A Christmassy Guide to Cardiff
Looking for a Christmas getaway without leaving the UK? Look no further than Levitate’s home city and the capital of Wales, Cardiff. The Christmas spirit is felt in Cardiff in a way that is unlike anywhere else, as the whole of the city centre becomes covered in lights, tinsel and baubles. Here are our top things to do during a festive trip to Caerdydd.
A staple in Cardiff’s festive landscape is the Winter Wonderland, this year, however, it is bigger and better than ever.
For the first time, Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland has grown to a size that means it is split across two locations. These two locations are the Cardiff Castle and the City Hall Lawn. Both are at the heart of the city and within a 5-minute walk from each other.
Cardiff Castle; A Frozen Fortress
Usually located at the City Hall Lawn, the iconic Winter Wonderland Ice Rink has been moved to Cardiff Castle and expanded to also feature an Ice Walk. The charming gardens and striking architecture makes for an enchanting experience.
The covered Ice Rink is 40m x 15m and the Ice Walk stretches for 150m long. I am no ice skating champion but was able to easily keep up with the traffic of the Ice Walk. Whether you are looking to take young children, elderly relatives, or anyone else, the ice skating is suitable for all abilities. The famous skate-aid penguins are also more prevalent than ever. They ensure even the youngest or shakiest skaters can glide with ease.
There are also many options for food within the Castle. The Keep Terrace is the established restaurant within the castle walls and has some very festive drinks and meals. As well as this, popup stalls offer Yorkshire pudding wraps, toasted marshmallows and some other festive treats are also on site.
City Hall Lawn Site; The Festive Carnival
This site contains your classic Christmas family funfair. Waltzer-like rides, a child-sized artificial snow slope, a myriad of familiar carnival game stalls and a giant Ferris wheel will keep all members of the family entertained and high-spirited.
The Sur la Piste Ski Lodge Bar returns to WinterWonderland and will be a familiar sight to those looking for a boozier festive celebration. The two-story ski lodge bar provides the perfect environment to sit down and get in the merry spirit. This year it also features a new outdoor roof terrace, but no guarantee that the weather will be appropriate.
Another option for a well-earned drink here is the new Ice Bar. An impressive icy structure plucked straight from Disney’s Frozen, the Ice Bar is truly a unique place to chill out in. It is also worth mentioning that there is ample choice in terms of different festive treats and drinks on the site.
Christmas shopping in Cardiff can be split into many different experiences. There is, of course, the different shopping centres, the main two being Saint Davids/Dewi Sant and the Queen’s Arcade. It is within these two connected shopping centres that the most popular and coveted brands can be found.
Clothing stores such as Bershka, Zara, Stradivarius and others will keep the fashionistas amongst you happy whereas Hamleys, the LEGO shop and build-a-bear Workshop will give your kids plenty to choose from. There are of course so many shops in these centres it would be crazy to list them all here. Click here for a full list of the shops in Saint Davids and Queen’s Arcade.
For a different sort of shopping experience, the Christmas Market stretches from St John Steet to the end of the Hayes and is a truly joyous Christmas celebration.
Shopping on The Hayes; A Welsh-Bavarian Market
At the top of St John Street, there is a Bavarian-themed Festive Quarter which provides a bustling area offering bratwurst, pork roast, and other hearty eating options. There is also a large, two-story German-style bar, another option for a cheeky pint.
This leads to Working Street and the Hayes, which becomes a bustling marketplace over the festive period. Nearly 100 individual wooden huts line the streets and are occupied by a truly diverse mixture of small businesses. Over 200 individual businesses will be stationed at the market throughout November and December.
These stalls all boast original pieces and you get the feeling you are supporting some very creative entrepreneurs. By buying these unique pieces directly from the people who made them, you help ensure that these small businesses can survive through the pandemic.
It would be futile to try and name all of the stalls so here are a selection of the stalls which I found interesting. AR & ML Daniels take previously unused vintage Welsh blankets and tapestries and rework them into cushions, baby blankets and vintage teaware. This business recycles unused materials and showcases a classic Welsh art form. There is also NOA Jewellery which sells intricate and beautiful handmade jewellery made from ceramics, wood, silver, aluminium, brass and stainless steel.
All of this is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the Christmas landscape of Cardiff but hopefully, I have provided you with enough inspiration to come and check it out for yourself.
The Christmas Light show at Bute Park, the Alladin Christmas Panto at the New Theatre, and Heofan Light Maze are all attractions that I wish I could delve deeper but I will leave it to you to look into these great events yourself!