for dessert.
A month before Christmas, German families make an Advent wreath of fir or pine branches with four red candles as its centrepiece. Each Sunday a candle is lit, with the last one being on Christmas Eve. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, homes are filled with the mouth-watering smells of baking bread, cakes filled with candied fruits, and spicy cookies called lebkuchen. In Germany, the traditional yuletide visitor is the Christkindl, Jesus’ messenger. She is a beautiful sprite-like child with angelic wings who visits each house leaving gifts for deserving children.
Children in the Netherlands, eagerly await the arrival of Sinterklaas on December 6th, St. Nicholas Day. Adorned in red robes, this amiable and kindly bishop travels by ship from Spain to Amsterdam's harbour, bringing with him his beautiful white horse and a huge sack of gifts for well-behaved children. Families celebrate St. Nicholas Eve at home with lots of tasty food, hot chocolate, and a letterbanket – a ‘letter cake’ made in the shape of the first letter of the family's surname.
During the Christmas season families shop for gifts, ornaments, and local delicacies in market stalls, called puestos. They decorate their homes with lilies and evergreens. Family members cut intricate designs in brown paper bags to make lanterns, or farolitos. They place a candle inside and then set the lanterns along pavements, on windowsills, and on rooftops and outdoor walls to illuminate the neighbourhood with the spirit of Christmas.
As in the UK, homes in Malta are decorated with fairy lights, garlands and Christmas trees. A crib called a presepju, complete with small statues depicting Mary, Joseph, Jesus, the Magi and attending cattle is displayed in churches, in the streets and even in the centre of traffic roundabouts, and the island becomes alive with the sound of traditional carols. Midnight Mass is very important to the majority of Maltese people and is the climax of the religious activities.
The Ethiopian celebration of Christmas, known as Ganna is celebrated on January 7th with a Mass, which can last up to three hours, followed by a special feast. During the church service, everyone receives a candle which is carried around the church three times. Men and women stand apart and the service lasts up to three hours. Afterwards, the traditional Christmas meal is served with doro wat, a spicy stew, and a sourdough pancake bread. The rest of the day is spent singing, dancing, playing games and feasting with family and friends. Although gifts are not usually exchanged, children sometimes receive very simple presents such as clothing or a small toy.
Want to visit the man himself this Christmas? Here are some of the best local Santa’s grottos.
30th November, 1st, 7th, 8th, 14th, 15th and 17th to 23rd December
GreenWood Forest Park
30th November, 1st, 7th, 8th, 14th, 15th, 21st and 22nd December
The Pavilion, Llandrindod Wells
8th, 14th and 15th December
Oswestry Christmas Live
Christmas shopping may not always be the most pleasurable of experiences, as anyone who’s experienced the last-minute panic of realising you’ve forgotten something on Christmas Even can tell you! It doesn’t have to be that way, though. Christmas markets are some of the best places to do your festive shopping – not only will you be able to find plenty of unusual gifts and food fit for the season, but a visit is a great way to get in the Christmas spirit.
We’ve rounded up some of the best nearby Christmas markets this year, so get your diary and get ready to mark the dates!
Frankfurt Christmas Market, Birmingham
14th November – 22nd December
The Frankfurt Christmas Market has been part of Birmingham’s Christmas celebrations for 12 years, and is now the largest Christmas market in all of the UK! During the market, around 190 stalls will offer everything you could ever need for your own Christmas celebrations, including decorations, handmade toys, craft goods and plenty more.
Gorgeous Christmas Contemporary Craft Fair
16th – 17th November
This annual event at Enginuity near Ironbridge provides a wealth of Christmas present ideas and, with a range of new and returning artisans exhibiting this year, there will be items to suit all pockets, from magnificent designer made pieces, to affordable handmade goods and locally produced food. In the festively decorated main hall, designer-makers will exhibit exquisite pieces of fine furniture, ceramics, glassware, textiles, jewellery and metal work while talking to visitors about their craft.
For further details, visit www.ironbridge.org.uk or call 01952 433424.
Penkridge Fine Food and Craft Market
16th November and 21st December
Penkridge Market near Stafford will be holding two fabulous Fine Food and Craft Markets! If it’s your turn to cook the Christmas lunch, then there couldn’t be a better place to buy all of your ingredients for a fantastic roast! Local farms will be selling meat, poultry and game fresh from the farm, as well as the traditional fruit and veg stalls. In addition to all of this fabulous food, there will be craft stalls selling a variety of gifts.
