Pub gets magical makeover inspired by Hansel and Gretel
"People come from all over the world to visit us at Christmas."
By Athena Stavrou via SWNS
This pub has undergone a magical festive makeover inspired by Hansel and Gretel.
The Queen Victoria Inn in Somerset, UK has been transformed into The Gingerbread Inn - featuring a steam train, 60,000 lights and a giant beer bottle snowman.
It's the first time the pub has gone through with its traditional festive transformation since the pandemic.
Now, the display is back and bigger than ever, with COVID-19 cabins transformed into a 'Gingerbread Express' steam train, alongside a 22ft beer bottle snowman, a wine bottle Christmas tree and over three miles of lights.
Landlord Mark Walton, 55, started the tradition seven years ago in aid of the Children's Hospice South West charity, raising thousands each year.
He's hoping to just 'raise what he can' for the hospice this year, given the cost-of-living crisis, the freezing weather and the fact they completed the display later than usual.
Father-of-three Mark said: “We haven't been able to put on the display for years because of Covid so we wanted to do something special this year.
"During the pandemic, we put cabins in the front garden so families could come and have a drink there. We've now decorated them, made them into carriages and added a steam train at the front to make the Gingerbread Express.
"It was a long process this year, like everyone else we're short staffed and in the last week, it's been hard to get everything together because of the temperatures.
"But everyone loves the display, everyone looks forward to it. We get emails and Facebook messages in mid-summer asking if we're doing it this year."
Everyone from the local community pitches in, from hostelries donating wine bottles to a villager named Ben Selway that made the snowman, Christmas tree and the new train.
The stunning display is hooked up to its own circuit board separate from the pub’s main electricity supply.
Mark said his pub gets so busy in December that he no longer takes bookings for the whole month and people travel for hours to see his lights.
The display was completed over the second weekend of December, and although it will be up for half the time it usually is, Mark is still hopeful it will spread Christmas cheer to the community.
He said: "When people see it they just say ‘wow.' People come from all over the world to visit us at Christmas.
“It’s good for business and the charity does very well out of it.
“Seeing the photos is one thing but it’s hard to comprehend the size of it until you’re actually here.
“It’s quite a sight and it’s worth all of the hard work.”
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