You can go shopping here in the most unlikely of places. Deep in the heart of the forest at Corris, for example, where you’ll find an entire crafts village in which ‘you can easily spend all day’ reckons one fan . And you can stumble across individual craft workshops and woollen mills scattered the length and breadth of Snowdonia – they’re everywhere, at places like Bryncir, Trefriw and Dinas Mawddwy.
Here’s another thing. It’s not shopping in the anonymous this-could-be-anywhere High Street-style. Our shops are usually quite small – and are all the better for it. They’re full of character and personality, selling items that have been inspired by Snowdonia’s natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. And they come up with dazzling contemporary products as well as traditional favourites. At the Inigo Jones Slate Works, Penygroes, natural Welsh slate is used to make all manner of gifts and garden items. Slate craft, woodwork and original artwork are just three of the skills showcased at Parc Glynllifon near Caernarfon, where former estate workshops have been converted into an imaginative crafts centre.
The fantasy village of Portmeirion serves up a unique shopping experience. Amongst the Tudor cottages, Chinese pagodas and Italianate piazzas you can go shopping for quality crafts and homeware, quirky gifts and – of course – Portmeirion Pottery.
There’s more of the same – but an even wider choice – at Betws y Coed. This mountain resort nowadays has a big reputation as a shopping destination as well as a walking centre, thanks to the exceptional range of craft, clothes and outdoor gear shops that line its long main street.
Mind you, it’s a mere minnow in comparison to Bangor’s endless High Street, the longest in Wales, where you really can shop until you drop. Caernarfon is catching up with its fabulous new Celtica centre at Doc Fictoria on the historic waterfront. This swish, spacious complex is the place to go for Celtic creativity in textiles, arts and crafts.