Summer 2011: seizing the days in South Wales!

Whether you’d like to party, appreciate cultural entertainments, explore the great outdoors or sample fine foods, South Wales offers you lots of opportunities to enjoy yourself this summer.

A summer festival - photo by Aldo Hoeben

July 2011

A fun fair July is festival season! The Penarth Festival kicks off with a fabulous opening weekend featuring a carnival, fly-bys of planes and a downhill derby, among other treats. The Cardiff Festival is diverse, with parades, food festivals, open air theatre and acrobatics performances, free concerts, opportunities to try extreme sports and more. There’s literally something new to explore and discover every weekend.

Other festivals include Caerphilly’s Big Cheese Festival and, just around the corner from our Treforest campus, Ponty’s Big Weekend. A little further afield, the Monmouth Music Festival is one of the biggest free music festivals in the UK.

There’s quite a bit of open air theatre and Opera in our calendar, too. If you fancy a little cultural delight with a nice picnic on a long summer evening, check out the Everyman Theatre Festival, taking place at St Fagans.

Calendar: what’s on next?

The calendar below shows the next few events – you can scroll through it, and look up events a bit further into the future than next weekend.

How to make most of the summer

Here’s a few notes about summer events in Wales:

  • Most big events are on weekends. There’s something on every weekend, so there’s no excuses for sitting around at home in front of the TV.
  • Some events will sell out in advance. We’ve highlighted which events you should pre-book tickets for.
  • Don’t limit yourself to Treforest and Cardiff. Explore Wales – we’ve included events throughout South Wales, so you can use them as an excuse to venture out into the parts of South Wales you might not have seen yet.
  • Many spectacular events are free. Even those that aren’t shouldn’t break your bank – and there are often student discounts and advance ticket discounts.
  • We only list a limited selection of events. There are hundreds more listed in the websites at the end of the article – if our selection does not excite you, check those websites!

Pre-book!

Here is a list of the events that will likely sell out. If you want to try these, we recommend buying tickets in advance.

  • Photography Course – spaces are likely to be limited for this.
  • Cardiff Comedy Festival – if you want to go to any of the performances, you should pre-book, especially the bigger names.
  • Ponty’s Big Weekend – the concert has sold out in previous years.
  • Brecon Jazz Festival – many of the performances are sure to sell out…
  • Grand Medieval Melee – like all the big events in Cardiff Castle, to avoid queues and disappointment, pre-booking is advisable.
  • Gower Cycling Festival – especially weekend rides could get booked quickly.
  • Great British Cheese Festival – there are always long queues on the day, so pre-booking tickets will save you hassle. Also, the most popular workshops and events within the festival are sure to sell out weeks in advance.
  • Valleys Walking Festival (not listed yet) – this will take place in September, but the programme is not yet online. When it is, the number of attendees per walk is limited, and especially walks on weekends can sell out quickly.

There’s a whole bunch of open-air theatre and opera performances in Wales this summer. These can be gloriously atmospheric summer evenings, best enjoyed with a picnic. Some are covered if it rains, some could be subject to cancellation – check the listings and/or call the organisers if you are not sure. However, in all cases, we recommend pre-booking tickets if you want to go:

Events Websites

There’s a handy calendar embedded on this page, but it is only a small selection of the events this summer. If you want the full overview, try the following sites:

  • Buzz magazine – for listings and reviews, Buzz is the main free magazine for Wales. You can look through it online if you cannot find a paper copy nearby.
  • www.visitsouthwales.com – This calendar has a wealth of information on exciting and interesting occasions in Cardiff and throughout South East Wales.
  • What’s on RCT – Events in Rhondda Cynon Taf.
  • BBC South East Wales – Things to do – A collection of links to venues and attractions in South East Wales.

Avoiding the crowds

If you’re less keen on organised events, you can, of course, make the most of the summer with a group of friends, or on your own. Here’s some inspiration for making the most of what Wales has to offer:

  • Visit Wales – the tourism portal for Wales.
  • The Valleys – An interesting visitor guide to the valleys, though it is not always easy to navigate.
  • Tripadvisor’s Things to do in Cardiff – Did you know there are regular ghost walks taking place in Llandaff? Glance through Tripadvisor to see if there are any attractions around Cardiff that you haven’t yet tried…