Friday 04 November 2011
Finding a gift with a difference this Christmas is one thing, but when the backdrop for shopping is a 13th century castle with entertainment all around you can’t fail to be inspired. Caerphilly’s Medieval Christmas Fayre takes place on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 December in the town (9.30am – parade through the town) and castle (10.00am-4.00pm). Step back in time within the castle walls to a medieval age brimming with living history encampments, combat sessions and traders from far and wide, offering a wide range of local produce and fayre.
Stands include children’s medieval costumes, mystical sculpture and jewellery, shields and swords, medieval leatherworks, basket weaving, a blacksmith, glass stalls and woodturning.
Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service, and Caerphilly Borough Council have joined forces again this year to ensure visitors get a unique experience of the sights, sounds and smells of a busy town and castle preparing for Christmas. There will be plenty on offer for young and old alike in the castle with jestering from Fiery Jack and the spectacular Dragon Wye Ten. Christmas just wouldn’t be the same either without a visit to Father Christmas who’ll be visiting the castle over the weekend.
Christmas shopping can get the appetite racing and there’s plenty of seasonal food to tempt the tastebuds, including the wonderful Great British Pie Award winners created by Newport-based Elm Tree Foods. These include the handmade Hommity shortcrust pastry pies, filled with cooked garlic, cheddar cheese and diced capers and the Boozy Beef Pie, made with divine dark ale, which speaks for itself. Also on sale will be the Gold Award winning Porky Pear Pie, made with Pork cooked in Elm Tree Cider with blue cheese wrapped up in a crispy buttery shortcrust pastry. The feast is for the taking at this medieval extravaganza.
Collette Crew from Elm Tree Foods said, 'We will be offering our hearty meat pies at the Caerphilly Medieval Fayre for visitors to take home or to eat in the hand as a warming treat on a winter’s day.
'We love the Caerphilly Medieval Fayre as it just has a whole atmosphere of Christmas past. I love the smell of burning coals from the wood pits mingling with that mouth watering, zesty mulled wine and hot cider that will warm your hands and your stomach. On top of all this the entertainers and performing artists are superb, they engage with everyone. With such a fantastic backdrop, you only have to put your mobile phone down and you really could be back in time! This is an event we really look forward to.'
Other food stalls include Pigs in a Bun, Frantastic Crepes, Popty Cara and Martin’s Jerked Meats. For the thirsty there will be drink stalls with Medieval Themed Crimson Moon, where you’ll taste the Best Meads from the Banquet to the Moniack, though this one is only for the brave hearted.
Caerphilly Castle’s jester will have many a joke and merry tale to cheer you while children will be able to practice their sword fighting skills with Sir Andrew, the Cadw Knight, in his ‘knight school’. Don’t miss out on the live performers, including music, dancing and combat sessions from Lion Rampart, Medieval Scenes by the Freemen of Gwent and Sons of the Dragon displaying archery among other visual shows. The Hautbois will wheel their cart around and perform while the Mirage Mummers will be acting their plays throughout.
In addition to the daytime Medieval Fayre Caerphilly Castle will be welcoming illuminata, one of the most spectacular digital light and sound shows around, over three nights on Friday 9, 10 and 11 December. As darkness falls, the castle’s walls of the inner ward will be bathed in light, creating an amazing feast for the senses. Images and sounds depicting centuries of this iconic stronghold’s history will appear almost magically in front of you. What’s more it’s free, with two showings each night at 5.30pm & 6.30pm.
Bored of the usual Christmas party? Fancy holding one in a castle? Then in addition to illuminata there will be a series of medieval banquets on 9, 10 and 11 December in the Great Hall. You’ll be guaranteed a belly laugh and a full belly each night following the last illuminata showing each evening. For £30 per head (10 per cent discount for 10 or more), prepare to leave the modern world behind for a few hours and get stuck in to a good old-fashioned feast. If a banquet ticket is booked in advance the bearer will also receive free entry to the castle during the day as part of the Medieval Christmas Festival. Tickets can be bought at the castle or by calling 029 2088 3143.