That saying about the devil making work for idle hands must really have hit home here. From lovespoons to woollen blankets, Wales is arguably the craftiest place on the planet.
Corris Craft Centre, Mid Wales
Nine craft workshops to choose from at the terrific Corris Craft Centre, allowing you to visit the studios, see the artists at work and choose handcrafted gifts with a twist including celtic inspired jewellery, handmade candles, handmade chocolates and fudge and pottery. Have a go yourself and then enjoy choice, locally-grown food and drink at the centre’s cafe.
Melin Tregwynt, West Wales
More than 300 years after a mill was first established at Melin Tregwynt, it remains the place to see intricate woolwork, clothes, accessories, blankets, throws and more. This hive of textile ingenuity has a cafe to relax in, and is within a yarn’s throw of cliffs, coasts and spectacular scenery.
Craft in the Bay, Cardiff
Part of The Makers Guild representing 74 artists in Wales, Craft in the Bay aims to showcase the finest contemporary craft in the country, with studios, exhibitions and a chance to get stuck in with a range of workshops. Learn the tricks of the textile trade or pick up a few treats.
Pennau Crafts in Bow Street, near Aberystwyth, a cosy, award-winning hillside building, has a unit dedicated to treasures, featuring glitzy jewellery, crafts and gifts, as well as an accompanying section devoted to cross-stitching. Get stuck in or sample some of the home-cooked food on offer at the highly-rated cafe. A home of traditional Welsh cuisine and craft.
Castle Welsh Crafts
Lovespoons – the carved signals of romantic intent dished out in Wales since the 17th century – pop up in their largest and smallest forms at Castle Welsh Crafts (opposite Cardiff Castle). Ornaments, suits of armour, historical ephemera and unusual items such as miner’s lamps also feature, as well as Welsh and Celtic jewellery.
The Welsh Quilt Centre, Ceredigion
Flamboyant, vibrant and always quirkily imaginative, the Welsh Quilt Centre tells the tale of a rich history stretching from the 17th century to the aftermath of World War II. It opened in the elegant Lampeter Town Hall in 2009, and features diverse international collections, revolving exhibitions and excellent facilities.
Ruthin Craft Centre
A must-see if only for the magnificent architecture of its modern buildings, the Ruthin Craft Centre was shortlisted for the prestigious Art Fund Prize for good reason. It’s an uplifting place to witness the best in contemporary Welsh craft, with revolving exhibitions and a perfect location under the Clwydian hills.
Model House Craft and Design
The busy Model House Craft and Design centre opened in Llantrisant in 1989, and these days it’s the home of a range of artists and workshops, welcoming thousands of visitors each year. Its crafty inhabitants share the space with two bustling galleries where you can admire their handiwork and pick up a few unusual, eye-catching gifts.
Surely one of the most idyllic galleries around, the Craft Renaissance centre near Usk houses light-filled galleries inside a series of converted barn buildings. It’s a serene setting for exhibitions from talented Welsh makers, and also hosts classes and a shop full of beautiful gifts. The accompanying cafe is great for relaxing.
The Court Cupboard Craft Gallery
The unusual Court Cupboard Craft Gallery near Abergavenny calls farmyard buildings its home, dating back five centuries and positioned next to a former courthouse featuring an underground prisoner cell. Spinning, gold, silver, gemstone, blacksmithery, stained glass and beadwork are among the crafts showcased by a wide range of artists, as well as a comfortable coffee shop.