You’d be forgiven for thinking that Snowdonia can only be properly enjoyed in the summer; after all, that’s when the weather is likely to be better (theoretically at least!)
But there’s plenty to love about Snowdonia in the winter, too – here are our top five reasons.
If the only thing you wish for in a holiday is to bask in hot sunshine on a beach, winter in Snowdonia is probably not for you. But if you’re happy to holiday in just about any climate, there’s plenty to love about winter in Snowdonia.
Here are our top five reasons to love Snowdonia’s winters. Got any of your own to add? Leave a comment at the bottom of the article!
Sadly, we can’t guarantee that Snowdonia’s winters will always be snowy. The last really notable widespread snowfall – the sort that makes picture-perfect Christmas cards – was a good couple of years ago. But if you don’t mind foregoing a romp in the ‘deep and crisp and even’ so delightfully described in the carol Good King Wenceslas, and are happy enough simply admiring mountaintops dusted with a sprinkling of snow, then Snowdonia is a pretty good bet. In fairness, it’s not wholly unknown for the mountains to be snow-capped in late spring, either – in recent years snow has even been seen on Snowdon’s summit at least once in June – but if you crave a snowy mountain, Snowdonia in winter is highly recommended.
While there are usually no restrictions on hill walking or mountain climbing in the winter in Snowdonia, do make sure you take the right equipment with you if you’re planning to see the snowy peaks up close; in fine weather any mountain can be dangerous, but add snow and ice to the mix and it can be deadly. You can find out more about mountain safety at the Snowdonia National Park Authority website.
2. Peace and quiet
Of course, as the official tourism representatives for the region, we at Visit Snowdonia are happiest when there are lots of visitors around. But crowds are not to everybody’s taste, so if you’d like to see Snowdonia when there are fewer fellow travellers about, winter is a good time to visit.
Finding a parking space is certainly easier when there are fewer drivers around – and during the Christmas period, parking is usually free at Gwynedd Council-run public car parks (ideal if you have some last-minute Christmas shopping to do). Those attractions that open in the winter are less crowded, which some visitors will naturally prefer. It’s easier to get a table at your favourite local restaurant, and the stock in the shops doesn’t sell out so quickly.
These reasons are, of course, true of any popular tourist destination, we admit. But if the thought of sharing Snowdonia with crowds during the summer has ever put you off visiting, it really is worth considering a winter visit instead.
3. Lifting of dog restrictions on beaches
Many of Snowdonia’s beaches – though by no means all of them – have restricted access for dogs during the peak season. But in winter, your four-legged friend will be welcome on most beaches, so he can enjoy Snowdonia too.
While dogs are welcome in Snowdonia, we do ask that you act responsibly when it comes to any mess he makes. Please ensure you carry plenty of ‘doggy bags’ for disposing of his mess, and make sure he is on a lead when using public footpaths where livestock might be roaming.
4. Plenty of attractions are still open
And don’t forget that Snowdonia also has plenty of leisure centres, theatres, cinemas, museums and galleries – so even in deep winter, there is guaranteed to always be something interesting to do!
5. Dark, cosy nights
Snowdonia has recently been named as an International Dark Sky Reserve, one of only ten in the world, which means that the quality of the night air in the National Park is outstanding, with efforts being made to reduce light pollution.
So if you visit Snowdonia in winter, when it gets dark much earlier (it’s pitch black by 5pm at winter solstice), as long as there are not too many clouds you’ll be able to see a lot of stars in the sky.
And if you’re going to be tramping around the countryside in the dark, looking up and enjoying the night-time views, there’s no better way to end the evening than by going back to your lodgings – which could include anything from a 400-year-old farmhouse to a modern luxury hotel, and everything between – and settling down in front of a roaring open fire with a glass of your favourite warming tipple and a good meal cooked using Snowdonia’s excellent local produce.
Sounds idyllic, doesn’t it? Don’t forget to use our accommodation database to find your perfect place to stay, all year round!