Christmas at Bute Park 2022 Review



Bute Park Christmas

*I was kindly provided tickets to Christmas at Bute Park in exchange for an honest review

As with many major cities across the UK, Cardiff now hosts an impressive immersive light show in the city centre's main green space, Bute Park. 2021 was its first year & was a sell-out success so needless to say expectations were pretty high. While this was our first time to Christmas at Bute Park, we had previously gone to Westonbirt Enchanted Christmas, one of the first and longest-standing immersive festival light experiences so I was intrigued to see what the Welsh Capitals' take on this would entail. 

Firstly we love Bute Park, it's a stunning green lung in the heart of Cardiff city centre and a place we spend a lot of time, walking along the River Taff, cycling and enjoying the large open spaces, however, we have rarely seen it after dark so the boys and I were very excited to see Bute Park in a different light, excuse the pun. 

Bute Park Christmas

Before deciding on a time to visit I spoke to a few friends who had already visited and some had mentioned there being areas where crowds would bottleneck & that it would be better to steer clear of the more popular times (6-8pm) to avoid this. I think this may have been early teething issues with the event and crowd flow has been improved somewhat but with that in mind, we booked the first session at 4:15pm and within 10 minutes the park was dark and guess what, no queues at all, in fact, it was very relaxed & everyone had time to interact and explore the installations! If you can I would therefore recommend an earlier time if you are going with young children.

Right from the start the park felt magical, it was lovely walking along the tree-lined avenues all lit up in different colours and then coming across the water lilies on the river with the castle as a backdrop. The trail itself is around 1.4km and really isn't taxing in any way and is doable even for very young children.

Bute Park Christmas

There are a variety of themed areas that make up the light show, some interactive which is great but all are a delight to all ages, with our favourites being the fire garden, light canyon and the spectacular Prismatic right at the end.

I would recommend packing a bottle of water or a hot flask for the walk, especially if you have young children with you. There are plenty of hot drink huts along with the way, although while the kid's hot chocolate was reasonably priced at £3 with all the trimmings (looked delicious) I was taken aback at the mulled wine being £5.50 for a small cup, although as I said taking a hot flask with you is an easy way to keep warm along the walk. 

The trail is suitable for all ages, strollers and wheelchair users and there are also wheelchair-accessible toilets along the route. Well-behaved dogs on leads are also allowed on the trail. Once you get to the end of the trail you come into the Street food area with some fantastic local traders, although again this is on the pricey side but not more so than other Christmas events happening in the city and I have to say they have a fantastic choice this year from Greek, Indian and Italian food with kids options aplenty. 

Please be aware that entry to Christmas at Bute Park is via the Castle Mews entrance, next to the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and is the only entry point for the event. There is no direct on-site parking but North Road and Museum Avenue are only a few minute's walk away.

Overall it was a really lovely evening out and felt festive and magical seeing the park lit up that way. Christmas in Bute Park has extended its opening days due to demand and you can now view the lights until the 8th of January 2023.  Children under 2 are free as are personal carers. It's £19.50 for an Adult, £13.95 per child or £59.50 for a family of 4. 

Christmas at Bute Park

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Home Improvement plans for 2023 - First the Skirting boards


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home interior

*This post contains affiliate links

My house is in serious need of some TLC, especially as the early years of parenting are now out of the way & putting travel before interiors but it's come to the point that I need to give my home a little attention and while I have practically not budget, after Christmas, I am planning to do what I can myself, starting with repainting every room so we can start the New Year feeling fresh. 

My skirting boards are looking particularly unloved at the moment I'm not actually sure when they were last painted (it's got to be at least a decade I'm guessing). It can however be tricky to know what colour to paint your skirting boards and some thought does need to go into it as it helps tie the room together.

Do you leave them a natural wood colour? Or, perhaps you want them a nice simple white to match your doors and architrave. Then, of course, there is always the idea that you might want your skirting boards to stand out, be a feature of the room perhaps in a bright colour, or a colour to match your walls.

Years ago, the majority of people would either leave their skirting boards plain, showing off the natural wood, or paint them white. However, these days, interior design trends have got people thinking differently about their skirting board choices. Experimenting with different colours, going bright and bold to fit in with their interior design theme.

So, once you have your new skirting boards from places such as Skirting World, all you need to do is pick a paint colour - easy huh!


Where To Start

The only place you can really start is by knowing what you want from the space.

