Land of song, poets and artists
The arts have been one of the most rapidly expanding parts of Welsh culture, making Wales a great place to come for opera, musicals, concerts and festivals.
What to expect
Extend your tour
Explore Welsh contemporary culture
The wonderful traditions of Wales are celebrated in local Eisteddfodau including the International music festival at Llangollen each year, but did you know that Wales is also the centre for the BBC’s Dr Who television programme? The Welsh language is spoken by more than half a million people and forms part of daily life for many. The Hay festival is renowned worldwide as one of the great events in the literary calendar.
Did you know?
Wales has two official languages, Welsh and English. The Welsh language is now taught in school to all children. It is used as the day to day language in the West and North West of the country.
Discover Culture in Wales
Creativity means so many different things to different people, but creativity is at the heart of Welsh life.
Song, poets and artists all mentioned in the lyrics of our national anthem. The country’s artists have carried the name of Wales far and wide in turn. From Tom Jones and Shirley Bassey to Bryn Terfel, Dylan Thomas and Roald Dahl, Welsh culture is celebrated worldwide.
Sleep and eat well in our selection of hotels carefully selected to give you wonderful eating and a prefect night’s rest.
You get to sample local Welsh cuisine, which is renowned for the quality of its locally grown produce and seafood.
What to Expect
Throughout Wales, there is an ancient, dynamic and constantly expanding interest in the arts.The Welsh national anthem praises Wales as a “land of song, poets & artists”. All are celebrated at an ‘Eisteddfod’ festival of poetry and song, every other year, at different locations around Wales, keeping alive the ancient ‘Bardic tradition’ which has existed here for thousands of years. Standing stone circles mark places where the festival has been held.
Some of the main attractions in Wales
- The world-class Millennium Centre in Cardiff presents many first-class stage productions, musical theatre shows, ballets & operas and is the home of the renowned Welsh National Opera Company and innovative art shows and installations. Other theatres in Wales provide a regular supply of interesting shows. Many performances reflect the wide cultural differences to be found in Wales.
- At old chapels, male voice choirs can be heard either rehearsing or giving concerts.
- St David’s Hall in Cardiff provides a fine range of concerts and other performances throughout the year.
- Concerts can also be enjoyed at numerous theatres & concert halls throughout Wales.
- Wales has many music festivals every year including the world-famous Llangollen Music Festival in North Wales with its large number of participants from all corners of the world
- The “BBC Singer of the World” Competition, attracting singers from across the globe, which is held over a week during high Summer in the Welsh capital city.
- The stunning wall murals at the Brangwyn Hall in Swansea have an interesting history but were originally intended for the Houses of Parliament in London. They now form the backdrop to heart-swelling music by world-class orchestras and singers, so maybe London’s loss is now Swansea’s gain
- The internationally famous Hay on Wye Book Festival is held each year and attracts famous authors and speakers from all over the world, including US Presidents, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
- The Museum of Welsh Life at St Fagans provides a fascinating history of Welsh architecture and customs. With buildings from humble miner’s cottages, or roadside toll house to large village halls and extravagantly decorated churches – all dismantled and rebuilt exactly, stone by stone, at the museum to preserve our history for future generations. Live performances and religious ceremonies can be attended at the museum certain times during the year.
- The Brecon Jazz festival, held in August each year, has grown from small beginnings to hosting some of the finest jazz players in the world
Find out more
We cannot include everything here which can be enjoyed and experienced in Wales. If you have ideas about the cultural activities you would like to see as part of your holiday in Wales, we would love to hear from you.
We can help you organise your stay here to take in the best the country has to offer.
Wales is known the world over as ‘The Land of Song’ and many Welsh singers are world famous, Dame Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones, Bryn Terfel and Kathryn Jenkins in the world of opera to name a very few. So it is quite appropriate that our Welsh National Opera, based in our capital city of Cardiff, is also world reknowned.
Founded in 1943 by a group of people across south Wales including miners, teachers and doctors, Welsh National Opera is one of our finest national institutions and exists to bring the power, drama and raw emotion of opera to as wide an audience as possible in performances and projects marked by an uncompromising quest for artistic quality.
Famed for its traditional and modern takes on much-loved traditional operas, the WNO is also admired world wide for its new, modern day opera productions presented in the stunning Wales Millenium Centre in Cardiff, our capital city and other venues throughout Wales, the rest of the UK and overseas.
We will be very happy to arrange tickets at a performance at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff, if possible, for you during your visit to Wales. wno.org.uk
What do “Priscilla Queen of the Desert”, “Moulin Rouge!” and “Pretty Woman” have in common?
The answer is Verdi.
Verdi’s “La traviata” has very prominent moments in both “Priscilla” and “Pretty Woman“. In “Priscilla“, drag queen Felicia performs a fabulous lip-sync to “La traviata’s” leading lady Violetta’s aria, ‘Sempre libera’. And who can forget “Pretty Woman’s” Vivian and her first trip to the opera to see “La traviata” in that red dress? “Pretty Woman” also mirrors the story of “La traviata”; a woman on the outskirts of society, looked down on by the upper classes, falls in love with a well-to-do man and gives up the life she’s known to be with him.
See “La Traviata” at Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff on 21, 23, 28 & 30 September 2023
Welsh culture tours
Millenium Centre - Cardiff
The national centre of arts in Wales and home to the Welsh National Opera, the Wales Millennium Centre also hosts world-class, critically-acclaimed touring productions of all types.
St Fagans Museum of Welsh Life
St Fagans Museum of Welsh Life is the most popular tourist destination in Wales. It is a people’s museum, where you can explore Welsh history together through the lives of everyday people as they lived through the ages.
Take a chance to visit an Eisteddfod and understand Welsh culture in context with one of these unique experiences. If you are lucky you may be in Wales at the time of the Llangollen International Music Esteddfod.
West Wales Wool
Welsh quilting is a world-renowned craft. Many of the ideas that later featured in famous Americal quilts show the influence of Wales on the tradition
Wales - Land of song
Wales has a rightful place as a land of song, poetry and music. Find out more with a trip to the opera, to see a choir or some other music of your choice. Organised male voice choirs have the unique achievement of over 125 years of unbroken history. Formed in local community chapels, they are the archetypal Welsh Choir, springing naturally out of their community and times.
Wales has more castles than any other country in the world and can boast some of the best to be seen in any part of the world. Some are amazing Gothic fantasies, others are ruins, but still hold the atmosphere of their better days.
Extend Your Tour
Some ideas on how to extend your holiday…
Seafood and Lamb
Extend your tour with cooking lessons in Cardiff, or, if you prefer, visit the Black Mountain smokery in Crickhowell and taste beautiful Welsh Whisky with a tour of the Penderyn Distillery.
Pool & Spa
With a two day stay at a leading spa and pool where you can relax, be pampered and indulge yourself in lovely surroundings.