With Black Friday only a week away, it’s a sure sign that the Christmas shopping bonanza is about to start!
And while we all love a bargain nothing can beat a wander around the shops taking the time and pleasure to choose specially selected gifts for your friends and family, especially when the shops are located in picturesque towns. So if you’re used to pounding the pavements of the city centres like Manchester, Cardiff or Oxford Street in London then you might be surprised to know that North Wales is a shoppers’ paradise.
The region’s premier shopping centre is Llandudno and staying at The Imperial Hotel puts you at the heart of this Victorian seaside town. A short stroll from the hotel you’ll find modern high street brands blending with traditional stores and speciality shops offering everything you need to tick off the gift checklist.
Our next choice is the walled town of Conwy which ranks fifth in the UK list of independent shopping centres with 91% of shops being independently run. Here you can combine a walk around the pretty medieval town with a shopping spree. Pop into Yesteryears, a traditional toy shop where you will find puppets to dolls houses, and rocking horses to castles, as well as retro toys, tin toys, collectables, games from your childhood and novelties for the young and not so young. You also won’t be surprised to find The Knight Shop nestling under the shadows of King Edward I’s castle which is where you’ll find historical swords, armour, period clothing and associated giftware for adults and children – perfect for a bit of swashbuckling in Conwy Castle!
If you’re looking for something more sparkly then Conwy Jewellers stocks a large range of jewellery and watches including Sekonda, Clogau Gold and Chamelia charms. The Harbour Gallery features artwork from Josie Russell, Elizabeth Myfanwy Clough, John Bentham and Bill Gribble and runs regular exhibitions and workshops throughout the year. You’ll also find Mountain Warehouse which stocks everything you need for your outdoor activities including many exclusive ranges, plus a host of superb gift shops and ladies clothes shops. For the food and wine aficionados you’ll be in heaven at Baravelli’s – the artisan chocolatiers and at Vinomondo you’ll find an amazing choice of handmade wines from the world's finest independent and family-owned vineyards as well as a great range of hand crafted beers.
If you’re looking for gifts with more of a tradition, we suggest heading to Trefriw Woollen Mill for a vast array of hand crafted woollen products including Welsh bedspreads, travel rugs; tweed hats, bags, scarves and ladies’ clothing as well as tapestries made into throws, cushions, bags and purses. And if you’re there during the week you’ll actually see these traditional Welsh woollen products being manufactured.
Another town that is definitely worth a visit is Betws-y-Coed, a pretty town with a distinct Alpine feel situated at the gateway to Snowdonia. As well as being a hub for adventure activities, the town offers shoppers a superb choice of independent retailers including crafts, clothing, gifts and local homemade produce as well as a collection of outdoor gear shops and art galleries displaying talented Welsh artists. Betws-y-Coed’s annual Christmas event, Nadolig Llawen, is on from the 2nd to 4th December and is well worth a visit. The festive event starts on the Friday night with a panto “A lad in Trouble” at the Memorial Hall, while Saturday and Sunday offer plenty of fun for all the family including Santa’s arrival by train, Christmas workshops, story-telling, wood carving, a miniature Ferris Wheel, Festive games, donkeys, fun fair and miniature steam train.
Plas Newydd also has a Christmas Fair from the 2nd to 5th December. Situated on the shores of the Menai Strait on Anglesey, the ancestral home of the Marquess of Anglesey and the famous Rex Whistler mural is well worth a visit in its own right, but at the fair you’ll find over 60 stalls full of varied festive treats, handmade gifts and local produce so it’s perfect for gift shopping.
One last place we recommend visiting is Snowdonia Nurseries which is renowned for its amazing Christmas display and it’s here you’ll find not only the latest light technology but also one of the widest ranges of Christmas decorations. There’s also a Christmas Grotto which raises funds for Ty Gobaith Children’s Hospice and a range of Gardening accessories, Home Décor and giftware so you’ll be sure to find something for your green-fingered friends as well as the ones that love to just relax in their garden.
Make your Christmas Shopping not only a pleasurable experience in North Wales but also a memorable one by combining it with a relaxing luxury short break at The Imperial Hotel. With a choice of great Special Breaks you’ll be able to put your feet up and relax after a hard day’s shopping, enjoy afternoon tea, delicious dining and use of the hotel’s health and leisure facilities including heated indoor swimming pool.
Book your coastal shopping break now and get your Christmas shopping wrapped up!