12 Best Things to do in Wales This Summer | pebble magazine
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12 Best Things To Do In Wales This Summer

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12 Best Things To Do In Wales This Summer

Travel

From golden sandy beaches, epic mountainous landscapes and castles galore, Wales is a bucket list destination for those who want to immerse themselves in nature.

If you need some holiday inspiration, take a look at our best things to do in Wales this summer.

Francesca Brooking

Wed 24 Mar 2021

Disclaimer: International travel in Wales isn't permitted from outside Wales yet. This is intended for future trips. Please continue to follow government guidelines.

Wales may be a little on the small side but this country certainly knows how to pull out all the stops when it comes to dramatic scenery, award-winning beaches and castles.

If you’re keen to get away from it all this summer, it’s the perfect place to reconnect with nature.

Here, low-impact and eco-friendly holidays are easy thanks to the rise in cycling holidays and epic walking trails in the three national parks.

You can amble around castles to your heart’s content, go dolphin watching while supporting vital marine research or spend a day exploring charming seaside towns and off-grid ecovillages.

From the windy mountains of the north to the picturesque coastal getaways of the south, here are the best things to do in Wales this summer.

12 Best Things To Do In Wales This Summer

Natural stone arch over the sea

1. Ride the heritage railways

What better way to see the Welsh countryside in all its glory than on the historic Ffestiniog & Welsh Highlands Railways?

At almost 200 years old, the Ffestiniog Railway is the world’s oldest narrow gauge railway. Passengers can ride the 13 ½- mile journey from Porthmadog to Blaenau Ffestiniog, climbing 700 feet above sea level into the mountains along the way.

The Welsh Highland Railway is the UK’s longest heritage railway, running from Caernarfon to Porthmadog with highlights including Mount Snowdon and Beddgelert.

If you want to see more of these iconic railways, Ffestiniog Travel is hosting a 5-day behind the scenes tour which will take you to sections of the line that’s not normally seen by the average passenger. Check out dates here.

These two heritage railways make an unbeatable part of any Wales itinerary

2. Go for a cycling holiday

Wheely Wonderful Cycling offer a range of walking and cycling holidays across the UK to suit every level. For Wales, there are six cycling holidays to choose from, including shorter and longer excursions.

Each route starts from their base at Petchfield Farm near Ludlow and depending on your chosen route, you can expect to see breathtaking views of the Brecon Beacons, Radnorshire Hills and Cader Idris on the Welsh coast. Two take you on the Lon Las Cymru (Welsh National Cycling Route) which is a signed cycle route through the whole of Wales.

Prices start from about £350 per person and include all accommodation, luggage transported, bikes and equipment.

Bike resting against a signpost

Ride the Lon Las Cymru this summer

3. Have a ‘Bikecation’ in Carmarthenshire

For another bucket list cycling holiday in Wales, Carmarthenshire has launched a brand new series of Bikecations. Choose between two moderately challenging weekenders or a longer pick and mix route to suit your difficulty level.

Whichever one you go for, each one has stops built into the itinerary so you can catch your breath and see the best of Carmarthenshire.

The first Bikecation is a weekend of castles and coastline along the Tywi Valley and Carmarthen Bay Coastal Route. The second Bikecation is for the more experienced cyclists wanting epic climbs and views to match including the dramatic ascent of Y Mynydd Ddu/Black Mountain.

Bikecation three is a choice of 23 routes to build a week that suits you and your level.

Man cycling at the foot of a castle ruin

Carmarthenshire Bikecations suit any level whether you want a challenge or an easy ride

4. Hire a Skipper on a narrowboat

Fancy relaxing on the water in Wales this summer?

Beacon Park Boats offer luxury boating holidays in Brecon Beacons National Park. You can explore stunning canal routes on a 5-star narrowboat that sleeps 2-8 people and allows up to two dogs.

The boat hire makes it easy for beginners to get started but you can also make use of their brand new ‘Hire a Skipper’ service.

The bespoke service can be as hands-on or hands-off as you like, whether it’s guidance through the locks, getting to grips with how everything works or simply helping you find unmissable spots and attractions on your trip.

Narrowboat on a canal

Enjoy life in the slow lane on a 5-star narrowboat

5. Go dolphin watching in Cardigan Bay

Cardigan Bay is an inlet that carves out the distinctive curved shape of the Welsh coastline.

Joining the Lleyn peninsula in the north with Pembrokeshire in the south, the inlet is just 50 metres deep and home to wide beaches, coves, islands, estuaries and rich marine life.

It’s common to see bottlenose dolphins, harbour porpoise, whales, Atlantic grey seals and plenty of birds throughout the year. If you want to see the wildlife up close, head to New Quay and join one of the Dolphin Survey Boat Trips.

This ecotourism boat operator supports vital research carried out by the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre and often has a volunteer researcher onboard.

Dolphins breaching the water

Go dolphin watching and support vital marine research

6. Tour Lammas Eco Village

Lammas Eco Village, based in Glandwr near Crymych in Pembrokeshire is a low-impact, off-grid ecovillage comprising nine households and a community hub.

