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2016 Wales Events Diary

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2016 Wales Events Diary





9 January


World MTB Chariot Racing Championships & Saturnalia Real Ale Ramble, Llanwrtyd Wells

Saturnalia was the big midwinter Roman festival. In this version, you’re encouraged to wear Roman dress, eat Roman food and quaff un-Roman fine ales. The ‘chariot’ is a pair of mountain bikes harnessed to an old steel drum. Obviously.

Find out more and enter




  • 2 February - 1 March


    Quiltfest, Llangollen


    Wales has a venerable tradition of quilt-making which is very much alive here. The exhibitions, competitions, demonstrations and workshops prove that quilting can be a surprisingly radical art form. Find out more
  • 5 - 9 February


    Abertawe Festival for Young Musicians, Swansea


    Workshops and competitions for young musical talent, held in three venues around Swansea. Find out more



  • 1 March


    St David’s Day Parade, Cardiff


    To celebrate our Patron Saint’s day, there’s a big parade through the centre of Cardiff, and plenty of festivals, concerts and street parties all over Wales. Wear a leek. Or daffodil. We’re not picky. Find out more
  • 14 - 18 March


    Zoom International Youth Film Festival, South Wales


    Wales’s largest film event for young people has workshops, awards, glitzy evening screenings for all the family and short films from all over the world. Find out more



  • 1 - 3 April


    The Laugharne Weekend, Laugharne


    Ian Rankin, Tracey Thorn, Brix Smith-Start, Mark Thomas and Alexei Sayle are the first names announced this year. Like the town itself, it’s quirkily brilliant, with the oddest (in a good way) assortment of literary and musical talent ever assembled in one place. Find out more and Book
  • 1 - 3 April


    Dark Skies Festival, Hay-on-Wye


    The Brecon Beacons National Park is an International Dark Sky Reserve, where the night sky’s staggering beauty is allowed to shine through. This weekend event brings experts to illuminate the experience. Find out more
  • 15 - 17 April


    RHS Flower Show, Cardiff


    It’s easy to spot people who’ve just visited the last afternoon of this major RHS show. They’re the ones carrying massive armfuls of plants to the car. Find out more and Book
  • 16 - 24 April


    Children’s Literature Festival, Cardiff


    The best children’s authors and illustrators come to Cardiff for this event, and the name ‘Roald Dahl’ is likely to crop up quite a bit, this being his centenary year. Find out more
  • 23 - 24 April


    Wonderwool Wales, Builth Wells


    Welsh and British artisans gather to showcase the best in Welsh and British wool and natural fibres. And all the roads that lead you there are winding (Ha! See what we did there?). Find out more
  • 29 April - 1 May


    Machynlleth Comedy Festival


    Machynlleth has grown into a major date on the comedy calendar, without losing its sense of mischief. There’s a big, eclectic line-up in several quirky venues, served up with lashings of local beer and cider. No wonder performers love going there. Find out more
  • 30 April - 2 May


    Llandudno Victorian Extravaganza, Llandudno


    This graceful seaside resort returns to its Victorian roots with steam engines, Victorian musical organs, vintage cars, costumes, curiosities and side shows. Cover those piano legs, lest passions are inflamed. Find out more



  • 1 - 4 May


    Talgarth Walking Festival


    Guided walks in the unspoilt and stunning Brecon Beacons. Suitable for walkers of all ages and abilities. Some are suitable for dogs too. Find out more
  • 7 - 8 May


    Welsh Three Peaks Challenge


    Can you climb three of the most iconic mountains in Wales – Pen y Fan, Cadair Idris and Snowdon – in a single weekend? The overnight stay in Llanberis will help you to replenish. Find out more
  • 12 - 14 May


    FOCUS Wales, Wrexham


    It’s mostly a spotlight for emerging musical talent, with 200+ bands on 20 stages. But there’s also a generous smattering of comedy, film and interactive arts. Find out more
  • 14 May


    International Dylan Thomas Day, Pan-Wales


    Under Milk Wood was first read on-stage in New York on this day, which is as good an excuse as any for throwing literary events, big and small, all over Wales. Find out more
  • 21 - 22 May


    Royal Welsh Agricultural Society Spring Festival, Builth Wells


    It’s always been unmissable for smallholders, gardeners and sustainable living folk, but in recent years the Spring Festival has broadened its appeal considerably, with sports events and plenty of food and drink. Find out more and book
  • 24 - 25 May


    Abergavenny Steam Rally, Abergavenny


    Who among us does not love a shiny engine, buffed to gleaming perfection? Who has not gasped at the relentless thrust of its pistons, the ecstatic hiss of steam? No further questions, m’lud. We shall convene in the cider tent, and there partake of pies. Find out more
  • 26 May - 5 June


    Hay Festival, Hay-on-Wye


    Calling it a ‘book festival’ doesn’t even come close to describing what goes on at this incredible gathering of the world’s greatest writers and thinkers. There are 900+ events over the 10 days, featuring politicians and poets, scientists and comedians, novelists and astronauts, economists and ecologists, musicians and philosophers – all coming together to kick around big ideas that will change the way you think forever. The format couldn’t be simpler: you turn up in a big tent and listen to these geniuses, and ask them questions. There’s also great food and drink, lovely scenery – and plenty of books, of course. Find out more
  • 29 May


    Welsh Open Stoneskimming Championships, Llanwrtyd Wells


    Stoneskimming is the ancient art of bouncing stones as far as possible across water. The official world record is 88 skips, but a bloke who works with my mate Cenwyn’s brother says he did 142 up Llyn Brianne. Find out more
  • 29 - 30 May