For further information on the event, call 01785 714221 or log onto the website www.penkridgemarket.co.uk
Llandudno Christmas Fayre
21st – 24th November
As in previous years, this year’s Christmas Fayre (formerly known as the Celtic Winter Fayre) will be held in Madoc Street, which runs parallel to Mostyn Street, Llandudno’s main retail area. Last year, the fayre attracted around 30,000 visitors to the Victorian seaside town, and this year’s event promises to be even bigger and better than ever with even more stalls offering everything you need for some festive cheer!
Visit www.llandudnochristmasfayre.co.uk to find out more.
Chester Victorian Christmas Market
21st November –21th December
Chester Christmas Market has a whole new look and feel for 2013, with new bespoke wooden chalet style stalls and setting the scene for some fantastic Christmas shopping both at the market itself and in Chester’s many shops.
Call 01244 405631 to find out more about the market.
Winter Wonderland at Chester Racecourse
21st November – 31st December
This festive season, Chester Racecourse will be transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with an ice rink and a traditional Christmas market. Other attractions include fairground rides, festive food and the chance for children to meet Santa and one of his reindeer. Adults, meanwhile, can visit the Alpine-style chalet bar or the vodka ice bar sculpted from real ice.
Head to www.winterwonderlandchester.co.uk to find out more.
Ludlow Medieval Christmas Fayre
23rd – 24th November
Head to Ludlow Castle this winter for the best medieval show in the land and the Ludlow Medieval Christmas Fayre returns for 2013! Visitors will join Medieval knights, maidens, entertainers and stall holders as the sun sets across South Shropshire and the castle comes alive for an evening of fiery Medieval Revelry. With over 100 stalls selling seasonal wares, food and drink, crafts, historical goods and more, it’s the ideal chance to find the perfect, original gift or indulge in a unique treat.
Find out more or buy tickets at www.ludlowmedievalchristmas.co.uk
Celtic Christmas Fayre at Broughton Shopping Centre
27th November – 1st December
The Celtic Christmas Fayre returns to Broughton Shopping Centre near Chester. Local traders and artisans will be selling their wares – perfect if you’re on the lookout for a unique gift. Of course, all the shops at Broughton Shopping Centre will be open should you need to get in some other Christmas supplies.
The Magical Christmas Fair, Manchester
29th November – 1st December
For three days, central Manchester will be home to hundreds of stalls full of products that you wouldn’t usually find on the high street. You’ll find everything from stocking fillers to top-end designer gifts to specialty festive foods.
Visit www.magical-christmas.co.uk to find out more.
Beaumaris Victorian Christmas
Beaumaris’ ever-popular Christmas event returns for 2013. With carols and festive entertainment, stalls throughout the town and plenty of gift shops to browse, it’s everything you need to get into the spirit of the season.
Call 01248 810 093 for further information.
Llangollen Christmas Festival
The festivities in Llangollen begin with a parade through town followed by a day of Christmas events and entertainment. During the festival you may notice that Father Christmas (often known as Siôn Corn in Wales) is wearing a green outfit rather than his more commonly seen red one – sometime he likes to wear his more traditional green outfit, especially when he visits historic places like Llangollen.
30th November – 1st December
Betws-y-Coed will be coming alive to celebrate Christmas in style! Highlights of the festivities include a candlelit lantern procession, fireworks and a Santa dash to entertain the whole family. Betws-y-Coed’s unique collection of independent shops and galleries will all be open late for you to browse and pick up one or two (or twenty) things.
Find out more at www.nadoligbetws.co.uk
Portmeirion Food and Craft Festival
7th – 8th December
Last year’s festival welcomed over 3000 visitors to Portmeirion, and this year’s festival promises to be even bigger and better. The festival will see cooking and craft demonstrations, seasonal entertainment and the chance for primary school aged children to visit Santa in his workshop, plus much more.
Find out more at www.portmeirion-village.com
The Plassey Festive Food and Gift Extravaganza
7th – 8th December
In addition to the usual shops at the Plassey, for this festive weekend the Christmas Events Marquee will be home to a fantastic selection of food, drink and craft stalls. On the food and drink stalls, you’ll find plenty of goodies to keep you sustained over the Christmas period. If you want some tips ready for when it’s time to cook Christmas dinner, then make sure you stick around for the cookery demonstrations that will be held throughout the weekend by award-winning Masterchef of Great Britain, Brian Mellor, as well as other local chefs. Over the weekend you can also see local craftsmen showing just how they make their unique crafts.