Visitors can take guided tours of the village and there are opportunities to learn about woodcraft, winemaking, willow basketry and sculpture.

The ecovillage is a thriving example of a low-impact lifestyle. All buildings are made out of natural materials and the entire village runs on renewable energy.

Pink eco hut with a grassy roof

Learn all there is to know about low impact living at Lammas Ecovillage

7. Be adventurous with a social enterprise

Fuel your inner adrenaline-junkie and support a good cause with Down to Earth’s adventures on the stunning Gower Peninsula. Activities include climbing and abseiling on some of the best beaches and cliff tops of the South Gower coast.

You can try the Down to Earth experience which is a full day of fun outdoor things to do such as climbing to the top of an oak tree, carving your own walking stick and baking handmade pizza in a wood-fired earth oven. You can also go coasteering, sea kayaking and rock jumping.

Down to Earth is a social enterprise that supports vulnerable and disadvantaged young people and adults through hands-on sustainable and practical activities.

Person climbing up a rock

Down to Earth offer ways to get active for a good cause

8. Hike epic trails in three national parks

Wales is home to three stunning national parks - Pembrokeshire, Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia.

Each one has plenty of one-day and multi-day trails that can easily accommodate a walking holiday.

Pembrokeshire’s popular route is the Coast Path, an epic 186-mile stretch of Welsh coastline. Inland, the Beacons Way is a 99-mile walk that takes eight days.

The route is demanding with high uphill ascents but the views make it worth your while.

Head to Snowdonia National Park to climb Snowdon, the tallest peak in Wales. There are six routes to the top and the entire round trip takes between 5-7 hours to complete.

Alternatively, you can also do the Snowdonia Way, a 97-mile long trail through the spectacular mountains of North Wales.

Water tumbling down the side of a mountain

Wales has three national Parks an abundance of one-day and multi-day trails

9. Go castle hunting

Wales has more than 600 castles. That’s more castles per square mile than anywhere in the world. Each castle has its own character and charm. Some still stand while others are ruins left from times gone by.

Channel Game of Thrones and build yourself an epic castle-themed road trip or cycling holiday with all the best that Wales has to offer en route.

Top castles for the itinerary are Conwy Castle, Cardiff Castle, Beaumaris Castle, Caernarfon Castle, Caerphilly Castle and Castell Coch.

Harbour looking out towards a castle

Castle capital of the world? Wales has over 600 of them to explore

10. Have a seaside day out in Tenby

Tenby is a charming seaside town located in Southwest Wales. It’s best known for its striking 13th-century town walls, sandy beaches and colourful fisherman’s cottages.

Take a stroll through the streets before stopping at Tenby Harbour. There you can relax on the beach, grab a bite to eat at a neighbouring restaurant or take a boat out to Caldey Island.

You won’t want to miss the award-winning Castle Beach for soft sand and shallow water. Although it’s fairly small, it’s been named the best beach in the UK. You’re also within easy reach of ice cream.

Tenby's Castle Beach is rated the best in the UK

11. Sleep in a tree tent

Glamping is a growing trend. It invites you to enjoy the best of nature with all the luxury and comfort of a proper bed and a good night’s sleep. It also allows for unique holiday accommodation that adds a bit of novelty to your weekend break.

One such example is the Red Kite Tree Tents by Chillderness.

Located on a private conservation estate in Powys, near Builth Wells and Newbridge-on-Wye, the Red Kite Tree Tents are slightly alien-looking woodland escapes, suspended among the trees.

There are two tents each with its own private firepit, kitchen area, shower and toilet. The tents sleep two and are fully insulated, have double beds, a wood-burning stove to keep you cosy at night no matter what.

Sleep in a red dragon's egg up in the trees

12. Walk the Pembrokeshire Coast Path

The Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail hugs the coastline for 186 miles of some of the most breathtaking coastal scenery in Britain.

Lying almost entirely within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, the trail displays an array of coastal flowers and birdlife, as well as evidence of human activity from Neolithic times.

From St Dogmaels in the north to Amroth in the south, the trail covers almost every kind of maritime landscape from steep limestone cliffs, undulating red sandstone bays, volcanic headlands, beaches, estuaries and flooded glacial valleys.

Completing the coast path in one go takes 10 to 15 days so most visitors walk a section at a time.

If you need somewhere to stay, look no further than OYO Lamphey Hall Hotel, a family-run country house hotel located in the picturesque Lamphey village on the Pembrokeshire Coast. The hotel has ten guestrooms, a charming terrace and garden, and a restaurant and bistro using local ingredients.

Wales’ best beaches are just a five minute drive from the hotel, including Manorbier, which is popular with surfers and seals alike; Barafundle Bay Beach, which has won numerous international beach awards; and Freshwater East.

Hotel lounge with sofas

OYO Lamphey Hall Hotel makes a restful stop on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path

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