If you’ve had a nosey at our guide to the top Christmas markets in Ireland, you’ll know that Winterval Waterford is up there with the best of them.
You’ll also know that, along with the Wicklow Christmas markets and GLOW Cork, it’s one of the few markets still taking place this year.
Now, you should never really need an excuse to take a spin out to Waterford.
It’s a county that’s home to an almost endless number of things to do, from active weekends milling along the Waterford Greenway to days spent exploring Ireland’s oldest city.
There’s a little bit of something to tickle every fancy. However, if you’re in need of a reason to go, planning a trip around the Waterford Christmas markets is a solid option.
Winterval Waterford 2020: What to expect
It has been confirmed that Waterford Winterval will return in 2020 and will be taking place from 4th Dec – 23rd of Dec.
Here’s what the organisers had to say, ‘It’s official – Christmas is NOT cancelled! Santa has sent Scrooge packing and assured the people of Ireland that the magic of Christmas will be alive on the streets of Waterford when Winterval returns on November 13th for its 9th year.
Ireland’s Christmas Capital has made some changes in line with government guidelines and the Winterval Elves have been working hard to adapt, so after 8 years of delivering hugely exciting programmes for young and old alike, 2020 will be no exception.’
Waterford Winterval: What’s definitely coming back this year
Understandably enough, there have been a number of changes made to this years Waterford Christmas markets.
Some of the features that you’ll remember from previous years, like the large festival market, the ice skating and the Winterval Illuminates will be taking some chill time in 2020.
However, other favourites, like the Winterval Train, the now-iconic 32 metre high Waterford Eye and more will still be present at this year’s markets.
What to expect if you’ve never been before
Winterval in Waterford is well worth a visit, even if you only stay for the one night and then head off on the Greenway or explore the city (there are heaps of places to visit in Waterford) the next.
If you’ve never been before, here’s a handful of the most notable attractions that are still in place for this year’s markets.
1. The Waterford Eye
If you fancy grabbing an eagle-eye view of the Waterford Christmas markets, you can fork out a few quid and see them from the top of a Ferris wheel.
If you fancy pushing out the boat a bit, there’s usually a ‘VIP Experience’ on the Waterford Eye. It’s for groups of 4, costs 50 quid and you’ll get warm blankets, complimentary chocolate, and prosecco or non-alcoholic fizz.
2. The Winterval Express Train
If rambling around a city in the cold doesn’t do it for you, you can see the city from the comfort of the Winterval Express Train as it weaves through the city.
It departs every 30 minutes and works its way along the Mall, past Winterval on Ice, through the Applemarket, and on to JR Square.
3. Santa’s Magic Snow Globe (now booked out)
Update – unfortunately, Santa’s Magic Snow Globe at Winterval 2020 is now completely booked out. However, if you still fancy seeing Santa in Waterford, you’ve other options:
- See Santa at Activate Waterford
This is a cool little idea to get kids involved in a bit of festive exploring. Winterval are challenging you and your little ones to head off in search of some elves.
You’ll find the elves hiding in the windows of a number of local businesses (the ones with a #WindowsOfWinterval signs in their window).
If you spot one, snap a photo of it and share it to Instagram with the hashtag #WindowsOfWinterval. There’ll be a prize each week!
Unique places to stay if you’re visiting the Waterford Christmas markets
If you want to visit Winterval and you fancy chilling somewhere a little different, you’ll find heaps of unique places to stay in our Waterford Airbnb guide.
Or, if you fancy staying in a hotel (affiliate links – you won’t pay extra, but I’ll get a tiny commission), these are two solid options:
- Dooley’s hotel: €80 (it’s central and it has an 8.5 review score on booking.com)
- Waterford Marina Hotel: €71 (it’s central and it has an 8.6 review score on booking.com)
Have you been to Waterford Winterval? Let me know what you thought in the comments section below,