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Camping in Wales

Nowhere does epic quite like Wales. From the stunning Pembrokeshire coastline to the mighty peaks of Snowdonia and the rugged rapture of the Brecon Beacons, it’s little wonder why camping in Cymru is top of many people’s bucket list. With everything from traditional tent campsites in the south to luxurious treehouses in the north, there’s a spot to please campers and glampers of all persuasions. So cross the Severn and bid a hearty ‘shwmae’ to the land of song. We’re confident you’ll come back a happy camper from any of the campsites we recommend.

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The best campsites in Wales

If there are better places to camp in the UK, tell that to the hordes of dedicated campers who pitch up in Wales every year. The Welsh camping scene is an embarrassment of riches. While the well-run, commercial holiday parks will invariably appeal to those with caravans, motorhomes or the less seasoned campers who prefer the reassurance of a sturdy static, our collection focuses on the best independent, tent-friendly campsites. These small-scale, family-friendly campsites can be found all across Wales, from Llandudno, Great Orme and Colwyn Bay in the north to the Gower, Swansea Bay and Glamorgan Heritage Coast in the south. Most campsites operate a crowd-pleasing pitch-where-you-like policy, meaning guests are free to find the perfect plot to erect that tent. For those campsites with set pitches, there’s sure to be a spacious spot suited to your tent and group size. Facilities vary from the rustic (think eco-loos and solar showers) to the refined (proper flush toilets and heated showers) and campfires are welcomed at most places. So if you have your heart set on a Pembrokeshire paradise promising a beach within reach, or a mountain retreat in the wilds of Snowdonia, we’ve got you covered. And if you yearn for something more upmarket, there are a whole host of fantastic Welsh glamping sites to discover.

Best places to visit in Wales

Wales punches way above its weight in the attractions stakes, the scale of which belies its diminutive 8,000-odd square miles. Besides the dramatic natural landscapes and coastal regions that promise a wealth of outdoor adventure, there are world-class heritage experiences, adrenaline-fuelled theme parks, historic castles and innumerable lovely towns and villages to discover. So leave the campsite behind and seek out some Wales' top places to visit.

Starting in the north, arguably nowhere defines Wales’ natural drama better than her highest mountain Snowdon and the spellbinding peaks of Snowdonia. This vast mountain range is a designated national park and one of Wales’ most visited regions. Not for nothing has this part of Wales acquired a reputation as the country’s outdoor adventure capital, centred around the town of Betws-y-Coed which lies on the edge of the Gwydyr Forest Park and is known as ‘the gateway to Snowdonia’. The perfect springboard for exploring North Wales, the town lies just a short drive from the Conwy coast too. Rock climbing, gorge walking, abseiling, coasteering and much more can all be enjoyed with North Wales Active. And of course, there’s the not-so-small matter of Wales’ (and England’s) highest mountain – scale the 3,560ft on foot via the Llanberis Path or take the more leisurely route on the Snowdon Mountain Railway, one of the world’s great train journeys.

Once the epicentre of Wales’ slate mining industry, Blaenau Ffestiniog (known as ‘the town that roofed the world’) wears its industrial heritage proudly with the Llechwedd Slate Caverns providing those camping in Snowdonia with a fascinating interactive insight into the industry that once employed 17,000 men at its height. Highlights include a guided railway tour deep underground and an off-road adventure in a military 4x4 through craters and quarries. Upping the adrenaline, Zip World can boast Europe’s largest 4-person zip line, a vetigo-inducing 1800ft above the slate cavern complex.

Following the North Wales Coastal Path westward past the Menai Straits to Anglesey and Puffin Island, the Llŷn Peninsula juts out like an outstretched arm reaching across the Irish Sea. Set between sea and mountains, this stunning headland is a mecca for campers, boasting the charming seaside resort of Criccieth, the chi-chi sailing town of Abersoch, and, just a short boat trip away, hallowed Bardsey Island home to grey seals, seabirds and a sixth century monastery. No trip to the Llŷn is complete without a visit to the utterly trippy Italianate village of Portmeirion – the mysterious setting for sixties cult classic The Prisoner and, of late, Festival Number 6.

