At Christmas, there’s nothing quite like enjoying your favourite tipple in front of an open fire and sharing good company with friends while the winter weather wails outside. North Wales has its fair share of cosy, characterful pubs where you can enjoy the resurgence of local real ales and good food made from local ingredients.
Where are the best places to head to after a bracing walk in Snowdonia or on Anglesey? Read on as we share with you half a dozen of our favourite winter-warmer inns.
Our pick of cosy Christmas pubs
The Ship Inn, Red Wharf Bay
A long-time favourite with yachties, visitors and locals alike, the 275-year-old Ship Inn was once known as the Little Quay as it served ale to sailors who passed through Red Wharf’s sheltered port.
Since the early 1970s, this lovely ye-olde pub has been run by the Kenneally family, who have gained a well-earned a reputation for excellent food and real ales. The main room boasts an open fire and as a result is the usually the first to fill up while serving traditional Christmas meals.
The Bull, Beaumaris
The Bull’s traditional bar area boasts two small rooms and can easily get crowded at weekends (and especially during the town’s highly regarded November 5 fireworks display), but in some ways this just adds to the convivial atmosphere of this old place, warmed by a wonderful open fire.
If you want something more substantial to eat than a packet of pork scratchings, head for The Bull’s restaurant, Coach, through doors at the bar of the bar.
Ty Coch Inn, Porthdinllaen
Wales’s poster-boy pub, Ty Coch Inn has been voted one of the top beach bars in the world, though don’t expect open-air bars and palm-leaf roofs here! Once you’ve enjoyed a bracing winter walk on Porth Nefyn and Porth Dinllaen beaches, find sanctuary in this welcoming place with its open fire and real ales.
Make sure you check opening times if you’re planning to pay a visit.
Vaynol Arms, Pentir
Just a few miles from Llanberis, set back from the A4244 between Caernarfon and Bangor, the Vaynol Arms (not to be confused with the pub of the same name in Nant Peris) is the focal point of a small hamlet of Pentir.
This no-nonsense place is extremely welcoming and is well regarded for its pub food and boasts a great open fire.
The Black Boy Inn, Caernarfon
The Black Boy Inn is one of the oldest surviving hostelries in North Wales, built in 1522.
Tucked away in Caernarfon’s medieval heart and within the town walls, this black-and-white place has plenty of charm with roaring open fires, oak beams and plenty of Welsh character. Expect to hear Welsh spoken by the locals – why not have a go?
The Black Boy Inn invariably serves award-winning real ales from breweries such as Beavertown, Cantillon, Magic Rock, Brooklyn, Darkstar and Tiny Rebel.
Pen-y-Ceunant Isaf Cafe, Llanberis
Ok, not strictly a pub, but this teeny place makes a cosy retreat after you’ve hiked up Snowdon via the Llanberis Path. Find it at the edge of the village at the start/end of the path. It welcomes hungry and thirsty hikers throughout the year and will typically boast a real fire and a lovely Christmas spirit.
Pen-y-Ceunant Isaf only serves light snacks, but the food is local and so are the drinks. As well as soft drinks, choose from Snowdon Lager, Celtica Light Ale, Welsh Black Dark Ale, Rosie’s Cider and Penderyn Welsh Single Malt Whisky.