Looking for a last minute winter break? Head to North West Wales and enjoy a very different Christmas shopping trip. Or come here to escape the shopping crowds. If Christmas and New Year leave you exhausted, an early 2016 break might be just the thing to recharge the batteries. Whatever your reasons for coming, there’s plenty to see and do here.
Our Christmas markets are a much smaller affair than those now found in most cities. Yet in many ways that’s what makes them special! You don’t have to wrestle with crowds or walk miles and miles to find unusual gifts or discover an atmosphere that gets you into the Christmas spirit.
Beaumaris on Anglesey (just 20 minutes’ drive from Caernarfon) has an array of independent shops mostly found on the short but busy high street.
Portmeirion’s annual food and craft festival takes place on the weekend of December 6 and 7 and features more than 90 exhibitors, cookery and craft demonstrations, seasonal entertainment, mulled wine, festive lunches as well as Father Christmas in his workshop.
Plas Newydd over on Anglesey will host more than 60 great and varied stalls full of local produce, handmade crafts and lots of festive treats. The National Trust property is just 15 minutes’ drive from Celtic Royal Hotel. Again, this event takes place on the weekend of December 6 and December 7.
Other great places to shop include Conwy town, recently highlighted as having one of the highest proportions of independent retailers of any town in the UK. Great for finding those special gifts!
New Year Celebrations
Many places bring in the New Year with a short firework display. One of the best is at Beaumaris, where they launch fireworks from the pier (weather permitting). Small towns like Caernarfon and Beaumaris make for a lively New Year’s Eve if you fancy a break from your usual haunts.
Many attractions remain open throughout the winter months. Bounce Below and Redline Indoor Karting are great weather-proof activities while Greenwood Forest Park has opened an indoor fun centre, The Enchanted Woodbarn, great for the younger ones. If the weather’s okay then ZipWorld’s zip wires may be a little quieter, but the adrenaline rush just as spectacular! If all that sounds like a little too much effort, World Heritage Sites such as Caernarfon Castle (just five minutes’ walk from the hotel) and Beaumaris Castle are open throughout the winter months, only closing on Bank Holidays.
Outdoor beauty whatever the weather
Snowdonia and the North Wales coast is beautiful in any weather! From the mainland shores of the Menai Strait or the western slopes of Snowdonia you can watch as the weather rolls in across Anglesey and the Llyn Peninsula. If you’re lucky enough to catch a temperate inversion (where cold air is trapped below warmer air) you can witness incredible white fogs on the Menai Strait while all around is clear blue sky!
For striking ice-and-snowscapes, head for Llanberis Pass or Nant Ffrancon if the weather will allow it. Even if that’s too risky, you can enjoy wonderful snowy vistas from Caernarfon and the surrounding countryside – which can be snow-free.
Are you coming to North Wales this winter? What are you looking forward to most?
All of the staff we met were helpful, efficient and friendly, attending promptly to any needs. The issue of keys on arrival and collection of luggage as we left went like clockwork. And the splendid evening meal offerd a wide and tasty choice. Jane Cameron
Only stayed there one night, room was nice & big spotlessly clean bathroom lovely shower again very clean, lovely comfortable hotel a nice lot of soft chairs to relax in. Didn't have evening meal but breakfast was probably the best I've had anywhere although a buffet still it was all very fresh & hot. Would defanatly stay there again.