The top Welsh festival: The Eisteddfod 2010

You may normally be a person more comfortable with taking a holiday in Europe, but consider something a little closer to home. Look west to a small country, with its own charm and unique culture.

Anyone considering weekend breaks in Wales or looking for things to do in Wales would be well served by a visit to the biggest annual Welsh language and cultural festival – The National Eisteddfod. Alternating venues between north and south Wales, during the first weeks of August 2010 it will be held in Ebbw Vale, Blaenau Gwent and then in Wrexham in 2011.

The largest cultural event in Europe is the National Eisteddfod of Wales, the principle event in the nation’s calendar. Events are conducted mainly in the Welsh language as it is a celebration of the nation’s culture, although many events are conducted in English and attract visitor numbers in excess of 150,000. If you are not a Welsh speaker it is not a problem, and you will still receive a warm welcome and, if necessary, a translation kit.

You don’t need to have a wide knowlede of the language, it is possible to absorb the rich offerings of music, dance and crafts. The main pavilion is the hub of the show, where such activities including dance, drama, poetry and recitation competitions are conducted close the Maes which is the name for the main field. These include the Crowning (best work in free verse), Daniel Owen memorial prize (best unpublished Welsh novel), the Prose Medal, and the Chairing of the winning poet.

There are also theatre, arts and crafts exhibitions, a literature pavilion, an area for Welsh learners to hone their language skills and plenty of plenty of food and drink. Or travel a little further afield and experience some of the first class restaurants in Wales that are nearby. Evening entertainment is the speciality of the festival, with an abundance of plays, comedy, concerts and performances for local artists. If you are interested in bands and rock groups, there are loads of gigs in Welsh and in English in the main arena or areas close to the main paviliion.