Waterford is good at festivals, especially those where events are mainly free and appeal to a broad range of people, and its annual Winterval Festival is in this mould.
As with many of the city’s events there is much to see and do simply by walking the streets. The very popular Cristmas Lightshow is repeated every 30 minutes on weekday evenings in Cathedral Square and is a delight for kids (of all ages).
There is a giant post box where kids can drop off their letters to Santa, a vintage funfair – with a ferris wheel, carousel and helter-skelter, ice skating, a live animal crib, and of course Santa will be there in his grotto to meet good children while his elves are busy in their nearby workshop.
Local choirs and musical groups will climb the Singing Christmas Tree in Palace Square to provide a backdrop of seasonal music, while browsing the stalls at the Christmas Market is a chance to get some unique locally made crafts as gifts or stocking fillers.
There are also toboggoning penquins, a Viking settlement (pig’s head for Christmas dinner anyone?) , a toy museum, storytelling, a season of Christmas movies and much, much more.
If you become tired walking, head to Barronstrand Street where you can hop aboard the magical Winterval Express, a road train following a half hour route through the city, passing many of these sights and events. If you prefer your transport to be even more traditional horse drawn sleigh tours following a similar route leave from The Mall.
Waterford is a compact city, so all happenings are close together and a winter evening strolling around will get event the grinchiest of grinches into the festive mood.
Details and Directions
Tickets for those events that require them can be purchased at the website.
It would be easy to make a one or two day visit to Waterford really magical for young children – and we’d highly recommend that if you do visit you stay in the city for the night, both for the many great evening events and because everything is just better under Christmas lights!