Calan gaeaf: Autumn traditions made at Penrhyn Castle

Did you know that as well as being the predecessor to All Hallows Eve and Halloween, 'Calan Gaeaf' signals the first day of Winter in the Celtic calendar?

Important information

We are still working on our plans for half term and will update this page with details soon. Any information on this page is out of date and refers to half term last year.

We'll be taking this Celtic tradition as inspiration as we take visitors on a sensory journey around the garden to look at how nature and the gardeners prepare for the cold snap.

Using sensory pathway techniquesyou can travel around the garden meeting characters and animals that roam the land around the castle who will make you smell, touch and think about how we connect with nature and the changing seasons.

We'll also take a sneak peak into how the gardeners prepare for the cold snap and what they do in preperation for spring to arrive once again. 

Family playing in autumn leaves

Autumn garden trail

Calan Gaeaf marks the start of winter in the Celtic calendar. Journey round the garden to discover how nature prepares for the cold days ahead.

Spooky traditions

The festival was a time to commemorate the dead, when spirits walked the earth but also a time to celebrate the ‘Cynheaf’ (Harvest) and prepare for colder months ahead.

Inside you can follow the spooky silhouette trail this Calan Gaeaf on a journey to learn about the stories we've heard of ghosts that haunt the Castle.

The family fun continues with silhouette puppet crafts for you to make your own stories!
Join us ...if you dare!

A ghostly figure at Penrhyn Castle

Ghosts of Penrhyn Castle silhouette trail

Ever heard a creak or felt a chill on the back of your neck as you walked around the Castle? If you're feeling brave this Halloween join us for some family friendly fun as we explore the real ghost stories of Penrhyn Castle.

" It’s great to be able to look back at this local Welsh tradition and connect with nature at this time of year. It’s a natural thing for us to prepare for winter and it’s really interesting to experience that same drive in nature, in the garden and in our lives today. But just like the old Celtic tradition, you couldn’t have Calan Gaeaf without the odd scare too! The spirits will definitely be walking the corridors of the castle this year as we look at the ‘real’ ghost stories of Penrhyn on our silhouette trail – the stories that people have told us over the years about bumps in the nights, strange sightings and spooky goings on!"
- Amy Underwood-Thompson