Do you have a specific theme in mind? Perhaps going for the minimalistic look with clean lines and natural colours. Or, maybe you want your skirting boards to stand out? To know where to begin with your skirting board choices, you need to know where you plan to go with them in a design sense.

Going Modern

If you plan to go down the modern route with your interior design choices, then perhaps a contemporary shade of gloss might suit your taste. Another way to go might be to colour match your skirting boards with your coving and/or architrave, with a different colour on the walls. The pop of colour frames the room perfectly.

Go Bright & Bold

If you aren’t a fan of the clinical whites, you could drench your skirting boards in bold, bright colours. Make your skirting boards more of a feature than someone to be hidden away.

Dench the skirting boards in your personality and style to create a space that feels inviting and really shows off who you are to your guests. You could also paint your skirting boards in a similar colour to the rest of the space to add a striking depth to the room.

High Traffic Areas

Think about the colours you plan to use on your skirting boards, especially in the high-traffic, or high-usage areas of your home.

For example, painting your skirting boards black in a utility or laundry room might not be the best idea, especially if you get a lot of dust from clothes…etc. The dust will be clearly visible against the black background which will mean you spend more time dusting to keep them looking nice.

Or, having white skirting boards in a boot room, for example, could also be an impractical idea. The mud and dust from the boots will again, mean you spend more time trying to keep them looking clean.

living room

What Colour Should Skirting Boards Be?

Traditionally, skirting boards have either generally been painted white to match doors, coving…etc, or left showing their natural wood effect. However, in more recent years skirting has been used as more of a feature, than a necessity to be hidden away. So, there is no right or wrong colour to paint your skirting boards. Paint them any colour you like, or leave them in their natural state if you’d rather. You do you!

Should Skirting Match The Doors?

Again, this is completely down to you and your personal preference. Having them match does tend to make them look cleaner and more simple. Yet this doesn’t have to be the case, you could have everything a different colour if that’s what you love and suits your design theme and personality.

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The Royal Mint Christmas Experience, Llantrisant, Wales


The Royal Mint

*We were provided tickets in exchange for an honest review. Words 100% my own 

The Royal Mint Experience in Llantrisant, where all the UK's coins are made, have pulled out all the stops this year and has turned into a magical winter wonderland.  Walking up the path you are transported to a land of snow and festivities and are met with a huge Christmas tree, a polar bear chair and giant candy canes. Inside the Mint is no different with decorations hanging, more beautifully decorated trees and Santa's sleigh which children can sit in. 

You can either head to the Cafe for a mince pie before your tour or head straight to the ticket desk to check in for a special festive tour of the Mint, which is part of the Christmas Experience. Each tour sets off at a specific time so make sure to arrive around 15mins beforehand, you will need to go through a brief security check before heading into a cosy room with soft throw-covered seating, where you meet your very knowledgeable tour guide. It's here you will watch a short video about The Mint and hear more about the story of Santa, Stockings and Coins and how they are all connected. The story continues throughout the tour and is easy to follow and entertaining for all ages. 

The Royal Mint

Do remind your children to bring along their Christmas lists which can be posted in a special postbox, which lights up when you pop your letter into it. You can print out a special Royal Mint letter to take with you - here. We were assured all letters were then sent directly to the big man himself. 

After posting of the letters you walk over to Santa's sorting room, where you hear more stories and touch on the history of the Mint and the different coins that are made on-site. You then get a chance to see some of the factory floor and how the coins are made before having the chance to strike your own coin. Striking of a limited edition 50p coin is optional and has an extra small surcharge, this is a very unique experience and perfect for those 5yrs+.

Once everyone who wants to strike a coin has, you make your way through to see Santa and a very authentic Santa indeed, in fact, one of the best ones we have seen in a while. Santa was so welcoming and really took time to listen to what each child had to say and didn't rush anyone, before handing over a very special Christmas present. My youngest came away telling me that he was sure that was the real Santa. 

The Royal Mint

Once everyone has had a turn to sit and speak with Santa, you move across to the exhibition space. While the official part of the tour is over you are free to explore the exhibition at your own leisure, there are lots of things to see and do in this area, including interactive exhibits and you get to see the 2012 London Olympic Medals which were made in the Royal Mint. 

I would say the whole experience is around 45mins-1hr and there is a lovely gift shop and Cafe on site. The Christmas experience costs £10 per child and £15 per adult and the gift the children receive is worth more than their ticket so in terms of value it's really good. 

You can read more about it and book here

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