As the country slowly emerges from the dark months, February in Wales can be a standoff between winter and spring. Pack for wild, chilly weather and rain (waterproofs and wellies are a must). You might be pleasantly surprised, however, by brighter, milder days, especially later in the month when the first flowers pop out and days are longer and lighter. Temperatures swing between 39°F (4°C) and 46°F (8°C) but can feel significantly colder on exposed summits in the Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia, where snow is still a possibility. Storms and rain often batter the coasts of Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire. Temperatures hit highs of 48°F (9°C) in the capital, Cardiff.
Crowds & Costs
One of the delights of visiting in February is that you dodge the crowds entirely, though some accommodation, restaurants, and sights (particularly in coastal hotspots such as Pembrokeshire and Gower) are still closed for the season and won’t reopen until spring. Focus your attention instead on cities and rural valleys in the mountains, where you can bag good deals on hotels and cozy stays in country inns. Room rates rise briefly for Valentine’s Day (February 14) and school half-term week (usually the third or final week in February).
Where to Go
The land is still lashed by winter rains, but keep eye on the forecast for the first rays of the spring sun, when empty walking trails and beaches beckon. The countryside springs back to life late in the month, with daffodils in the hedgerows and the first lambs in the fields. Valentine’s Day adds a dash of romance mid-month: it’s the perfect time to cwtch (cuddle up) by the fire in a rustic inn in the Brecon Beacons or the valley-plaited mountains of Snowdonia. When the weather obliges with clear night skies, focus your attention upwards, as these Dark Sky Reserves are brilliant for stargazing in February.
Wet weather days are best spent in the cafés, galleries, and castles of the bigger cities and towns. Cardiff delivers a serious hit of culture, with trophy sights like the National Museum and strikingly regenerated Cardiff Bay (book ahead to see the Welsh National Opera perform). Nicely chilled Aberystwyth in Cardigan Bay is a pleasing alternative, with its Victorian pier and hilltop National Library of Wales, a showcase for millions of rare books and Wales-focused exhibitions. If you’re a fan of the poetry of Dylan Thomas, check out his birthplace and favorite watering holes in up-and-coming Swansea.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
What to Do
If the sun’s out, head for the coast. The cliff-rimmed beaches, bays, and coastal trails of Pembrokeshire, Gower, the Llŷn Peninsula, and Anglesey are largely empty, though it is still too cold to dive into the sea without a wetsuit. There are still big swells for surfers on the coasts of Gower, Pembrokeshire, and Cardigan Bay.
The mountains can be wild at this time of year, with strong winds and occasional snow, but if there is a break in the weather, this is a serene time for hikes at lower elevations in the Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia, where the rivers and waterfalls are now at their most spectacular after the heavy winter rains.
Events in February
Welsh Language Music Day, Cardiff. In early February, Cardiff reverberates to gigs and live performances at Welsh Language Music Day.
Fan Dance Race. The SAS (Special Air Service) forces scramble up the slopes of the highest peak in the Brecon Beacons, Pen Y Fan, at this hardcore mountain race in early February.
Bangor Music Festival. The university city of Bangor in North Wales hosts this festival on the second week in February, with classical concerts, talks, sound installations, and contemporary music all in the mix.
Guinness Six Nations Rugby, Cardiff. Rugby fever steps up a gear with this rugby union championship at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium in mid-February.
Welsh Dark Skies Week, Nationwide. All eyes are on the starry night skies during the last week of February, when the country celebrates its dark skies, with events happening in the country’s national parks.
Croeso, Swansea. Croeso means ‘welcome’ in Welsh, and all are welcome at Swansea’s two-day festival in late February, an ode to Welsh food and drink, crafts, music, and poetry.
Traveling to Wales in February? Check out this great itinerary
Discover Wales - 7 Days. Experience the rugged coastline, ancient castles, and national parks, like Snowdonia, as well as enjoy regional cuisine on this week-long adventure.