Barns in Cardigan Bay with showers

Pitch along Wales’ biggest bay to spot dolphins and explore fetching fishing villages.

Popular camping styles for Cardigan Bay

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Barns in Cardigan Bay with showers guide


Wales’ largest bay straddles a huge swathe of the West Wales coast, rolling from North Pembrokeshire’s weather-beaten Strumble Head via Ceredigion north to the south of Snowdonia (Eyri) National Park, climaxing at the tip of the gorgeously green Llyn Peninsula and its AONB. It includes hidden coves, open sands, time-lost harbours, and one of Wales’ biggest, liveliest cultural centres, Aberystwyth. This is Europe’s best bottlenose dolphin-watching spot, and there are watersports to be found in Abersoch. Hiking is relentlessly fantastic, both on the Wales Coast Path and through the remote Cambrian Mountains ramparting the bay. The Llyn Peninsula and North Pembrokeshire’s smaller campsites make for particularly memorable pitching.

Where to go

North Pembrokeshire Coast

Heading southeast from Cardigan through North Pembrokeshire, Cardigan Bay culminates at storm-tossed Strumble Head, having wound through Newport and Fishguard. Along the way are striking sights like Dinas Head (a headland cut off from the mainland by a stream), vast sandy beaches like Newport Sands, and the ruined Abbey of St Dogmaels. Newport has several facility-rich campsites—otherwise, sleep out near Strumble Head in a yurt rental.

Ceredigion Coast

Ceredigion boasts the lion’s share of Cardigan Bay—a stretch running from Cardigan to Aberaeron and Aberystwyth up to the Dyfi Estuary. The area is plastered in campsites, with the New Quay area and the coast north of Aberystwyth offering especially good choices. Great hiking can be found along the Wales Coast Path, which takes campers via comely harbours like New Quay with its bottlenose dolphin-watching trips, an abundance of idyllic sandy coves, and rolling dunes around the Dyfi Estuary.

Southern Snowdonia Coast & Llyn Peninsula

Cardigan Bay’s northern portion is flanked by Snowdonia National Park, where the sandy, castle-studded seaboard jostles for position with the jagged mountain peaks and emerald-green valleys behind. The shores then swerve west for 30 miles out onto the lower-lying Llyn Peninsula AONB. Many of North Wales’ best beaches hem this coast, and among many excellent pitching places, the dune-rimmed coast around Morfa Harlech and Morfa Dyffryn stands out.

Cambrian Mountains

Bare yellow-green hills scored by narrow wooded valleys loom inland above Cardigan Bay. Although never surpassing 2,475 feet, these are mighty wild places that cross by Wales’ toughest long-distance trail, the Cambrian Way. This, Britain’s remotest land south of the Scottish Highlands, is most easily accessed from Aberystwyth to the northwest. There are scarcely any campsites in the middle, so places like Aberystwyth, Tregaron, and Lampeter on the western periphery are your best options for camping bases.

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