For further details, visit www.plassey.com or call 01978 780277.
Abergavenny Christmas Food and Drink Fair
Following on from the success of the Abergavenny Food Festival earlier in the year, this festive fair will be full of fantastic seasonal food and drink offerings from both local suppliers and those from further afield. Whether you’re looking for a special gift for a foodie friend or just want to stock up your cupboards with plenty of treats ready for Christmas, this winter festival has plenty to offer.
Visit www.abergavennyfoodfestival.com to find out more.
Wrexham Victorian Christmas Market
The festive season is fast approaching and plans are underway in Wrexham for the annual Christmas Market, one of the most eagerly awaited events in the town’s calendar. The 70+ stalls will be selling toys, candles, jewellery, handbags, cards, crafts, seasonal plants and hand made Christmas decorations. Local producers will be on hand to take orders for Christmas turkeys or geese or to sell everything from pies, sausages, cakes, brownies, chocolates and fresh-from-the griddle Welshcakes, to local cheese, beers, cider and preserves. For anyone feeling in need of immediate sustenance, there will be all sorts of hot, freshly prepared food, mince pies, mulled wine and hot chestnuts.
For more information, visit the tourist information centre in Queens Square, Wrexham or visit www.wrexham.gov.uk
Planning a wedding can be one of the most exciting, and most stressful things you ever do. From choosing your venue to booking a photographer, and a myriad of things in between, there is a huge amount to organise. To help you avoid a pre-marriage meltdown, we’ve put together a few simple suggestions to keep you sane whilst planning your big day...
12 Months before the big day
The simple splendour of Hawkstone Park Hotel, in Shrewsbury, Shropshire is an ideal backdrop for your special day. Set in 400 acres of breathtaking scenery, this tranquil location has been designated by English Heritage as a Grade I listed landscape. Boasting a plethora of unique characteristics, the showstopper has to be the elegant wishbone staircase in the main function suite, which enables the newly-weds to make a memorable and dramatic entrance as they sweep majestically down the stairs! To capture the true sense of romance, the bride and groom will be transported by Land Rover to the top of Grotto Hill for some awe – inspiring and truly memorable photographs. The dedicated team and your personal wedding co-ordinator will be on hand from beginning to end, offering practical advice and a wealth of experience to ensure your perfect day is just that.
Visit www.principal-hayley.com and discover their attractive and affordable wedding packages.
An outdoor wedding often calls for a marquee – an increasingly popular choice amongst today’s couples – as it can be adapted to set a spectacular scene and has several advantages over other venues; it can cater for weddings of all sizes and can be flexible if numbers increase or drop at the last minute. Peak Marquee Hire, an up-and-coming company covering north Wales, Shropshire and Cheshire offer a bespoke service, down to the very last detail, to suit any space or location and their brand new marquees are the epitome of elegance all year round.
Don’t just take our word for it though – visit www.peakmarqueehire.co.uk
Where better for a fairytale wedding than in a Georgian castle situated in a beautiful country estate? Eastnor Castle, near Ledbury, is a truly stunning venue and can accommodate up to 80 guests for civil wedding ceremonies in the gothic drawing room. ‘We only do a small number of weddings each year,’ says wedding co-ordinator, Nicky Cullity. ‘So each one is really quite special.’ The castle will be exclusively yours for your wedding for you and your guests to enjoy. Up to 80 guests can enjoy a meal in the state dining room, or up to 150 in the great hall. For much larger weddings, the castle can be used for a drink reception followed by a dinner-dance in a marquee in the stunning grounds by the castle’s own lake.
Visit www.eastnorcastle.com/weddings to find out more, or call wedding co-ordinator, Nicky Cullity, on 01531 633160.
Sunday 6th October, 12pm – 3pm
Eastnor Castle is opening its doors for a wedding showcase to let you see the venue and decide if it’s right for your wedding. Guests will be welcomed with a glass of bubbly before touring the spectacular state rooms and bedrooms. The castle will be set up for a wedding reception, giving couples the chance to see just how magical their wedding could be.
