Christmas Markets and Fairs in Wales 2017
Christmas markets are popping up all over Wales. The scent of mulled wine and roasting chestnuts fills the air. Artisan food producers and craftspeople are donning seasonal knitwear and filling their stalls with tempting goodies. Santa is in his grotto, checking his list to see if you’ve been naughty or – we confidently predict - nice. Let the festivities begin! Here’s just a selection of the many markets, fairs and seasonal shopping opportunities coming your way…
Christmas market, Cardiff
9 November – 23 December 2017
Cardiff transforms into a ‘Christmas city’ as around 80 stalls with a rolling programme of 200 exhibitors take centre stage at Cardiff Christmas Market. There’s a strong slant towards artists and craftspeople, whose hand-made wares appear alongside artisan food and drink producers – so it’s a great opportunity to buy one-of-a-kind gifts direct from the clever person who made/painted/baked/brewed it. The main action happens around the pedestrianised streets at the top of The Hayes, right in the heart of the shopping area. It’s also a short stroll from Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland, which runs until 7 January.
Christmas lights in Llandudno by Robert Mann
16 – 19 November 2017
The ‘Queen of Welsh resorts’ hosts North Wales’ biggest Christmas market, with more than 165 stalls lining Madoc Street, Augusta Street and Trinity Square Street for Llandudno Christmas Fayre. There’ll be a feast of local food, handmade gifts and arts along with craft demonstrations and a Santa’s grotto for the children to enjoy. There’s a distinctly Dickensian charm to the proceedings, which also includes the World Bara Brith Championships, a hotly-contested tournament to find the champion baker of Wales’ speckled tea time favourite.
17 – 19 November 2017
Every shop, boutique, gallery, café, bar and pub throws opens its doors until late at Llandeilo’s annual Festival of the Senses. It’s become hugely popular locally, drawing in thousands of revellers to enjoy not just the shopping experience, but also live entertainment, fireworks, and the arrival of Santa’s sleigh. And as if that’s not enough, the winner of this year’s Tywi’s Got Talent competition will be performing.
Swansea Waterfront Winterland, West Wales by Jordd01
19 November – 20 December 2017
Christmas begins in Swansea at precisely 5pm on Sunday 19 November, when marching bands, magical floats, festive film characters, giant Christmas inflatables, dancing elves and Santa himself parade through the city centre to the switching-on of the Christmas lights. The following day, Swansea Christmas Street Market sets up shop to offer crafts, handmade gifts, fine foods and unique Christmas decorations. The popular Waterfront Winterland is also up and running until 7 January, with ice skating, Santa’s grotto, funfair and festive food.
23-26 November 2017
The Hay Festival people are running a mini-version of their iconic event over this Winter Weekend, with the usual high-quality literary and musical fare. Quite apart from that, there are lots of Christmassy happenings in the town. On Friday the lights are turned on, with local choirs, mulled wine and mince pies, and late opening for shops selling Christmas treats. On Saturday the Hay Food Festival takes place in the Market Square, with more than 40 exhibitors, music, crafts, and a guest appearance by Santa. On Sunday, clothing and costume treasures are up for grabs at the Vintage Fair. There’ll be entertainment by local brass bands, choirs and folk musicians all weekend.
25 November 2017
Aberystwyth Arts Centre’s annual Winter Craft & Gift Fair opens daily for eight weeks around Christmas, with more than 80 stalls sellling jewellery, ceramics, woodwork, photography, prints, metalwork, slate, textiles and food – and it’s mostly made by local artisans. If you’re going to pick one day to visit, make it the 25th, when there’s a terrific food fair selling the very best of Welsh cheese, meats, fish, wine, cider, pastries, puddings, jams and more. It’s the perfect place to stock up on a few gastronomic goodies in the run up to Christmas.
25 November 2017
Filling the high street with Christmas festivities is the Bargoed Winter Fair. This free event serves up a giant Christmas pudding-sized portion of stalls, selling everything from scrumptious chocolates to jewellery and unique Christmas decorations. There will also be funfair rides and children’s activities, Santa’s real reindeers, falconry, donkeys and street entertainment.
Llandeilo Traditional Christmas Fayre at Dinefwr by National Trust Wales
25 – 26 November 2017
Having arrived in Llandeilo the previous weekend, Santa’s sticking around to enjoy the National Trust's annual Christmas bash in elegant Newton House. There’ll be festive choirs and bands, complimentary mulled wine and mince pies, tasty treats, local produce and handmade gifts and crafts.
