There’s much more happening than we have room for, but below are a few key dates for your diary. Head to the Visit Wales events page for a full listing which also gives ideas for great places to eat and sleep during your trip. Visit Coach Buddy for information about parking in the area. For Cardiff events, there are coach drop-off and pick-up points in the city centre. The coach park can be found at Sophia Gardens.
Food and drink
Abergavenny Food Festival, South Wales, end September
No foodie worth their salt should miss this celebration of top nosh. The South Wales market town of Abergavenny (Y Fenni) plays host to this highlight of the UK food calendar, serving up a rich menu of masterclasses by leading chefs, tastings galore, and stalls selling everything from cider to cheese, garnished with lots of street entertainment. Parking is usually provided in a field on the outskirts of town with a shuttlebus transporting visitors to the festival.
The Big Cheese, Caerphilly, South Wales, last weekend in July
A weekend of celebration which commences on Friday evening with The Great Cheese Race followed by a firework display. The free event has many food stalls selling a range of welsh produce including cheese. Throughout the weekend, there is live music featuring local artists and visitors can watch medieval enactments in Caerphilly Castle. Coach parking is free but must be reserved in advance. The coach driver will receive a lunch voucher for use at a local restaurant as well as a goodie bag. Go to Visit Caerphilly for group and coach visitor information.
Gwledd Conwy Feast, North Wales, end October
There’s food, glorious food in historic Conwy. It’s one of Wales’s most popular festivals, with all kinds of foodie (and non-foodie) events set against a backdrop of Conwy Castle, which is illuminated to become a dazzling digital art gallery. While you’re there, don’t forget to sample the famous local mussels, caught by hand from Conwy’s crystal waters. Coach parking will be available at the Coleg Llandrillo site.
Narberth Food Festival, Pembrokeshire, end September
The town comes alive with one of the longest established food festivals in Wales. There are many stalls to tempt all tastes and cuisines. Demonstrations can be seen with guest chefs and there are masterclasses and workshops to get involved in. The festival is brought to life with its live music and street entertainers.
Pembrokeshire Fish Week, West Wales, June
There are over 250 events which take place throughout the county celebrating the taste of the sea. It is one of Wales' largest and best food events which features food markets selling local seafood, themed walks, fishing demonstrations, foraging and feasting. The event highlights Pembrokeshire’s (Sir Benfro) maritime heritage.
Music, arts and culture
BBC Cardiff Singer of the World, South Wales, Mid June (alternate years)
See if you can spot the next Bryn Terfel at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition. Classical singers from across the globe flock to the Welsh capital (Caerdydd) to compete in this high-profile bi-annual event. A true test of talent in which the finalists sing their hearts out, it has been dubbed ‘the world’s greatest singing competition’.
Brecon Jazz Festival, Mid Wales, early August
The music festival plays host to jazz musicians from around the world. Brecon town comes alive when the streets, cafés and pubs feature live jazz music. The coach park is situated on Canal Road.
Focus Wales, North Wales, Mid May
The music festival takes over Wrexham (Wrecsam) in North Wales and features more than 200 performances over multiple venues. As well as established UK and international acts, there are also sets from emerging Welsh performers. Visitors can also enjoy tips and discussions from leading music industry experts as well as theatre performances, live comedy and art exhibitions.
Green Gathering, South Wales, beginning of August
For festival fun with an eco-friendly twist, this jamboree of music, arts, poetry, science and wellbeing is an inspirational addition to the events calendar. See live music in solar-powered tents, learn craft skills, practise meditation and learn how to live off the land. Good times don’t have to cost the earth. As the festival promotes greener transport, dedicated coaches are laid on from several English cities. Passengers will receive a free programme on arrival.
Green Man Festival, Mid Wales, mid August
Once a tiny folk event attended by just a few hundred people, Green Man has grown to be one of the can’t-miss fixtures of the summer festival season. Nestled amid the mountains near the town of Crickhowell (Crucywel), it now welcomes more than 15,000 visitors and was voted best festival of the year by listeners of BBC 6 Music. The music is diverse which will suit all tastes. Genres include traditional folk, indie, garage rock and electronic sounds. National Express run coaches from various locations throughout the UK. On-site coach parking is available. A 15% discount is offered on travel when booking tickets and coach travel together.