Looking for a wedding reception with a difference? ChesterBoat caters for wedding parties aboard the luxury showboats Lady Diana and Mark Twain, all year round. What better way to spend your special day than by gliding quietly down Chester’s River Dee with a glass of Champagne, surrounded by friends and family? The friendly, experienced crew ensure that your whole party is well looked after and the food is simply divine!
Go to www.chesterboat.co.uk to find out more, or call 01244 325394
Rosset Hall Hotel, a stunning Georgian country house near Chester, is a great choice and the perfect romantic location for the wedding of your dreams. Boasting a civil service licence, beautiful, relaxing gardens and a luxurious bridal suite, you can even hire a private butler for the duration of your stay! There’s plenty of room to accommodate your bridal party, and everybody is treated like royalty by the hotel’s passionate and committed staff. With experienced wedding planners on hand to guide you through every aspect of your day, and attractive wedding packages, Rossett Hall promises a unique and memorable experience, tailored to your individual needs.
Visit www.rossetthallhotel.co.uk for more information.
Celebrate your wedding in style at St Georges Hotel, Llandudno, where you can enjoy views of the north Wales coast and Great Orme in four-star luxury. Whether you’re planning for 10 guests or 200, the hotel has a variety of function rooms available for civil wedding ceremonies, including the Grade II listed Wedgewood Suite.
The hotel’s dedicated wedding planners will make sure that both the day of your wedding and the run up to the big day will go smoothly. There are several wedding packages to choose from, so whatever your needs, you’ll be able to find one that meets them all.
St Georges Hotel offers high quality catering and is able to provide you and your guests with a great selection of dishes made using fresh local ingredients. The wedding menus have been specially designed to cater for every diet and taste, and you can always arrange to discuss your needs with the executive chef.
Go to www.stgeorgeswales.co.uk to see a full range of packages available or or call 0808 168 6030 for more information.
9 months before the big day
Wedding photography is about preserving precious memories, not only for you, but for future generations as well. Perfect photographs begin with the right photographer, which is why many couples are turning to Darren Roberts Photography, based in Central Arcade, Wrexham. Well known for creating iconic images unobtrusively, professionally, and at an affordable price, Darren Roberts can also arrange for you to pay in instalments to help ease the financial pressure of a typical wedding.
For more information, go to www.darrenrobertsphotography.co.uk or pop in to Central Arcade and browse through his portfolio.
For a relaxed, creative approach to capturing memories, meet Love Luella Photography. Tash Jones is a freelance photographer based in Ruthin and will travel to weddings in north Wales, the North West and Shropshire and may be available for other locations throughout the UK with prior arrangement.
From pre-wedding hair and makeup to the first dance, Tash will make sure that all the special moments of your day are recorded. Love Luella Photography tailor personal packages to meet their clients’ needs, with various time packages and content available. All Love Luella Photography wedding clients receive a pre-wedding or engagement shoot to enjoy in the comfort of their home or a location that's special to you. Come what may, you can be sure that you’ll have some spectacular photos to help you treasure your memories of the day for years to come.
Tash also does maternity and newborn photography should the patter of little feet follow soon after your wedding bells.
Visit www.loveluella.co.uk to see Tash’s full portfolio or call 07805 833128 to discuss your requirements.
The thought of shopping for your perfect wedding dress can sometimes be a daunting one, which is why Trisha’s Bridal Wear shop, in Oswestry, should be your first port of call. With two floors of stunning bridal and bridesmaid dresses, designer gowns and eveningwear to flatter every blushing bride-to-be from sizes 4 to 32, you’re certain to find ‘The One!’ Trisha and her conscientious staff have been the regional winners of the Linza Jay Stockist of the Year award for two years running, and are well known for their helpful advice, product knowledge and relaxed attitudes. Trisha's also offers a professional in-house alterations and bespoke dressmaking service.
Visit trishasbridalwear.co.uk for more information or call 01691 671133 for an appointment.
No matter what your tastes, or any dietary requirements you may have, Hughes Caterers in Welshpool will be able to provide your wedding celebrations with a fantastic feast. They have a wealth of experience in creating delicious wedding feasts, whether you want a small buffet or barbeque, or canapés and a full three-course meal for up to 500. With such a great service, it’s no wonder that they are approved caterers for the National Trust!
