“ Burwardsley / Tattenhall / Chester / Cheshire / CH3 9PF / Tel: 01829 770401 „
Called into the candle workshops this weekend to see what it was all about. Very pleasantly surprised. Although the venue is quite small there is lots to do for children and the well presented shops sell unusual gifts that you do not see on the high Street. One customer had a candle made whilst he waited in 'African colours'. We all watched the candle maker apply hot wax in various colours to the candle and then finish with a gold trim. It was unique and watching gave us all the inspiration to make a candle ourselves.
The area for the public to make a candle was clean tidy and well organised. We did not have to wait and the candle making session was ahit with us all- even my teenage son.!!!
My partner also painted a beautiful pottery model and the kids made badges. I am not much of an artist myself so decided whilst everyone else was being creative to enjoy the sunshine and the glorious views on the patio area -Snugburys ice cream was great!!!
Whilst the kids enjoyed more sand bottle filling activities we did some shopping and then the kids let off steam in the outdoor play area. Relaxed and with lots of things to take back with us we then made our way home.
Reasonable prices for children's activities delivered with brilliant customer service. Restaurant very clean tidy and again reasonable. A brilliant place to go to take the children and shop for house and gifts. Clearly credit to the owners that have made the refurbishments to the place, a MASSIVE improvement! Loved the place great experience will definitely go again!!!!
The most depressing and extortionate outing we have ever had the misfortune to experience.
I used to go here as a kid myself, so decided to take my young daughter there for a visit - all the way from Manchester. It was genuinely upsetting to see just how badly it has been let go. We decided to eat at the cafe, ignoring the obvious warning of there being nobody in it at lunch time on a very pleasant day. We had two portions of undercooked chips (£3.60 and bordering on inedible) a pot of tea for two (£2.80) a bread roll (50p) and two salad bowls, consisting of a few leaves, a tomato and a spoonful each of potato salad and coleslaw (£11.98 - I'm not joking).
As we sat trying to eat our virtually inedible food and feeling sick about our entire budget for the day being wiped away, another couple entered the cafe and the man took one look and said to his wife "I am NOT eating here". I only wish we had shared his wisdom.
I will never set foot in this place again as long as I live, and very strongly urge others not to do so.
Easy to find as it's well signposted, with a generous (but uneven gravel surfaced, so watch for pot holes) car park, free toilets and cafe restaurant offering drinks, snacks and main meals, activities fr children and of course selling a lot of candles and candle related items as well as general giftware; the Candle Workshops is a nice morning or afternoon out for any age.
Also nearby are Cheshire Ice Creams (more family orientated, with play area, cafe, shop and viewing of animals), Beeston Castle ruins- rather steep and not very disabled access friendly) and plenty of country walks across lovely green landscapes. A combination of these with the Workshops would provide a lovely whole day out.
I've been visiting the Candle Workshops for years, as a young child I can remember making my own dip dye candles there and being fascinated by watching the huge mill wheel go round and dip candles as it went. Today I take my little cousin who like me loves making dip candles for about £1.50 for 2 dinner candles and spends an inordinate mount of time picking out shades of wax with the help of the friendly staff who are very good with all the children. When finished dipping, the candles are left as is or can be twisted together- a word of warning though, the twisted candles do not fit into any candle holder I've come across! Plus if you keep them as two, you can burn them individually so they last longer and you get more time between trips to make new ones. Assuming you get pestered as I do to go make more- showing how popular an activity it is! The candle dipping is suitable for 5 years plus with the help of an adult and the wax doesn't get hot enough to burn the skin. On quiet days, at the discretion of the staff I have made candles too! There's sometimes a candle holder making table open too, normally school holidays and weekends which we haven't tried. The wokshops are open everyday but Christmas, and so there are some very quiet days, especailly early on in the non school holiday weeks.
If you don't want to make your own, you can buy from a huge, almost overwhelming variety of pre made candles, indivuals, gift packs, with lots of special offers available. Any style of candle you've sen anywhere else, you will very likely see here too, from simple church candles in cream, to skulls, elaborately carved, in kilner jars..... it's endless. There are also a huge array of candle holders from table top, floor standing, wall mounted... prices vary greatly depending on what you choose, but by and large you'll find them in line with highstreet shops, and a lot cheaper than Yankee!! They last as well as any other candle, and the aroma is as good and long lasting as any other too, except Yankee. Most of them are ordered by colour, and type. If you can't find the eact colour/style you want, they will make ones for you. My friend for her wedding needed 150 floating candles, rose shaped in a very particular coffee shade, and she had them all dipped for 50p a time which worked out the cheapest and nicest we could find. The service offered was helpful, knowledgable and quick, and given it was all hand done and time consuming we thought reasnoble priced.
