Wales and Northern England in December?

Hello- My husband and I are considering a ten-day trip to Wales and England (non-London) in December. We've heard rumors that some attractions may not be open during the winter. We're mostly interested in castles and historical sites, and would prefer to stay in smaller cities or towns. Can anyone speak from experience about to what extent things might be shuttered? Thanks so much in advance.

Posted by Ed
9110 posts

The Welsh castles are generally only closed Christmas and a day either side. The towns don't shut down for winter. Some of the rural hostels, but certainly not all, ramp down the end of October.

Posted by Ken
Spring, Texas
599 posts

Some attractions will close or greatly reduce hours over the winter months. Those are usually much less desireable in the colder months or not that big of an attraction. You need to plan your itinerary and see which places you are interested in are operating and their hours. One big negative going there in December are the extremely short daylight hours. This will probably limit your itinerary more than anything else.

Posted by Ed
9110 posts

Actually, there's plenty of daylight. Mid-Scotland has about eight hours of sun on the solstice and close to twelve hours between twilights. Also, the country is not without street lights.

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
3248 posts

I have been in both Nov. and Dec. on two different trips and absolutely loved it. I spent time in the Cotswolds, Wales and Scotland. The weather was surprisingly moderate and just a light jacket most days. I found most tourist places to be open and the lack of crowds was great. I loved seeing the Cotswolds with the tons of dried hydrangeas and grasses. These are still most of my favorite photographs. I had never seen it in bloom till a few years ago...prefer the winter foliage. Spent a day at a beach town in Wales and while it was relatively empty there were stores open and a fish and chips place where we ate. If I remember correctly Warwick Castle might have even been open on New Year's Day. The pubs are a great place to stop for a warm drink. I also don't mind the shorter daylight hours... I like seeing the lights in the villages and towns. Just make the most of your day if you want to see the countryside.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
11637 posts

Sorry to disagree with the illustrious gentleman from Pensacola, but for mid-Scotland I picked Edinburgh. For mid-December I picked the 15th. I then plugged in the place and date into wunderground, a well respected repository of weather and almanac data. Their report, whilst pedantic is also informative: Dec. 15, 2013 Rise Set Actual Time 8:38 AM GMT 3:38 PM GMT Civil Twilight 7:51 AM GMT 4:25 PM GMT Nautical Twilight 7:02 AM GMT 5:14 PM GMT Astronomical Twilight 6:16 AM GMT 6:00 PM GMT Moon 2:47 PM GMT (12/15) 6:25 AM GMT (12/15) Length Of Visible Light 8h 34m Length of Day
7h 00m Of course, that 7 hours is when the sun is above the horizon. It gives no information as to the possibility of actually seeing it through the gloom and/or clouds and/or precipitation (not unheard of in Scotland). Sorry to interrupt... We now return you to your normal programming...

Posted by Ed
9110 posts

Humph! Wild guess and I miss one by an hour and the other by eighteen minutes. From the top of Ben Nevis, however, (using sqrt of height of observer plus sqrt of height of object .......) and correcting for four thousan feet elevation differential...... More excuses to follow.

Posted by j.c.
NC, United States
865 posts

As mentioned, check schedules for winter closing times. I think the only real annoyance with early winter sunsets is in the driving. Roadsigns can be pretty hard to see and read in the dark.