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Tudor Christmas at Tamworth Castle

PEOPLE are being invited to dine like the Tudors this Christmas at Tamworth Castle’s fun and festive Tudor Banquet on Saturday December 2.

Step back in time as Tamworth Castle throws open the doors for all to enjoy a Christmas feast. The evening guarantees fun, laughter, festivities and lots of entertainment by musicians, singers and storytellers.

Guests are encouraged to dress in full Tudor attire to enhance their experience and join in with the characters and wenches, as they serve a complimentary glass of mead on arrival then take a walk around the majestic castle rooms, before entering the Great Hall. Here, all guests will be greeted by the banquet servants who will prepare you for your banquet experience.

A glass of complimentary wine will accompany a five course feast all delivered to your table by waitress service.  A fully licenced cash bar will also be available.

The doors will open at 7pm for a 7.30pm start to the evening, with all the celebrations concluding at 11pm.

Tickets: Adult £45.00, over 18s only

For more information or tickets please contact Tamworth Tourist Information Centre on 01827 709581/618 or email mail: [email protected]. Please note that pre-booking is essential.

Cllr Joy Goodall, Cabinet member for Environment & Culture, said: “What a perfect way to start the Christmas celebrations with a traditional Tudor banquet. The castle is the perfect setting, where you will be able to dine and feast just like the Tudors did in the castle all those years before.

“Why not come along with friends, family or work colleagues and wear period costume to add to the atmosphere. Dine like Henry VIII and join in with traditional games of the era and a good ole sing-song.”

 

Tamworth Castle Awards

TAMWORTH Castle has very good reason to be celebrating once more, after winning silver awards for being a top tourist destination and a great place to meet Santa, in the 2017 Enjoy Staffordshire Tourism Awards.

Staff at the castle are delighted to be named the silver winners in both the Small Visitor Attraction of the Year and Best Tourism Experience for Santa Event categories of this year’s competition.

The honours were revealed at a prestigious awards ceremony, hosted by BBC Midlands Today presenter Joanne Malin, at Uttoxeter Race Course on Wednesday November 15.

Tamworth Castle was just beaten by Gladstone Pottery Museum in the Small Visitor Attraction of the Year category and Drayton Manor in the Best Tourism Experience for Santa Event.

The popular Victorian Santa Trails are back at the castle for this December. Already the weekend dates are fully booked, but there are still afternoon spaces available on Monday December 18 and Tuesday December 19. Pre-booking is essential.

The awards were organised by Enjoy Staffordshire and independently judged and verified by Service Science. Entrants were marked on their commitment to delivering excellent customer service, training and skills for employees, sustainability and environment, proactivity, dedication to best practice, quality of service and product.

Shortlists of entrants are selected from all written applications, who may then receive a judging visit.

Judges commented that there were some very strong entrants in this year’s competition. Tamworth Castle showed it is a strong, well-organised and customer-focused attraction, while the well- written and supported application enabled it to edge in front of the other contenders.

Cllr Joy Goodall, Cabinet member for Environment & Culture, said: “Tamworth Castle is an absolute gem, and these awards are a well-deserved recognition of its value and importance. I am delighted that Tamworth Castle has taken the silver award in two categories, which demonstrates how special the sell-out Victorian Santa Trails event is and what a huge amount of hard work and dedication the whole team puts into making the Castle an amazing attraction to visit. The passion and commitment that the team delivers creates an exciting and high quality visitor experience.”

She added: “Tamworth Castle continues to boost the profile of Tamworth even further and hopefully attract even more people to come and visit us.”

cinderella

TAMWORTH’s magical family pantomime will once again take place at Tamworth Castle Grounds this Christmas – oh yes it will!

Cinderella will run for a week from 14 – 22 December in a spectacular heated Big Top while the Tamworth Assembly Rooms renovations continue.

Company manager Alex Farrell, who also plays one of the Ugly Sisters, said: “We are so excited to be back at the Castle Grounds. Last year we took a risk and hired a Big Top and the show was a fantastic success.

“This year the show is going to be bigger and better than ever. We have a new Big Top, which is just like a theatre on the inside, with hot and cold food and some surprises thrown in as well.