To make sure that your meal or buffet goes off without a hitch, Hughes Caterers can advise you about menus, help you to devise a seating plan, then supply seating, table decorations and the finest tableware and linen. You food will be served by professional, smartly uniformed staff.
Speak to Hughes Caterers on 01691 830055 to discuss your wedding, or visit their website at www.hughescaterers.co.uk
6 months before the big day
A fairytale wedding is every girl’s dream, so what better way to turn that dream into reality and ensure everyone’s eyes are on you, than to arrive in a stunning horse drawn carriage. With limousine arrivals now the norm, brides are frequently turning to more traditional and sophisticated transport, with horse drawn carriages at the top of the wish list, and Caramel Stud Carriages can provide just that.
The decadent combination of Gem the Palomino horse, with her shimmering golden coat, the customised white carriage and the matching outfits complete with top hats are unique to Caramel Stud Carriages. Not only does the carriage look amazing with its luxurious black velvet interior, it also delivers from a practical point of view. The hood is fully convertible, so can be positioned up or down to suit the weather on your day and is totally waterproof, should the sun decide not to take up your wedding invitation.
Selecting the overall turnout including the temperament of the horse was critical to owners Jo and Andy in achieving the ‘Horse Drawn Perfection’ that they provide for every event, and so the term is now their recognised signature. Gem was carefully chosen from their sister company The Caramel Stud, which currently has over 20 horses for breeding and training. She has certainly lived up to her name, performing faultlessly all over England and Wales at weddings, birthdays, proms, fetes, Santa arrivals and on TV.
Caramel Stud Carriages have British Horse Society qualified drivers, experienced footmen/handlers and are fully insured for any occasion.
So for the ultimate way to arrive in style, with that ‘wow’ factor you and your guests will never forget, visit www.caramelstudcarriages.co.uk, contact them on Facebook or call Jo on 07974181519 for more information.
Belles and Beaus can make sure that you arrive for your big day in style transported by a beautiful vintage car that will take you from your home, hotel room or wherever else you might be getting ready to your wedding venue. If the classic vintage look is your dream, then Bells and Beaus have the perfect car for your special occasion.
Belles and Beaus are based in Mold on the borders of north Wales, but are happy to travel within a 40 mile radius. All of their drivers are professional and fully qualified, so you’ll be transported to your wedding in safety and comfort, and of course look great doing it!
Visit www.bellesandbeauschester.co.uk or call 01244 725131 to find out more.
How about arriving for you wedding in a Daimler State Landaulet, with co-ordinating seven-seater Daimler limousines for your wedding party? Silverline Cars have a fleet of seven cars, allowing them to meet your exacting requirements without ever servicing more than one wedding per car per day. They can offer one, two and three car packages. On the day of your wedding, you’ll receive five-star treatment from the drivers, who are highly trained to a professional level of customer service, and your wedding car comes complete with free bubbly! For something really special, try Silverline Cars’ Confetti Cloud – showering you with over 10,000 pieces of biodegradable confetti. You and your guests will love it!
3 months before the big day
2 months before the big day
To make sure that you’ll look your best on your special day, speak to Golden Tan Salon in Towyn, where their professional stylists can help you find your perfect look. At your consultation you’ll be helped to choose both hair and makeup to complete your theme, be it romantic art couture, vintage glamour, natural or modern. Using their professional skills and working alongside the best brands in the industry, Golden Tan Salon have been helping brides-to-be look stunning for over 15 years.
Among the many services that they offer are hair extensions, including one day wear, hair design, nail design, LVL lash treatment, tanning, airbrushing makeup and plenty more. Their stylists are available seven days a week and can even come out to your wedding venue to make sure that your wedding day is as stress-free as possible.
The talented team also offer a variety of treatments for men, so great if the groom needs just a little pampering.
For a free consultation call 01745 826086 or visit www.goldentanhairandbeautysalon.co.uk
The giving of wedding favours is an old tradition, which sees the bride and groom offering a token of their appreciation to guests for sharing their special day. However, unless you get your favours exactly right, they are destined to be abandoned on the table at the end of the day. This is not a problem faced by award-winning chocolatier, Cathryn O'Connell from Cathryn Cariad Chocolates, who is of the opinion that as your wedding day is unique and personal to you, then your favours should be too. She tells us, ‘I offer a wide range of unique, beautiful designs, all handmade to order using delicious, top quality Belgian chocolate. These fully-personalised gifts and favours are extremely popular so it's best to order as far in advance as possible to avoid disappointment.’
