November 17, 2022 04:53 PM

Festive Events to Visit While Staying with Catch the Breeze Retreats

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Christmas time – the season of cosy log fires, twinkling lights and gingerbread is upon us, and everyone here at Catch the Breeze Retreats is certainly ready to get into the festive spirit! We have heard guests, locals, friends and family alike say that this year feels like the first “normal” Christmas in a long while; so, it is about time we all wrap up warm and take full advantage of all the festive events and activities taking place around our Catch the Breeze Retreats properties.

There are so many fun and magical events to visit around our property locations in North Wales, Northumberland and the Yorkshire Dales. Whether you would like to get stuck into some arts and crafts, dine-in with Santa himself, or go on a festive hike, there is something to get everyone feeling jolly this Christmas season.

North Wales

The Christmas season is full of traditions, such as gingerbread house making, carol singing, building a snowman, and much more. But sometimes, it is up to us to create new traditions, and our first festive activity in North Wales is certainly one for the books.

We are very happy to inform guests that Zip World’s famous Zipmas has returned to Llechwedd for another year of spectacularly unique Christmas activities which run from November 25th to December 24th. For those who may be unfamiliar with the marvellous Zipmas, it is a Christmas Grotto experience like none other; delve 500ft underground into the ancient caverns via a cable railway and walk along the enchanting light trail to find Santa and his helpful elves in his snow covered grotto.

After exploring the mystical grotto and soaking in the festive atmosphere you will make your way back up to the surface where there is even more fun to be had with the world’s first ever cave golf. After that, enjoy a complimentary mince pie and hot beverage and head over to the craft station to make your very own, one of a kind Welsh slate bauble. As you make your way around Zip World’s Zipmas experience, you will be filled with the joys of Christmas as you get your creative juices flowing and also experience the thrill of the historic Victorian mines – a very unique festive activity for the whole family that is for sure!

After being in the snowy mountains, you and your party may like to visit the quaint town of Portmeirion. This colourful village has beautiful architecture that is further complimented by the natural landscape, and the festive lights and Food & Craft Fair only adds to Portmeirion’s charm. This Christmas event takes place over December 2nd, 3rd and 4th and is open from 9.30am to 5pm and tickets can be bought on the gate where you enter the vibrant and bustling Christmas market.

This festive gathering brings the best of local food, drink and entertainment right to the heart of Portmeirion where a plethora of artisan stalls can be found selling seasonal goods. As you peruse all the stalls, you will find them selling items such as local produce and lovely handcrafted items, all encompassed by the sound of Christmas music and celebration from local musicians and bands. There is most definitely something for everyone at Portmeirion Food & Craft Fair, and we are sure you will be able to find Christmas gifts for the whole family there.

Or maybe a more nostalgic Christmas experience is something you are looking for this festive season? If so, we have the activity just for you! The Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways (Ff&WHR) will be holding lots of different railway journeys that are sure to not only get you in the Christmas mood, but also provide you with a one of a kind experience that will be remembered for years to come.

Just a short drive away from our North Wales property, Tan Llan & Coach House, is the is the town of Porthmadog where two spectacular festive steam train journeys can be found for your enjoyment. The first journey is named ‘The Winter Wanderer’ which travels from Porthmadog to Tan-y-Bwlch; sit back, relax, and marvel at the white winter wonderland passing you by as you travel through the Vale of Ffestiniog in style. Or perhaps you would prefer a more rugged landscape to peer over? If that is the case, ‘The Christmas Mountain Spirit’ is the steam train journey for you. As you travel through Eryri National Park, formally known as Snowdonia National Park, you will be awed by the towering slate tips, snow-topped mountain ranges and the overall natural beauty that Eryri is known for, especially in the winter months.

And after you have returned from your tour of the wintery Welsh landscapes, why not pop by Santa’s Christmas Carriage Grotto in Porthmadog where you will get the chance to meet Santa in his carriage grotto along with his mischievous elves. This magnificent festive experience is something the whole family can enjoy as you travel the nostalgic railway lines that the Ff&WHR have been travelling for over two centuries.

There are certainly a wide variety of festive activities to take part in around Tan Llan & Coach House this winter season, so if you have a visit planned with us you are sure to have a very merry Christmas.


There is also plenty of fun and festive cheer to be had around our Northumberland properties, Rock Lobster, Middlerigg, Craster Reach, Harbourway and Driftwood too. There is something so charming about a seaside town at Christmas time, the brisk sea breeze, the sparkling lights, all backdropped by the winter sea. It really is something to behold, and there are lots more sights and events to take part in that are just as endearing as Christmas down by the sea.

A Catch the Breeze Retreats favourite is the wonderful Alnwick Garden, even more so during the festive period! There are many different events being held at Alnwick Garden, all of which are bound to ensure you have a holly jolly Christmas. Why not begin your day at Alnwick Garden with a delectable festive afternoon tea in the enchanting Treehouse Restaurant – the Treehouse is a very unique experience on any other day of the year, being built in a magnificent tree, but at Christmas, with the abundance of fairy lights decorating it, it truly is a magical place. After an indulgent afternoon tea in one of Alnwick’s most beautiful restaurants, you can then make your way to the North East’s biggest and brightest light show. The ‘Winter Light Trail’ guides you round the gardens by dazzling, glittering lights where you will also find immersive light projection displays – light displays have become very popular over the last few years, and the ‘Winter Light Trail’ in Alnwick Gardens is most definitely an experience you and your party will fondly remember. And then to finish off the night, a range of bands will be playing in the gardens over the Christmas period, so grab yourself a hot drink from the garden’s café and enjoy the serenade of Christmas classics.