“If you want some good local fun, slapsticks, singing and dancing, Cinderella is for you – it really is magical entertainment for the whole family.”

Cinderella is the only pantomime in the Midlands to take place in a Big Top, but there are only 16 shows to catch it this December!

Tickets are £14 adults, £9 concessions and £42 for a family ticket. They can be booked now from the Tamworth Tourist Information Centre on 01827 709618 or by visiting www.TamworthArtsAndEvents.co.uk.

Lantern school collage

TAMWORTH’S festive season officially begins when the town will be lit up by the Christmas lights switch-on event this Sunday (November 26).

The countdown to Christmas will be launched in style with a jam-packed afternoon of festive fun for the whole family in Tamworth town centre, ahead of the main event in St Editha’s Square at 5 pm, when the town will sparkle in Christmas cheer.

Festivities take place throughout the day from 1 pm, including fairground rides, crafts, live music, Christmas market, walkabout characters, dance performances, lantern parade, face painting and personal appearances at intervals from The Gruffalo in Ankerside Shopping Centre.

A lantern parade will start at 4 pm from the Castle Activity Centre on the Castle Grounds and lead to St Editha’s Square for the light switch-on. Children can collect a free glow-stick from the Castle Activity Centre prior to the parade, to make their lanterns glow. Collect early to avoid disappointment.

The workshop leader will also be at the Activity Centre during the day to provide additional lantern making workshops for the public.  Everyone is welcome and the activity is FREE.

The main event will be at 5 pm when the honour of switching on the lights will be given to the winner of a special Bake-Off competition – Amanda Little,  accompanied by the Mayor of Tamworth, Cllr John Chesworth; not forgetting Father Christmas and The Gruffalo who will make an appearance too.

The annual Christmas lights switch-on is organised with the Tamworth Christmas Lights Festival Committee and is another favourite in the Tamworth Arts & Events calendar which attracts thousands of people, who flock to the town to enjoy the celebrations each year.

Music will again centre around the Touch FM stage in St Editha’s Square, featuring live performances from a range of acts from 2 pm.

Line up for the Main Stage:

  • St Leonards Primary School – 2 pm – 2.15pm
  • Matilda Pratt – 2.15pm – 2.30pm
  • Ellie Lake – 2.30pm – 2.40pm
  • Upbeat Dance Company – 2.40pm – 3.00pm
  • Stage It! – 3.05pm – 3.25pm
  • Just Perform – 3.30pm – 3.50pm
  • Positive Labels – 3.55pm – 4.20pm
  • Tamworth Voices – 4.25pm – 4.50pm

Elsewhere, under the Town Hall, Landau Sixth Form Academy will perform at 2.30pm – 2.50pm – with a ‘Site Specific Dance’. All five performers in this piece are currently studying a Level 3 Performing Arts Subsidiary Diploma in Dance.

Additional entertainment under the Town Hall will be followed by members of St Francis Church who will stage a live nativity at 3 pm and 4 pm. Plus, don’t miss Tamworth Pantomime Company performing a teaser of this year’s magical and hilarious panto Cinderella between 4 pm and 5 pm near the Town Hall.

The Christmas market will return and be enchanted with Christmas cheer offering festive sounds from Tamworth Wind Band at 1 pm, 2.30pm and 4 pm. Positive Labels, a group of young local musician’s, will also be entertaining at 1.45pm and 3.15pm. A range of festive stalls will include:

  • A variety of tombola stalls
  • Promotion of Hospice Services and hamper draw
  • Handmade gifts and bespoke glass
  • Christmas themed fundraising activities
  • Games for younger children
  • Free diabetes testing
  • Hot drinks and cold refreshments
  • Wood fired pizza
  • Sweet cones, chocolate, fudge, candy floss, doughnuts and brandy snaps
  • Promotion of organic box home delivery service
  • Healthy Fast Food
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Toiletries, novelty gifts and stocking fillers
  • Fashion jewellery
  • Indian handmade bags and Henna tattoos

…and much more – all perfect for picking up some unique and personal Christmas presents.

Also returning is the annual Christmas Tree Festival in St Editha’s Church, which invites schools, businesses, local groups and individuals to decorate a tree to be displayed in the church.