Visit www.cathryncariad.com for more information
1 month before the big day
2 weeks before the big day
1 week before the big day
1 day before the big day
If you want your table decorations to stick in your guest’s minds long after your wedding is over, then how about beautiful balloon decorations from Free Spirit? Working from home, they specialise in making your wedding stand out from the rest with original, custom decorations made especially to match your colour scheme, theme and venue. Among their many impressive creations are table displays, balloon arches, ceiling covers and balloon pillars. They can even help organise a balloon release on your big day. Free Spirit were winners of ‘most creative business’ in 2008 and was voted ‘best balloon specialist in the UK’ and was among the top 10 most loved businesses in Wrexham in 2010, so they can certainly be trusted to make sure that your venue looks perfect. As well as weddings, Free Spirit can make sure that any special event looks great. They also work with businesses to decorate shop launches and other events.
Visit www.freespiritballoons.co.uk or call 01978 291905 to find out more.
On the day
The scariest date in the calendar is fast looming and, whether you believe in things that go bump in the night or are a confirmed spectre sceptic, you’re sure to love a good ghost story.
So oil your doors, draw the curtains and join us on a virtual tour of spine-chilling local destinations...
Shrewsbury has a reputation of being one of the most haunted towns in Great Britain, with over 500 unexplained sightings and suspected poltergeist visitations reported. The Prince Rupert Hotel, located in the appropriately grisly-sounding Butcher Row, is said to be home to two separate entities that haunt rooms six and seven. The first is that of a jilted bride who hanged herself after being deserted by her groom on her wedding night, the second a young man with a similar tale – he killed himself after his lover left him for his best friend. Witnesses to eerie phenomena include a film director working on the film, A Christmas Carol – he saw a figure glide through a wall of the hotel but, unfortunately, didn’t manage to catch it on camera!
Whittington Castle, near Oswestry, has a wealth of history and, as you would expect from such an atmospheric place, many ghostly happenings. The most famous inhabitants are two children who were heirs to the castle. Their faces are said to appear mournfully at the gatehouse windows, and legend suggests that they suffocated after a cursed Elizabethan chest was opened. Other paranormal activity has been witnessed in the ruins including a horseman in ancient costume, a phantom blacksmith and numerous lights, noises and menacing presences!
It’s a common misconception that spirits only inhabit crumbling castles and mouldering mansions. However, an incident, reported at a supermarket in Much Wenlock, proves that ghosts can manifest absolutely anywhere! The problems started when builders disturbed ancient pottery and old bones underneath a Spar shop in 2002. Soon after, trolleys in the storeroom were seen to move by themselves and one member of staff felt a cold hand on their shoulder... a spooky store detective perhaps?
Another unexpected place reporting paranormal activity is the RAF Museum at Cosford where the ghost of a young man is seen to visit an Avro Lincoln long-range heavy bomber. Staff and visitors alike have experienced other strange happenings revolving around the aircraft and in 1991, a BBC team ran an investigation, managing to record some of the unexplained, spooky sounds reported to emanate regularly from the hangar. A number of people have since reported seeing an aviator in the observation dome of the aircraft.
Wales’ rich past is filled with tales of the supernatural, guaranteed to give even the most cynical amongst us the jitters! Connah’s Quay’s Wepre Park has long had a reputation for being a haven for ghosts, both animal and human, but the most famous inhabitant has to be ‘Nora the Nun’. Many stories regarding Nora abound, the most popular being that she had an affair with a monk and became pregnant with his child. In order to cover up their illicit relationship, she drowned her baby under the waterfall and then committed suicide. Local legend has it that Nora’s disgraced lover also haunts the park and nearby Ewloe Castle in the form of a headless apparition – he was decapitated for violating his vows!
Old inns and pubs prove rich ‘haunting’ grounds for ghostly goings-on, and most of the spectral lodgers in these establishments seem to bear their witnesses no harm. However, there are accounts of mischievous spirits like Sylvia who manifests herself at the Llindir Inn in Henllan. Sylvia was married to a sailor who strangled her after finding her in the arms of another whilst on unexpected shore leave. Visitors to this 13th century thatched building have reported having their bed sheets snatched off at night, as if the frisky Sylvia was trying to join them!
