PEMBROKE Castle welcomed over 14,000 festive visitors through its medieval gates last weekend as the county turned out in record numbers to enjoy the annual Christmas market.

The event, which is now in its eighth year, enjoyed dry and sunny conditions and saw 80 stalls of crafts, toys, decorations, and the very best local food and drink products trading strongly throughout the three days.

The crowds were entertained on Friday, November 29, by school choirs from Lamphey, St Teilos, Golden Grove, Pembroke Dock Community School and Penrhyn Primary School. And on Saturday there were festive performances from Castle Brass, The Sunshine Choir and Cantabile Singers.

The highlight of the weekend was the big arrival of Santa on the Friday evening.

He once again arrived in spectacular fashion onto the 80ft high Great Keep tower before abseiling the walls and meeting all of the excited children who had come to see him. Santa then boarded his sleigh and led a parade of thousands through Pembroke’s Main Street to St Michael’s Square where the crowds enjoyed carol singing and the children received a gift.

Over the weekend Santa then met hundreds of local children in his spectacular grotto at the Castle and festive music was accompanied by drifts of snow throughout the weekend. Pembroke Castle Trust would like to thank all of those who attended and had trade stalls, along with Valero, Pembroke Town Council and a team of staff and volunteers who helped to ensure that the event ran smoothly.

Funds were raised for local charity Sandy Bear Children’s Grief Service.

Castle Manager Jon Williams said: “It was a brilliant weekend; we were fortunate with the weather and everybody who visited seemed in excellent spirits. I’d like to thank our staff and suppliers who work so hard behind the scenes to make the event an enjoyable one for those who attend.”