Snaking down the West Wales coast through bohemian student seaside town Aberyswyth and the idyllic harbour towns of Aberaeron and New Quay, explore the wildlife of Cardigan Bay by taking a boat trip out to spot dolphins, porpoises and Atlantic grey seals. Or if you haven’t got your sea legs, find a spot on the harbour wall, plonk yourself down with some of the best fish and chips in Wales and keep watching the waves.

Pembrokeshire needs little introduction – its breathtaking beaches have graced many a glossy tourist board advert and the allure of camping in Pembrokeshire is all too evident. Thanks to the Pembrokeshire Coast Path (which linked up with the 870 miles Wales Coast Path in 2012), this magical landscape is eminently explorable on foot. So be sure to pack your walking boots along with your camping gear. The medieval majesty of St Davids – the UK’s smallest city – is a must visit. St Davids Cathedral (dating from the 12th century) and the ruins of the Bishops Palace are essential visiting. Just down the road, the quaint estuary village of Solva is brimming with charming antique shops, craft shops, and art galleries. For our money, a boat trip out across St Brides Bay to the islands of Grassholm, Ramsey and Skomer is an undoubted highlight of a visit to Pembrokeshire. Thousand Islands Expeditions run regular excursions from their base at St Justinians Lifeboat Station. Away from the coast, the Preseli Hills rise 536m above sea level. Strap on your boots to experience the stunning panoramic views that stretch as far as Ireland on a clear day (you might even be able to spot your campsite!). There are plenty of family-friendly attractions to please the younger members of your camping party too. For a great day out with the kids in Pembrokeshire seek out Folly Farm Adventure Park & Zoo just north of Saundersfoot and Tenby, or the fantastic Oakwood Theme Park near Narberth, home to several white-knuckle rides and rollercoasters including the hair-raising Megafobia.

Skirting the South Wales Valleys, the sprawling Brecon Beacons National Park offers yet another perspective of the Welsh landscape. Campsites in the Brecon Beacons are plentiful and it isn't hard to see why. Comprising some of the highest mountain ranges in southern Britain, the Beacons are home to the imposing peaks of Pen-y-Fan, Corn Du, Cribyn and Fan-y-Big. The Black Mountains spread eastwards across Powys and into neighbouring Monmouthshire and the Usk Valley. It’s against this backdrop that the annual Green Man Festival takes place just outside the picturesque market town of Crickhowell, an area that is also popular for short breaks outside of festival season. There are innumerable lovely walks to enjoy – be dazzled by the bluebells at Coed-y-Bwyndd Woods or take things slow with a stroll along the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal. Brecon itself is also worth a visit, not least for the town’s fascinating Regimental Museum of the Royal Welsh, whose exploits were immortalised in the seminal film Zulu.

And if you have a hankering for historic sites, you’ve come to the right place. Wales has over 100 surviving castles scattered across the country, with many of the finest examples to be found along the border the west of Offa’s Dyke. Beaumaris, HarlechCaernarfon and Conwy date from Edward I’s invasion of Wales in the 13th century. Today these medieval fortresses comprise a UNESCO World Heritage Site with many cracking campsites nearby.

You truly are spoiled for choice of things to do on a camping holiday in Wales. Even after a week spent exploring the pristine beaches, stunning mountains, fascinating historic sites and tourist attractions, it can still feel like you’ve barely scratched the surface. But whatever takes your fancy, that famous Welsh welcome awaits.

Wales' best beaches

It’s no exaggeration to say that Wales’ beaches are amongst the best in the world. With nearly 900 miles of coastline, there’s no shortage of beautiful beaches to explore and Wales can boast over 40 Blue Flag beaches. So whether it’s surfing and watersports you seek or a quiet cove that’s ripe for rock pooling, there’s sure to be a stretch of sand and sea to satisfy your needs. Best of all, many campsites boast a beach within reach, so if you yearn for campsites near the sea, our collection has you covered.

Starting at the very tip, the soft sand of Anglesey’s crescent-shaped Newborough Beach is well worth the crossing over Britannia Bridge, not least for the secluded gem of Llanddwyn, the island’s very own tidal peninsula. For the classic seaside experience, few places can rival Llandudno’s North Shore. Presided over by a beautifully preserved Victorian promenade, beachgoers can enjoy entertainment of old like donkey rides, Punch & Judy or the amusement arcade on the pier. Hitch a ride on the cable car to the top of Great Orme to enjoy the best views of the coast.

