Walking in a Winter Wonderland Castle
Walking in a Winter Wonderland Castle19 dec 2014
Ghent doesn’t let a little thing like winter get in the way of a good time. Instead of complaining about the cold, the city puts on a huge winter festival with a bustling Christmas market, a sportive ice-skating rink and best of all the Counts Castle is completely converted into a Winter Wonderland. I thought I’d check out the Counts Castle in the guise of a Winter Wonderland, so with my children and husband in tow, we braved the chilly weather to take a look.
From the outside, the Counts Castle was grey and gloomy in the winter light. Within the courtyard an organ grinder cranked his street organ, the cheery music brightened the morose atmosphere. After getting our tickets we dashed inside the confines of the stone walls and were greeted by a huge Christmas tree and a festive table decked out for Christmas dinner. As we weaved through the usually sombre, but impressive, rooms, the kids were delighted and surprised by the transformations the castle had undergone. They especially loved the giant Polar bear bathed in blue light.
Patting the fox
As always, the spiralling staircase had me worried but my son Robin (3) assured me that I wouldn’t fall, the brave boy he is! Next to the weapons, foxes and geese stood frozen on a snow covered embankment, I had to pick up my youngest son Jack to stop him from trying to pat them. Robin and Jack posed on a sleigh against a black and white winter back drop.
Pop-up Winter Wonderland bar
There is a pop-up Winter Wonderland bar in the cellar of the castle, the kids drank chocolate milk and we had a gluhwein each (mulled wine, highly recommended). There are some planned activities suitable for older children, a Birds of Prey spectacle (20 December, 3 January), Make your own Christmas Decorations Workshop (20 and 23rd December) and best of all the Castle will be open every Friday of the Winter Festival until 10pm so you and your children can see it in all of its icy Winter Wonderland glory.
The Castle of the Counts is free for residents of Ghent, €10 for adults not from Ghent, €6 for youth between 19 and 25, and free for youth under the age of 19. You can easily reach it by catching tram 1 or 4 and hopping off at the castle’s front gate.