Snowdonia may not be the first place that springs to mind when you think of shopping for holiday souvenirs. But with its huge choice of independent shops, markets and craft workshops, selling everything from local game to local gold, Snowdonia is a shopping destination like no other. Packing a shopping bag? Better make that two…
You’d be forgiven for thinking Snowdonia isn’t exactly the hub of UK shopping. With so much open countryside – and so few smoky cities with clogged high streets – you might think you’d get no joy in Snowdonia if your biggest holiday passion is shopping.
But what Snowdonia lacks in dirty, overcrowded high streets, it makes up for with independent shops selling everything from award-winning sausages to hand-made pottery.
Love shopping but hate crowds? Look no further than Snowdonia, where the food miles are fewer and the craft talent is greater; here’s our potted guide to shopping in Snowdonia.
You’ll drool over the delicious local food available in Snowdonia. “Locally produced” means fewer food miles, so you can enjoy delectable treats like Welsh Black beef, locally brewed beers and a huge choice of preserves and pickles without feeling guilty about your food footprint.
- Spar, Pwllheli: not your average Spar, since the Pwllheli branch is famous for one of the region’s best selections of local produce.
- Glasfryn Parc, Y Ffor: farm shop selling meat and game from the Glasfryn estate, and a fantastic selection of pick ‘n’ mix frozen fruit and vegetables.
- Edwards, Conwy: butcher selling locally-reared meat and fantastic award-winning sausages.
- Y Pantri Cymraeg, Caernarfon: wonderful Welsh preserves, pickles, beers, biscuits and other delicious Snowdonia foods.
- Blas ar Fwyd, Llanrwst: the largest delicatessen in England and Wales outside London, this award winning deli stocks a fabulous selection of food from Welsh farms.
- Gill’s Plaice, Aberdyfi: a specialist fishmonger with its own smokery, Gill’s Plaice supplies many of Snowdonia’s top eateries with quality fish and game.
- Cadwalader’s Ice Cream, Criccieth: a family business that has been making award winning ice cream to a secret recipe for decades.
Snowdonia’s markets aren’t just for shopping… they’re where locals meet to socialise, and are great for immersing yourself in the living Welsh language.
Bala: every Monday (summer).
- Barmouth: Thursdays and Sundays (summer).
- Caernarfon: Every Saturday throughout the year, and on Mondays in the summer.
- Llanrwst: Every Tuesday. Also, a farmer’s market on the third Saturday of every month.
- Machynlleth: Wednesdays.
- Porthmadog: Fridays (summer).
- Pwllheli: Every Wednesday. There’s also a farmers’ market at Glasfryn on the first Saturday of every month.
- Tywyn: Mondays (summer).
High street shopping
If you like your shops big and branded and want a fix of your favourite high street names, you’ll find these in Snowdonia’s high streets, shopping centres and out-of-town retail parks.
Snowdonia’s busiest big-name shopping destination – with Wales’ longest high street, to boot – is Bangor. Here you’ll find many famous fashion, electronics and entertainment shops and superstores, alongside independent retailers selling everything from new and used CDs (Cob Records) to homewares (Saks). There are two indoor shopping centres in Bangor – the Deiniol and the Menai – and several retail parks on Caernarfon Road.
You’ll also find a good mix of high street names and independents in Caernarfon’s high street and back alleys. Some of Caernarfon’s best gems are tucked away in the medieval back streets, so make sure you explore the town thoroughly.
Bala’s main street, with its broad pavements and beautiful old buildings, is sure to turn up a bargain or two; and Betws y Coed, with its plethora of outdoor shops, is a popular shopping destination for climbing and camping enthusiasts.
Arts and crafts
Snowdonia’s landscape inspires and produces amazing talent. Slate, wool, timber, gold; the raw materials are everywhere in Snowdonia, but it takes skill and hard work to turn them into works of art.
Craftspeople are at work all over Snowdonia; here’s a small selection of outlets selling their wares:
- Inigo Jones, Caernarfon: browse quality goods crafted from Snowdonia slate, tour the workshops to see them being made, and engrave your own piece of slate to take home.
Corris Craft Centre, near Machynlleth: local craftspeople making and selling glassware, jewellery, leather goods, pottery and more.
- Glynllifon Workshops, near Caernarfon: watch the artists at work, producing stunning jewellery, pottery, textiles, ironwork and paintings.
- Alison Bradley, Betws y Coed: Alison produces and sells beautiful charcoal drawings and oil paintings inspired by Snowdonia life, as well as prints, giftware and greetings cards.
- The Potters’ Gallery, Conwy: cooperative organised and run by local potters, exhibiting quality local pottery including one-off and limited edition pieces.
- Glassblobbery, Bala: stunning handmade glass and ceramic goods sold straight from the workshop; a tourist attraction in its own right.
This is just a small selection of the wonderful shops, markets and workshops of Snowdonia; we couldn’t possibly list them all. If you want to find more Snowdonia shopping gems, the best way to do so is to visit Snowdonia and discover them for yourself!