Coastal barns in Wales

Misty mountains, rugged coastal walks, and a warm Welsh welcome await campers in this Celtic country.

Popular camping styles for Wales

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Coastal barns in Wales guide


From wave-ravaged sea cliffs to idyllic country villages, Wales (Cymru in Welsh) packs a lot into its small size. Adventures are easily found, whether you want to explore cliff-top medieval castles, hike through wild mountain valleys, or go coasteering along rocky headlands, and it’s easy to discover the best Welsh campsites, from the coast of Swansea and Pembrokeshire National Park to the mountains of the Snowdonia and the Isle of Anglesey. Welsh weather changes as quickly as the landscapes, but mild temperatures mean it’s still a year-round destination for outdoor explorers, and campers have plenty of options all across Wales, from Llandudno, Powys, and Colwyn Bay in the north to the Gower, Swansea Bay and Glamorgan Heritage Coast in the south.

Pitch up a tent by the beach in summer, enjoy a glamping getaway in a luxury yurt or tipi on an organic farm, or cosy up at a family-run caravan park to experience the famous Welsh hospitality. Most operate with a crowd-pleasing pitch-where-you-like policy, but even at 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. Just 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.

Where to go

North Wales

The craggy peaks and glassy lakes of the Snowdonia National Park tempt hikers to Wales’ northern hills, where camping options range from touring caravan parks in Gwynedd and Bala, to glamping pods hidden away in the forest. Not for nothing has this part of Wales acquired a reputation as the country’s outdoor adventure capital, centred around Betws-y-Coed, the “gateway to Snowdonia.” The perfect springboard for exploring North Wales, the town is a short drive from the Conwy coast too. Rock climbing, gorge walking, abseiling, and coasteering can all be enjoyed, and of course, there’s the not-so-small matter of Wales’ highest mountain—scale the 3,560-foot peak on foot via the Llanberis Path or take the leisurely Snowdon Mountain Railway.

To the west, golden beaches and sea-view camping sites dot the shores of the Llyn Peninsula, while water sports and kite-surfing are the activities of choice along the wind-whipped coast of Anglesey. Set between sea and mountains, the peninsula is a mecca for campers with the seaside resort of Criccieth; the sailing town of Abersoch; Caernarfon’s waterfront; and, just a short boat trip away, hallowed Bardsey Island, home to grey seals and seabirds. Plus, hikers have options in North Wales beyond Snowdon—the Offa’s Dyke Path in Denbighshire and the North Wales Coastal Path are both must-dos.

West Wales

Life is all about the seaside in West Wales, with miles of sandy beaches and rugged coastline to explore—even on foot thanks to the Pembrokeshire Coast Path (which linked up with the 870-mile Wales Coast Path in 2012). The rocky shores and Blue Flag beaches of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park are a natural playground for coastal campers, while Oakwood Theme Park and Folly Farm Adventure Park are among Wales’ most popular family attractions. Cruise through Haverfordwest to pitch your tent by the beachfront in Tenby or St Davids, enjoy short walks and hikes along the sea cliffs, or dare to try coasteering in the place that coined the phrase.

Mid Wales

The verdant landscapes of Mid Wales stretch from the English border to the Cambrian coast, where summer visitors can vacation in Cardigan Bay; go caravanning through the bohemian student seaside town of Aberystwyth by campervan; or visit the harbour towns of Aberaeron and New Quay. Inland, the star attraction is the Brecon Beacons National Park and its imposing peaks (Pen-y-Fan, Corn Du, Cribyn, and Fan-y-Big). There are ample options for campers—choose from lively holiday parks, lakeside cabins, or tranquil country camping sites. You can even spend a night in a traditional gypsy caravan. Explore the park’s hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding trails; take a scenic canal boat cruise along the Wye River; then stroll around the market town of Hay-on-Wye.

South Wales

Windswept beaches and dramatic sea cliffs run along the Gower Peninsula, which is the starting point of the Wales Coast Path and a hotspot for surfers. Swansea is South Wales’ quintessential beach resort and a favourite for family camping holidays, while Carmarthenshire offers inland pleasures and the Welsh capital, Cardiff, has urban camping for those missing city life. To the east, the Wye Valley is the spot for relaxing getaways, where glampers can sleepover in bell tents and tipis, or you can park up your campervan or motorhome at riverside camping sites.

Top Beaches in Wales

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

  1. 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 tidal peninsula.
  2. 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 for the best coastal views.
  3. If watersports are on your agenda, look no further than Abersoch. On the southern tip of the Llŷn Peninsula, this well-heeled resort is an internationally famous centre for sailing and summer regattas. Besides the yachts, powerboats and windsurfers are a regular fixture, coexisting peacefully with bathers thanks to a motorboat exclusion zone. An array of colourful beach huts are available for rent with views across the bay to the St Tudwal’s islands and the Snowdonia mountains beyond.
  4. Cardigan Bay is blessed with an inordinate number of amazing beaches, from mountain-backed Barmouth in the north to the perfect cove of Mwnt further down the coast. In between are 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 contender for one of the best beaches in Wales.
  5. 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 flocking to Abereiddy, Manorbier, Maroles, Newgale and Whitesands.

5 Best Pubs in Wales

Everyone knows the best campsites are the ones with a pub just down the road. Finding your perfect plot and 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 beach bars. From atmospheric old coaching inns to swanky gastro-pubs, there’s a pint with your name on it at these wonderful watering holes.

  1. The Ty Coch Inn at Porthdinllaen on the Llŷn Peninsula is a regular on lists covering the world’s best beach bars. The waterside location is peerless, with a front so close to sea you’re almost drinking with the fishes.
  2. The Tafarn Sinc sits proudly atop the Preseli Hills and claims to be Pembrokeshire’s highest licensed pub. It’s an old-school gem, with a quirky beer garden and fascinating ephemera adorning its wood-panelled walls.
  3. There are not many Ceredigion pubs where Dylan Thomas hasn’t propped up the bar at one stage, but the great poet’s one-time watering holes in New Quay (principally the Black Lion Inn) hold a special place in the Dylan myth. Enjoy Cardigan Bay views from the beer garden as you watch fishers land their lobster pots at the harbour.
  4. 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 local menu and decent selection of ales. The beer garden enjoys idyllic views over the Wye Valley.
  5. 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 for an incredible experience.

Top 10 Things to Do in Wales

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

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