Cllr Joy Goodall, Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Environment & Culture, said: “The Christmas lights switch-on event is another highlight in Tamworth’s free programme of arts and events which is run in partnership with Tamworth Christmas Lights Festival Committee. We have a fun packed day lined up, with plenty of stalls, refreshments and free entertainment for the whole family to enjoy. What else would be the perfect way to kick off the Christmas season?”

Christmas Lights festival

TAMWORTH’S festive season officially gets underway in a week’s time with another magical Christmas lights switch-on event on Sunday November 26.

The countdown to Christmas will be launched in style with a jam-packed afternoon of festive fun for the whole family in Tamworth town centre, ahead of the main event in St Editha’s Square at 5pm, when the town will sparkle in Christmas cheer.

Festivities take place throughout the day from 1pm, including fairground rides, crafts, live music, Christmas market, walk about characters, dance performances, lantern parade, face painting and personal appearances at intervals from The Gruffalo in Ankerside Shopping Centre.

Throughout November, Tamworth Borough Council’s play leader has been visiting primary schools to deliver free lantern workshops. These lanterns will be used in a parade at the lights switch-on at 4pm.

The parade will start from the Castle Activity Centre in the Castle Grounds and lead to St Editha’s Square. Children can collect a free glow-stick from the Castle Activity Centre prior to the parade, to make their lanterns glow.

Primary schools involved with the workshops are:

  • Coton Green
  • Wilnecote
  • Florendine
  • St Leonards

 

The workshop leader will also be at the Activity Centre on the day to provide additional lantern making workshops for the public.  Everyone is welcome and the activity is FREE.

The parade will be completed with some very festive walk about characters for the children to meet; including a giant inflatable snowman, a large gingerbread man, stilt walkers and circus performers.

The main event will be at 5pm when the honour of switching on the lights will be given to the winner of a special Bake-Off competition –Amanda Little,  accompanied by the Mayor of Tamworth, Cllr John Chesworth; not forgetting Father Christmas and The Gruffalo who will make an appearance too.

The annual Christmas lights switch-on is organised with the Tamworth Christmas Lights Festival Committee and is another favourite in the Tamworth Arts & Events calendar which attracts thousands of people, who flock to the town to enjoy the celebrations each year.

Music will again centre round the Touch FM stage in St Editha’s Square, featuring live performances from a range of acts from 2pm.

Elsewhere, members of St Francis Church will stage a live nativity under the Town Hall in Market Street and the Christmas market will return to George Street.

The market will be enchanted with Christmas cheer offering festive sounds from Tamworth Wind Band and a range of stalls selling gifts, crafts, novelties, local produce, wood fired pizza and festive food – perfect for picking up some unique and personal Christmas presents.

Also returning is the annual Christmas Tree Festival in St Editha’s Church, which invites schools, businesses, local groups and individuals to decorate a tree to be displayed in the church.

Cllr Joy Goodall, Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Environment & Culture, said: “The Christmas lights switch-on event is another highlight in Tamworth’s free programme of arts and events which is run in partnership with Tamworth Christmas Lights Festival Committee. This year the committee along with the Arts and Events team has organised another great programme of entertainment, including The Lantern Parade. Don’t miss out on this free activity during the day at the Activity Centre and join the parade at 4pm. It should be the perfect start to the Christmas season.”

Visitors will also be able to meet The Gruffalo in Ankerside Shopping Centre.

free parking

TRADERS, shoppers and visitors to Tamworth are being given an early Christmas present – free festive car parking.

Parking will be free in all of Tamworth Borough Council’s car parks on two Saturdays leading up to Christmas – December 9 and 23. Ankerside is also offering free parking in its car park on those two Saturdays.

Free parking does not apply on the Gallan-run temporary surface car park on the former Gungate precinct site.

The car parking fees are being waived on those two days in a bid to boost town centre trade by encouraging more people to come into Tamworth to shop.

The first free parking Saturday is on December 9 which coincides with the Christmas Food Gusto event taking place on the historic Ladybridge, which has recently undergone a refurbishment and will be the perfect setting for some Christmas shopping, as well as some of the region’s best food and drink.

After several years of success in the summer with the Tamworth Food Gusto Festival, Food Gusto, will hold a two day Christmas Fair on December 9 and 10. There will be a wide range of high quality hot food and drink available from artisan producers across the region, as well as a full entertainment programme.