There are a few opportunities to watch the candles being made or decorated, the best one being downstairs by the dinner candles to the left of the entrance. Here the artisan swaps crafts every couple of hours, and I've seen her sticking peel-off stickers, jewells, dried flowers etc onto candles, candle carving and painting. It fascinates me now as much as when I was a child!
To the right of downstairs are some independent workshops and shops, these do change over, the last time I went one was making tiny glass ornaments, another carving and whittling wooden ornaments, another selling handmade fudges and another handmade cosmetics- soaps and bombes etc. All these shops in my opinion are quite expensive, but then they are handmade items and I suppose are factoring in the cost of their units etc.
On the first floor several independent craft and giftware stores are arranged around the outside of the room- one of which, where they burn names etc onto wooden egg cups, keyrings, signs etc, is very quick and cheap, well worth visiting with most items with engraving costing £1.50. The middle of the room is taken up by rows of tables and chairs for children to undertake crafts at. They seem to be on a rota basis seasonally with opportunities for children to make badges, ornaments, hats, masks, little toys etc for around £1-3 per activity. It's very popular in the school holidays and summer weekends.
The Cheshire Candle Workshops is a great place to visit for adults and children alike, we always make a point of stopping there after visiting the Cheshire Ice Cream Farm (also in Tattenhall, Cheshire) I've done a review on the Ice Cream Farm too.
As the name suggests, it started out as a candle workshops but has become a small tourist attraction in it's own right. It has a lovely little restaurant, a large downstairs candle shop, an area where the children can make their own candles, independant retail craft stalls on the ground and first floor and lots of activities to do on the first floor for children.
The candle shop stocks all manner of candles, all sizes, shapes, colours...and smells! I have to pick up each candle and take a sniff, they are quite expensive though and I haven't really bought anything other than scented tea lights because of this. They also make personalised candles for weddings, anniversaries and christenings etc
I'd say that wheelchair / pushchair access was possible on the ground floor, there is a sloped ramp to get into the building, and a few ramps indoors to get about.
There is also an area to make candles, the children are given a long piece of string which they dip each end in pots of melted wax to build up a layer of wax, then dip in cold water to set, then repeat the process many times until the candle is the right size. You then dip your candle ends in your choice of 2 colour candle waxes and twist the candle together. My son always chooses red and white for Arsenal! It costs around £2 to do and is a fun activity that lasts 10 minutes. You then hang your candles up to cool down and return for them later.
There are also little retail stalls for you to browse, last time I went there was a glass blowers stall, a card craft stall and gorgeous hand made soap stall - we had to buy some rhubarb and custard soap!
The coffee shop is also downstairs, this is a nice large size with plenty of tables, old fashioned in decoration but clean and pleasant, they serve the standard tea coffee, cakes, jacket potatoes. Expect to pay £3 for a cake and coffee, £4 for a jacket potato. Reasonably priced but nothing special, if you are planning on going to the Cheshire Ice Cream Farm - then go there first and eat there, yummy food!
There is no other way to get upstairs than climb a slatted wooden staircase - and once up there, space is extremely limited, so it makes wheelchair / pushchair access impossible.
There are a variety of crafts for the children to do:
*They can make puppets from wooden spoons, fairy, footballer, parrot etc
*Make coasters, rulers, keyrings, badges - with felt tips! (it's a rare treat for my children, I refuse to have felt tips in the house!)
*They can also choose a plaster cast animal/object to paint.
The children's activities range from £1 - £2.
There are also more stalls upstairs.
One that sells your average hippy / alternative shop jumble, you know the kind of thing - novel jewellery, dragons, things that have the 'made in china' sticker on the bottom.
A handbag and purses stall, some nice things there but to be honest you'd probably find them on the internet cheaper.
My favourite stall is the Eggman stall - little egg shaped candles that have faces on them...they are so cute, you can buy a wooden egg cup with your name bunt onto them, that they can sit in. They make fantastic gifts, eggmen are around £2, eggcups the same.
There is also someone that paints your child's name in watercolours, and the letters look like animals. You then have this framed, a little expensive though.
There's lots of other interesting things to look at too, a stall that sells handmade dolls made of cloth and wool hair, I bought a small one for my daughter - had a nurses uniform on, blue pinafore and white hat with red cross on it, was £4.50 and something really unique. There's also stall that sells pot pourri, draw liners etc.
