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There’s always an exciting feeling wherever you go in Europe during December, with Christmas festivities to look forward to, but also looming bad weather. So, what exactly is it like to visit Wales?

December in Wales is wet, cold and cloudy, with temperatures around 5℃ and rainfall on around half of the days. But, with Christmas in full swing, it’s a charming time to visit if you wrap up warm. Shops and streets will be decked out, there will be plenty of markets and events, plus everyone is in good spirits.

Keep reading to find out some of my favourite December activities, or see my full guide to the best time to visit Wales for a month-by-month breakdown.

What Will the Weather Be Like?

December is one of the coldest months in Wales with average temperatures around 5℃. It’s also the month with the shortest number of daylight hours, particularly towards the end of the month around the winter solstice.

The average rainfall during December is 43.7mm. It will likely rain for around 20 days during the month (this can be anywhere between 13 and 28) and you can expect the occasional snow days too1 (source: Statistica). Generally, the weather is wetter in the more mountainous areas and slightly drier in the southern and eastern parts of Wales2 (source: Met Office).

During December, the sky is almost always cloudy which can make it difficult to enjoy the beautiful sunsets and sunrises seen during the spring and summer months.

What Should I Expect?

December is a very busy time in Wales due to Christmas celebrations. Restaurants can quickly fill up with Christmas parties and streets are full of people buying gifts and visiting markets. Indoor family activities can also be very busy towards the end of the month due to the Christmas school holidays.

With some of the worst weather of the year, most people are spending time indoors. So if you do want to avoid the crowds, it might be a good idea to head out for a walk along the beach or go hiking in the mountains. You’ll need to wrap up warm though, see my packing list below for tips.

So far it sounds like doom and gloom, but that’s not the case at all. December is a charming time to experience Wales with everyone in good spirits. Christmas lights and decorations can be seen everywhere, as well as some fantastic Christmas markets and events.

Keep in mind that the price and availability of restaurants and accommodation can rise across Wales during the Christmas and new year festivities so you’ll need to book well ahead of time and expect to pay a little extra.

What To Pack for Wales in December

You’ll want to pack lots of layers to deal with the cold including a warm waterproof rain jacket, scarf and gloves. If you’ll be visiting the countryside, a pair of wellies and thick socks is a must too.

For visiting small towns and villages where street lighting isn’t always a given, it would also be a good idea to pack a reflective jacket and a decent torch to stay safe when going out at night.

Best Things To Do in Wales in December

Here are some of my favourite wintery activities to do in Wales in December:

1. Visit the Christmas Markets in Cardiff or Swansea

As with most places in Europe during the festive season, you can expect Christmas markets to be popping up all over the country with stalls selling mulled wine, hearty food, and handcrafted gifts.

Most of the markets are spread over a few days (see the events section below), however, Cardiff and Swansea have huge markets that run throughout the festive period.

If you’re visiting Cardiff, you should also check out Winter Wonderland with lots of rides, games, and an ice rink outside the National Museum.

2. Enjoy a Coastal Christmas at Saundersfoot

The small coastal village of Saundersfoot, near Tenby, hosts an entire month of Christmas celebrations and is a great place to celebrate away from the typical larger cities.

As well as the beautiful sea views and cosy restaurants that you can expect in Saundersfoot year-round, you can enjoy festive events, lantern parades, light displays, fireworks, and a Christmas market. Find out more here.

3. See an Incredible Lights Display at Margam Country Park

Every December, Margam Country Park is transformed by Luminate Wales who create a mile-long trail of lights and interactive displays with fairies, dragons, and mazes that weave around the historic gardens.

The estate is about 20 minutes outside Swansea where you’ll also find a great Christmas market. Other things to do in Swansea include the National Waterfront Museum, the Dylan Thomas Centre, and visiting the Gower and Mumbles.

4. Experience Christmas Underground at Zip World Llechwedd

If you’re visiting North Wales, a trip to Zip World Llechwedd is a must. Here, you can try zipping down their Titan 2 zipline, jump around at Bounce Below, their underground trampoline park, and play crazy golf 500ft below the surface.

But what makes this place extra special at Christmas, is Zipmas, a Christmas grotto located in the mine. You’ll ride down into the historical caverns where you’ll meet Santa and enjoy mince pies and mulled wine.

5. Stay Cosy in a Hot Tub Holiday Cottage

With temperatures typically hovering just above freezing, it’s not a good time of year to go camping. In fact, many campsites will close over winter.

Instead, opt for a nice holiday cottage in one of the national parks with an open fire or maybe even a hot tub which can be a lot of fun during the snow.

6. Go For a Boxing Day Dip

Despite the chilly temperatures of Wales’ coastlines during December, a boxing day swim has become a regular part of Christmas festivities in Wales.

Porthcawl, Tenby, and Llandudno are among the biggest and best—known locations, but you can find events all across the country. See a full list here.

7. Experience Christmas at Powis Castle

If you’re not planning to visit a castle during your trip to Wales, then something has definitely gone wrong. You can see my full list of the top castles to visit, but one that stands out as a great place to visit in December is Powis Castle in Mid—Wales.

The 13th-century castle is transformed into a Christmas haven with lights and decorations in the State Rooms, wintry walks in the castle gardens and a Hedgehog Trail.

Events in December in Wales 2022

Kieren is the founder and editor-in-chief of Wales Guidebook. Originally from rural Mid-Wales, he has lived all over the country from Cardiff to Wrexham. A true Welshman, Kieren created this site to share his passion for Wales and help others discover this beautiful country.