Wales is renowned for its wet weather – in fact, the entirety of the UK is renowned for rain, grey skies and downright miserable weather. As a Brit, and having explored Wales in different months of the year, this to me doesn’t sound like a fair representation though.
I mean as I write this, the weather is gloriously sunny, but the UK is famed for its frequent micro climates. It may be sunny where I am, but a mile down the road could be an entirely different story!
Why are so unlucky? Why can’t we have Californian weather of blue skies and sunshine? Why don’t we have palm trees growing at the sides of the road indicating somewhere hot and exotic? Well, let’s see shall we…
The Science Behind The Rain Clouds
The whole of the UK, but particularly Wales is in an unfortunate position due to the location of the jet stream. And as soon as this changes, unpredictable weather is likely to happen – either storms, rain or sunshine, among others!
Now, I’m not going to pretend I know the full science behind jet stream movements, but thankfully the BBC have come to the rescue if you do want to know.
When you think of Wales, you are likely to picture mountainous landscapes, dramatic coastlines and sheep. Am I right?
Well, the very fact that the landscape is mountainous contributes to the amount of rain that falls in Wales. Additionally, the shape of the coastline is also another large contributing factor.
What’s The Deal With Micro Climates?
This is actually true across the UK – we frequently see dramatic micro climates. It could be the most glorious of sunny days in one area, and yet a mile down the road will see heavy rainfall – maybe even snow!
There are different types of micro climate; from coastal to forest to urban (and everything in between). Now this presents a bit of a problem.
The UK is a diverse country, and we likely have every micro climate possible, which means weather in the UK (and especially Wales) is always going to be unpredictable.
So, your best bet is to prepare for every kind of weather! Sunglasses? Check. Umbrella? Check. Gloves? Check. Tornado advance warning unit? Err… not quite.
It Always Rains In Wales – Myth Or Fact?
When tourists and travellers consider exploring Wales, their first questions are usually:
How often does it rain? Why is the weather so unpredictable? Why does it rain so much? Are there ever ANY months in which it doesn’t rain?
I myself have had many trips to Wales (in different parts) without seeing one drop of rain, and in different months of the year.
From exploring caves in Porthmadog in August, to clubbing in Cardiff in October, to surfing in Porthcawl and hiking through the Brecon Beacons in April, I have not once seen it rain in Wales. For a place where it always rains, this is pretty weird, huh?
So, let’s get something straight once and for all. Those who say it always rain in Wales are lying. It does not always rain. Admittedly, it rains quite a lot but always is too harsh of a word. Therefore, “it always rains in Wales” is a myth.
Brits simply love to hate the weather. It gives us something to talk about at the dinner table, gives an excuse when we just can’t be bothered to leave the house and is the perfect small talk option when nothing else will do.
“The weather’s terrible today isn’t it?”
“Oh yes, isn’t it just!”
“Tell me about it! Why can’t we ever have decent weather?”
You get my drift.
Where Did Wales Get Its Wet Reputation From?
So, if I’ve just proved it doesn’t always rain in Wales, then just where did this reputation come from?
Let’s look at the facts, shall we?
Rainy days are now an advertising ploy. Wait, what was that? Some businesses are actually trying to capitalize on the rain? Of course they are! Just look at this ad campaign launched in 2007 by Welsh Lamb – it caused quite a bit of uproar within the tourism industry!
The Welsh village: Eglwyswrw saw an unprecedented 82 solid days of rain. Crazy isn’t it? This was a record breaker by a mile, and happened as recently as last year. This news story got around quite a bit. Although come on! We’ve all been known to have freak weather sometimes, right?
Cardiff has been crowned the wettest city in the UK. With an average 149 days of rain per year, Cardiff is officially the wettest city in the UK. But what about else where in the world? Like Miami? Or New York? With between 121-128 average days of rain per year, they’re not too far behind Cardiff! So why is Wales getting such a bad reputation?
Nothing takes away from the fact that I have witnessed many sunny days in Wales. But, it would probably be a good idea to prepare yourself (just in case)…
How To Spend An Awesome Rainy Day In Wales
1. Get out and about anyway. Any Brit will tell you: don’t you dare let the rain stop you from exploring. Otherwise, you’ll rarely get out. Grab your umbrella, wellies, waterproof jacket and get out exploring anyway.
2. Play board games inside. One of my most favourite pastimes, playing board games is the perfect rainy day activity. And something the whole family can enjoy!
3. Go cave trampolining! Near Porthmadog, you have the opportunity to trampoline inside underground caves with Bounce Below. Although the caves may leak in a few places here and there, you’ll stay dry for the most part.
4. Speed down a giant slide. Just add a bit of rain, and this instantly becomes a giant waterslide! Head to Ebbw Vale for a fun day out!
5. Race against the clock in an escape room. Found in most cities across the UK, escape rooms are all the rage at the moment. You’ll find a bunch in Cardiff that will certainly get your brain exercising!
Bonus: For more rainy day ideas, check out this guide of 45 more awesome things to do in Wales!
My advice? Expect rain… but celebrate the possibilities of a sunshine bonus! Now, get out there and enjoy exploring Wales!
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