Sunday, 30 December 2012

Going for a full house

Below is my “Big Day Out” column from the Saturday, December 29, 2012, Swansea edition of the South Wales Evening Post.

Going for a full house
A big day out!
RICHARD THOMAS heads to … 
Castle Bingo in Morriston. 
WHY? There are lots of big cash prizes to be won at Castle Bingo in Morriston including prizes of £4,000 and more!
WHAT’S THE BUZZ? Castle Bingo has bingo halls scattered across South Wales with eight purpose built bingo halls in locations including Swansea, Bridgend, Cardiff and Newport.
Castle Bingo in Morriston was first opened in March 1993 and is renowned for its friendly and social atmosphere, as well as being lucky for its members, who have won to date over £4 million on the National Bingo Game. Many of Castle Bingo’s visitors travel from as far as West Wales to play at their favourite bingo club.

ANY HISTORY? Castle Leisure which operates the Castle Bingo chain is one of the oldest private companies in South Wales and has been based in the same Cardiff office continuously since 1856. The history of the game is much older, however. Bingo or Housey-Housey, as it used to be called in Britain, began in Italy with the Italian lottery in the 1500s. From Italy, the popular pastime is believed to have migrated to Britain and other parts of Europe including France, where Le Lotto as it was known was played by the French aristocracy in the 1700s. Bingo as we know it today was used in 19th century Germany as an educational tool to teach children the multiplication tables. In the early 1990s a misconception about the Gaming Act was that if bingo was played using playing cards instead of numbers this would allow public houses to get around the law, which prevented bingo being played for cash prizes in a public place, however, since the Gaming Act has no description of how bingo is played this was to prove false. Despite the law a large number of public houses continued to play the game and still do so today. The government has since legalised all forms of small stakes bingo in public houses.
WHAT TO TAKE? On Saturdays prices start from as little as £4 for an eight page book during morning sessions and £8.50 for afternoon and evening sessions but these prices are different on other days. Hot drinks are available in the club’s coffee bar and just across the road is a McDonalds drive through.
LOOK OUT FOR? The Castle Jackpot where you can win £4,000. All you have to do to win is shout “house” on 45.
WHEN TO GO? Castle Bingo is open seven days a week with sessions starting as early as 12pm and as late as 9.35pm.
TELL ME MORE: For sat nav users the address and postcode is: 41 Clase Road,Morriston, Swansea, SA6 8DS. You can phone on 01792 772211.
For more information about game prices and start times visit the Castle Bingo website at

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Raise a glass to tour

Below is my “Big Day Out” column from the Saturday, December 22, 2012, Swansea edition of the South Wales Evening Post.


Raise a glass to tour 
A big day out!
RICHARD THOMAS heads to Tomos Watkin Brewery in Swansea.

WHY? At Tomos Watkin’s brewery in Llansamlet, Swansea Enterprise Park, groups can take a tour of the famous Welsh brewery and sample their award wining beers and ciders for free after paying for the tour. 
WHAT'S THE BUZZ? The tour consists of a three hour visit and starts with drinks and a warm welcome on arrival from one of the brewers who will give you a 20 minuet talk about the history of the Hurns Brewing Company and Tomos Watkin. This is followed by a tour around the brewery which lasts around half an hour where visitors are shown the full brewing process from raw material to packaging the product. After the tour visitors relocate back to the brewery tap for more sampling of the finished products and there is also a cold buffet including sausage roles, crisps, chicken legs, cocktail sausages and other snacks available. 
ANY HISTORY? The present incarnation of Tomos Watkin was started in 1995 by Simon Buckley and first operated from a small brewery in Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire before moving to their current premises in Swansea Enterprise Park in 1999. The Hurns Brewing Company acquired the Swansea brewer in 2002 and today Tomas Watkin exports their beers and other beverages to countries around the world, including the United Arab Emirates, China, Singapore, France, and the United States. 
LOOK OUT FOR? At the start of the tour chief brewer and tour guide Alex Cunningham hands out samples of the different varieties of malt the brewery uses to make their world famous beer. There's even a chocolate flavour to try. Later visitors get a chance to look into the vats where 16,000 pints worth of beer ferments every day for export across Wales and around the world. 
WHAT TO TAKE? There is a minimum of 12 people and a maximum of 25 people per tour. Cameras are allowed on the tour and visitors are encouraged to take as many photos as they want of the brewery, or even make a video of their tour. 
WHEN TO GO? Tours are available Monday to Saturday. For prices and to book a tour send an email to
TELL ME MORE: For sat-nav users the address and postcode is: Unit 3, Century Park, Swansea Enterprise Park, Swansea, SA6 8RP. More information is available on the website at, or, you can phone 01792 797280. 
Visit Richard Thomas's website at

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Searching for spooks

Below is my “Big Day Out” column from the Saturday, December 15, 2012, Swansea edition of the South Wales Evening Post.

