Visiting Harlech Castle

If you are looking for somewhere to visit this half term, you could pay a visit to the magnificent Harlech Castle. The huge fortification is one of Edward the 1st’s Welsh giants that were designed to keep Wales enclosed under English rule, and is the subject of the famous Welsh Song ‘Men or Harlech’, which talks of a siege during the Wars of the Roses. Harlech is a fabulous place to visit and relive history, a formidable Welsh giant that has history pouring through every brick.

Harlech Castle has been a Welsh heritage site since 1986, but it was once much more difficult to access if you had mobility issues or a pushchair. I remember visiting Harlech in 2011 and couldn’t take Joe into the castle as the only access was steps. But the creation and opening of a new visitor centre, and an adjoining floating bridge means it is now accessible for all. The visitors centre has a rather lovely gift shop and cafe, with a terrace with stunning views across Snowdonia, and there is also a room where you can watch a film setting the scene for Harlech’s place in history.

The floating bridge

The visitors centre

Inside the castle there is evidence of the battering it has taken over the years, with a large number of cannonballs left in situ. Much of the castle is a now a ruin, left open to the elements, but this is what makes it fascinating for children and adults alike, as they can run and climb the battlements, looking out at the views that have captivated and terrified people throughout history.

Inside the towers of the gatehouse there are reconstructions and models showing how Harlech would’ve looked int he past, and telling of its history in both English and Welsh.

 

Outside the Castle grounds there is a lovely wooden playground that is safe and enclosed with a gate, the perfect place for little ones to enjoy an ice cream, with benches for adults to sit and enjoy the sea air and the wonderful views.

 

This October you can enjoy Civil War reenactments at Harlech Castle.

Dates
28 Oct – 29 Oct 2017

Times
11am – 4pm

Prices
Adult – £6.50
Family – £19.30 *
Senior citizens, students and children under 16 – £4.20
Member – Am ddim / free
Disabled and companion – Am ddim / free
*Admits 2 adults and up to 3 children under 16

Click here for more information.

Getting out and about this Autumn

For many people, Autumn is the best season. It it a time of great natural beauty, the leaves change and fall from the trees as temperatures start to fall, but we still have gloriously sunny days and blue skies that hold off the bay of Winter just that little bit longer. These lovely days (and if we’re really lucky, a touch of an Indian Summer) make Autumn a season where we really should be getting out and about and enjoying some fresh air and outdoor pursuits.

There really is no reason to be staying inside. Children need to be turfed out, away from their computer screens, and instead given a football, a frisbie or a kite. Moms and dads need to put those car keys away and make the most of the season by opting to walk to the shops or the school. Even if your mobility is a problem for you, there is still no reason why you can’t enjoy some time away from the TV, computer or PS4. A range of different mobility aids from a company like Pro Rider Mobility can give you the support you need to be able to enjoy time outdoors, whether it be a trip in the park or taking in a nature walk. And don’t forget that the best events of Autumn, Halloween and Bonfire Night, take place outside.

Here are a few more ideas for enjoying a wonderful Autumn.

Enjoy your local Park

As I’ve already mentioned, parks are beautiful places of change at this time of the year. Whether you are walking your dog, or taking your children to search for conkers and pine cones, this really is a great way to spend a couple of hours, particularly whilst we still have some daylight hours in the evenings after school and work.

Get yourself to a football match

We are now well into the football season, and while I have to admit that it gets pretty cold on the stands once we hit Winter, for me, the best way to spend an Autumn afternoon is cheering on your team at the top of your voice, and getting a hotdog covered in mustard on the way back. Most grounds these days have access for those with mobility problems, with my team, West Brom, also adding an area for those with sensory issues and new commentary for death supporters, making football far more inclusive than it was in the past.

At WBA v West Ham last Saturday

Say Goodbye to the bears of The Big Sleuth

The Big Sleuth has been a massive success if Birmingham and the surrounding areas this Summer, with 100 bears delighting thousands of people. But all good things must come to an end, and the weekend beginning October 6th sees the finale for the bears, as they are all gathered together in East Park for one last goodbye. If you didn’t get chance to see the bears in their locations, this is a great way to see the bears all together.

Birmingham Weekender

This weekend sees the Birmingham Weekender, a weekend dedicated to getting the arts out and about in the city of Birmingham. From Rangeeli, a colourful community parade taking place through the city-centre complete with Harminder the Elephant, to Slack Rope Connections and the Bullzini Family Funambulists in Cathedral Square, who will help you test your balancing skills, this is a great way of getting out and about with your family, and finding that the city is about far more than shopping.

How will you enjoy the great outdoors this Autumn?

Brunswick In The Blitz – A Treat For Vintage Fashion Fans

Brunswick Park is a gorgeous green space in the heart of Wednesbury. It was opened in 1887 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, and it retains a wonderful air of calm, a perfect place for a picnic, to walk your dog or just to spot local wildlife. But on Saturday and Sunday last week, the park was alive with the sounds of Big Band tunes, and awash with colourful 1940s fashion as it played host to the first ‘Brunswick in the Blitz‘, transporting the park and its visitors back to the heady days of 1940s.

The beautiful bandstand, which is usually closed, was open once again, as the Ashby Big Band played the tunes of Glenn Miller, Frank Sinatra and Cole Porter. The sun shone for at least part of the afternoon, as couples dressed in 1940s dress, from military uniform, land girl garb and more glamorous tea dresses, enjoyed dancing to the memorable tunes. There was also a sing along of wartime songs from another conflict, with ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’ particularly enjoyed.

A red Routemaster bus provided the perfect bar for refreshments of the alcoholic kind, whilst more refined tea and coffee could be found at the Blitz tearoom, which was also stocking a range of delicious homemade cakes and cookies.

Brunswick in the Blitz had a range of stalls that offered information about the 1940s, from ‘Dig for Victory; and growing your own, to the reality of rationing. I was fascinated by the false and elaborate wedding cake that was made from cardboard, and housed a rather more modest fruit cake underneath. There were beautiful vintage cars to enjoy, and military vehicles too. And then there were stalls, selling a range of beautifully curated vintage fashion and homewares, all at very reasonable prices, and totally adding to the authentic feel of the event. From retro furs to glorious hats, and beautiful leather handbags and vintage cake stands, this was a treasure trove that would delight vintage lovers of all ages.

Brunswick in the Blitz was a fantastic event which I hope will happen again very soon. It was simply lovely.