The Silver Mountain Experience in Mid Wales will be turned into a winter wonderland full of magic and wonder this festive season.
The popular visitor attraction based just outside Aberystwyth is preparing for the return of their sell-out Christmas event.
The Elves’ Workshop and Santa’s Grotto will be opening its doors to visitors again, running on selected dates from December 10 – 23. Visitors will be able to see the elves’ busily preparing for the big day in their workshop before meeting Santa, with a present included for all children on the ‘good list’.
There will also be a range of exciting festive activities included within the ticket price. Visitors can enjoy Christmas cookie decorating, take part in the special Reindeer Trail and enjoy the other surface attractions, including the new play area.
The Silver Mountain Experience looks even better as the sun sets, as it’s lit up in pretty lights and colours. Slots are available up until 6.30pm. The Christmas event is pre-book only and each timed slot is for a single group, so visitors have their own personal tour.
As well as the Christmas event, visitors can experience the thrilling escape room experience Ultimate Xscape, set on-site at The Silver Mountain Experience.
The Miner’s Rest Café, based at the attraction, is also open to everyone, even those not visiting any attractions or events.
Find out more, and book your slot online at: www.silvermountainexperience.co.uk/festive
Talented chefs are being challenged to put their skills to the test in the two most prestigious competitions in Wales.
The Culinary Association of Wales (CAW) has launched the National and Junior Chef of Wales competitions which again have some fabulous prizes on offer.
To enter, chefs must work at an establishment or study at a college for a catering qualification within Wales or be of Welsh descent and working in another country.
Entries are now open for both competitions which will be held at the Welsh International Culinary Championships (WICC) from February 21-23, 2023, at Grŵp Llandrillo Menai’s campus in Rhos-on-Sea.
At stake in the National Chef of the Wales final is £500 for the winner, £300 for the runner-up and £200 for third place. The winner will also receive a set of engraved knives from Friedr Dick and £250 worth of Churchill products.
The Junior Chef of Wales winner will have a chance of a lifetime to attend the Worldchefs Congress 2024 in Singapore with CAW delegates.
He or she will also qualify for the semi-finals of the Young National Chef of the Year contest, organised by the Craft Guild of Chefs and receive support from the Junior Culinary Team Wales, a set of engraved knives from Friedr Dick and products worth £100 from Churchill.
Entries for both competitions must be received by January 31, 2023. Entry forms may be downloaded from the CAW website https://www.culinaryassociation.wales/competitions/ and returned either by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to Culinary Association of Wales Office, Ty Cambrian, Unit 10, Offa’s Dyke Business Park, Fisher Rd, Welshpool SY21 8JF.
Organised by the CAW, the WICC’s main sponsor is Food and Drink Wales, the Welsh Assembly Government’s department representing the food and drink industry.
Other sponsors include Castel Howell, Churchill, Major International, Riso Gallo, Dick Knives, MCS Tech Products, Hybu Cig Cymru/ Meat Promotion Wales and Grŵp Llandrillo Menai.
National Chef of Wales final will take place on February 21 and 22, 2023 and Junior Chef of Wales final will take place on February 23. The award dinner will be held on the evening of February 23 at The Imperial Hotel, Llandudno.
The National Chef competition, which is open to chefs aged 23 and above on January 1, 2023, challenges chefs to cook their own creative menu for a three course dinner for 12 people within five hours, using a majority of Welsh ingredients.
The final will be contested by the eight highest scorers from paper judging of all the menus submitted in applications. The finalists’ starter must be suitable for vegans, main course must use two different cuts of PGI Welsh Lamb and dessert must feature seasonal fruits, an ice cream, chocolate and biscuit or tuille.
In the Junior Chef contest, which will be contested by chefs aged between 16 and 23 on January 1, 2023, the finalists must cook their own creative menu for a three-course dinner for four people within three hours, again using a majority of Welsh ingredients.
The final will be contested by the four highest scorers from paper judging of all the menus submitted in the applications. The finalists’ starter must be a seafood/fish appetiser, main course must use one prime cut and one secondary cut of PGI Welsh Beef and dessert must be seasonal, feature one hot element and include chocolate.
Arwyn Watkins, OBE, CAW president, said: “We are fortunate to have talented chefs working and studying within Wales and also others of Welsh descent who are working or studying outside of the country.
“We therefore hope they take this opportunity to showcase their skills in Wales’ premier competitions for chefs. Looking through the list of previous winners, you appreciate the calibre needed to become the best in Wales.”
Corris Railway will end a good year in festive style with two days of Santa Special trains on December 10 and 11.
Trains will leave Corris station at 11am, 12.30pm, 2pm and 3.30pm and advance ticket sales are advised via www.corris.co.uk .