If watersports are on your agenda, look no further than Abersoch. Situated on the southern tip of the Llŷn Peninsula, this well-heeled resort is an internationally famous centre for sailing, with regular regattas in the summer months. Besides the yachts, powerboats and windsurfers are a regular fixture, co-existing peacefully with bathers thanks to speed restrictions and a motorboat exclusion zone. A charming array of colourful beach huts are available for rent, boasting views across the bay to the St Tudwal’s islands and the Snowdonia mountains beyond.

Cardigan Bay is blessed with an inordinate amount of amazing beaches from mountain-backed Barmouth in the north to the perfect cove of Mwnt further down the coast. In between there’s plenty of hidden gems along the Ceredigion stretch of coast – seek out the back-of-beyond beach at Llangranog (overlooked by a clifftop dry slope ski centre) or one of our personal favourites, Tresaith, whose beachfront pub The Ship Inn makes it a worthy contender for one of the best beaches in Wales.

Wales’ answer to Australia’s Gold Coast, Pembrokeshire is the country’s surfing capital. While the water might be slightly cooler than the balmy waters of the Pacific, the waves are just as intense with scores of surfers flock to Abereiddy, Manorbier, Maroles, Newgale and Whitesands.

Five of Wales' best pubs

Everyone knows the best campsites are the ones with a pub just down the road. Finding your perfect plot then pitching up the tent can be thirsty work, so next on the to-do list should be setting off to sample the local libations. Thankfully, Wales boasts some fantastic countryside pubs and excellent beach bars. From atmospheric old coaching inns to swanky gastro-pubs, there’s a pint with your name on it at any number of wonderful watering holes.

  • The Ty Coch Inn at Porthdinllaen on the Llŷn Peninsula is a regular fixture of the world’s best beach bars roundups. The waterside location is peerless, with a front so close to sea you’re almost drinking with the fishes.
  • The Taffarn Sinc sits proudly atop the Preseli Hills and claims to be Pembrokeshire’s highest licensed pub. It’s an old-school Pembrokeshire gem, with a quirky beer garden and fascinating ephemera adorning its wood-paneled walls.
  • There’s not many Ceredigion pubs where Dylan Thomas hasn’t propped up the bar at one stage, but the great poets’ one-time watering holes in New Quay (principally The Black Lion Inn) hold a special place in the Dylan myth. Enjoy the views of Cardigan Bay from the beer garden as you watch fisherman land their lobster pots at the harbour.
  • For foodies, The Inn at Penallt just outside Monmouth is an essential stop on the Welsh gastronomy trail. This gorgeous 17th century inn is famed for its menu celebrating the best of local produce and a decent selection of real ales. The beer garden enjoys idyllic views over the Wye Valley.
  • Perched on the banks of the Teifi estuary, The Ferry Inn St Dogmaels is a candidate for Wales’ best riverside pub. A welcoming interior, a solid menu of pub grub favourites, and a sought-after sun terrace overlooking the water all combine to make the whole experience akin to enjoying a high class cruise. Don’t forget to wave to the passing boats.

Our top 10 things to do in Wales

  • Spot dolphins, porpoises and seals in Cardigan Bay
  • Scale the summit of Snowdon via the Snowdon Mountain Railway
  • Dive bomb across the sky at up to 100mph at Zip World
  • Learn about Wales' proud mining heritage at the Big Pit
  • Take to the waves with a surf lesson at Whitesands beach
  • Sample laverbread, Gower salt marsh lamb and Caerphilly cheese at Abergavenny Food Festival
  • Cheer on the Welsh rugby team at the Principality Stadium
  • Practice your Welsh and experience the culture at the National Eisteddfod
  • Visit the elegant horticultural wonders of Bodnant Garden
  • And of course… go camping!

About Camping in Wales

Going camping in Wales? Discover the best Welsh campsites here, from the coast of Swansea and Pembrokeshire National Park to the mountains of the Snowdonia and the Isle of Anglesey. Every campsite is chosen by the expert Hipcamp team, including seaside campsites, woodland campsites, dog-friendly campsites, tent-only campsites and campsites where your campervan is welcome too! Find your next adventure here and book online at the very best price.

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