A festive break in Wales
After getting acquainted in the lovely Mulberry Inn hotel for the next 2 days in North East Wales, we made the short trip over to Erddig and their National Trust park at Erddig Hall. Being a crisp and dark night, the ground were the perfect setting for their Christmas special, the ‘Erddig Glow’ where “Victorian parterre, avenues of pleached limes, grand lawns and iconic topiary” can be seen like never before.
Walking through a lantern-lit path across the grounds we were treated to a spectacular light show projected onto the Erddig Hall, whilst orchestral Christmas music played throughout. The topiary, light installations, and flame-lit torches gave the whole place a real sense of magic that even had our little scatterbrain Squish enthralled…especially when he spied a tiny house belonging to one of Santa’s Elves.
Being Christmas time and ruddy freezing to boot, I’d recommend wrapping up as warm as you can, as the walk can be a little long if you stop to take in all of it. Luckily at the end are a few Christmassy food stalls and even a nice big fire pit to roast some marshmallows over. We decided to pop inside to their café which had a lovely Christmas dinner on offer that Squish hoovered up in no time.
Erddig Glow strips back all the trappings of the modern day Christmas and gets back to its traditional roots, which is a lovely change if you’re looking for something a bit different over the festive period. Although a touch haunting in some places, the grounds have a real magical and ethereal feel to them. Adult tickets are £10, with children over 5 at £5. Alternatively, a family of 4 ticket is £25.
Fully rested from our stay and full bellied from our breakfast at the Mulberry Inn Hotel, we were off again the following morning to visit a very special white bearded man, who would join us on a festive train ride all the way up to ‘Lapland’. Starting from the Llangollen Railway station, we were treated to an old fashioned steam engine ride featuring none other than Father Christmas himself. With children (and even babies) treated to a special present from Santa, and grown ups treated to some mulled wine and mince pies we set off on the tracks to visit Lapland and have our own photo taken with the big man himself.
On the way we passed through idyllic fields and hills like a true steam train ride should. Squish and Bobs were both excited to see what lay at the end of the line (Squish was actually excited, whereas we Bobs was obviously oblivious to most of it and just reacting to his wide-eyed face!) Once we did get to ‘Lapland’ we all disembarked and despite having to queue a little we managed to get a lovely picture of the four of us and Father Christmas on his sleigh (although Bobs’ head is slightly obscured!)
Overall the trip was a lovely little adventure and something I’m sure Squish will remember for a long time. Even nowadays, steam trains still bring with them a sense of wonder and magic, especially to the little ones. With the addition of Father Christmas and his elves on board, it’s made all the more magic.
The Santa Special at Llangollen Railway has obviously finished until December 2015 now but I would definitely keep it in mind if you’re thinking of having a festive break in Wales next year. Tickets cost £16 for all passengers over the age of 12 months and the ticket price includes a gift, a treat and juice for the children and a mince pie and mulled wine for the adults.
As you can probably tell from the million pictures, we had a great time. Wales, we WILL be back.
*For the purpose of this review we were allowed free access to these events and accomodation for the night however all opinions are our own*