Snowdonia at Christmas

If you’ve ever been to Snowdonia at Christmas, you’ll know what a magical place it is. With its snow-capped mountains providing a suitably wintry backdrop to all the festive goings-on, it’s difficult to avoid feeling Christmassy when you visit Snowdonia in December!

Whether you’re visiting alone, as a couple, as a family or in a larger group, it’s easy to find a Christmas event in Snowdonia to suit your tastes and get the Christmas spirit brimming over. Here are ten Christmas events in Snowdonia suitable for a wide variety of age groups and tastes.

1. Santa Trains at Llechwedd

Santa Trains at Llechwedd
Santa Trains at Llechwedd

Santa’s on his way to visit Llechwedd Slate Caverns in Blaenau Ffestiniog, where all year round there’s plenty of family fun to be enjoyed. A ride on Santa’s special underground trains in 2011 includes a gift for each child, and a mince pie and glass of punch for adults. Santa trains run between 10am and 4.15pm, on 3rd-4th, 10th-11th, and 17th-24th December 2011 inclusive.

2. Piggery Pottery Christmas Fair

Piggery Pottery Christmas Fair
Piggery Pottery Christmas Fair

One of Snowdonia’s best loved family attractions, Piggery Pottery is where to go if you fancy having a go at painting pots, pebbles, slate and anything else you can get your hands on! On Sunday 11th December they’re holding their annual Christmas Fair, which will feature a number of stalls selling local produce and gifts, and you can also take advantage of their free “personalise a pot” offer.

3. Santa Trains in Llanberis

Santa Trains in Llanberis
Santa Trains in Llanberis

Santa’s a busy man in December, so it’s lucky there are so many special trains laid on to help him deliver presents to the children of Snowdonia! Hop aboard the Santa Train at the Llanberis Lake Railway on 4th, 10th/11th, and 17th/18th December. Children’s gifts are included in the fare, as are mince pies and seasonal drinks for adults.

4. Beer Festival, carols and more

Beer Festival, carols and more
Beer Festival, carols and more

At the Grapes Hotel in Maentwrog, near Blaenau Ffestiniog, there’s so much going on this December, it could fill a separate article! There’s a beer festival to introduce five new never-tasted-before beers from 5th-14th December; carols with Cor Moelwyn (in aid of Hope House Children’s Hospice) on the 9th; a ‘bring your own banjo’ open mic night on the 10th; a knockout darts competition on the 16th, with prizes and free minibus back to Blaenau; and a children’s talent show on the 17th, with prizes, followed by a kids’ disco and karaoke. Phew!

5. Christmas shows and movies

At Galeri in Caernarfon there are several Christmas shows to enjoy this December. Some are through the medium of Welsh – like Jac A’r Goeden Ffa (Jack and the Beanstalk) and Sioe Nadolig CYW (CYW’s Christmas Show) – but there’s also plenty for non-Welsh speakers, like a special Christmas bluegrass concert (Tonic at Christmas) and the latest blockbuster Christmas movie, Arthur Christmas. See the Galeri website for times and prices.

6. Huw’s Views

There’s a special Christmas coffee morning at the Dragon Theatre, Barmouth, on 12th December. Munch a warm mince pie while you enjoy Hugh Roberts’ fascinating and humorous presentation of old Barmouth photos. Entry is free, and proceeds from tea and coffee sales will go towards the theatre’s running costs (the theatre is a community-run project, and a very worthy cause).

7. Fairbourne Santa Specials

Santa’s special trains are also running in Southern Snowdonia this Christmas, at the Fairbourne Railway, on 17th/18th December. Trains leave Fairbourne at 11.30 and 13.30 each day, taking passengers to see Santa at his grotto at the Harbour View Cafe.

8. Christmas wreath workshop

Learn how to make a natural Christmas wreath in Porthmadog on 11th December with florist Julie Lloyd. The course includes all materials, tea/coffee, and a mince pie. With limited spaces available it’s worth booking early. The course will be held at Pethau Melys at Porthmadog Harbour.

9. Christmas gala concert

On 16th December join the Bangor University Chamber Choir, Bangor University Chorus, the Bangor University Music Society and Bangor University Concert Band for a special evening of Christmas music. Includes congregational carols and a performance of Gerald Finzi’s beautiful Christmas cantata, In Terra Pax.

10. Christmas Ceilidh/barn dance

Join the Mooncoin Ceilidh Band and their caller in a special Christmas barn dance at the Dragon Theatre, Barmouth, on 16th December. Apparently it takes just a few minutes to learn the dances, so even if you’ve never been to a barn dance before you’ll soon pick up the moves. With a mixture of Irish, Scottish, Welsh, English and Appalachian music and a licenced bar, this promises to be a really fun night out!