You may have barely packed away the pumpkins but it's already beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Cardiff!
As the sun goes down on November 14th, the city will officially enter the festive period as the Christmas lights start to sparkle, the beautiful decorated wooden stalls of the Christmas market open, and Santa takes up residence in his grotto.
A spokesperson for Visit Cardiff, said: "Whether it's a spot of present hunting in the atmospheric Victorian arcades, rounded off with a mulled wine from the Christmas market and a night at the ballet, or a magical visit to Santa with the kids, followed up with ice-skating and this year's must see production of the Fairy Godmother of all pantos, Cinderella, this Christmas in Cardiff is going to be really special."
Highlights of the festive season include:
From 14November - 23 December the pedestrian heart of Cardiff is transformed into a Christmas Market to rival that of any European city. Rows and rows of beautifully decorated wooden stalls, within easy walking distance of the city's main transport hubs, offer up an array of gifts such as Welsh slate, crafted candles, tasty cheeses, fruit wines and liquers, flavoured vodkas and gins, silver and enamel jewellery, pottery, original artwork from over 200 talented artists, crafts people, food and alcohol producers. Why not enjoy a warming mulled mine as you browse the gifts for something special?
Cardiff's Winter Wonderland
Christmas in Cardiff wouldn't be complete without a visit to Winter Wonderland, which returns to City Hall lawns this year with a new addition - a one of a kind, 250 metre long Alpine Ice Trail which allows skaters to glide around the magical site without taking their skates off!
Got a little skater? Why not pick up a penguin to help them get around the covered Admiral Ice Rink - it's great family fun, even on rainy days!
And when the skating's over, why not take in terrific views of the city from the brand new big wheel and enjoy the food, drink and après-ski vibes on offer in Sur La Piste - an impressive two-storey bar which can accommodate 400 Christmas revellers!
Christmas in the Castle
Christmas is one of the best times of year to visit Cardiff Castle. As well as discovering more about its history, visitors can also see the house in all its festive splendour, dressed with spectacular Christmas lights and decorations.
This year Santa will be enjoying a Victorian Christmas at the Castle - and families are welcome to join him! Meet the costumed characters, eager to share yuletide traditions of yesteryear, explore the traditionally decorated Victorian apartments and follow the Candy Cane Trail to the Drawing Room, where Santa himself will be waiting with gifts for the children.
Cardiff's Central Marketis a great place to get a taste of the city all under one impressive glass roof. The Victorian market offers a unique shopping experience in the heart of a modern, bustling city and you'll find a wealth of products ranging from traditional welsh cuisine to artisan coffee and street food, vintage clothing to second hand records, fruit and veg to a psychic medium!
Cardiff Market has been trading in one form or another since the 1700s but its Night Markets are new. On 14thNovember the Market will open late (from 6pm-9pm) for ‘Christmas Things.' The event will feature an 80s disco, additional items and services from many of the stalls - and a sprinkling of night time magic!
City of Arcades Day
Join us for the inaugural City of Arcades Day on Saturday 16th November 2019 and start your Christmas shopping with a unique experience.
Across the seven beautiful and historic arcades you will find special offers, live music and events happening throughout the day and into the evening. Plan your visit and explore more of what Cardiff has to offer across shops, bars, eateries and independent stores.
Santa Claus is coming to town and taking up residence with his friendly elves in a beautiful wooden chalet on Queen Street from November 14th. Escape the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping and make some memories that will last your child a lifetime! No booking required.
The New Theatre
When you're all shopped out, why not sit back and enjoy one of our seasonal shows? The Fairy Godmother of all pantomimes, Cinderella is at the New Theatre. Featuring Gok Wan as the Fairy Godmother, Mike Doyle and Ceri Dupree as the Ugly Sisters and Phil Butler as Buttons this must-see production is sure to bring laugh-out-loud comedy, jaw-dropping special effects, stunning song and dance as well as plenty of boos and hisses!
St David's Hall
The Russian State Ballet & Orchestra of Siberia return to the National Concert Hall of Wales with three magical ballets in one thrilling season.
The season starts withCoppélia, (19th-20thDecember). Perfect for first time ballet-goers, families and everyone in between, this charming comedy of errors set in a doll maker's workshop follows the mischievous Swanilda, her impetuous suitor Franz and the eccentric toy maker Dr Coppelius through a light-hearted tale of confused lovers and mistaken identity.
The Nutcracker,(21st- 24thDecember) begins as night falls on Christmas Eve. As snowflakes fall, the open fire sends shadows flickering across the presents beneath the tree and when the clock strikes midnight we are swept away to a fairy-tale world where nothing is quite as it seems. Toy dolls spring to life, the Mouse-king and his mouse-army battle with the Nutcracker Prince and we travel through the Land of Snow to an enchanted place, where the magic really begins.
This breath-taking season culminates in the greatest romantic ballet of all time,Swan Lake.From the impressive splendour of the Palace ballroom to the moon-lit lake where swans glide in perfect formation, this compelling tale of tragic romance has it all. 27thDecember - 31stDecember.
Wales Millennium Centre
Following a smash hit 2018 tour and London run,Nativty! The Musicalis coming to Cardiff for an early seasonal treat!
Cameron Mackintosh's acclaimed Broadway production ofLes Misérableswill also return to the Centre almost a decade on from its last sell out UK tour.
Take a ride on the Santa Express in Cardiff Bay - this brightly coloured steam train has an elf driver, two carriages stuffed with presents, a Christmas tree, complete with baubles, and it's all made of nearly 300,000 LEGO® bricks!
Climb aboard and take the perfect Christmas selfie in Tacoma Square, in the heart of Mermaid Quay from 30thNovember - 5thJanuary.
Free of charge.
National Museum of Cardiff
Christmas is a wonderful time of year to visit the National Museum Cardiff. If you are heading to Cardiff's Winter Wonderland and Admiral Ice Rink, why not pop in to the museum afterwards, it's just across the road and has fantastic events and displays the whole family will enjoy - including Dippy, the Natural History Museum's iconic Diplodocus dinosaur skeleton, which is paying a visit to Cardiff until January 26th.
The museum's 219-20 Photography Season presents work by four of the most influential photographers in the history of the medium; August Sander, Bernd and Hilla Becher and Martin Parr. The exhibitions predominantly comprise loaned photographs, a number of which have never been exhibited before, and all of which will be displayed for the first time in Wales
Taking place on November 30th, the day after Black Friday, Fair Saturday is a global movement founded in Bilboa that celebrates the power of the arts, culture and heritage to change the world and create a more just society. Cardiff officially joined the Fair Saturday movement this year and is now part of a global network of cities and communities stretching from Lima in Peru to Madrid in Spain.
To round off the day's events the Lord Mayor of Cardiff is holding a charity rave. The rave, which will take place in the Old Library on The Hayes, will include DJ sets from: stalwart of the Cardiff dance-music scene, Craig Bartlett; Esyllt of long running club-night Dirty Pop; Nick Saunders founder of club night Shangri-la; Cardiif-based collective, Ladies of Rage, and a special guest spot from the man with the gold chains, the Lord Mayor himself.
All profits from the event, which is being promoted by The DEPOT, will go to the Lord Mayor's two chosen charities, Welsh Women's Aid and BAWSO.