As the home of the wonderful Winterval festival, Waterford has strong claims as the Irish city that loves Christmas the most. There are certainly plenty of great events and activities to enjoy there during the festive season. But if you’re only in Waterford for a weekend or a fleeting visit, what are the best Christmas attractions to focus on?
Worry no more, after reading our list of Top 5 Things to Make a Waterford Christmas, your trip to Ireland’s oldest city during the festive season can’t but go splendidly. Plonk your belongings down in a cheap and comfortable place like Travelodge Waterford Hotels before exploring the great Christmas attractions that the city of Waterford has to offer.
Winterval comes first in this list as it’s not only Waterford’s biggest Christmas event, it’s actually Ireland’s largest Christmas festival. Running this year from 25 November to 23 December, Winterval attracts huge numbers of visitors from around Ireland with 2016 expected to be the biggest one yet.
Winterval in Waterford will feature all sorts of great family activities, most of them free and spread across the city. From the famous Ballybricken Fair in the city centre to the ‘Winterval Illuminates’ show featuring world-famous illusionist Keith Barry and focusing on the Viking monument Reginald’s Tower to a 3D Lightshow, a Viking Yuletide and the magic of Santa’s Grotto, you have plenty to keep the most demanding family occupied. But there’s more: you can jump on board the Winterval Express, play to your heart’s content at the Toy Museum and even meet the reindeer at the Animal Farm. And in case you’re sick of all these festive goodness, there’s even a Bad Santa in town for some alternative Christmas spirit.
2: The Winter Wonderland of County Waterford
Enter the magical world of the Winter Wonderland at Ardmore Open Farm just an hour from Waterford City from the end of November until just before Christmas Day. The ideal festive day out for all the family, there’s the festively-decorated indoor play area and posting the all-important Santa letter through the Hoot Owl Express before meeting the head Elf, Coco who’s busy making toys for all those deserving recipients. But that’s just the start of the Christmas possibilities of the Winter Wonderland, experience the live crib or play outside in the igloo before catching up with Mrs Claus in the Christmas Cottage and her husband in the log cabin where you can cadge an early Xmas present. If all the Christmassy stuff begins to wear, you can walk the farm, see the animals and play on the pedal-karts. It’s all good training for the mayhem of Christmas morning!
3: Waterford Crystal at Christmas
Want to really impress your relatives this Christmas? Then break open your piggy bank and shell out for some delightful Christmas decorations from the House of Waterford Crystal. The lucky recipient of the finest Christmas gifts from Waterford will be able to see their home sparkle with the incredible artistry of the ornaments from Waterford Crystal for many years to come.
4: Panto in Waterford
Would Christmas in Waterford be complete without the panto? This year’s pantomime at the Theatre Royal in Waterford City is Beauty and the Beast running from 3-30 December 2016. This will make it the 31st production of the Waterford Panto Society and Richie Hayes will once again direct with the usual local cast of favourite characters, live musicians, stunning costumes and theatrical effects making this an event not to be missed this Christmas in Waterford.
5: The Civic Christmas Carol Service at Christ Church
Located in the heart of the famous Viking Triangle in Waterford City, Christ Church Cathedral was built on a site which housed religious worship for the last thousand years. Who knows perhaps they’ve had a carol service ever since. Certainly Christ Church is very adept at putting on a great recital that includes all your favourite Christmas carols and songs. The atmosphere in the cathedral is always special but particularly so for the carol service with wonderful acoustics of Ireland’s only neo-classical Georgian cathedral that amplify that Christmas feeling.