Winter in Cardiff

Halloween is over and the smoke from bonfire night has wafted away, leaving us with an odd sense of loss and emptiness. With temperatures plummeting and nothing to celebrate until Christmas, this winter is turning out to be rather dull. However, many of us forget that Cardiff is actually a hive of activity all year round. If you’re disenchanted with the cold weather and freezing toes on the walk to lectures, let these winter events warm your hearts and your spirits in this wandrous time of year.

Winter is very much the season for people to come together in a collective adoration of a person or band. Concerts and gigs are the go-to for those who want to chase away the cold and embrace the euphoria of the rich and famous. With everything from comedy to heavy metal, there is a gig out there for everyone. The Motorpoint Arena have a varied collection of acts. From a live rendition of The Catherine Tate Show on 17th, to Panic! at the Disco on the 19th and Ne-Yo on the 25th. With the likes of Biffy Clyro and Madness playing in December and A Day to Remember in January, the Motorpoint is definitely the place to be in the coming months.  If these aren’t really your style or you don’t fancy the trek, the Students’ Union also have acts such as FM and Pierce the Veil playing in  November and Clutch performing in December.

Staying active and healthy isn’t just for the summer months. Whilst some of us gorge on hot roast dinners and a chocolate bar or two, some maintain their summer bodies with some indoor sports. one of the most fun is Infinity Trampoline park just off Newport road. Trampolining and warmth? I’m in! There is also a Christmas themed fun run in Cardiff Bay hosted by Welsh Hearts. Don your best Santa or Elf outfit and beat the cold by dashing 5km along Cardiff Bay Barrage on 4th December! With cold weather also comes a heap of sports fixtures. When the rain pours and the temperature drops, we’d rather watch men run around in shorts and t-shirts rather than play sports ourselves. As a country renowned for a pretty decent rugby team, there is sure to be a good turn out to this month’s Autumn Internationals. Wales will face South Africa, Argentina and others at the Principality Stadium:

Saturday 5th November – Wales v Australia
Saturday 12th November – Wales v Argentina
Saturday 19th November – Wales v Japan
Saturday 26th November – Wales v South Africa

If loud and rowdy crowds aren’t your thing, there are always quieter alternatives to beat the winter blues. The National Museum is packed full of things to see. In December there is an exhibition on ‘Wales’s Newest Dinosaur’… as unorthodox as it sounds, it may turn out to be a blast! The museums are also bringing in the new year with ‘Nature’s Song: Traditional Chinese Bird and Flower Paintings’ which opens on the 21st January. For those who haven’t had the chance yet, Quentin Blake’s exhibition in the National Museum is on until 20th November. Get down there quickly to see an array of his illustrations and relive the images of your childhood! On a similar note, ‘The Wondercrump World of Roald Dahl’ is on at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay. This one hour interactive tour will give you a up-close experience on Road Dahl’s life and works and is a wonderful event to compliment Quentin Blake’s exhibition.

One event that simply cannot be missed and is the highlight of the student winter calendar is the opening of Winter Wonderland. With ice-skating, market stalls and mulled wine, it is a huge hit with students who want to destress from winter deadlines. Opened on the 10th November, it is a tad bit early for embracing the Christmas spirit. But, when the winter blues strike, sometimes the promise of a holiday and immersing yourself in a magical Christmas atmosphere does a world of good. And if you’re into the Christmas spirit, but don’t feel like spending money or going on the fare rides, you can always attend the turning on of the Christmas lights and the market stalls that are set up along St Mary’s Street.

Yes, November may be seem to be a rather dull and uneventful, but if you look hard enough, you’ll be able to find an array of events and entertainment to keep your mind and body satisfied. There is nothing to say that you have to do anything particularly special during the winter. Colder weather in fact makes some of the most normal and mundane events seem cosier. Having coffee in our favourite cafe when it is pouring with rain or doing a spot of Christmas shopping in the darkness of the early evening creates a sense of cosiness that simply isn’t felt at the height of summer. When the weather gets harsh and uni life get’s harder, take the time to pursue one of these events. With a woolly hat and scarf and an open mind, you’ll find that Cardiff in the winter is a lot more eventful that you originally thought.

Originally published in Quench Magazine, Issue 160, pp. 12-13

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