Winter activities in Wales

Hiking Snowdonia, North Wales

Hiking in Snowdonia

There’s no need to hide away when temperatures plummet. The hills of the Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia are even more spectacular when dusted with snow, making them the ideal destination for some wintery fun. Here are some ideas to make the most of this special season and enjoy the great Welsh outdoors, from white water rafting to cycling through frost-bitten forests.

Mountain skills in Snowdonia

Did you know that, prior to conquering Everest, Edmund Hillary spend the winter doing mountaineering training in Snowdonia? This is the season when the National Park is at its most spectacular and most challenging. In thick snow and over ice, expert guides from an accredited mountain operator can teach you how to use crampons and ice-axes so that you can enjoy a spot of ice-climbing. Epic scenery is guaranteed, whatever the weather.

Search for climbing operators in Snowdonia

Walking the Gower Peninsula

Gower is the perfect place to blow away the wintery cobwebs. When storms whiplash the inland hills, wrap up and head to the peninsula. You’ll see it at its most exhilarating, with big seas booming against Worm’s Head at Rhossili. The view of the beach is awesome all year round, as is the cliff path to Port Eynon. Stop at The Ship Inn for a well-deserved meal cooked using locally-sourced ingredients.

Find out more about walking on the Gower Peninsula

Rafting in Cardiff Bay

On a wet day in South Wales (and we get our fair share of them), it’s easy to become restless if you stay inside. Make for the water at Cardiff International White Water centre, where Grade 4 rapids, standing waves, a full rafting course and high ropes course will wake you up with a hit of adrenaline. Being man-made, the course provides slightly warmer water than rivers and can be tailored to suit users of all experience levels. Retire to the cosy Quantum Coffee in Cardiff Bay afterwards for a rich hot chocolate (made with real choccie) and a slice of cake.

Mountain biking at Coed Llandegla

Experienced riders can get the blood pumping with a cycle in the Clwydian Range, but for everyone else there’s Coed Llandegla near Wrexham. With trails built for wet-weather riding, you get similar views of the hills without the difficulty and exertion, plus you get the added bonus of hot showers and a café afterwards. There’s on-site bike hire available with options for all ages and experience levels. 

Find out more about mountain biking at Coed Llandegla

Hill walks in the Brecon Beacons

With clear blue sky and the crunch of snow underfoot, the Brecon Beacons hills come into their own in winter. Though they demand respect, ridge-walks in this National Park are nowhere near as treacherous as those in Snowdonia. With the first snow, walkers arrive in the Storey Arms car park to begin the popular route up Pen-Y-Fan (886m). It’s the highest peak in the park, but it’s just one option for winter. 

Search for walking operators in the Brecon Beacons National Park

Bonus idea: glide on the ice

Swansea Waterfront Wonderland

Swansea Waterfront Wonderland

 by The City and County of Swansea
If none of these ideas take your fancy, there’s always the super festive option: ice skating! With pop-up ice skating rinks every winter in Swansea, Cardiff, Bargoed and the Celtic Manor Resort, plus Caerphilly Castle and Aberystwyth joining in for 2018, there’s sure to be somewhere near you where you can have fun carving through the ice.