There's also a reasonable sized car park outside, wooden tables for you to eat at, and a small playground.
All in all, it's a nice place and definitely worth a visit if you're in that direction.
As we were nearing the end of the school holidays and I would probably have slit my wrists if I had to watch another episode of Spongebob Squarepants, I was determined to drag the kids out of the house away from the TV with a view to going somewhere different.
After much deliberation, I eventually decided on a trip out to Cheshire Candle Workshops because it wasn't too far for us to travel, we hadn't been there before and if it had turned out to be lousy, there was always the nearby Cheshire Ice Cream Farm for back up.
Situated in the beautiful Cheshire countryside not too far from the city of Chester, the Candle Workshops are accessible from the A49, A51 and A534. Follow the brown Tourist signs for Candle Workshops or type CH3 9PF into your Sat. Nav. You do travel down lots of narrow winding country lanes, sometimes feeling as though you've missed the turn off, but be patient and you will get there. One important thing to note is the final turn-off into the car park is located on a blind bend, remember this particularly when you are leaving because it is very difficult to see if there is any oncoming traffic.
The Workshop is open all year round, seven days a week from 10am-5pm including Sundays and Bank Holidays.
Car Parking and entrance to the site is free and there are several car and coach parking spaces on a dusty, gravelly potholed surface. We were able to find a space quite easily but I would imagine on a sunny Sunday afternoon or Bank Holiday Monday it could be quite a fight. On the day of our visit there were a few torrential downpours which turned the dust bowl into a quagmire within a matter of minutes. If there is any message here it is don't travel in a brand spanking new car and do wear sensible shoes. I would recommend that disabled visitors and people with pushchairs park as close to the main entranceas possible to avoid the bulk of this uneven surface.
Access and facilities
The ground floor of the Candle Workshops is ramped to facilitate disabled and pushchair access. The upper floor as far as I could see was reached by a flight of wooden stairs and access for disabled was not obvious. It is possible there was a hidden elevator or something, but I didn't notice it. Assuming access to the upper floor is possible for wheelchair bound people, movement around the floorspace would be very tricky as the gangways and aisles between the displays and gondolas was very narrow. Movement around the ground floor seemed relatively unrestricted in comparison as the main area is much more open-plan. Toilets and baby changing facilities are available, but I can't really comment on them because we didn't use them.
The Make It Yourself Workshop
On the day of our visit, there was a large queue for this activity, which I was told was typical most days. The cost of making your own candle is £1.40, which is payable to the cashier just outside the DIY candle area. Upon payment you are presented with a small home made laminated ticket and instructed to put on an apron or tabard from the coatpegs hanging in the corner of the messy area. These are difficult to access during busy periods and would be better located adjacent to the cashier.
Making your candle
Once you have donned your protective apron you are invited to gather around a relatively small workbench which accommodates about 12 people at a time. A member of staff them gives a short presentation on the subject of wax and candles followed by a quick demonstration. Each person is then give a length of pre-treated candle wick which is held at the mid-point and dipped into the uncoloured wax. Once it is removed from the melted wax, the excess is allowed to drip back into the wells and the wick is dipped into cold water. This process is repeated about 10 times until each end of the wick looks like a thin candle. At this stage each end of the wick may be dipped in different coloured waxes using the same procedure outlined above; the only difference being colouring only requires 2 or 3 dips. Whilst still warm and maleable, the two newly formed coloured candles may be twisted together to make a single two coloured candle. The whole thing is then dipped in clear sealing wax and put into a tub of cold water to cool down before the finished article is hung to dry on a hook for collection 15 minutes later. Take care to note which number hook your candle is on, because when you go back later, it looks pretty much the same as everyone elses creations.
Although my children enjoyed making their candles, I felt that the work area needed to be bigger to accommodate the number of people and I also felt that the staff were a little pushy, rushing the smaller children to progress through each stage in order to keep the queue moving. Although candle making isn't rocket science, the staff cannot possibly expect a six year old to progress through the activity as quickly as an adult, and should refrain from chastising the child for taking their time. I felt as though the member of staff in charge of this area effectively took over the projects of the smaller tots just to hurry them to the end point and out of the workshop to let the next lot of would be candle makers into the somewhat restricted space. Talk about we've had your money, so get lost wasn't in it. Whilst I can genuinely appreciate they are running a business, in my opinion it is things like good customer rapport and service that promote repeat custom, thus benefitting the business in the long term. In my view, this blatant hurried throughput of customers has left my opinion somewhat tarnished.
