With just over 12 weeks to go until Santa pays his annual visit, the countdown to Christmas is already on.
Here’s a preview of some of the magical memories waiting to be made in Cardiff this Christmas.
1. Ice-skating in the grounds of a Castle.
Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland Ice Rink and Ice Walk returns to the beautiful grounds of Cardiff Castle this year. Whether it’s a romantic sunset skate against a backdrop of the Norman Keep, or a day of family fun (complete with a colony of penguin skate-aids for smaller guests), the under cover rink is suitable for all ages and abilities.
Ticketed event: 15 November to 8 January
2. A breath-taking walk through a ‘Light Canyon’ awash with a thousand mesmerising stars.
The award-winning Christmas at Bute Park light trail is back for its second year with a host of new sights in tow. The mesmerising 1.4km trail will take visitors on a ‘hypnotic laser journey,’ including an epic light orb experience, and a ‘liquid sky,’ and promises to be an unforgettable experience for the whole family to enjoy.
Ticketed event: 24 November to 1 January
3. Wrapping up warm to pick out the perfect handcrafted gift for somebody special at the traditional Christmas Market.
Cardiff Christmas Market is home to bespoke silver jewellery, original artwork, beautiful, fused glass work, hand thrown ceramics, handmade quilts and textiles, seasonal food and drink, and much more. Chat to the talented makers and soak up the uniquely festive atmosphere as you browse the traditional wooden chalets.
10 November to 23 December
4. Chilling out at the city’s coolest hotspot.
Over on City Hall Lawns, amidst all the fun of the fair the sub-zero temperatures in the Ice Bar at Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland make it the coolest place to chill out this Christmas. It really is made entirely out of ice, so just make sure you wrap up warm to enjoy this drink with your friends!
Ticketed event: 15 November to 8 January
5. Experiencing the magic and nostalgia of a Spiegeltent show.
Three incredible shows – Santa’s Wish, Castellana and The Nutcracker – come to the grounds of Cardiff Castle in a magnificent European Spiegeltent. Built from wood, cut mirrors, canvas, leaded glass, and detailed in velvet brocade, Spiegletents were once the number one attraction at Belgian funfairs and this year the festive shows in the Spiegeltent will transport visitors to a nostalgic and magical world in the intimacy of a beautiful hand-hewn pavilion.
Ticketed event: 25 November to 8 January
6. Watching the Christmas Lights twinkle into life.
On Tuesday 15th November, as night begins to fall, Cardiff city centre will slowly start to twinkle as the city’s beautiful Christmas lights are switched on for the first time, signalling the start of Christmas in Cardiff.
7. Strolling through the elegant Victorian Arcades.
The Victorian’s knew how to do Christmas properly and Cardiff’s Victorian Arcades are steeped in that tradition. Elegantly dressed for Christmas, there’s a simple magic to wandering through the maze of arcades, stopping for a coffee, or a bite to eat, at one of the many independent cafes and restaurants you’ll discover in between browsing the boutique shops.
8.Cosying up in a Festive Quarter cabin.
In between buying gifts for your friends and family, why not treat yourself this Christmas? An atmospheric Bavarian-themed haven, the Festive Quarter is the perfect place to cosy up with a beer and a bratwurst to refuel before the next round of Christmas shopping.
Dates: 10 November to 24 December
9. Meeting Santa in a wonderous Christmas Grotto.
Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without a chance to meet Santa, and this year St David’s Dewi Sant is hosting ‘Believe,’ a brand-new experience inviting families to discover the magic of the festive season. Little ones can look forward to meeting McJingles and Norbert – one of Santa’s most trusted elves and his magical reindeer friend – make some ‘reindeer food’ ready for Christmas Eve, and then meet the man himself.
Ticketed event: 25 November to 24 December
10. Enjoying a festive night out with friends and family.
Christmas is all about friends and family, and what better way to celebrate it than with a good night out! Cardiff is a haven for foodies – why not try a Christmas feast with a Sri-Lankan Twist at The Coconut Tree? Go traditional with all the trimmings at the Pontcanna Inn, or try champions of local Welsh produce, Daffodil’s range of quality dishes, maybe paired with a wine from their comprehensive list – it is Christmas, after all.
11. Experiencing a traditional Panto or marvelling at the magic of ballet.
“Oh yes it is” a Christmas tradition and Panto’s don’t come much more classic than Snow White and the Seven Dwarves at the historic New Theatre. On the subject of classics, St David’s Hall will host performances of Swan Lake, Copéllia, and the Nutcracker…but if you want to break with tradition, do it in style with a show at Cardiff’s iconic Wales Millennium Centre where ‘Les Misérables,’ one of the world’s most popular musicals, is being brilliantly restaged for the 21st century.
Ticketed events: Snow White and the Seven Dwarves 10 December to 8 January / St David’s Hall ballets 17 December to 31 December / Les Misérables 13 December to 14 January.
12. Doubling the fun with an overnight stay.
There’s too much on offer for just one day in Cardiff this Christmas, so why not make a night of it and enjoy an overnight stay in one the capital’s hotels? Whether you choose a modern, stylish stay in the bustling city centre, the relaxed luxury of a spa hotel, or a night in the historic Cardiff Bay, you’re sure to wake up ready for more festive fun!