The Winterval Christmas festival in Waterford kicked off on November 30th and will run to December 23rd. Across the city, there’s plenty on offer to get you into the festive spirit. In various locations, there are stalls serving hot drinks, sweet treats and knick-knacks. On selected dates, there are craft workshops; plays and musicals; and tours of various sites including a recreated Viking settlement and the House of Waterford Crystal. For the little ones, there’s Santa’s grotto, a toy museum and an express train as well as a charming carousel in the town square.
For the duration of Winterval, you can explore the historic landmark Reginald’s Tower for free. Inside the tower, a dizzyingly narrow spiral stairway leads up to rooms displaying unique artefacts and pieces. At specific times throughout the day, they have storytelling sessions on the top floor. It’s definitely something different to do and it’s really good fun for all. I’d also highly recommend stopping by the beautiful Bowery Theatre where you can sit back with a hot drink and watch Christmas movies on the big screen. If you’re feeling energetic (or if you just want to burn off the mince pies!) you can go ice skating on the pop-up rink on the quays.
There’s lots to see and do at Winterval but everything is quite spread out so if you’re going, I’d recommend preparing for it beforehand. Definitely check out the map and plan your route as you could otherwise end up getting a bit lost. There’s a lot of walking involved so make sure you’re wearing your comfiest shoes and wrap up warm. It also might be handy to bring a shopping bag or two in case the stalls don’t have any to give.
We went on a Thursday and unfortunately (although not unsurprisingly!) it rained most of the day. Because of the weather, I feel like we didn’t get the full experience. A number of the stalls were closed; there wasn’t a huge amount of people about; and just because we didn’t want to get completely soaked; we also had to skip a few other places. It was a bit of a shame because it would have been really lovely to just wander around at our pace rather than dashing about in between showers. Nevertheless, we still had a pretty great time. There’s something for everyone at Winterval and it’s the perfect opportunity to celebrate the Christmas season.