Get some perspective: art galleries of North Wales

Not many people know this, but sometimes here in Wales we get a bit of rain! So as much as we love the Great Outdoors and all our spectacular scenery, sometimes we need somewhere a bit more… indoors.

That being said, even when it’s bright and sunny outside there’s not much that can beat really great art, and we’re lucky in North Wales to have a number of superb galleries to wander through, come rain or shine.

Read on and discover some of our cultural hotspots…

Oriel Ynys Môn, Llangefni

Situated on Anglesey, this gallery (Oriel in Welsh) and museum hosts a variety of exhibitions and events, and there’s always something fascinating to discover.

The art on display changes regularly, meaning repeat visitors will experience a range of genres; upcoming exhibitions for 2018 include a portrait series by Welsh international footballer Owain Fon Williams and a collection of wood engravings by Charles Tunnicliffe.

One thing that does stay the same is the huge display of work by Sir Kyffin Williams, the world-famous artist who was born in the area. For a change of pace, stop by the History Gallery to learn about Anglesey’s history. Those with little ones will love the great play area and excellent Café Blas Mwy.

Mostyn, Llandudno

Behind Mostyn’s Edwardian exterior lies fascinating modern architecture and a superb collection of modern art. Mostyn was reopened after a £1.5 million investment in 2010, and houses six separate galleries which display contemporary arts and crafts from around the globe.

Changing with the seasons, exhibitions are invariably diverse, showcasing conceptual art, huge themed shows and individual pieces. Should you be particularly inspired by the art on display (and we’re sure you will be), head to the shop where you’ll find a range of artworks, prints and handmade souvenirs you can take home with you!

After immersing yourself in the contemporary art, settle in at the Gallery Café to refuel.

Plas Glyn y Weddw, Llanbedrog

At Plas Glyn y Weddw, the setting is just as striking as the art itself. This arts centre’s Gothic, Grade II-listed exterior is the perfect pre-cursor to the array of artworks to be found within. Wandering the halls here is like stepping back in time; the spacious rooms and wooden staircases are wonderfully historic, and complemented perfectly by an array of modern and contemporary art.

Managed by an independent charitable trust, the centre also owns Winllan Woodland. The woodland features lots of beautiful walking trails and an outdoor theatre where guests can watch a variety of performances. An impressive collection of art adorns the walls here, with exhibitions celebrating history and culture always worth a few hours’ perusal.

Ffin y Parc, Llanrwst

A spectacular showcase for Welsh art, Ffin y Parc displays the best works from more than 40 artists working in Wales, and also displays art by some of the most preeminent Welsh artists from the 20th century.

Wales’ diversity is beautifully shown in the sheer variety of styles, media and subject matters on show within the gallery – you’ll encounter striking sculpture, moving paintings, bold prints and inspiring sketches. A dozen exhibitions with art for sale are held each year, granting visitors the chance to bring some artistic inspiration into their own homes.

For a refreshment break pre, mid or post wandering, you’ll find a selection of coffee, handmade cakes and light bites in the lovely café.

Oriel Brondanw, Penrhyndeudraeth

Plas Brondanw was the home of the famous Clough Williams-Ellis, the architect and designer of the world-famous Portmeirion Italianate village.

It was also the home of his eldest daughter, the artist Susan Williams-Ellis. Oriel Brondanw makes use of its unusual setting – a mix of spaces, lights and architecture that makes up this 16th/17th century manor house. Susan Williams-Ellis founded the famous Portmeirion Pottery, and you can see examples of this and her other work on display in the gallery, alongside exhibits by other artists.

While you’re visiting the gallery, why not stop by the lovely Plas Brondanw café (a separate organisation) for refreshments?

Ty Pawb, Wrexham

multidimensional space that functions as an art exhibition area, food court, events venue, art gallery and market, in tribute to Wrexham’s history as a market town.