More information on the Food Gusto event can be found at: http://tamworthfestival.co.uk/

Tamworth Borough Council Deputy Leader, Cllr Rob Pritchard, said: “We are keen to support the town centre, especially at important times like Christmas. We made the decision to waive parking charges on these two very busy shopping days because we want to support traders and boost town centre trade.

“It gives us a real opportunity to attract new visitors to Tamworth and to demonstrate what the town has to offer. This is another example of the Council supporting our important town centre businesses.

“Please tell your family and friends so we can make this the busiest Christmas for the town centre ever. Please come out and support YOUR town centre.”

Jeff Wigley, Ankerside Shopping Centre manager, said: “We’re delighted to be able to offer free parking during the festive shopping period. Before Christmas Day, Ankerside will be offering free parking all day on December 9, 23 and Christmas Eve. This should give customers the chance to pick up any last minute gifts.

“Plus, free Ankerside parking will return on Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve for anyone wishing to look for a sale bargain.”

Extra markets will also take place in the run-up to Christmas. As well as the usual Tuesday, Friday and Saturday markets, there will be additional markets on Wednesday December 20 and Thursday December 21. Please note there will be no market on Tuesday December 26 (Boxing Day).

Colin Bryan receiving his OBE

DRAYTON Manor Park’s Chairman and son of the founders, Mr Colin Bryan is awarded an OBE at Buckingham Palace in recognition of his charity work and ongoing contribution to tourism.

On receiving his OBE, Colin said: “I couldn’t be prouder to be presented with this award and to have my family with me on such a special day. I follow in the footsteps of my parents who inspired me to put my heart and soul into Drayton Manor Park and to give back to the local community as they did. It’s our family’s life work and it’s such an honour to be recognised in this way.”

During more than 52 years of commitment and dedication to the leisure industry, Colin has been an inspiration to those around him.

He has made a significant contribution to numerous local charities and community initiatives, including his involvement as patron of the park’s main charity KidsOut, continuing the work his father began in 1989 with the Rotary club.  A national charity providing fun for young people living in difficult circumstances, Colin hosts two free fun days out at Drayton Manor Park every year, for over 5,000 disadvantaged, disabled and special needs children.

Mr. Colin Bryan is made an OBE by the Duke of Cambridge at Buckingham Palace. Photo credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Other charities include the RNLI, which his late mother was hugely involved in, as well as the Midlands Air Ambulance, JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation), St Giles Hospice, National Autistic Society, Alzheimer’s Research UK, Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Tamworth Round Table and Tamworth Rotary to name a few.

Today, Drayton Manor Park is one of the UK’s leading family attractions with over one million people a year visiting the theme park, home of Europe’s only Thomas Land™, a 15-acre Zoo, and a 4 star Hotel.

Christmas Food Gusto

TAMWORTH’S historic Ladybridge will come to life with the sights, smells and tastes of Christmas this year as the perfect setting for the first ever Tamworth Food Gusto Christmas Fair.

Event organisers, Food Gusto, will be bringing their unique festively-themed food, drink and craft fair to the town on December 9 and 10, after three successful summers in the Castle Grounds with the popular Tamworth Food Festival.

In keeping with the Food Gusto ethos, the Christmas Fair will be made up of the finest quality food and drink producers from across the region, each bringing a taste of something truly unique to the town, alongside a range of festive entertainment for the whole family, including live music and rides for children.

The quality food and drink on offer, as well as a range of selected handmade artisan crafts, will provide the perfect opportunity for people to pick up some special Christmas gifts, while enjoying the seasonal atmosphere.

Whether you’re aiming to buy a stand out gift for that special someone, or simply want to eat, drink and be merry, the Tamworth Food Gusto Christmas Fair will have plenty to offer, from beautifully spiced mulled wine to freshly-made mince pies.

Other offerings include award-winning Melton Mowbray pies, assorted home baked cakes, flavoured liquers, farm produced cider, handmade chocolates and fudge, pink gin and vodka, sparking gold bubbly, jams, chutneys and preserves, local honey, wood fired pizza, crepes, hog roast, Asian street food, cheeses, vegan food, sea food and much, much more.

