It's not the most obvious choice for a winter trip; not quite north or continental enough to get guaranteed snow or northern lights ( though Wales does see both frequently through the Winter); but when the Autumn winds have stripped the trees bare and the sun barely lifts its head above the horizon... it's dark, mystical and the perfect time to uncover the real Wales... Here are seven reasons to make a winter escape to Wales.
1. Mysterious castle ruins and atmospheric ancient sites
When it all gets a lot darker in the winter, Wales' castle ruins and ancient sites take on a new feeling; more mysterious, more imposing, and, as they receive fewer visits in the Winter, wandering around them at dawn or dusk you can easily imagine how they might have been centuries and even millenia ago.
2. Cosy pubs and hearty food
How better to warm up from a blustery beach walk than a pie and a pint or some Welsh whisky in front of a roaring log fire; and time it right and you'll be treated to some local live music too. Traditional Welsh dishes were originally meant to keep us warm and nourished during the cold winter season - from Cawl - our hearty lamb and vegetable stew; to Welsh Rarebit - the original and best grilled cheese on bread; Welsh food is soul food. Pop into any traditional pub in Wales and chances are you'll be chatting to the friendly locals in no time.
3. Stunning Sunsets and Sunrises
In Winter, daylight hours are much shorter so you don't have to get up at an unearthly hour or stay out really late to catch the sunrise or sunset. Our sunsets and sunrises tend to be more vivid to the eye in Winter too (see here for the science). Add to that Wales' generous portion of West-facing coastline, and you have the recipe for some pretty spectacular scenes, sun-worshippers!
4. Dramatic Scenery
Wales' mountains are often snow capped in the Winter, making for some stunning scenery. Snow or no snow, the ever changing, and low light adds drama and a wealth of conditions for keen landscape photographers.
5. Windswept coastal walks
Visit Wales in winter and you'll have miles and miles of near-deserted coastline and windswept beaches almost to yourself. There's no better way to blow away the cobwebs than taking a long walk on a blustery beach. The fresh air and rosy cheeks are on us!
6. Cwtchy cottages
Nestled into the cliffs, hidden in the woods or perched on a clifftop, Wales has cottages to rent in the most spectacular locations; think thick stone walls, oak and slate; finished with log burners and Welsh wool blankets - perfect for cwtching up (think Hygge - Wales style), after a day's exploring.
7. Amazing mountain hiking
There are few places that feel as wild as the Welsh mountains in Winter. Often blanketed in a layer of snow; Wales offers mountaineers a great place to try out technical winter skills (if it's good enough for Hillary..). Or, take your pick of straightforward to challenging day hikes in our National Parks. Don't, however, be deceived by the relative low altitude of these mountains - weather conditions are unpredictable and terrain can be technical, so unless you're very experienced it's always best to take a guide.
Want to travel Wales in Winter? We run tours year-round, so just ask us how we can help you!