When you think about going away for Christmas, or any part of the festive period, you probably want a few certain things: brightly lit villages and towns with independent shops; frosty-looking fields and hillsides; snowy forests to explore; and seasonal activities to keep you occupied during your stay.
North Wales’s stunning landscape really transforms in the winter, with more snowy days than anywhere from the Midlands to the south coast of England, and because you’re further west, the sun sets later too – by up to 8-10 minutes later than in London!
This means Wales is one of the only places in the UK where sunset on Christmas Day will still be after 4pm, giving you precious extra time to enjoy your special stay.
You might want to stay for Boxing Day too – which in Wales is observed as St Stephen’s Day or Gwyl San Steffan – but be sure to set your alarm to escape the ancient tradition of ‘holming’, in which late sleepers are given a rude awakening with holly branches!
What’s on in North Wales this Christmas
Christmas at Greenwood Forest Park, 26 November – 18 December
A year-round favourite for families visiting North Wales, Greenwood Forest Park is hosting Santa’s Grotto on weekends, as well as brunch or afternoon tea with Santa on December 9th and 14th-16th – book in advance to make sure a space is reserved for you.
Christmas at RSPB Conwy, 27 November – 24 December
Christmas events start at RSPB Conwy at the end of November with a Search for Santa, and continue right through to Christmas Eve; the reserve is open on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, too.
Plas Newydd Christmas Fair, 2-5 December
In 2015, more than 4,000 people attended the two-day Christmas Fair at Plas Newydd despite stormy weather. For 2016, the event has been extended to four days and, fingers crossed, calmer conditions should prevail.
Victorian Christmas at Penrhyn Castle, 3-18 December
Penrhyn Castle is also celebrating the Victorian influence on Christmas, from the firm family focus to traditions like collecting for charity on Boxing Day, with doors open daily from 11am-3pm.
Elves’ Workshops, Bodnant Garden, 3-4, 10-11, 17-20 December
These craft workshops on December weekends and the Monday and Tuesday of Christmas week are free of charge and let you make decorations to hang on the tree when you get home; the Winter Garden at Bodnant is also open from November to February, except for December 24th-26th.
Christmas at Bodnant Welsh Food, 6-19 December
Bodnant Welsh Food has several foodie events this Christmas, including a festive Wreath Workshop, an Edible Gifts Cookery School for budding Mary Berry’s, and Breakfast with Santa for the little ones.
Conwy Winterfest, 10 December
This free event doesn’t start until 4pm, so you can head into the town centre as the sun sets for street entertainment, hot chestnuts and a torch-lit procession of Armoured Knights from 5:45pm.
Christmas Market at Surf Snowdonia, 10-11 December
Head to Dolgarrog in Conwy Valley for the middle weekend of the month and you can attend possibly the UK’s only surfing-themed Christmas Market, set on the banks of Surf Snowdonia’s lagoon and featuring craft and food stalls, as well as family-friendly entertainment.
Aladdin, Venue Cymru Llandudno, 10-31 December
Welsh rugby legend Gareth Thomas stars in this festive pantomime production – expect plenty of audience participation, with two performances daily right through to New Year’s Eve.
Rhyl Miniature Railway, 17-20 December
Ride the miniature steam train on one of its six daily departures and your child will get a visit with Santa, and a gift to take home. Tickets are £11 but include one free adult per child, with additional adults for just £3 each.
Why not join us this festive season?
A Great Escapes holiday cottage is the ideal choice for a Christmas break in North Wales so why not take a look at our range of stunning coastal and countryside properties or check out our special offers? As we say in Wales, nadolig llawen; we look forward to sharing this special season with you!
Image: courtesy of Eifion via Flickr