We’re used to rain in Snowdonia; it’s something we locals have learned to live with. It’s the rain that keeps our countryside so lush and green, and keeps our mountain streams and waterfalls flowing. Rain is the lifeblood of Snowdonia, so we try not to complain about it.
But if you’re a visitor to Snowdonia – especially if it’s your first visit – you may be surprised by how changeable the weather can be. It can be warm and sunny in one village, wet and gloomy in the next – and an hour later it can all change again.
However, there’s no need to let a bit of rain put you off visiting Snowdonia; even in wet weather there’s plenty to see and do, so pack your raincoat and brolly and keep this handy list of ten wet-weather Snowdonia attractions and activities close to hand, just in case you’re caught out by an unexpected shower.
1. Plas Glyn-y-Weddw, Llanbedrog
A beautiful Victorian gothic mansion in stunning grounds overlooking Cardigan Bay, Plas Glyn-y-Weddw is a gallery and arts centre which hosts fascinating exhibitions, workshops, lectures and concerts. The gallery shop sells a great selection of locally made goods and art materials, and the tea room serves delicious home made cakes and puddings.
2. Glasfryn Park, near Pwllheli
In dry weather Glasfryn is great for go-karting, fishing, quad-biking and archery – and the park hosts regular farmers’ and French markets where you can pick up a few delicious bargains. But when it’s raining Glasfryn is still a great day out; it has a bowling alley, excellent farm shop, restaurant and indoor soft play area for children.
3. The Fun Centre, Caernarfon
This converted church is a great place for kids to wear themselves out on rainy days. The building is huge, and every inch of space is utilised for fun, fun and more fun! The Fun Centre has two 20ft-drop slides, climbing areas and ball pools, plus there’s a separate play area for children under 4 years old.
4. Plas Mawr, Conwy
Possibly the best preserved Elizabethan town house in Britain, Plas Mawr is an exceptional example of the architecture of the period. The building dominates the town with its stepped gables, gatehouse and lookout tower; inside there’s elaborate plasterwork and wooden screens, all faithfully restored.
5. Lloyd George Museum, Llanystumdwy
The Lloyd George Museum commemorates one of Britain’s greatest statesmen of the 20th century. David Lloyd George was Prime Minister during the First World War, and during his time in office he introduced the old age pension and gave women the vote. At the museum you’ll learn about the great man himself, explore a Victorian schoolroom and dress in Victorian costume.
6. Inigo Jones Slateworks, Y Groeslon
Take self-guided tour through the slate workshops and watch craftsmen at work. At Inigo Jones Slateworks you can try your hand at calligraphy and engrave a piece of slate, which you can take home with you. There’s a variety of exhibits explaining slate’s history and uses, a cafe, and a fantastic shop where you can buy all manner of things made from Snowdonia slate.
7. Llechwedd Slate Caverns, Blaenau Ffestiniog
Sticking with the slate theme, at Llechwedd Slate Caverns you can take an underground tour and learn about life as a Victorian slate miner. This fascinating attraction includes a Victorian village with its own bank where you can exchange your Sterling for specially minted ha’pennies and farthings, which can be spent in the village shops or kept as souvenirs.
8. Sygun Copper Mine, Beddgelert
Another underground attraction, Sygun Copper Mine offers a fascinating glimpse into 19th century ore extraction and processing. On the self-guided tour you’ll see massive formations of stalactites and stalagmites, and copper ore veins containing traces of gold, silver and other precious metals. There are also exhibitions of coin collections and Bronze Age, Roman and medieval artefacts.
9. Steam railways – all over Snowdonia
There are many narrow gauge steam railways in Snowdonia, which offer a novel way to see the countryside without getting wet. At Porthmadog ride the Welsh Highland Railway and the Ffestiniog Railway; at Llanberis there’s the Llanberis Lake Railway and Snowdon Mountain Railway; and at Tywyn there’s the Talyllyn Railway which passes the beautiful Dolgoch Falls.
10. Just get wet!
If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em – in wet weather you could just pop on a wetsuit and try your hand at some watersports. There are dozens of watersports centres in Snowdonia where you can have a go at kayaking, canoeing, surfing, sailing, windsurfing, diving and white water rafting. One of the best-known watersports centres in Snowdonia is the Tryweryn National Whitewater Centre near Bala, but there are many others in the region, like the Hafan Pwllheli Marina and the National Watersports Centre, Plas Menai, Caernarfon.