Not only is this unique two-day event a first for Tamworth, it is also the first event to be held on the newly-refurbished historic Ladybridge.

The former roadway was recently given a complete overhaul with attractive York flagstones and a golden gravel flooring along its entire length to create a level surface. The improvements included the installation of six carved flagstones depicting scenes from Tamworth’s Saxon history, as well as new bollards and street lighting.

The work to the bridge was part of a major project between Tamworth Borough Council and Staffordshire County Council to improve the links between Tamworth Town Centre and the Ventura retail parks.

Food Gusto event director, Wesley Ewing, said: “The September Tamworth Food Gusto Festival has really taken off and we wanted to build on that success by bringing something special to the town for Christmas.

“We’ve held our Christmas Fair in Ashby for the past six or seven years and I think it will be a great addition to the Christmas festivities in Tamworth. The fair will replicate the quality and provenance visitors have come to expect from Food Gusto, but with a special seasonal twist.

“Being able to hold the event on the historic Ladybridge is a real attraction. It’s taken a while to pull together, but it was worth the hard work and organisation involved. The bridge is the perfect setting for a Christmas Fair, ideally located between the town centre and the retail parks, and we’re delighted to be bringing back to life in this way.

“We’re hoping to fill the length of it with some wonderful seasonal produce and Christmas entertainment for all the family, which will include performances by our festival favourites Sincerely Yours on the Sunday. It’ll be the perfect way to start the festivities this year.”

The event runs between 10.30am and 4.30pm both days and is free to enter.

Stalls and exhibitors are carefully selected for quality and originality. Some pitches are still available – please email [email protected], call 01530 411337, or visit the Tamworth Food Gusto Facebook page, or the website at www.tamworthfoodgusto.co.uk, for more information.

bear grylls adventure

IN a global first, Merlin Entertainments has announced an epic £20m attraction which is opening in 2018 in partnership with Bear Grylls.

The world first, action packed experience has been created in partnership with everyone’s favourite adventurer, Bear Grylls, at a total cost of £20 million.

To announce this innovative attraction, survival expert, international TV host and bestselling author, Bear Grylls heli-dropped into Cnicht in Snowdonia to direct explorers to his brand new, one of a kind experience.

The 8000 square metre attraction will open as a permanent feature at the NEC, Birmingham in 2018, and it’s the place budding thrill seekers can experience a whole world of adventure under one roof.

Visitors can choose their greatest challenges from incredible headline activities, which include – Dive, Climb, iFLY (indoor skydiving) and the highest free-roam high ropes in Europe. In addition guests will be given entry to Basecamp, where everyone can learn and practice the skills needed for any great adventure in a selection of four group and individual challenges.

 Bear is one of the most recognised faces of survival and outdoor adventure, having learnt his skills in the SAS before his Emmy-nominated TV show Man vs Wild/ Born Survivor became one of the most watched programmes on the planet and Merlin Entertainments is a world leader in visitor attraction experiences – perfect partners to create this first of its kind large scale attraction.

In an ever growing digital world, research has shown a growing appetite for adventure. Bear has been central to each step of the attraction’s design and development – from the initial concept, right through to providing expertise and insight into the challenges. Bear has also donated a lot of his own kit to display on site to really make this his own!

Taking inspiration from the excitement of Bear’s real-life adventures across mountains, deserts and jungles around the world, the attraction will give guests the ultimate platform to test and push themselves on authentic recreations of Bear’s favourite challenges.

Dive – experience the thrill of a new environment as you take on the ultimate deep dive experience.

Fly – iFLY Indoor skydiving which simulates the incomparable feeling of freefall

Climb – choose a route inspired by breathtaking famous terrains – from the boulders of Fountainbleau to the face of El Capitan to the steps of Mount Everest, which Bear first climbed in 1998.

High Ropes – Zip slide from a Chinook helicopter onto the most extreme high ropes action in Europe. Summon all your courage and don’t look down!

Basecamp – a collection of four mental, physical, group and individual challenges designed to help you learn the core skills for adventure.