The ground floor
Apart from the DIY candle making area, the majority of the ground floor is a candle and candle accessories showroom. Candles are available in all colours, shapes sizes and aromas complete with or without holders, candelabra and dishes of all shapes and sizes. The choice is pretty much endless.
There is also a small section which sells specially shaped and scented soap and bath products. Some of the soaps are a work of art. And come in all shapes, sizes and prices starting at around £1 for a small piece, something to suit every budget. Not only do these soaps look fantastic but they smell great too. I bought a "slice" of soap which resembles the cross section of a Bakewell tart, it is visually stunning and actually smells of almonds. I would recommend a visit to this area if you are looking for an unusual, unique gift. Also available in this area are boxes of bath bombs which are fashioned and presented like a box of luxury chocolates. These aren't cheap ranging from £5.99 for a box of six small bombs up to £11.99 for a larger box but they are novel and would make a great gift.
A tiny area of the ground floor houses a small collection of restored vintage arcade games which children can play on if they purchase tokens from the booth at the entrance to this area.
Also on the ground floor there is a tired looking café area where basic hot and cold meals, snacks and beverages may be purchased at captive audience inflated prices of course. We didn't bother eating here because it didn't look that great and I begrudge spending money on food for the kids to leave. When we left we went to the Ice Cream Farm a couple of miles down the road and ate there instead.
The Upper Floor
Accessed via a wooden staircase, the upper floor was in my opinion a claustrophobe's nightmare. There was so much stuff up there you could hardly move without risking knocking something off a shelf. The majority of the floorspace is devoted to the promotion of mass produced Taiwanese or Chinese c**p being masqueraded under the banner of "crafts". Admittedly some of the more tasteful items on display were of decent quality but as you might expect, they were ridiculously overpriced. In addition to the plethora of tat occupying valuable floorspace were a number of DIY craft stalls where for around £1.50 a time children could make their own badges and other bits and pieces. I know £1.50 per activity doesn't sound much, but multiply this out by the number of children you have in tow and the outlay really does mount up. I felt these activities didn't really offer good value for money.
If you are in the area then Cheshire Candle Workshops is certainly worth a quick visit. You will not be able to spend a whole day there, in fact you may struggle to pass more than an hour or so, but it is only a couple of miles from the Ice Cream Farm which makes a worthy tie-in. The Candle Workshop offers an excellent selection of candle related products (obviously) and I was impressed by the soap and bath bomb gift ideas. From a child's perspective, the DIY candle section offers the opportunity to try something new and creative, but I did feel an overriding sense of being rushed by the staff in a bid to keep the queues down. Not a bad little trip out, but as my old school teacher used to say "could do better".
Having decided last bank holiday that I was going to drag the family away from TV and the X Box we headed off to cries of 'where are we going' and 'where not going shopping are we?' . Having calmed the potential riot in the back of the car I announced that we where going to go to Cheshire Ice Cream Farm when my daughter piper up and asked could we go to the Candle Workshops also. Of course we could as these attractions are only 4 miles apart and its ideal to visit the Candle Workshops 1st then move onto the Cheshire Ice Cream Farm so this is what we did.
Getting to the Cheshire Workshops is quite easy and extremely will signposted from the A41 Whitchurch to Chester road, just follow the brown tourist board signs for the Candle Workshops. It's that easy even I can find my way on the odd occasion that just the children and I go on our own with hubby. The entrance is located on a bend in the road and you may shoot past if you are driving too fast, though it is pretty difficult to speed down the country lanes. There is also a separate coach park.
The car park is fairly large however at peak times it can be difficult to get into the car park let alone find a space but it is always Worthing circling a couple of times as visitors do come and go regularly, bit like trying to find a space in the multi-story on a Saturday afternoon. The car park is gravel and if it is windy as it was on Monday then the dust is whipped up and swirls around an can get in your eyes and cover your clothes.
The entrance to the workshops is at the top of the car park and you cannot miss it at all, there are steps or a ramp for the disabled and pushchairs so a good start here. As you enter the building you have a choice of directions to go and we always go to the left 1st and follow the same pattern as we move through the workshops. The main feature as you enter the building are the candles and there are lots of them. Moving through there are candles of every shape and colour that you could imagine along with matching holders, beads, bowls, lanterns and the range is enormous. Don't worry you can still buy plain church candles also in various sizes along with a plain candle holder if you wish.