Reviewing 2022, Corris Railway Society’s chairman Richard Foyn said considerable progress on a number of fronts has been made by volunteers and partners, following two years of disruption caused by Covid.
The first quarter saw an important part of the improvements to Corris station completed with a new platform and track layout, which included a traverser to allow locomotives to run round their trains.
Work has continued on an embankment south of Maespoeth Junction which will eventually allow passengers a longer journey along the Dulas Valley.
“This part of our work depends on funding and the availability of suitable materials, machinery and qualified operators, so it is inevitably somewhat stop-start but progress has been steady and is satisfactorily visible,” added Mr Foyn.
“Our new steam engine, which is being constructed by Alan Keef Ltd, steamed for the first time in September and, if fundraising continues successfully, we plan to have it into service in 2023.”
Talyllyn Railway has recently completed work on the air pump for the braking system for the new engine.
Work has continued on the next new-build carriage number 24 which, when complete, will see first class travel available on the railway for the first time in nearly a century.
The railway’s heritage waggon fleet continues to receive care and attention, whilst the waggon shelter at Maespoeth Junction now has a slate roof.
“We have caught up with the Covid delays to the Your Railway for The Day bookings whereby individuals or groups of up to six can pay to drive trains and work as guards and signalmen,” he added.
“All of this has been achieved by a small number of volunteers and we would be delighted to welcome more to the ranks.”
Visit www.corris.co.uk for contact details and information about the railway and all projects.
The Welsh Government is seeking your views on proposals to provide discretionary powers for local authorities to apply a visitor levy in their areas. The public consultation closes on 13th December 2022.
Introducing a visitor levy is a Welsh Government Programme for Government commitment and is being carried out in collaboration with Plaid Cymru as part of the Co-operation Agreement. This policy will require new legislation and measures are unlikely to come into force for several years, if approved by the Senedd.
The Welsh Government is proposing that a visitor levy will represent a small additional charge that will apply to stays in overnight, commercially-let visitor accommodation. Final decisions on the design of a levy will be taken following the consultation and considering all available evidence.
As many wide-ranging views as possible are being sought to help shape any proposals taken forward and we would be grateful if you would share the consultation details via your networks.
The consultation can be found on Discretionary visitor levy for local authorities | GOV.WALES. and a report on the consultation responses will be published in Spring 2023.
Any queries should be sent to VisitorLevyConsultation@gov.wales.
Following last year’s survey asking for feedback on your experience of using Visit Wales' product listing admin tool to update your listing on visitwales.com, improvements have now been made.
"Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback: It is very much appreciated, and your comments have helped inform changes that include."
Visit Wales have changed:
With Wales playing in our first world cup for 64 years, this provides an unprecedented opportunity to showcase Wales as a distinct nation on a global stage.
A Cymru Wales World Cup toolkit has been produced to internationally showcase our people, culture, community and landscape, which includes digital and video assets. A range of campaign specific and football related images are available for you to use on the Visit Wales Asset Library: Assets: World Cup 2022 | Visit Wales.
You can also get involved by amplifying the social media channels wherever possible and by using hashtags #cmoncymru #timcymru22 #teamwales22. Take look on - This is Wales (walesdotcom) Twitter, Facebook, Instagram: and Visit Wales Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Croeso Cymru Twitter, Instagram.
Enjoy refreshments at one of the many mobile food stands and independent stalls, serving everything from hot beef rolls to mulled wine.
The Royal Welsh Winter Fair will be bustling with competitors, Christmas shoppers and festivities on Monday and Tuesday, November 28 and 29, with the gates opening at 8am.
There are plenty of places across the Llanelwedd showground to have a bite to eat or a festive tipple. Enjoy refreshments at one of the many mobile food stands and independent stalls, or warm up inside at one of our catering facilities below.
Hafod a Hendre
A self-service restaurant and bar located in the warm and comfortable surroundings of Hafod a Hendre. Open for breakfast, lunch, supper and refreshments. There will be musical entertainment throughout Monday evening from singing duo Hywell and Johnny and Welsh performer Clive Edwards.
Winter Fair Pub
The popular Winter Fair Pub is back this year, situated near the outside Cattle Ring by the under pass. To help reduce single-use waste during the event, special winter fair-branded reusable cups will be available.
New for this year, The International Pavilion building will become the Fingers and Forks café, a firm catering favourite. Hot meals, afternoon tea, sandwiches and cakes, along with tea and coffee, will be served on both floors of the International Pavilion throughout the event.
South Glamorgan Hall
Take a break from the chilly weather and pop by the café in the South Glamorgan Exhibition Hall for a hot drink. The café is operated by family-run catering company, Cegin Gwenog.
Neuadd Henllan Inn
Soak up the festive atmosphere at Neuadd Henllan Inn which will be open throughout the winter fair, serving food and drinks.