Formerly Oriel Wrecsam and Wrexham Arts Centre, this community cultural centre regularly holds a variety of events and exhibitions, with a changing programme featuring commissioned artworks, degree art shows, tutorials, workshops and classes on everything from dance to finance for artists.

Fascinating programmes include Souvenirs, which focusses on the locals’ experience of Wrexham, and Designer Maker, in which participants from HMP Berwyn work with a charity to create art.

Galeri Caernarfon, Caernarfon

Should you find yourself in Caernarfon, if you don’t fancy a visit to the castle, we can’t recommend a visit to Galeri Caernarfon enough. A gallery, theatre and cinema, the building also houses rehearsal space, work units and art spaces.

Of note here is the Sbarc Galeri project, which puts on performance and music classes for local school-age children and young people. The exhibition space holds a rotating residency and a range of media and styles, while visitors can also enjoy a schedule of movies, broadcasts of plays and special events on the big screen.

To make the most of your visit, make sure to stop by the Café Bar, which looks out over the stunning Menai Strait.

To start exploring North Wales’ many artistic venues and cultural gems, why not book a stay at the Royal Victoria to find yourself in the heart of the region?

What to do if you get caught in a thunderstorm out walking

In his regular bog spot, writer and hiker Phil Thomas shares the trade secrets of his passion: the Great Outdoors. He lives in North Wales and spends most of his spare time writing or walking in the hills with his girlfriend and their crazy Patterdale terriers.

Phil will be sharing his knowledge of the practical side of walking with real life tips than can help you enjoy the mountains more and maybe even save you if you get in a spot of bother. Following on from last month’s weather themed blog, Phil explains what to do when it takes a turn for the worse – namely thunder and lighting, which out on the hill, is very, very frightening!   

Even with the best laid plans, careful checking of the weather and a Plan B up your sleeve, there may come a time when you find yourself out on a mountain when a thunderstorm strikes. It can be scary. For a start, visibility can reduce to next-to-nothing, the wind can whip up and you can get stung by ferocious hail. And that’s before you worry about being struck by lightning.

Only last month, North Wales was struck more than 100 times by lightning in early season storms – with the weather hotting up now, more are likely to follow.

Being hit by up to a billion volts of electricity has to be your primary concern. If getting off the mountain before the lightning arrives is not an option, there are other precautions you can take.

1. Is the thunderstorm heading your way?

You probably already know that you can tell whether a storm is coming towards you by measuring the time between the lightning flash and the thunder. Light travels faster than sound, so the closer together the two are, the less distance they’re travelling, and the closer it is to you.

For every second you count, there’s 330 metres between you and the lightning. That’s the difference between the speed of light and the speed of sound. So if you count three seconds, the lightning is just under 1,000 metres away.

2. Get away from the highest points

If you’re exposed on a ridge or on top of a giant boulder or crag, and can get safely to lower ground, do so. Lightning is looking for the highest point.

As a rule of thumb, you need to move away from the high point the equivalent distance of its height. So if it’s a 10-metre pinnacle, try and get yourself to a distance of at least 10 metres away from it.

3. Don’t shelter in a cave, mine or under a tree

There aren’t many trees on Snowdonia’s peaks to shelter under, which is good. Don’t. Yet there are a lot of caves and especially mines.

Don’t be tempted to take shelter from the elements. Lightning wants to find the easiest way through the ground, so if it can pass through air – and you – instead of solid rock, it will.

4. Remove yourself from metal objects

Place all metal objects, including phones, GPS devices, walking poles, crampons, ice axes, pots and pans at least 20 metres away from you. Not much you can do if you’ve got metal fillings…

5. Sit on your rucksack

If you’ve got a rucksack or even a big coat with you, pop it on the ground and sit on it. Make sure your feet are on it too. You don’t want any part of your body touching the ground. Your rucksack or coat can insulate you from the ground.

If you do get caught out, the main thing is not to panic. Don’t put yourself in more danger by attempting an ill-advised descent. If you can’t get off the mountain, take the precautions above and ride it out.