Rugby, Rugby, Rugby!
February is the month every Welsh rugby fan has been waiting for. It’s Six Nations time! This hotly contested Rugby Union tournament sees Wales take on England, Scotland, Ireland, France and Italy in a series of games spanning February and March. And we’re not being dramatic when we say it’s the most important time of the year!
Rugby is the national sport of Wales, and Welsh rugby fans are some of the most dedicated in the world. National pride is always high when it comes to this sport, but it reaches an all-time peak during the six nations, when Wales, the littlest nation (with the biggest heart), takes on its larger (but less worthy) neighbours.
Watching a game at Principality Stadium, Cardiff, is an experience you’ll never forget – especially if you can snag tickets to the epic grudge match that is Wales vs England. But if you can’t get tickets, don’t worry. The atmosphere fills the whole city where Welsh flags drape off every surface, fans are decked out in face paint and fancy dress, and the sound of singing fills the streets.
And you don’t even need to be in Cardiff to enjoy it. Six Nations’ fever sweeps the entire country. So wherever you’re spending your holiday, find the nearest pub, grab a seat (if you can find one) and get ready to cheer Wales on to victory!
The Land Of Song
February 10th is Welsh Language Music Day or Dydd Miwsig Cymru! A day celebrating music made in Wales or by Welsh artists.
Welsh music probably makes you think of lilting folk songs or male voice choirs. But, while it’s true that Wales is excellent at both those things, Welsh music spans many more genres. Why not check out some bilingual or Welsh language playlists to hear Welsh pop, rock, folk, punk, electronica, and more? And follow WLMD by using #Miwsig, #ddyddmiwsigcymru, @Miwsig, or @Cymraeg across all social media platforms to be aware of events, gigs and performances happening near you on February 10th.
Don’t speak Welsh? Don’t worry! You don’t need to understand every lyric to enjoy a song, do you? Plus, Welsh Language Music Day strives to reach as broad an audience as possible, so you can be sure of a warm Welsh welcome!
A spoonful of love
If you missed Welsh Valentine’s Day – St Dwynwen’s Day on January 25th – don’t worry. The Welsh celebrate February 14th too! And what better time to take a romantic trip to Wales?
Why not pick a remote cottage in the Brecon Beacons, Snowdonia National Park, Wentwood Forest, or Pembrokeshire Coastal Park for a romantic getaway filled with nature walks through stunning landscapes, dinners in cosy country pubs and evenings spent cwtch-ing in front of a log fire?
And if you’re looking for the perfect gift for that special someone this Valentine’s Day, look no further than the Welsh Love Spoon. These intricately carved wooden spoons have been given as gifts for centuries. The time taken to carve the spoon and the symbols worked into the wood are all indicators of the strength of the giver’s affection.
These days, you’re more inclined to buy a spoon than carve one yourself, but you should still take the time to choose the perfect one, as each symbol on the wood has its own meaning.
February comes with the first half term holiday of the year! And if you’re wondering how to keep the kids occupied, Wales has got you covered with outdoor adventures perfectly designed to spark the imagination and run off excess energy!
Go geocaching. If your kids need a little encouragement to get outside, why not turn a family hike into a treasure hunt? Geocachers use a GPS device to hike to a specific set of coordinates, searching for the hidden ‘treasure’ or geocache. Check out geocaching Facebook groups in the area you’re staying in, or head to Dolgellau to find two geocaching trails through the Coed y Brenin Forest Park.
Visit Welsh Atlantis! Visit the stretch of beach between Borth and Ynyslas at low tide to discover a prehistoric forest slowly being revealed from beneath the sand. Walk among the fossilised tree stumps and search for the hidden walkways said to be part of Cantre’r Gwaelod, a legendary sunken city thought to lie off the coast of Cardigan Bay.
Get wet. If your kids want to hit the water but you don’t want to spend a chilly day on the beach, head to Surf Snowdonia, Wales’s first artificial surfing lake, where your kids can ride the waves while you relax with a coffee or enjoy a spa day. If they’d rather be paddling, Cardiff’s White Water Centre has an artificial white water rafting course where you can again watch from the warm and dry sidelines.
Visit Dobby’s Grave. If there are any Harry Potter fans in your family, then be sure to visit Freshwater West in South Wales. This beautiful beach was the location of Shell Cottage in the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows film and now holds a memorial of painted stones laid in tribute to everyone’s favourite free elf.
Ok, so the Welsh weather regularly disrupts outdoor activities, which is why it always pays to have an indoor backup plan! And, once again, Wales has got you covered.
Hit the museums! Wales has no less than seven National Museums full of fascinating displays and exhibitions. They make wonderful wet weather days out, and the best part? They’re all free to enter!
Visit the Baked Bean Museum Of Excellence. If your kids want something a little more relatable than the contents of a national museum, head to Port Talbot to visit a museum dedicated to all things beans, run by bean-fanatic and superhero Captain Beany!
