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Frequently Asked Questions

A History of Paraffin Pixies


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Frequently Asked Questions
Who are the paraffin pixies?

They are tiny specs of spark and light who are far too fast and far too small to ever see clearly, but leave a happy, warm, glowing feeling as they flit around you. In olden days they lived inside paraffin heaters and once everyone was asleep, would flutter around the house, keeping children warm and snug on the coldest winter night. Now that everyone has central heating in their homes, they’ve thrown away their old-fashioned heaters, and paraffin pixies have become an endangered species. However, they’ve still got a safe home in the old heaters preserved in our museum, and on cold winter evenings still flit around the local woods and fields, looking for children who need a little warmth and cheeriness.

Who is the event for?

It’s for everyone who retains a sense of wonder, magic and imagination, no matter their age. It’s an experience that all the family can share and enjoy. Paraffin pixies are gentle, friendly folk, so there will be no shocks, sounds or spectacles that might disturb younger children.

Is it Christmassy ?

Paraffin pixies bring sparkle and magic to dark winter evenings, and lead you to a hidden after-dark world of wonder and mysteries. This excitement reflects the old traditions of mid-winter festivities and adds to anticipation of the holidays and Christmas day celebrations to come. There will be lights, beauty and wondrous adventure; but not the tinsel and commercial glitz of a shopping-centre Christmas, (and you’ll probably not meet Santa.)

What will we see and do?

Many tiny, twinkling lights will guide your way past the old mill buildings and through a scintillating tunnel of light across the river to our lands in Charlesfield. Pools of light and strings of lanterns will illuminate your way through the orchard to the lantern barn, where there will be games with lights, lamps and shadows, and other undercover fun. Nearby, the night sky will be lit up the fragrant pools of the paraffin flares, competing with the sticky, spicy scents of festive foods. At the heart of it all is the Paraffin Works, our huge covered play-space, which will be alive with sound and light as you dream of the flight of the paraffin pixies through a flame-lit industrial landscape. Emerging from this, a trail of fairy lights will direct you along the woodland paths to the spots where paraffin pixies might rest.

Will other parts of Almond Valley be closed?

For your safety, and for the welfare of our animals, you will be restricted to the illuminated route, with no access to the farm areas of the site. The tearoom (along with the soft play) will be open for hearty soups, hot chocolate and other warming snacks.

How long will it take?

You will book for a specific arrival time between 17.00 and 19.15 so as to minimise queues and congestion. The route around the site will take about 60 minutes, depending on how energetic you are, although you might want to stay longer if you choose to eat or play. The site will close at 20.30.

Do I need to book?

Prior booking is essential as ticket numbers are limited, and is best done through our on-line bookings page. You'll need to select a specific arrival time to help ensure a smooth flow of visitors at the admission point and around the route. Your ticket will be sent out by e-mail; either print this out, or display it on your phone so that we can scan the QR code on entry. If you've booked on-line and haven't received a confirmation e-mail, first check your junk folder, and if you still can't find it, give us a phone on 01506 414957 or e-mail us.

Can I change or cancel my booking?

Ticket bookings for the event are strictly non-transferable and non-refundable unless we are forced to cancel the event on the grounds of safety. If so, we will provide as much notice as possible prior to your event date and provide a refund on your tickets through our ticketing partner.

Will tickets be available on the night?

We can't guarantee it. Ticket numbers for each night are limited and the event may become fully booked. It's safest to book online to avoid disappointment.

I’m a member, do I get discounted tickets?

Memberships and annual passes are not valid for special events hosted outside of normal opening hours, however a 10% discount is available for individuals named on Friends memberships. Enter your membership number when booking, and bring your membership card with you for inspection on entry.

What about the weather?

Weather is always going to be unpredictable so wrap up warm and bring waterproofs and sturdy footwear just in case. It is an outdoor event, but the big spaces where much of the fun takes place – the orchard barn and the paraffin works – are sheltered from the wind and rain. Only if the weather gets really severe, and conditions become unsafe, would we have to cancel the event for that day. Under such circumstances, we will contact you by e-mail, post messages on social media and this website, and provide as much notice as possible. We would then transfer your booking to another date or offer a refund.

How accessible is the event?

All activities take place along usual pathways on the Almond Valley site which have a paved or rolled stone surface. Other than the yard outside the mill, most routes are reasonably level. It’s about 400m from the car park to the Paraffin works, and a further 200m to the most distant part of the woodland walk. Please let us know at time of booking if you require blue badge parking. Some features may contain flickering lights, but no strobe lighting.

Will there be food and drink?

Within the orchard barn there will be stalls offering hot chocolate, mulled juice, and warming winter snacks. There will also be fun food like toasted marshmallows. In the welcoming warmth of the tearoom there'll be homemade soup, hot supper dishes (such as macaroni cheese, or chilli and natchos), children's meals (such a chicken nuggets and wedges) and a big range of spicy seasonal cakes and drinks. Hot food will be served until 20.00

How do we get there?

It all takes place within the Almond Valley Heritage Centre, Millfield, Livingston, EH54 7AR. See our main website for full details. There's ample free parking, and stewards will be on hand to direct and assist you.

Can I bring my dog to the event?

Other than assistant dogs, we would advise against bring pets with you, as they might find the after-dark world a little strange and disorientating.

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