Christmas in Cardiff

By Billy Edwards

After a rather muted Christmas last year, Cardiff is putting out all the stops for a sensationally-festive season across the city. Despite the cold, whether you’ll be leaving for home with presents packed in your case or spending the holidays here, you’ll find plenty of events to go to, activities to try, and foods to eat over December.

This year Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland is spread across two locations at the heart of the city centre. Cardiff Castle will be home to both an all-weather covered ice rink and a 150m ice walk, with the 12th Century Norman Keep featuring as its stunning backdrop. It’s suitable for all ages and abilities and available to book online.

Go out for a walk around Cardiff today and it’s likely you’ll run into the funfair at City Hall Lawns – hard to miss its Big Wheel. Incorporating traditional favourites of funfair rides and attractions, as well as legions of sweets, candyfloss, and burgers, it makes a great evening out; in itself an impressive light display. It’ll be open until the 2nd of January from 11am to 10pm. The popular Sur La Piste bar has been extended this year for more seating on an outdoor terrace, joined by an all-new Ice Bar, with penguins and polar bears sculpted by a team of professionals. To enjoy a refreshing mulled wine as a Christmas-shopping break at sub-zero temperatures, you will have to book online.

Dotted around the high streets are markets with a big range of independent craft and food stalls, perfect for finding a present with a personal touch, as well as trying an assortment of homemade delicacies. They open between 10am and 6pm from Monday to Saturday and from 10am to 6pm on Sundays.

For pantomimes, Cardiff University’s Act One Society presents The Yellow Brick Road, in which Dorothy and the gang will be travelling through the magical Land of Oz. Tickets are available from the Act One page on the student union website. Plus, The New Theatre (opposite Przym) is putting on Aladdin, featuring Paul Chuckle, Gareth Gates and Gareth Thomas.

Did you know Cardiff Castle has a cinema? ‘Darkened Rooms’ will be hosting a range of beloved Christmas flicks, from Elf, Home Alone, Gremlins, and Die Hard, over the weekend of the 18th and 19th of December. Tickets can be booked online at darkenedrooms.com. Behind the castle, Bute Park is putting on a special multicoloured light show trail, weaving around the park and using around a million bulbs. It promises ‘dazzling light displays, interactive installations, a flickering fire area, an enchanting fairy forest, laser shows & mirror ball’ – but you will have to book online to go.

There is also a great wealth of volunteering opportunities available. Help out at the Huggard Centre, a homeless shelter serving hot food and drinks on Hansen Street, by emailing ellenbryant@huggard.org.uk. As well as this, the SU’s very own Help for Homeless Society will be working with local community food banks and shelters, running food drives and collection stalls in the SU to deliver and distribute to charities and rough sleepers. Get involved by visiting their page on the student union website.

Image by Callum Blacoe via Unsplash.