The Charolais Restaurant and Bar is situated in the British Charolais Cattle Society Pavilion and will be serving a variety of food and drinks.
The Royal Welsh Agricultural Society says it hopes visitors enjoy the range of hospitality on offer during the winter fair and asks them to look out for each other and stay safe, whilst getting into the festive spirit.
For more information about the winter fair or to buy tickets, visit the RWAS website at https://rwas.wales/
The National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth has opened a special room for people to work, read or relax as part of Ceredigion Council and CAVO’s Warm Spaces network.
The room, which offers free internet access, is ideal for those who do not wish to work at home or want company and an alternative space to socialise and keep warm.
This room is one of a number of spaces at the library that offer a warm welcome for free. A new play area is a perfect place for young children and their families to spend a morning or afternoon.
There are also a number of interesting exhibitions, which vary from looking at the history of Welsh football to an alphabet of assorted items from the library’s collections. Entry to all is free.
An events programme offers an hour or two of entertainment in a cosy space or it is possible to simply wander the public spaces to enjoy the building.
Rhian Gibson, the library’s director of communications, engagement and partnerships, said: "We are very glad to be working with Ceredigion Council's Warm Places to offer a special room in the library for everyone to use for work or to relax.
“The library always offers a warm welcome to everyone, but it is even more important that we do so at the moment as many people and families are facing difficult times.
“There's plenty to enjoy here from the exhibitions to the play area and it's an opportunity to have a chat and socialise, so pop in and experience our warm welcome."
A popular Mid Wales visitor attraction has added another accolade to its growing list of awards.
Falconry Experience Wales, based at Forge, near Machynlleth, was named the Wildlife Experience of the Year at the Wales Prestige Awards 2022-23.
The Prestige Awards celebrate businesses and individuals that consistently offer excellent products and services to local residents and tourist visitors alike.
“We are delighted to win the award which recognises the work we are doing to promote wildlife and conservation,” said Barry Macdonald, who runs Falconry Experience Wales with his partner Luce Green.
The popular attraction has twice previously been named the Outdoor Venue of the Year at the Welsh Hospitality Awards and Luce was named Small Business of the Year at the Welsh Women’s Awards.
Barry and Luce have worked with raptors for more than 30 years, having had an active background in wildlife conservation in the UK and abroad.
Falconry Experience Wales, which has been based at Forge since 2004, is in the process of moving, with its new home set to be announced next month. The business offers visitors a range of educational experiences designed to promote conservation.
The business, which has 27 birds of prey in its collection, including falcons, hawks, red kites, a white tailed sea eagle a bald eagle and many owl species, works with popular TV wildlife presenter Iolo Williams to organise guided Raptor Educational days for small groups.
Falconry Experience Wales is a member of MWT Cymru, an independent organisation that represents more than 600 tourism and hospitality businesses across Powys, Ceredigion and Southern Snowdonia.
This year’s Royal Winter Fair will be officially opened by regenerative farmer Dafydd Wynne Finch on Monday, November 28 at 10am in Exhibition Hall 1.
The Royal Welsh Agricultural Society is looking forward to welcoming exhibitors, visitors and superb livestock to Royal Welsh Showground in Llanelwedd.
Dafydd is a well-known landowner and farmer from North Wales, growing up on the family beef and sheep farm, Cefnamwlch, Tudweiliog, on the north side of the Llŷn Peninsula, which he converted to a dairy farm in 2003.
He and his farm manager Carwyn Rhys Davies now milk Jersey cross cows, focusing on milk solid products and butterfat for cheesemaking. The milk they produce is from a rotationally grazed grass system which gives greater control over grass production, improves grass quality and increases the animal’s performance.
Dafydd is also currently in the process of building a cheese production facility on Anglesey.
He went to agricultural college and worked in banking before moving back to the farm 20 years ago. As a Nuffield scholar, Dafydd has travelled to Israel, India, China, Australia, USA, and New Zealand for his studies.
His chosen subject for his Nuffield scholarship in 2013 was the collaboration of people, looking at alternatives to landlord and tenant relationships and into different ways of running farm businesses.
The most exciting findings were in New Zealand, which he observed had a very developed share farming system. Dafydd hopes that these systems can be implemented in the UK to bring new talent into farming.
Cefnamwlch runs on a farm share basis with Carwyn who owns a percentage of the cows. Dafydd’s farming practices maintain a focus on sustainable and regenerative farming, keeping large areas of land free for trees and woodland areas.
One system Dafydd has put in place at Cefnamwlch is continuous cover forestry. This increases biodiversity levels and creates more habitats for the surrounding nature and wildlife.
Following the official opening, there will be presentations of the John Gittins Memorial Award 2022 and the RWAS Oxford Farming Conference Bursary 2023.
For more information about the Winter Fair or to buy tickets visit the RWAS website https://rwas.wales/ .
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