Go back in time at Folly Farm. This adventure and wildlife park in South Wales is one of the few that stays open through the winter months. Fun for all ages, it combines exotic animals with a playground, go-kart track and fairground rides. And there’s a huge indoor area with an assault course/soft play, plus an old-fashioned fairground complete with vintage carousels, rides and games.
Get active indoors. Check out Bounce Below, a thrilling complex of trampolines and slides in a disused slate mine in North Wales. While in South Wales, Cardiff is home to a wealth of indoor activities, including a rock climbing centre, go-kart track, indoor surfing, and ice rink.
Explore the castles. Many Welsh castles are in ruin and not ideal for exploring on a rainy day, but if you head to the right ones, you can stay dry as you walk through Welsh History. Try romantically beautiful Castell Coch, or Pembroke Castle, one of the best-preserved castles in Wales, or Cardiff Castle with its astounding Arab Room and underground tunnels.
Ice ice baby
Rugby madness might sweep through Wales in February, but it’s not the only sport in town! Ice Hockey season is still in full swing with weekly Devils’ matches at the Ice Arena Wales in Cardiff.
Ice hockey is not generally associated with Wales, but trust us when we say more people should be watching this thrilling sport! Between the fast-paced action, pumping music, flashing lights, mischievous mascots, mouthy commentators and prize giveaways, it’s a fun evening for the whole family!
So head to the Ice Arena, grab a hot dog, a beer, or a hot chocolate and get ready to cheer. Don’t worry if you don’t understand the rules, the main aim is to make as much noise as possible!
Walk down memory lane
Llanwrtyd Wells is usually known for hosting weird and wonderful events such as the Bog Snorkelling or Stone Skimming world championships. But in February, they host a much calmer event, the Lord Crenshaw Memorial Walk.
This family-friendly day is held in honour of a former president of the Llanwrtyd Wells long-distance walking club, who once walked 228.5 miles without stopping! But no one expects you to walk that far. Instead, there are marked routes ranging from 5 to 20 miles through the beautiful scenery surrounding this Mid-Wales town.
It’s a great chance to do some winter walking in a safe, friendly environment with plenty of others for company. Everyone who finishes a walk receives a badge and certificate, and, this being Llanwrtyd Wells, you can be sure of a warm welcome and a post-walk pint or two back at the village.
Music and laughter
You might think festivals are a summer activity, but there are a few February festivals happening in Wales.
- Check out the Bangor Music Festival to experience the best in up-and-coming contemporary music. This festival is a wonder of intriguing artists, cross-genre performances and experimental compositions.
- What better way to lift flagging winter spirits than with the magic of laughter? The Black Mountains Comedy Festival aims to do just that with a weekend of comedy in a spectacular setting.
- The Wye Valley Chamber Music Festival offers a week of exceptional performances in impressive locations in and around Monmouth.
- A new festival comes to Wales in February 2023! Planet Rock’s Winter’s End Festival is moving locations to Trecco Bay, Porthcawl and will see 21 new and established artists rocking out on the main stage across the three-day weekend in South Wales.
Starry starry nights
The dark nights of winter might be long but they are perfect for stargazing. Especially in Wales, one of the world’s best stargazing destinations thanks to its many dark sky reserves and protected spaces.
You can view Wales’s incredibly clear night skies all winter, and back in January we listed some of the best stargazing spots in the country. But during February, there’s an extra reason to appreciate the heavens because it’s Welsh Dark Skies Week.
This is a newcomer to the Welsh calendar, with the inaugural event taking place in 2022. But there are plans to make it an annual event filled with educational and wonderful talks and tours designed to celebrate the skies, and raise awareness of the importance of protecting our dark sky reserves. Keep an eye on the website to find out when and where special events are occurring.
If it’s starting to feel like winter might never end, why not go hunting for some signs that spring is on the way? Take a trip to one of Wales’ National Trust properties, home to some of the country’s most beautiful gardens and woodland walks, and look for hints that warmer days are coming.
Keep your ears open for the trilling and tweeting of birds and your eyes peeled as you stroll the grounds. Look for signs of new buds on trees and fresh shoots pushing their way through the ground. The Snowdrop is one of the first signs of spring in Wales, and their delicate nodding heads can be seen as early as January. Lesser Celandine is another early starter, look for the yellow star-shaped flowers growing low to the ground in hedgerows and the edges of woodlands.
And, of course, Daffodils! These spring flowers are a symbol of Wales and will begin raising our spirits from late February onwards.
There you go
A whole host of activities, events and adventures. What do you think? Would you like to cheer Wales to victory on the rugby pitch? Want to get active with your kids during half term, or get cosy with your loved one on Valentine’s Day? Whatever activity takes your fancy, book your holiday accommodation now and start planning your fun-filled February holiday in Wales.
What about next month? Here’s our guide to the top 10 things to do in Wales in March.
Anita moved to South Wales as a child and has thought of herself as Welsh ever since – especially when it comes to rugby! She spent her childhood sailing the coastline and playing on the beaches and now continues to explore her chosen country as an adult. She loves discovering quirky villages, trying out adventure sports, and hunting for the best fish n chips in Wales.