Christmas is so very nearly here! We’re very lucky in this part of the world that there’s plenty going on, but how do you decide what to do in the weeks leading up to the main event?
Little ones getting restless as they wait for the man in red to decide if they’ve been naughty or nice? Looking for a festive day out to create special memories with your significant other? Fret not: North Wales is bubbling over with Christmas cheer, and here are our top picks!
Santa’s Railway – Llanberis, various dates December
On December weekends, Santa climbs aboard the lake train to meet kids young and old. There are presents for the kids and a mince pie and seasonal drink for the grown-ups. This is a very popular event, so please book in advance!
A Penrhyn Christmas – Bangor, various dates December
This festive season, enjoy some Christmas crafting at the gorgeous Penrhyn Castle. For just £3.50 (in addition to usual admission fees), get stuck-in with Christmas wreath workshops and create a unique decoration for your home! In addition, there’ll be music in the Main Hall, Christmas cooking in the Victorian kitchen and, of course, Santa himself.
Llechwedd Slate Caverns Winter Walking Tours – Blaenau Ffestiniog, various dates December
These events are already in full-swing, and they’re a really unique way to get stuck in to some local history. While the Caverns’ iconic underground train undergoes essential maintenance this winter, a brand new subterranean walking tour (suitable for those 11+) takes its place. Take a walk in the dark and relive mining history and afterwards enjoy spectacular snowy views around the site.
Santa Trains – Welsh Highland Railway, Porthmadog & Caernarfon
These very popular trains leave from either Porthmadog or Caernarfon on December weekends, so come and meet Santa and his host of ‘elpful elves on these beautifully-restored narrow-gauge trains. The trip through Snowdonia is simply breathtaking, especially now we have snow!
Surf Snowdonia Christmas Market – Dolgarrog, 9-10 December
On 9-10 December, North Wales’ premier adventure attraction gets into the festive spirit with its second annual Christmas Market. There will be a range of food and drink stalls with some fantastic winter warmers, plus various local arts and crafts stalls. Perhaps most exciting there’ll be a drive-in Christmas cinema showing festive movies. Over the weekend, catch Home Alone, Elf, Frozen or Love Actually. Entrance to the market is free but there is a small charge for the drive-in movie.
Bodnant Garden Elves Workshop – Tal-y-Cafn, various dates December
This event is totally free (although normal admission applies) and is running on December weekends leading up to Christmas. Bodnant Garden is a beautiful day out in itself, but a festive stroll through the gardens in winter to the Pin Mill (the home of the elves this Christmas) is just magical. Get involved and help Santa’s elves make crafts for Christmas that you can take home! For the parents, grab a warming drink and toast yourself by the welcoming fire-pit.
RSPB Conwy Christmas Trail – Conwy, various dates December
Right kids, Santa needs your help. Those pesky reindeer have made off with his red suit! The Conwy RSPB has heard reports that its on the nature reserve… somewhere. Pay £1.00 for an activity sheet all throughout December and follow the trail to help Santa find his clothes. If you complete the trail, a little red robin tells us you’ll get a prize!
Conwy Winterfest – Conwy, 9 December
Come along to one of North Wales’ oldest towns and enjoy street performances from dancers and medieval re-enactors, plus festive music and a spot of late night shopping. There is an exciting tradition in this small community that, as the sun goes down, a torchlit procession marches around the town with Father Christmas, knights, courtly lords and ladies and the jester.
Peter Pan – Venue Cymru, Llandudno, various dates December
For many, it just isn’t Christmas without a trip to the panto, and Llandudno’s promises to be a real treat! Join Peter Pan and the Lost Boys on their Neverland adventures, with stunning sets, intricate costumes and lots of laughs. As a bonus, Ryan Thomas from Corrie (he played Jason Grimshaw) is starring as the naughty Captain Hook!
Santa’s Grotto – Llandudno Ski and Snowboard Centre, various dates December
On Fridays and Saturdays during the month, kids can put in a good word for themselves with Santa, get a selfie in the sleigh and snow-tube on the slopes! There will also be children’s parties at the Ski Centre on December 16, 17 and 23, with a disco , games and food and drink.