Following the room around we come to the candle making part of the showroom and there is always somebody making candles for you to watch. They are not making candles from scratch but actually engraving a fancy design into a candles and gently teasing the coloured layer of wax away from the white centre to form shapes just using a knife. I could watch for hours and the children still stop to watch now even though they are both teenagers, the very small will have to be lifted to see this and on a busy day you will have to wait for a space to get a good view. Just near to this is one of the finer ranges that I always enjoy looking at which is their wedding range of candles, the are exquisite and the range extensive and would suit most tastes. The range comes in white and silver or cream and gold including gels with roses set into them, scatter petals, holders and a multitude of candles to choose from. For me these would make an unusual gift for a bride and wish I knew somebody who was getting married but I don't.
Carrying on around you will come to a set of stairs which leads to the upper floor, however, if you are disabled or have a pushchair then access is difficult. On this floor we have a huge array of craft items for sale and amongst this there are craft tables for the children to make a variety of items, we have badge making, finger puppet making and usually some form of painting to choose from - note there is a charge of each item not much but it could add up if you have a few children with you who want to try a couple of the crafts.
I always find this floor to be very cramped due to the amount of items that seem to have been packed into the floor space and I would be concerned if I had small children in case the accidentally broke one of the items for sale and most are not cheap.
Back down the stair and into the candles again. The Cheshire Workshops also do a range of Christmas candles but naturally I didn't expect to see any of these in May but we have seen them in the past and do own on of their Christmas Pudding candles which is far too nice to actually light, works much better as an ornament at Christmas time.
Once you are past the candles you come to more craft items but not so crowded as the upper floor. This time there was home made fudge on sale with the possibility to try before you buy, we bought as I just can't resist fudge and ended up with caramel, caramel and mars bar, white chocolate and malteaser and rum and raisin flavours (hubby has a really sweet tooth). We did chuckle at the sign next to the fudge stall which advised to always eat fudge responsibly and the fruit flavoured ones that use real fruit in them may count as one of your five a day but they can't be certain of how much you would have to eat.
There was also a stall selling bath and beauty products similar to Lush products but again made locally and I had to have a sniff of the samples and spent the next ten minutes sneezing, though they did smell lovely.
At the end of the building there are more items you children can have a go at with the most popular one being making their own candle and there is always a queue. Thinking that my two are now too old for this I was about to move when there was this disappointed voice from my son who said 'aren't we making a candle then' which I was rather surprised at as he was not happy about have to traipse around here in the 1st place with mum buying candles. Yes they both made a candle.
Candle making is extremely well organized and currently costs £1.20 per candle. You pay for your candle at the desk where you can also decorate a candle holder for an additional £1.50, and you are given a small laminated token with a picture of a candle on so you can use later if you want to come back when the queue has died down a bit. Candles making is split into two groups and before you even start this is a small talk given to the children about what candle wax is made from and what we need to do to a block of paraffin wax to make a candle and the children are given the opportunity to answer here. You do not make your candles from scratch they have already been started off for you and you only have to finish the base and then add the colour (you are actually finishing two candles on the same wick which are twisted at the end to make once candle). 10 dips into the wax and cooled in water in between each dip you are ready to move the coloured wax. There are quite a few colours to choose from and only two dips required here and you candle is complete. The ends of the candle are then trimmed by a member of staff and depending on the age of the child depends on whether they can have ago at twisting their two candles together or not.
Once completed it is then coated in clear wax and placed in cold water to solidify whilst aprons are removed then you can hang up to collect later in the day, remember the number of the hook you placed your candle on though.
There is also an old fashioned arcade with restored arcade games including a Zoltar machine similar to the one in the film Big. You can purchase tokens so play these machines at the kiosk at the entrance to the arcade or you can just wander around and have a look.
If you are feeling hungry there is also a restaurant ( I use the term loosely) where you can buy hot and cold meals, salads, sandwiches, tea and coffee etc though not cheap I don't think the prices are too steep. Outside there is also a children's play area and the view is spectacular as you on a hill and on a good day you can see for miles. Alternatively there is a pub just across the road called the Pheasant which also does meals - I can't comment on their meals as we have not eaten there yet but do plan to do so as it always looks busy and you can often see horses outside where local riders have stopped for lunch.
Toilet and baby change facilities are available including disabled toilet.
Admission is free but there are charges for the activities for children, these are not expensive on their own but can add up overall.
The real cost comes with what you buy, I was very restrained this time and only bought some small scented candles, brand snap, honeycombe and pomegranate punch for £1.00 each and each lasts around 13 hours and they do give off a decent aroma unlike some others I have bought in the past.
On the whole as an attraction I feel there is something here to suit all the family though not a full day out but as it is only 4 miles away from Cheshire Ice Cream Farm combining the two does make the trip worth while.
Candle making for adults and children alike. Great fun for all the family.