Most of the schools in Cardiff finish this Friday… and there’s still more than a week until Christmas. I’ve had quite a few of my parent friends ask me for ideas for entertaining their excited little ones between now and the big day, and preferably ideas that don’t cost a fortune. So for them, and anyone else wondering how they are going to fill the next week, here are 10 free or inexpensive family-friendly Christmas activities in and around Cardiff between now and the big day.
Please note all activities are subject to change and I recommend checking with the organisers to avoid disappointment.
FREE Santa’s post office
Mermaid Quay, Cardiff Bay
Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th December, 11am-4pm
No need to book; you can just turn up.
Write and decorate a letter to Santa, post it in his magical post box and the flashing lights will show you it’s on its way. Fill in your child’s details at the counter for a free reply through the post from Santa himself. Read our full review here.
Glanfa Foyer, Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay
Saturday 17th-Friday 23rd December
10.30am-2.30pm (last entry 2.15pm) and 4.30pm-5.30pm (last entry 5.15pm)
Father Christmas has returned to his grotto in Wales Millennium Centre, where children can meet him for free – in Welsh or English. No need to book, just turn up on the day.
FREE The Christmas Story
Tabernacl, The Hayes, Cardiff
Mondays 28th November-Thursday 22nd December (Mondays to Saturdays)
Free 20-minute nativity play, running throughout the day with performances in English and Welsh.
FREE Carol Concert
Glanfa Stage, Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay
Wednesday 21st December, 5.45pm
City Voices Cardiff choir host a singalong carol concert, including festive treats such as mince pies and mulled wine. The event is free – just turn up on the day.
FREE Giant light-up reindeer
Outside Cardiff Castle
Cardiff’s tree might be controversial this year – but the giant reindeer are fantastic! They’re on the lawn outside the castle so you can visit them any time, but they’re best viewed after dusk, when you can really see them lighting the way.
FREE* Christmas at the Castle
The visits to see Father Christmas at Cardiff Castle have long since sold out, but if you have a castle key, you can visit the castle apartments and see the traditional decorations for free. A castle key costs £5 per adult and allows three years free entry for adults; children’s cards are free. For more of what you can expect at Cardiff Castle, read our review here.
National Museum, Cardiff
Saturday 17th, Sunday 18th, Tuesday 20th-Friday 23rd & Wednesday 28th-Sunday 31st December, 10am-4pm
Spark-up your holiday creativity with art activities related to the national traditions of the Artes Mundi artists.
FREE Festive craft
Cardiff Story Museum
Wednesdays 21st and 28th December; 10am to 3pm
Drop-in arts and crafts sessions with a festive theme. The museum is free to enter, but crafts will cost £1 per child.
Thornhill farm shop
£2 per person, including children
See the animals in the stable, watch the Christmas story on the TV and see baby Jesus lying in a real manger. All money raised provides animal feed for the rest of the year.
Amelia Trust Farm, Barry
Children can spot the letters, form a Christmas word and collect a prize.
Also animal petting with some of the farm’s fluffiest and friendliest residents. Tuesday to Friday, times to be confirmed.
The farm is free to visit but small charges will apply for the Christmas trail and animal petting sessions.
For more of what to expect at Amelia Trust Farm, read our review here.