Hay Festival, South Wales, end May – early June
These days the event famously described by President Bill Clinton as ‘the Woodstock of the mind’ needs little introduction, but it wasn’t always that way. Dreamt up around a kitchen table in the town known as the ‘second-hand book capital of the world’, Hay-on-Wye (Y Gelli Gandryll), it’s now a globally recognised arts and literature extravaganza featuring hundreds of leading writers, thinkers and performers. A shuttle bus is provided to transport visitors from the well signposted car park to the festival.
The Iris Prize Film Festival, South Wales, mid October
Showcasing LGBT+ film from across the globe, this six-day festival showcases the best in queer cinema. It also awards a £30,000 prize (the largest LGBT+ film prize in the world) to the festival’s best film. Tune in for an eye-opening cinematic experience.
Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, early July
The event turns Llangollen into a colourful and magical place full of music and dance. It was established in 1947, post-war, to celebrate international peace and has since welcomed more than 300,000 competitors from over 100 nationalities providing a unique cultural experience.
Machynlleth Comedy Festival, Mid Wales, Early May
Not the most renowned location for laughter, but this mid Wales market town provides a laid back ‘anything goes’ ethos. As well as famous and established performers the festival brings together comedic talent from new performers who could well become the future of comedy.
National Eisteddfod, Pan Wales, beginning of August
A celebration of the Welsh language, music and culture which is held at a different location each year. The festival welcomes thousands of competitors from across the country. The contests of poetry and song are performed in our native language and culminates in the crowning of the Gorsedd of the Bards. The colourful ceremony honours the achievements of prose writers and Welsh poets. There are also a variety of musical performances to enjoy as well as activities for children. Welsh food is also on offer. The event is open to all, including non Welsh speakers. There are even Welsh language lessons provided on site if visitors wish to learn a few sentences before going home. Information about parking can be found by visiting the website or contacting the host. There is normally a shuttle service provided from the main car park.
Royal Welsh Show, Mid Wales, end of July
It may be the UK’s largest agricultural event, but you don’t have to be a farmer to enjoy the Royal Welsh Show at Llanelwedd. Whether you’re urban or rural, you’ll find plenty of things to see and do at this annual showcase for all that’s good about country life. Wonder at the sheepdog trials and stunt motorbike displays, or drool over demonstrations from top chefs and stalls selling delicious local produce. It’s simply the biggest event in the countryside calendar. Park and ride buses are available from the showground car park.
Steelhouse Festival, South Wales, end July
Turn it up to 11 at this annual celebration of loud guitars and earth-shaking drums. Conceived in 2011, Steelhouse has carved out a niche in the music scene as the place to be for proper rock music from the likes of Thunder, UFO, The Darkness and Europe. For those about to rock, we salute you. A park and ride scheme is provided from Ebbw Vale Parkway Train Station. Coaches are permitted to park in the general admission car parks.
Sport and activities
Newport Wales Marathon, South Wales, beginning May
Our national marathon starts and finishes on Newport’s (Casnewydd) historic waterfront, taking runners on a tour of the town’s landmarks, historic places and natural environment. It’s one of the flattest marathons in the UK too, so you’ll be in a good position to score a personal best time (over 70 percent of runners posted a PB in 2018).
Six Nations Rugby, South Wales, February and March
Wales compete alongside England, France, Ireland, Italy & Ireland in the Six National Rugby Championship. Dates do vary each year for matches played in the Principality Stadium. Visitors don’t need to watch the match in the stadium (although recommended) as there is always a great atmosphere in Cardiff as well as the pubs and rugby clubs in the rugby heartlands of Wales too.
World Bog Snorkelling Championships, Mid Wales, end of August
A fun but challenging sporting event where competitors aim to complete two water-filled peat bogs in the shortest time possible. Wearing snorkels and flippers, competitors attempt to complete the course by powering through the bog using their flippers. Visit the website for locations.
NB. For all events, please check web sites for more information and the specific dates.