    Cowbridge Food & Drink Festival, Cowbridge


    Cowbridge is the Vale of Glamorgan’s most chi-chi, boutiquey town. Here it is at its most vibrant, with a weekend of culinary excellence and all-round family entertainment. Find out more
  • 30 May - 4 June


    Urdd Eisteddfod, Flintshire


    One of the largest cultural youth festivals in Europe, around 100,000 come to watch more than 15,000 children and young people compete in song, dance, drama and design. Find out more



  • 10 - 12 June


    All Wales Boat Show, Conwy


    A celebratory festival of all water-based activities, from wakeboarding to that luxury yacht we’ve been saving for by putting loose change in a big whisky bottle. Find out more
  • 11 - 13 June


    Man v Horse, Llanwrtyd Wells


    It began as a lively pub debate: which is quicker over mountain terrain – man or horse? So they devised a 22-mile race to find out. Man has beaten horse just twice in the event’s 35-year history, so we’re guessing the evidence points horsewardly. Find out more
  • 25 June - 3 July


    Pembrokeshire Fish Week Festival, Pembrokeshire


    You can get great seafood all year round in Pembrokeshire, but this is peak season, with more than 250 events celebrating the county’s great seafood and beautiful coastline. Find out more
  • 29 June - 3 July


    Hijinx Unity Festival, Cardiff


    Hijinx is based at the Wales Millennium Centre, and this is its big annual showcase of inclusive and disability arts - theatre, dance, music, family shows, comedy. Moreover, it’s simply fantastic entertainment of the highest quality. Find out more



  • 5 - 10 July


    Llangollen International Eisteddfod, Llangollen


    An extraordinary cultural celebration featuring 4,000 competitors from around the world in song, dance and music, and performances by the biggest singing stars. A Fringe event has also sprung up, taking place in the town a week later. Find out more
  • 18 - 21 July


    Royal Welsh Show, Builth Wells


    The daddy of all agricultural shows. We love tip-toeing through the livestock sheds (mind that bull), but the zillions of craft stalls, food hall and exhibitions bring in herds of non-farmers and tourists, too. Deservedly so – this is the heartbeat of rural Wales at its most lively. Find out more and book
  • 29 July - 6 August


    National Eisteddfod of Wales, Abergavenny


    Wales’s biggest arts festival is also its oldest, tracing its roots back to the year 1176. It’s an eclectic mix of old and new, traditional and modern, and a celebration of Wales’s culture and language. You don’t have to speak (or be) Welsh to enjoy the spectacle of an old language having very contemporary fun. Find out more



  • 9 - 10 August


    Anglesey County Show, Holyhead


    Anglesey was once the bread-basket of Wales, and the biggest two-day agricultural show in Wales has more than 350 trade stands, entertainment marquee and lots of country pursuits. Find out more
  • 13 August


    Pride Cymru, Cardiff


    The city-centre Parade kicks off a day of live music that ends with an unmissable after party. It’s the biggest and best LGBT bash in the calendar. Find out more
  • 28 August


    World Bog Snorkelling Championship, Llanwrtyd Wells


    We love the wilful idiocy of Llanwrtyd Wells events. Now in its 31st year, daring competitors battle it out in a 60-metre trench cut into a peat bog for the coveted title of World Champion Bog Snorkeller. Find out more



  • 17 - 18 September


    City of the Unexpected (Roald Dahl), Cardiff


    This is the big one: the flagship event of the Roald Dahl 100 celebrations. The entire capital city is a stage for large-scale spectacles, theatre and art, bringing Dahl’s worlds alive in surprising ways. More details coming soon
  • 23 - 25 September


    Elvis Festival, Porthcawl


    Elvis lives, thanks to the thousands of fans and the tribute artists who attend this annual gathering of blue suede shoes, Vegas jumpsuits, and whopping sideburns. Find out more



  • 12 - 16 October


    Iris Prize Festival, Cardiff


    Cardiff’s international gay and lesbian short film prize welcomes the best new filmmaking talent to the capital. Find out more
  • 23 - 24 - October


    Gwledd Conwy Feast, Conwy


    Conwy’s always a great place to visit, but this weekend sees one of the biggest celebrations of the music, art and food of Wales. The quayside, the castle and medieval streets burst with flavours, sounds and sights. More details coming soon Find out more



  • November – January


    Cardiff Winter Wonderland


    Ice-skating and rides, mulled wine and roasted chestnuts, and all kinds of feel-good festivities in Cardiff’s civic centre. Dates are yet to be confirmed, but 11 November to 2 January won’t be far off the mark. Find out more
  • November – January


    Christmas in Cardiff


    Lots of events fall under the Christmas in Cardiff banner, from panto to ballet. Santa advises checking out the website for details. Find out more
  • 18 November - 8 January


    Waterfront Winterland, Swansea


    Museum Park is transformed, complete with ice rink and funfair, into Waterfront Winterland. Try saying it really quickly after a few mulled wines. Find out more



  • Throughout December


    Santa Steam Specials


    There are 11 steam railways in Great Little Trains fleet, and most run Santa Specials during the Christmas season. Find out more
  • Throughout December


    Christmas markets


    There are excellent Christmas markets in many Welsh towns, including big ‘uns at Blackwood, Wrexham and Cardiff. Dates aren’t confirmed yet, so check the websites:


    Visit Caerphilly


    Visit Wrexham


    Visit Cardiff
  • 31 December


    Nos Galan Road Races, Mountain Ash


    This annual race commemorates the 18th-century Welsh runner Guto Nyth Brân (who was supposedly so quick, he could blow out his candle and be in bed before it was dark). There are races for all abilities, street entertainment, funfair and fabulous firework display. Find out more




All information is correct as we go to press, but plans can change, so do check the websites for up-to-date information.

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