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What you can expect at Wales’ premier festive lights trail this year

Christmas at Bute Park offers visitors a ‘sneak peek’ into the all-new range of magical sights and sounds awaiting them at this year’s trail, opening next month

Credit: Ant Clausen (Visit Liverpool)

Organisers behind Wales’ premier festive lights trail are offering visitors a special ‘sneak peek’ of what to expect when the magical event opens its doors for a third time next month, as tickets for both On and Off-Peak slots for 2023 continue selling fast.

Christmas at Bute Park is putting an all-new layout, live music and an extra half a mile of illuminations in place to create a never-before seen experience for all those visiting this year, including a brand new immersive light spectacular ‘Light of the Night’.

Created by award-winning designers at Squid Soup, ‘Light of the Night’ will use 500 individually suspended lit LED orbs to create a carefully choreographed harmony of light and sound. As visitors move through this spectacle, the piece evokes the sensation of crashing waves, and is just one of an all-new range of installations coming in 2023.

Those attending Christmas at Bute Park are in for a fresh, new string of sensory delights this year, with a magical Twilight Garden, heavenly host of festive fireflies, a dazzling disco ball spectacular and a whole lot more also on show.

Credit: Christmas at Bute Park

And live performances of specially arranged Christmas and traditional Welsh tunes from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama’s brass quintet will also feature during peak slots throughout the five-week run for the first time this year too.

Roxy Robinson, Creative Director at From the Fields, the team behind Christmas at Bute Park, said: “We’re really excited for visitors to experience the new and improved Christmas at Bute Park, which has been completely revised this year to include an even greater range of special effects involved, as well as a host of other fabulous new additions.”

“We’ve taken time to really think about the fantastic response we’ve had in our first two years here in Cardiff, and put a number of changes in place for year three as a result. This includes the introduction of new and exciting installations such as ‘Light of the Night’, live music and a newly extended Christmas Village that will enable visitors to sample the very best street food available regionally at the beginning or the end of their visit – or both!”

‘Foodies’ visiting in 2023 are also in for a festive feast of delights this year, with a wider range of local street traders based at the new Christmas Village, accessible at the start and finish of the trail for the first time too.

Visitors will get to make the most of mouth-watering stone-baked pizza, gourmet hot dogs with slow-roast toppings, sriracha-fried chicken, fresh Yorkshire pudding Christmas wraps, loaded halloumi fries and more.

Buttermilk fried chicken from Hetty’s Hen House, barbecued meats from Passion & Smoke, fusion food from Terry’s Tacos and loaded fries from The Grub Shed are all among the new food options coming to Christmas at Bute Park this year. Crumble Pots and Nomad Waffles will also make their debut, alongside returning outlets including Chock Shop brownies, Indian favourite Keralan Karavan, and more.

Crumble Pots founder, Simon Bayliss, said: “Christmas at Bute Park looks like such a magical event and it’s a privilege to be invited to trade. The combination of the spectacular light trail with the Christmas Village should make for a great festive event, and one Crumble Pots can’t wait to be a part of.”

With more than 145,000 tickets sold in 2022, Christmas at Bute Park will return to Cardiff city centre for its third annual outing from November 24th through to January 1st 2024, with tickets for its newly introduced On and Off-Peak slots already selling out fast.

Currently the most popular trail in the UK outside of London, those attending in 2023 will also be able to enjoy improved accessibility to the trail through a shared entrance with Cardiff Council’s Winter Wonderland at the Castle North Gate Entrance to Bute Park, where North Road meets Boulevard De Nantes.

Roxy said: “We’re absolutely over the moon to be bringing the work of leading lighting designers like Squid Soup – whose work has been seen by over two million people on six continents in the last year alone – to Cardiff for the benefit of visitors to Christmas at Bute Park this year.” 

“It’s also really important to us to be putting small, independent businesses in touch with new audiences in Wales through their involvement with Christmas at Bute Park – and all we can say to anyone joining us this year is, make sure you come hungry!”

Those buying tickets to Christmas at Bute park also have the option to visit during a number of different time slots to suit those on a budget. As always, the event is fully accessible to those with wheelchairs and prams, aiming to offer an inclusive celebration of Christmas for all the family.