Searching for spooks 
A big day out! 
RICHARD THOMAS goes ghost hunting in Swansea. 
WHY? In the classic Charles Dickens novel A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his old business partner Jacob Marley, as well as three other spectres, the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come. In fact, telling ghost stories on Christmas Eve was a tradition back in the Victorian era. So why not visit some haunted places and revive the tradition by telling your friends and relatives what you found this Christmas?
WHERE TO GO? Swansea is home to some of Wales' most haunted places. Swansea Castle which dates back to about 1106 is supposed to be haunted by a woman in a blue dress. The castle in the city centre according to local legend is also said to be connected by an underwater tunnel to Oystermouth Castle in Mumbles, where the ghost of a similiar spectre, this time dressed in a white dress has been seen numerous times. It is Swansea Museum which has gained a reputation as being perhaps the most haunted building in Swansea, however. Staff and visitors alike have experienced spooky activity in the main building on Victoria Road, next to the LC2. According to one member of staff a mysterious "hooded figure" has been seen on several occasions on the stairs and strange tapping, cold spots and even whistling have also been reported in the museum. More paranormal activity has also been reported at Swansea Museum's collection centre in Landore.
WHAT TO TAKE? Admission is free at Swansea Museum. You’re not allowed to photograph some of the exhibits at the museum, but don't forget to bring a camera to try and get some ghost photos where you're allowed.
LOOK OUT FOR? The cloaked figure who has been seen haunting the staircase at Swansea Museum is allegedl the ghost of someone who committed suicide on the lightship Helwick, one of the museum's three floating exhibits which can be seen at Swansea Marina.
WHEN TO GO? Swansea Museum is open from 10am to 5pm every Tuesday to Sunday. Last admissions are at 4pm. The museum is closed Mondays and bank holidays. Swansea Museum Collections Centre opens to visitors every Wednesday between 10am and 4pm. To contact Swansea Museum phone 01792 653763. Swansea Castle and Oystermouth Castle will be closed until next year.
TELL ME MORE: For more information about all these haunted sites go to
 Signed copies of Richard Thomas's new book Para-News: UFOs, Ghosts, Conspiracy, Cryptids And More are available from

Monday, 10 December 2012

Signed copies of Para-News and Sci-Fi Worlds now available!

I am now selling signed copies of my two books, Para-News and Sci-Fi Worlds. Use the PayPal button at the bottom of this post or visit my Amazon store to make a purchase.

ISBN 9781907791727 Para-News: UFOs, Ghosts, Conspiracy, Cryptids - and More, Bretwalda Books (11 October 2012)

Product Description:
A gripping account of the very latest developments in the esoteric worlds of conspiracy theories, Ufology, paranormal investigations and the bizarre.

Most people will have heard of UFOs, ghosts and yetis, but what about the wilder shores of the paranormal, the conspiracy theorists and down right bizarre? In this book, one of the world's leading and most prolific paranormal bloggers takes readers on a voyage of discovery like no other ever written.

The key players are interviewed, explaining their views on the JFK assassination, the shadowy and sinister Illuminati, the influential Bilderberg Group, allegations of an incipient New World Order, cover ups and how hidden messages can be found in Hollywood movies such as Blade Runner and TV shows including the X-Files. Dean Haglund, Richard Dolan, Steve Watson, Richard Holland, Nick Pope, Timucin Leflef, Bryce Zabel, Christopher Knowles and Nick Redfern are all here.

The book takes a critical look at timeslips, ghosts, UFOs, cryptids, mind control, aliens, disinformation, black-ops, the Bermuda Triangle and a host of other paranormal phenomena.


ISBN 9781909099357 Sci-Fi Worlds - Doctor Who, Doomwatch, Battlestar Galactica And Other Cult TV Shows, Bretwalda Books (1 June 2012)

Product Description:
Internationally renowned blogger and writer on the paranormal, science fiction and conspiracy theories, Richard Thomas takes the reader on a tour through the galaxy of sci-fi worlds that have dominated our TV screens over the past 50 years. Along the way he interviews Nick Redfern, Nick Pope, Lex Gigeroff and others.

In this fascinating ebook, Richard Thomas explores the deeper meanings behind some of our best loved TV science-fiction shows. He looks at Dr Who, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Doomwatch, and many others. He explores the themes used in the programmes, from time travel to transhumanism and explains some of the hidden meanings of the visual imagery shown on screen.

* Introduction
* The Eleven Faces of The Doctor
* A History of the Cybermen
* William Hartnell Back in Time
* Nick Pope: Interview With A Real Man In Black
* Interview With Nick Redfern - Author of Science Fiction Secrets
* Interview With Richard Holland - Author of Haunted Wales
* Interview With Richard Freeman of the Centre for Fortean Zoology
* Interview with Lance Parkin - Author of A History: An Unauthorised History of the Doctor Who Universe * Interview With Lex Gigeroff: Lexx Co-Writer/Actor
* Battlestar Galactica * Rise of the Planet of the Apes
* Secret Society Symbolism In Ridley Scott's Blade Runner And Other Sci-Fi Films
* Nigel Kneale * Interview With Scott Burditt - Webmaster of
* Transhumanism in Doomwatch
* Interview With Dean Haglund - Star of The X-Files And The Lone Gunmen
* Conclusions

About the Author
Richard Thomas is a freelance feature writer specialising in Fortean subjects. Richard has written for high street magazines, including Alien Worlds Magazine, Paranormal Magazine and UFO Matrix Magazine. He is also a blogger for UFOMystic and Binnall of America. In addition to writing about the paranormal and unexplained, Richard also writes a column entitled “Big Day Out” for the South Wales Evening Post, Wales’ largest circulation newspaper. His first book PARA-NEWS - UFOs, Conspiracy Theories, Cryptozoology and much much more was published by Bretwalda Books in May 2011 as an ebook. For more information about Richard Thomas go to his website at


Buy signed copies of Richard's books using PayPal

Alternatively you can buy signed copies of both books from my Amazon store.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Waterfront Winterland

My column for the December 2012 issue of Swansea Life magazine.