The Vale of Glamorgan’s chichiest, boutiquiest (not a real word) town kicks off Christmas with this annual Reindeer Parade, held on the last Sunday of November. Father Christmas is pulled by live reindeer down High Street, accompanied by a mass of festive elves. The Christmas lights are switched on, fireworks are discharged, and several thousand revellers retire to the boutiques to give the plastic a good thrashing, and/or the local pubs and restaurants to celebrate the official start to the festive season.
Royal Welsh Winter Fair, Builth Wells, Mid Wales by Laurel Jarvis
27 – 28 November 2017
Set in the heartlands of Welsh farming country in Builth Wells, the Royal Welsh Winter Fair shows off the best of British farming as well as poultry, hounds and farriery demonstrations, 300 stalls to browse and an opportunity of course to meet Santa in his grotto. Festive visitors can also experience the buzz of live auctions, livestock on display as well as many classes and competitions.
Portmeirion in the snow, Snowdonia Mountains and Coast by Portmeirion Ltd
1 – 3 December 2017
The stunning Italianate fantasy village opens its doors for three days to a whole load of Welsh merriment and wonder. Portmeirion hosts a range of exhibitors specialising in local produce, music makers galore and plenty of cooking demonstrations to inspire your Christmas feast. There’ll be more than 120 Welsh artisan stalls to tempt you, a magical Christmas Grotto, a giant gingerbread village and an elf dash (that’s a fun run for kids, in case you were wondering…).
Santa's Grotto, Blackwood Christmas Market by Visit Caerphilly
2 – 3 December 2017
Food and craft stalls, entertainment and traditional funfair rides all feature in this year’s Blackwood Winter Fair. Families visiting Santa’s Grotto can also expect to meet elves and real reindeer before meeting Santa Claus himself (and receiving a special gift).
2 – 4 December 2017
The ancient gardens at Aberglasney have been beautifully restored, and provide the perfect backdrop to the annual Winter Fair. There’s a free mince pie and mulled wine to enjoy as you stroll around, listening to the festive tunes courtesy of local bands and choirs. The grounds of the mansion are filled with over 100 stalls selling handmade Welsh gifts, crafts, Christmas decorations and tasty foods, perfect to stock up on for the holiday season.
7 December 2017
This year Wrexham’s Victorian Christmas Market is bigger and better than ever, with around 100 stalls alongside Victorian themed rides and entertainment. It all happens in the most picturesque part of the town centre, where local producers will be on hand to take orders for Christmas turkeys or geese or to sell everything from pies, sausages, cakes, brownies, chocolates to local cheese, beers, cider and preserves, and toys, candles, clothing, jewellery, handbags, books, cards, crafts, gifts, seasonal plants and Christmas decorations. The parish church of St Giles becomes a real haven of warmth on a cold winter’s evening, with yet more stalls and refreshments served up with music and carols.
Conwy Castle, North Wales by Ashley Perkins
9 December 2017
Here’s how Conwy gets everybody into the real spirit of Christmas: the Winterfest kicks off with a grand parade, led by the town’s jester, followed by armoured knights carrying blazing torches. There’s entertainment in the town square, the excellent array of shops stay open well into the evening, and the local pubs and restaurants are primed to offer sustenance to weary shoppers.
Caerphilly Christmas Market, by Visit Caerphilly by Visit Caerphilly
9 – 10 December 2017
Enjoy two days of fun and festivities for all the family as Caerphilly transforms itself into a Christmas shopping paradise with over 100 food, drink and craft stalls. You’ll also find a farmer’s market, craft fayre, music, entertainment, Santa’s grotto and street theatre.
Abergavenny Christmas Fair, Wye Valley by Tim Woodier - Abergavenny Food Festival
10 December 2017
With a huge array of the best regional speciality food producers, demonstrations from top chefs and a music and light parade, the Abergavenny Christmas Food Festival is a great mix of good produce and festive cheer – all happening in and around Abergavenny’s Market Hall. Be sure to try the sparkly Christmas cocktails this year.
10 – 11 December 2017
Surf Snowdonia will be playing host to a hip and happening Christmas market celebration at the centre’s glamping village on the edge of the surf lagoon. So even if you don’t fancy dipping your toe in to the chilly water for a bit of snowy surfing, you can stay warm in the real ale tent, try the tasty festive foods and let the kids enjoy the carousel and fair rides.