Stepping into Christmas – The Official Start to Christmas in Cardiff

Halloween and bonfire night are over,  so you know what that means? It’s time to start getting excited for Christmas and that means the late night shopping season is swinging into action. *cracks knuckles*.
On the 9th November the city prepares to embark on a festive season full of magic and merriment. Instead of an official light switch on, the city will be engulfed by award winning events, entertainment, attractions and of course it’s the first time to catch a word with the big red guy himself and hand over your letters.
Here’s everything you need to know;
Step into Christmas – The Official Start to Christmas in Cardiff
The impressive calendar of events explodes onto the streets on Thursday 9th November, as we herald the official start of the magical season with Step into Christmas. This unique street festival sees the city centre undergo a spectacular transformation with a wealth of Christmassy characters, music, lights and entertainment. Join the merriment and watch some truly magical festive performances in various locations across the city centre. The evening also marks the start of late-night shopping and the opening of Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland with Admiral Ice Rink on City Hall Lawn which runs until 7 January 2018.
Highlights include:

  • Skye & Rubble from PAW Patrol at intervals outside The Old Library, opposite St David’s Hall.
  •  Santa and his Reindeer in their pan at the bottom of St Mary Street
  • Festive Quarter with Christmas Markets – The Hayes
  • Santa’s Queen Street Grotto
  • Late night shopping and in-store offers
  • Opening of Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland with Admiral Ice Rink
  • Plus festive street theatre including performances from Spark! A mesmerising, unmissable street show combining fantastic drumming and LED lights.
  • The Snow Lion and White Queen, and a spellbinding Snow Globe that glides gracefully by with a beautiful, ethereal Snow Queen inside.

Christmas Market
From 9th November – 23rd December, the Festive Quarter arrives, as St John Street, Working Street, The Hayes, Trinity Street and Hills Street become home to over 80 beautifully decorated wooden stalls. Over 200 talented artists, crafts people and food and alcohol producers from across Wales offer an array of gifts such as Welsh slate, crafted candles, tasty cheeses, fruit wines and liqueurs, flavoured vodkas and gins, silver and enamel jewellery, pottery and original artwork. You will be able to find something for everyone on your Christmas gifts list whilst enjoying a cup of hot mulled wine as you browse.
Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland
Widely acknowledged as one of Europe’s best outdoor ice rinks, this first-class attraction returns to city hall lawn with an even larger rink set under a sparkling starlit roof, meaning skating sessions can take place whatever the weather. Take in the view of the City from the Giant Wheel and enjoy other fairground rides, plus all the food and drink on offer in the authentic Alpine Village and the cosy, atmospheric Bier Keller.
This year Cardiff becomes the first outdoor rink in the UK to receive Access Accreditation, allowing even more wheelchair users onto the ice.
Image - Explore with Ed
Image – Explore with Ed
Christmas in the Castle
Cardiff’s number one visitor attraction offers festive fun throughout December. Visitors can expect to see Santa in residence, spectacular surroundings, beautiful decorations, magnificent banquets and wonderful entertainment. Don’t miss the city’s Christmas tree which has been kindly sponsored by Sayers Amusements and takes pride of place outside the castle gates, and the beautiful decorative reindeer adding a touch of added sparkle to this iconic landmark.
Tickets and further information:
Cardiff’s Central Market is worth a visit, a great place to get a taste of the city all under one roof. The impressive Victorian structure offers a unique shopping experience in the heart of a modern, bustling city and you’ll find a wealth of products ranging from fresh baked bread and Welsh Cakes, flowers to records and sweets and hardware to pet supplies and fresh fish. Cardiff Market has been trading in one form or another since the 1700s. It has occupied the same site for over 100 years and although you will no longer find livestock tethered and penned outside its doors, some of the old features remain to this day.
Santa’s Grotto
On the 9th November we welcome Father Christmas as he takes up residence in a beautiful wooden chalet on Queen Street. Come and hear Rudolph sing and wish Santa and his friendly elves a Merry Christmas, bringing sparkle and wonder to any child’s festive season.
When you’re all shopped out why not sit back and enjoy one of our seasonal shows. This year Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is on the bill at the historical New Theatre. Samantha Womack, Gareth Thomas, Mike Doyle, Chico, Tam Ryan & Stephanie Webber will bring Wales’ No.1 pantomime to life with an abundance of comedy and music, sensational dance numbers, fabulous costumes and stunning scenery. Throw in a magical mirror, seven friendly dwarfs, a beautiful princess, a handsome prince and plenty of audience participation as we outwit the Wicked Queen. Mirror, mirror, on the wall, don’t miss the fairest pantomime of them all!
St David’s Hall will host three Christmas Ballets from 19 – 31 December.
This breath-taking season from the Russian State Ballet & Orchestra of Siberia starts with Cinderella (19-20 December). The world’s favourite rags to riches fairy-tale is an enchanting mix of Prokofiev’s energetic score, lively choreography and colourful costumes. Then get ready to be swept off to a mysterious place where nothing is quite as it seems in The Nutcracker (21-24 December). Watch with astonishment as toys spring to life, and the treacherous Mouse King battles the handsome Nutcracker Prince.
The series climaxes with the greatest romantic ballet of all time, Swan Lake (27-31 December), which features Tchaikovsky’s haunting score. From the majesty of the palace ballroom to moonlit lakes, this compelling tale of tragic romance has it all.
Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, Cllr Peter Bradbury said: “As the Welsh Capital, Cardiff prides itself on providing a fantastic programme of events for the festive season. “Step into Christmas has established itself as a firm family favourite, marking the start of the city’s magical lead up to Christmas. Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland, Christmas markets, shopping and some wonderful entertainment ensures there is something to get everyone into the spirit.”

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