A big day out!
WHY? This weekend Swansea’s premier winter attraction featuring two fantastic ice-skating rinks, a family funfair, Santa’s Grotto, and stalls selling delicious hot food and drinks returns, as the city starts to get into the Christmas spirit.
WHAT’S THE BUZZ? For the seventh year running Museum Park in Swansea has been transformed into a Christmas playground and ice-skating park. There are two excellent ice rinks at Waterfront Winterland, the main Admiral Rink and the children friendly Rocky’s Rink, where little ones can get used to ice skating and gain in confidence before moving to the big rink. For non-skaters there’s lots more to see at the park, including their fantastic family funfair with rides like the Mad Mouse, Snow Storm ride and the nostalgic carousel to enjoy. It is the attraction’s gigantic Ferris wheel that steals the show, however. Standing at 44m, the Miles Hire Giant Wheel is largest touring attraction of its kind in the UK and offers spectacular views of the Swansea Bay area. There are also lots of festive treats, hot chocolate and lots more to warm you up during your visit, which you can enjoy in the undercover spectator area.
ANY HISTORY? The annual festive attraction first opened in 2006 and since then an impressive 536,000 people have visited the park.
WHAT TO TAKE? If you have young children that haven’t been on the ice before then you will need to book tickets for them to use the children’s Rocky's Rink. There is a charge to use both the children’s rink and main ice-skating rink.
LOOK OUT FOR? Santa will be at Waterfront Winterland in his Christmas Grotto. Children can meet Father Christmas for £4 and for an extra £1 have a photo taken.
WHEN TO GO? The Christmas attraction will be open daily until 6 January 2013. The opening hours are 12pm to 10pm on weekdays and 10am to 10pm on weekends. Santa’s Grotto is open until 23 December.
TELL ME MORE: Waterfront Winterland is located in Museum Park, Swansea, just outside the LC and Swansea Museum. For more information go to or call on 01792 637300.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Perfect gifts at market

Below is my “Big Day Out” column from the Saturday, December 1, 2012, Swansea edition of the South Wales Evening Post.



Perfect gifts at market 
A big day out!
the Christmas Market in Swansea.

WHY? At the Swansea Christmas Market you’ll find all the ingredients for a perfect Christmas this year, including food, spirits, cheeses and handmade gifts available from Welsh and continental traders.
WHAT’S THE BUZZ? The familiar green wooden chalets have returned again to Oxford Street in Swansea, transforming the city centre into a Christmas Market for the festive season. With over 39 stalls selling everything from glassware and jewellery to perfumes and luxury chocolates, you’ll have no problem finding the perfect Christmas gifts for friends and family. And to keep you entertained while you shop, school choirs and street dance groups will be performing at the market.
ANY HISTORY? The Christmas Market has been a feature of Oxford Street in the build-up to Christmas for several years now, but there is a much longer history of markets in the city centre. Swansea Market was re-sited from Castle Square to Oxford Street in 1830, but this market proved too small for the ever expanding Swansea town and plans were made to improve the market. A new purpose built market was opened in 1897 on Oxford Street and for the first time the market was completely enclosed. The new market building’s roof was the largest structure of glass and wrought iron works in the UK at that time. The current Swansea Market building was opened in 1961 after the original building was devastated by the German Luftwaffe in the Second World War.
WHAT TO TAKE? It is an outside street market with no cover, so bring a rain coat or umbrella with you encase it starts to rain. There are food stalls selling everything from delicious hotdogs to Indian cuisine. Parking is available in the High Street car park for up to four hours any time after 10am for just £1.
LOOK OUT FOR? Don’t forget to call into Swansea Market. Inside the steel and glass building you will find over a hundred stalls offering a huge selection of traditional Welsh cuisine, as well as cards, flowers, clothes, sweets and other gifts.
Waterfront Wonderland is also nearby where you can enjoy ice skating on the main Admiral Rink and child friendly Rocky's Rink, visit Father Christmas in his Grotto, as well as enjoy the funfair rides like the Miles Hire Giant Wheel.
WHEN TO GO? The Swansea Christmas Market will be doing business until 16 December. The market's open hours are 10am to 5.30pm everyday, except Thursdays when the market will be open late until 8pm. 
TELL ME MORE: The Swansea Christmas Market is located on Oxford Street and Princess Way in the city centre, just outside Swansea Market and Quadrant Shopping Centre. For more information go to