Waterfront Winterland is back in Swansea city centre later this month as the city gears up for Christmas.
Boasting two ice rinks plus the chance to meet Father Christmas and have a go on the big wheel, it runs from November 16 to January 6.
Liz Shellard, from Swansea council’s culture and tourism department, said the city will be getting ready for Christmas with a weekend of festivities from November 16 to 18.
Saturday shoppers can enjoy entertainment such as a Rodeo Reindeer, Balloon Magic Elf and serenades from traditional bagpipes.
“On the 18th there is shopping opportunities all day and then there is the Christmas parade and light switch on and that should be really good. Last year the crowds were packed; it is really fun and it gets you in the festive mood,” she said.
The Christmas Street Market gets underway on November 23 and runs until December 16 and Swansea Market is open every Sunday from November 18 to December 23 from 10am to 4.30pm on top of its usual Monday to Saturday opening hours.
Get some inspiration with our highlights for shopping in South Wales this Christmas.
1. Use the Christmas parade and lights switch on in Swansea to kick start your shopping plans. Do some shopping in some of Swansea’s 240 stores and then head for the streets to watch Santa leading floats on an illuminated parade. Pick up a gift at stores including Marks and Spencer, H&M, Next, Topshop, River Island, Sports Direct, Burton’s, Mountain Warehouse, Monsoon, H Samuel, Clive Ranger, Waterstones and Peacocks.
The parade starts at the Dylan Thomas Centre in Somerset Place before passing through Wind Street, College Street, Kingsway, St Helen’s Road before ending outside the Guildhall. The theme is toyland of yesteryear so see if you can spot presents Santa once brought you! The event takes place on November 18 from 5pm.
2. Decorating your home? Check out Bridgend's Christmas Outlet with thousands of indoor and outdoor Christmas lights, trees, ornaments and decorations on display. From scenes to create in the garden to special displays for the living room, it has a wide range to choose from.
Seasons Christmas Outlet, Unit 9/10, Parc-y-bont, Brynmenyn Industrial Estate, Bridgend, CF32 9SZ T: 01656 723399
3. Merlin’s Walk shopping centre in Carmarthen boasts an 11 foot statue of Merlin the Wizard at its heart, carved by woodcarver Simon Hedger. Legend says that Merlin was born on the site of Carmarthen’s old town. In the build-up to Christmas there’s a series of events at the centre starting with the light switch-on on November 16, facepainting for children November 24 and December 8, Santa pays a visit on December 1, 8 and 15 and Christmas crafts December 14 and 15.
4. Santa will arrive at St Elli Shopping Centre in Llanelli drawn by a team of Cairngorm reindeer on November 21 heralding the start of the festive season. As well as Santa, 100,000 St Elli Christmas lights will be switched on.
St Elli Shopping Centre, Murray Street, Llanelli, SA15 1SH T: 01554 746603
5. If you’re looking for out-of-town shopping try Lakeland in Trostre. Formerly La Senza, the Lakeland store is open seven days a week with customers looking for a specific product encouraged to telephone first. Also at the park is Debenhams, Marks and Spencer and Laura Ashley.
6. Santa is setting up a grotto at the Gower Heritage Centre every weekend from November 25 to December 23 from 12pm to 4.30pm with last entry at 3.45pm. Cost is £6.80 includes free entry to the Gower Heritage Centre for one accompanying adult plus Santa visit and gift. Free parking too. On December 8 and 9 there’s a Christmas Craft Fayre with a host of local art and craft on sale from 10am to 6pm each day.
7. Top chef Anthony Evans will be doing festive cookery demonstrations at Swansea Market on November 23. There’ll also be carol singing and workshops giving shoppers the chance to make their own Christmas wreath.
8. Beat the rush and check out of work for late night shopping in Swansea every Thursday until 8pm every week until Christmas. Plus after 5pm you can park at St David’s for just £1. Or in any NCP for £1 for an hour, £2 for two hours, £3 for three hours or £4 for four hours.
9. Head to Aberafan Shopping Centre where you can pick up a bargain at B&M stores or get some Christmas gift inspiration at stories including New Look, Warren James, the Fragrance Shop, and Burton's.
10. Discover a giant polar bear, seal pups and Eskimos fishing in the North Pole in an animated display at Winter Wonderland in Three Crosses. The children are sure to marvel at the creatures while you can shop for Christmas delights such as Christmas lights, handmade wreaths, garlands, snowglobes, baubles, stockings and candles to name but a few. And there’s reindeer too.
Swansea Winter Wonderland, Poundfield Farm, Three Crosses, Swansea, SA4 3PB T: 07811 949239