Bear Gryll's iFly at NEC

Bear Grylls iFly

Bear Grylls said: “I have been so lucky to experience some of the toughest environments and challenges the world has to offer. When your greatest fears are laid bare, you have to keep your nerve and dig deep. That “never give up spirit” is what I hope to inspire in as many people as possible through this huge endeavour. The scale of challenges that can be found at Bear Grylls Adventure are truly mind blowing and it allows millions of others to find the courage and tenacity to conquer their own Everest.”

Nick Varney, CEO Merlin Entertainments, said: “The Bear Grylls Adventure is a one of a kind attraction – bringing together Bear, one of the most celebrated and recognised faces of survival and outdoor adventure, and Merlin’s expertise in creating fantastic, memorable experiences for guests and families across the world. In a project that has taken nearly two years in the creation, Bear has been involved in each step of the attraction’s development – from the initial concept, to providing expertise and insight into the challenges. The market for adventure-based activities has incredible potential. Our research shows that nine out of ten young adults* are actively seeking adventure and challenge experiences, and this trend is set to continue.”

Challenges come in all shapes and sizes, from conquering small spaces, heights, the dark or facing creatures head to head. By testing focus and control, by learning a new skill or pushing stamina and drive with a new activity, adventurers will be able to test self-belief and physical and mental agility.

Prices and activity times will vary for different activities, with Basecamp entry tickets starting at £25.

Guests are encouraged to book in advance for this experience as on the day tickets will be extremely limited.

For more information please visit www.beargryllsadventure.com
See you there...

Tamworth Castle Grounds Fireworks

THE countdown is on to the biggest and most popular event in Tamworth’s calendar as the FREE fireworks spectacular returns with a breath-taking display to light up the skies above the Castle Grounds.

This year’s event will be back with a bang on Saturday November 4, bringing with it another great evening of fun for the whole family.

Entertainment begins at 6pm and includes fire performers, face painting, a sparkler zone, family activities, artisan food stalls and a fair.

The impressive display of fireworks, set to music, will light up the skies above Tamworth from 8pm.

Organised by Tamworth Borough Council’s Arts & Events team, the event has become a firm favourite in the town’s annual calendar of events and has attracted upwards of 25,000 people in recent years. This year is expected to be no exception.

Due to the event’s popularity, visitors are asked to plan ahead and be patient when travelling to the event and moving in and out of the main arena.

People are advised to walk or use public transport where possible and to arrive in plenty of time for the fireworks as some footpaths around the area will close during the display for safety reasons.

  • Footpaths leading to the Castle Grounds underneath ‘the Egg’ roundabout
  • from Glascote, Bolehall and Kettlebrook, will close at 7.50pm until the fireworks display is finished.
  • Ankerdrive will also close to vehicles during that time, as will a single lane nearest the Castle Grounds on the Riverdrive carriageway.

For those driving to the event, limited free parking is available at Tamworth Borough Council car parks around the town centre after 6pm (please note parking charges will apply to the privately-owned car park operated by Gallan Parking on the site of the former Gungate Precinct).

Motorists are reminded that any parking must be in accordance with prevailing traffic orders and enforcement may be carried out by Staffordshire County Council officers for public safety and traffic flow purposes where vehicles are illegally parked.

Visitors are also asked to be patient when entering and leaving the main arena via the signposted exit points and follow instructions from the stewarding team. Entertainment will continue after the main fireworks display for anyone who wants to wait for the crowds to reduce before making the journey home.

Cllr Joy Goodall, Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Environment & Culture, said: “This event has become incredibly popular over the years, drawing visitors from near and far. We are delighted to be able to host such a large event for thousands and thousands of people to enjoy, free of charge, and we are lucky to have the resources and facilities to make it possible.

“I hope lots of families come along to the Castle Grounds and enjoy the celebrations. However, it will be busy, so I’d urge people to plan ahead and either walk or arrange alternative transport. I’d remind anyone who is driving that usual highways regulations apply and to please park sensibly, as anyone parking illegally could receive a fine.

“As the event is so popular, it does mean that there are thousands of people trying to leave the main arena at the same time. Activities will continue for anyone who wants to stay a while longer to avoid the big rush and we would urge people to please be patient and to leave via the signposted routes so that everyone can get home safely.”

The Tamworth fireworks spectacular is sponsored by Ankerside Shopping Centre. 

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