If you are looking for an extremely unique festive activity for the whole family, then the Kielder Winter Wonderland is the place to be. This spectacularly theatrical event takes place in Kielder Water & Forest Park which offers a great opportunity to escape to the outdoors. The meaning of Christmas is slightly different for everyone, but one thing is for certain, it is a time for fun and good times, and children especially will experience this and more at the Kielder Winter Wonderland. As they roam the fairy tale woodlands and embark on a mystical journey to discover Santa’s secret hideaway along the way they will meet reindeers, attend the elves’ workshop, make friends with the snowy owls, and even go snow tubing.

The excitement is truly like none other and is a fantastic opportunity to get outdoors this winter and let loose. There is joy to be had for the whole family, so book your tickets in advance of your stay with us to not be left disappointed!

And last, but certainly not least, for the festive fun in Northumberland is another one of our favourite getaways and that is The Joiners Arms in Craster. The Joiners Arms is but a short drive away from all our Craster properties and is a pub we always recommend to our guests; but it is not just any old pub, it is five star gastro pub that is a haven for locals and visitors alike. This Christmas, we are all in for a treat as The Joiners Arms celebrates the festive season with a new deliciously indulgent Christmas menu which includes some mouth-watering dishes such as zesty cured salmon salad, rich roast sirloin beef, and a decadent cheese board, just to name a few dishes.

But The Joiners Arms does not stop there, they are also offering a Christmas breakfast where you can dine with Santa himself, and there will be a great deal of singing, laughing and a lot more surprises for everyone to enjoy!

As you can see, there are lots of different events to attend this Christmas in Northumberland, whether that is out in the open air of the forest or in a cosy gastro pub, the festive period in Northumberland has it all.

Yorkshire Dales

And finally, we move on to the festive events taking place in the Yorkshire Dales, home to Oughtershaw Hall. The Yorkshire Dales truly turn into their own winter wonderland when it snows, and you and your party will feel as though you are in your own Christmas film while staying in the grand Oughtershaw Hall. But when you do decide to get out about, just like our other two property locations, the Yorkshire Dales also has a wide variety of Christmas events going on to get you in the festive mood during your staycation.

Who does not love a good Christmas market? Well, the Grassington Christmas Markets are a must visit for lovers of great food, drink and entertainment. The markets will be held from December 3rd through to December 10th from 11am to 4pm and are held by the in the heart of Skipton town centre which will be decked out with lights and decorations for the festive celebration.

This week long Christmas market will be home to a wide range of stalls, ranging from local traders, crafters, food vendors, charities and much more. And while you ponder your next purchase, your shopping experience will be accompanied by Christmas carollers, a brass band and even dancers! The Grassington Christmas Markets are really bringing the Christmas spirit to Skipton this winter, and it is an event that you will surely not want to miss.

Visiting Santa is a traditional festive activity, so why not treat the little ones to an authentic Christmas grotto experience at White Scar Cave in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. White Scar Cave is the home of the longest cave in Britain – being an impressive four miles long – and offers a range of fantastic sights and wonders to behold.

But during the winter time, the star of the show is the ‘White Scar Cave Santa Visit’ where children will be greeted by Santa himself after taking a stroll through the magically illuminated cave. There is nothing quite like walking through a real grotto, and the White Scar Cave definitely provides an authentic and enchanting experience.

It is not an everyday opportunity to ride on a canal boat, so you may as well make it an unforgettable moment and go on a special festive canal journey. Skipton Boat Trips offer a plethora of Christmas events to suit the whole party; if you would prefer a relaxing and luxurious festive afternoon tea you can hop upon the decorated canal boat and take in the views on this two hour experience, or if you want to go on an actual journey down the Leeds & Liverpool Canal then the ‘Christmas Drinks Ahoy Cruise’ is a chance to get merry and enjoy the sights on the canal. Or you could have the opportunity to have a fantastic one of a kind boat ride and also meet Santa; this attraction is popular every year, so it is highly recommended to book tickets early. The ‘Magical Santa Trips’ can be enjoyed by children and adults alike and is a great experience for the entire family as you stay cosy inside the marvellous canal boat whilst watching the frosty winter landscape pass you by.

If your sea legs are not the strongest then how about a staple winter hike? A local favourite is the ‘Buckden to Cray to Hubberholme Circuit’ which takes about two hours to complete; accessibility can be limited depending on the weather as the riverside can get rather muddy, so please mind your step along the way. But if you are not too worried about a little mud and rain then this is the perfect Christmas activity. Parking up in the small town of Buckden the trail starts with a steep incline but quickly levels out, and after passing through the small hamlet of Cray and coming across the White Lion pub you will follow the route to Scar House Farm.

As you manoeuvre valleys and meadows and eventually reach Hubberholme, take a detour to The George Inn and treat yourself to a festive meal, and while you are there take a visit to Sarah’s German Christmas Grotto and enjoy a glühwein, bratwurst and festive ale as your browse Sarah’s beautiful handmade jewellery. Once you have had your fix of delicious food and captivating shopping then it is time to hit the trails again where you will pass an extraordinary 12th century Norman church before following the river back to Buckden.

Just like North Wales and Northumberland, the Yorkshire Dales has its own mix of traditional and unique festive activities and events that are sure to make your Christmas staycation an unforgettable one.

However you want to spend your Christmas staycation, there is an event just for you near all our Catch the Breeze Retreats properties. The festive season is a magical time, but planning some unique, authentic and jovial activities will only amplify the merriment!

For further information on our properties and their availability all year round, not just for winter, contact us on 01829 830 388 or email at

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