Anglesey’s Beaumaris Gaol has a short but bloody history dating back to the mid-1800s. This forbidding prison, famed for its brutal methods of keeping criminals in check, sent many inmates to the whipping rooms where one prisoner, Richard Rowlands, was publicly hanged for the murder of his father-in-law. On his way to the gallows, he is said to have put a curse on the clock in the church tower opposite the scaffold, saying that if he were innocent the four faces would never show the same time. Indeed, for a while, they did not and ghostly footsteps, rattling keys, banging and creaking doors that can still be heard today are believed to be the dead man in his futile protestations of innocence.
Contrary to popular belief, not all ghosts are frightening entities. A case in point is the cheerful young woman, dressed in blue, who haunts the hill of Moel Famau, near Mold. Whenever she materialises, she appears to be dancing, and witnesses to this jolly spectre report a feeling of calm and tranquillity radiating from her. An entire welcome party of friendly ghouls awaits visitors to Cambrian House, a B&B in Llangollen and at Maes-y-Neuadd hotel near Harlech, a sympathetic nursemaid spirit appears in a mob cap and gown if any guests are unwell or in need of assistance!
Cheshire has more than its fair share of ghosts. Chester is widely regarded as one of Britain's most haunted cities, boasting visitations from every age of history. One creepy tale stems from the East Glory restaurant (formerly the Blue Bell Inn) in Northgate Street where, in 1645, a young woman named Henrietta and her soldier lover were staying. When he left to fight in the Battle of Rowton Moor, she tearfully waved goodbye to him from an upstairs window. Shortly after, Henrietta learned that he had been killed. Unable to imagine life without him she hanged herself and now, as the light begins to fade, her tear-stained ghost can still be seen at the window, waiting endlessly for her lover’s return.
The last public hanging in Chester took place at the beginning of the 19th century on the infamous gallows of Hangman's Hill in Boughton. As three condemned men climbed the scaffold, a convicted burglar named Price, suddenly leapt off, rolled down the riverbank and plunged into the Dee in a daring bid for freedom. Unfortunately, the weight of his chains dragged him into the murky depths and he was drowned. Legend has it that on a cold, moonlit night a manacled hand reaches above the water, clutches despairingly at the night sky and then slowly disappears beneath the waters of the river until only a ripple remains...
Hack Green Nuclear Bunker in Nantwich has seen a variety of strange goings on since opening as a museum in 1998. The TV program, Most Haunted, has twice featured the location due to its reported paranormal activity with staff and visitors regularly experiencing unexplained incidents throughout its rooms and corridors. People have witnessed shadowy figures and members of staff have reported feeling a menacing energy in the area, with reports of several people fainting as a result. In room 9 – the telecommunications area – the apparition of a young woman, seemingly working at her desk, is sometimes seen, and several tour groups have made contact with an aggressive male spirit. The theatre is believed to be the most paranormally active area in the bunker with people complaining of being touched and pushed by unseen hands. Terrifying moans are frequently heard, and disconnected phones have been known to ring out, only to stop the second before being answered. Yikes!
Say ‘Boo’ to a Ghost!
Although we may be a little too old for Trick or Treat, we can still get into the ‘spirit’ of the occasion by throwing a Halloween party or, if you’re a particularly brave soul, why not join the experts and take a walk on the vile side!
Join the team at this spooky haunted house in Mold as they hunt for ghosts and attempt to make contact with the other side. Visit www.visitplasteg.com
Starting at the Buttercross, outside the Church Inn, on Fridays at 8pm, this regular tour of famous ‘haunts’ is not for the faint hearted! www.shropshireghostwalks.co.uk
Join a moonlight ghost hunt around the eerie haunts of Chester's terrifying and murky past and revisit scenes of the unexplained. More information can be found at www.visitchester.com
Accompany the paranormal team on a tour around the castle’s haunted rooms, if you dare, and try out a variety of traditional and scientific ghost-hunting methods. Go to www.bodelwyddan-castle.co.uk
Enjoy a gourmet buffet followed by a scary tour of the hall with professional ghost busters looking for extraordinary encounters. Advance booking is essential so visit www.wales.ac.uk
These spooky family-friendly walks through one of the most haunted towns in England take place during October and November and are hugely popular. Visit www.shropshiretourism.co.uk
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