We are all tired, sick, and scared of Coronavirus already, and with Christmas knocking on the door and all shops full of decorations we might start feeling uneasy about our plans for this internationally celebrated holiday. Thousands of cancelled flights, rules that at times become confusing and the anxiety created by the unknown are all ingredients for a perfect disaster. But if Christmas is to teach us something, is that there is still hope! No matter if you’re an international that just can’t get back home, or a home student that has decided to spend the holidays in Bangor, this article is just what you need: a refreshing reminder that you can still have fun during Christmas even if you stay in Wales.

First, let’s talk about rules. The NHS website has announced that people are allowed to form a ‘’Christmas bubble’’ of no more than 3 households. You can choose whatever households you want, but bear in mind that once you’ve come into contact with them, you cannot change it, and you also cannot be part of more than one such ‘’bubble’’. It may sound harsh, but the good thing is, you can start making plans with those friends you share your house with, and even with the new friends you’ve made along with this university term!

Travelling outside Wales is currently only permitted for those who work or study outside Wales. However, you can still travel within Wales! So that means that you and your bubble can make reasonable plans to visit some places, as long as they are in Wales. Of course, extra care should be taken. Keep reading for some ideas on how to make your Christmas more enjoyable in these unprecedented times!

  1.       ‘’Visit’’ the Virtual Winter Fair Food Hall

Every year, the Royal Welsh Winter Fair has a dedicated hall for food-lovers, and they made no exception this time. To keep everybody safe, however, they moved the hall online! The bonus that the virtual edition has brought shoppers is that it continues throughout all the period until Christmas, so you can shop for longer, compared to the usually shorter period.

Cywain, the company that helps small businesses meet the requirements for online selling, has this year a wide variety of producers coming on its Food Hall stand. As a result of the Food Hall being held online, much more small producers than usual are able to showcase their amazing foods, and to reach customers! You would not only have fun and perhaps find the perfect gift for those dear ones that appreciate Welsh food and drinks, but you would actively help small business and economy in very hard times! Only a click away lie exciting product combinations, gift boxes and hampers available in an assortment of sizes and prices, sure to suit all tastes and budgets: https://winterfair.royalwelsh.digital/

  1.       Rent a cottage or a cabin

Whether you want a romantic getaway with your partner, or prefer the thrill and adventure of a bigger group (but don’t forget the bubble rules), renting a cottage or cabin in Wales seems to be a perfect idea for spending the holidays! Choose a cabin with a hot tub to soothe aching muscles after a day of exploring the countryside near your accommodation, or to simply relax and release some tension after such a long university semester! Hot tubs are an exquisite idea for couples and a very fun alternative for larger groups of friends! If hot tubs are not really your thing, then you can opt for a cabin that is situated deep in the woods, perhaps in a location where it snows, so the ‘’White Christmas’’ will no longer be something you dream of, but a reality! Whatever your heart desires, take a look at this website and find your perfect place: https://www.qualityunearthed.co.uk/glamping/cabins

  1.       Discover Snowdonia National Park

Bangor is so close to the largest National Park in Wales that I can’t even. Snowdonia National Park is a landmark you cannot miss visiting as a student at Bangor University. With its unique landscape, beauty and heights of its varied mountains and waterfalls and green valleys, Snowdonia it’s basically the perfect spot for a hike, no matter if you have already been there or not. In winter especially, there are some spots easy to get to and sure to take your breath away: Cwn Idwal, a valley with a wonderful lake, is a moderate hike; Precipice Walk, Dolgellau is a circular walk that follows a private path over the beautiful Nannau estate; Dôl-goch, Tywyn is a moderate hike that will show you the varied woodland in the humid gorge facing north-west. Different other walks can be explored on the website, but the main idea is Snowdonia might be just the ideal escapade this Christmas: in between heavy meals and mulled wine, before or after home parties or whenever you feel like breathing in some fresh air and breathing out some stress. Find more info at https://www.snowdonia.gov.wales/visiting.

  1.       The Parking Lot Social’s Christmas, Vale of Glamorgan

Experience a safe and festive Christmas with this drive-in cinema and drive-in comedies, situated at the backdrop of a 60ft tall rainbow coloured Christmas tree, a giant Santa Claus MC and his reindeer sidekick. In line with the government regulations, this event is completely contactless: you can even order tasty food from nearby trucks using a smartphone application and delivered straight to your car!

  1.       Fonmon Castle’s Festival of Lights

Stretching from Friday, November 27 until Sunday, December 20 the castle grounds will be decorated with fantastic, colourful, Christmas-y lights – so wrap up warm for a lovely experience.

But that is not all, ensuring strict numbers, hygiene and safety measures the castle have put on a Santa show in the castle, for those that still believe in Santa Clause!

To book tickets and to find out more about Covid-measures, find Fonmon Castle on Facebook.

This is just a short list of fun ideas you can do for a lovelier Christmas, but that doesn’t mean spending it at home with close ones cannot be just as fun and relaxing. Just be safe, protect others, be kind and enjoy life!

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Travel Editor 2020-21

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