Wales is the ideal place to spend a weekend break. Take your pick of hills to climb, castles to visit (over 100 of them), amazing vistas, beaches, cities, Welsh wine and food. From north to south there is plenty to do on a weekend in Wales.
To get a good variety of places in Wales, I asked several expert travel bloggers to contribute their best weekends in Wales and here are the results. I will be adding many of them to my list of place to visit in Wales for a weekend or maybe longer.
This article refers to a visit or visits made before the travel restrictions put in place to deal with the 2020–21 Covid-19 outbreak around the world. Please take into account the advice from your local government before planning any travel and click here to see the current UK government advice regarding Covid-19
Best Weekends in the North of Wales
Contributed by Larch from The Silver Nomad
Barmouth, on the west coast of Wales, is a seaside resort with long sandy beaches on the Mawddach estuary. Barmouth Bridge which spans the estuary is over 150 years old and is a Grade II* listed single-track wooden railway viaduct. It is currently being restored, but when open you can use the pedestrian or cycle path to cross it and have epic views over the estuary towards Barmouth.
The Barmouth Heritage Trail takes you around the town to places of interest and highlights of historical importance. Take in the views across Cardigan Bay from the Dinas Oleu, (‘Fortress of Light’), hill fort dating back to the Roman Period. Admire the old houses including the Tŷ Gwyn which is the oldest building in the county and estimated to have been built in around 1465. You can pick up a Heritage Trail Map from the Tourist Office for a small fee. There is a shorter trail for anyone with mobility issues.
For a different view of Barmouth, take to the waters and go out in a boat or hire a stand-up paddleboard which you can get from the Yacht Club. If you fancy viewing the area from two wheels, there are cycle routes and trails to follow.
Barmouth is also the perfect base to explore Snowdonia, Harlech Castle, Porthmadog or Portmerion.
There are a range of hotels in Barmouth or alternatively Airbnbs in Barmouth to base yourself from. Treat yourself to a meal in The Bank, The Bay Restaurant or try Myrddins Brewery & Distillery micro pub for locally brewed beers and home cooked food.
Contributed by Dylan from Shoot from the Trip
Llandudno, on the coast of North Wales, is the queen of Welsh Victorian seaside resorts. This might conjure up images of Punch and Judy and amusement arcades, but the biggest draw for Llandudno is its spectacular setting. Flanked between two headlands, the town has two large beaches. The North Shore features a three mile Victorian promenade, where the West Shore is a wilder sandy beach with breath taking views along the dramatic coastline.
For outdoor lovers, the Great Orme headland is wonderful to explore. With an abundance of wildlife including the now famous Llandudno mountain goats, the headland can be explored on foot, by tramway, or for those with a head for heights, the cable cars. The smaller Little Orme headland to the other end of the promenade is also great to explore, with a colony of seals which return to its coves annually to rear their young.
Back into the town, Llandudno’s cast iron Victorian Pier is the longest in Wales at 700m. Walking down it’s wooden boardwalk is like taking a step back in time. Whilst the town centre is bustling hub full of cafes and gift shops for tourists, there are some fabulous independent businesses which attract the younger generations. From cool and contemporary coffee shops, craft beer pubs and fantastic restaurants serving the best local produce and seafood, there’s something to suit everyone in Llandudno.
Contributed by Pauline from Bee Loved City
Located in mid-wales, Lake Vyrnwy is a wonderful place to go on a weekend break in Wales.
There is a lot to do around the reservoir and in the area. If you like nature activities, you can go walking or cycling around the reservoir. You will also find a few walking paths that will take you to waterfalls.
In summer, kayaking is a great option! A lot of people bring their own kayak but you will also find a few rental places near the main car park. There is also a horse riding centre where you can book a tour.
In terms of accommodation, opt for Lake Vyrnwy Hotel and Spa. Perched at the top of a hill, this hotel offers the most beautiful views of the lake! They also have a spa and wellness centre, perfect for couples who want to relax!
Even if you don’t choose to stay at the hotel, make sure to go there for lunch. They have 2 pubs with a terrace. The views are fantastic, the food is delicious and it’s very reasonably priced.
Lake Vyrnwy is one of the most beautiful places in Wales and yet, is so underrated! If you are looking for a place with stunning landscapes and a relaxing atmosphere, it will be ideal for you!
Contributed by Bec from Wyld Family Travel
There is nothing better than a weekend away and you can have a perfect one in Wales. The small picturesque town of Blaenau Ffestiniog is an amazingly unique place to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Located in the Slate Mountains that were once the backbone of Wales, Blaenau Ffestiniog has some amazing activities. You can stay in town and explore easily from there or you can have one of the most amazing glamping experiences just out of town.
Llechwedd Slate Mines are located just out of Blaenau Ffestiniog and they would have to have some of the most luxurious glamping tents in Wales on the side of an old Slate mine mountain. With views that are ever-changing, you can sit on the deck and watch the sun go down over then mine watching the colours change.
After you have had a brilliant nights sleep you can do tours of the old underground Slate mines and learn about how important the industry was to this part of Wales. You can also see how even though the mining is long finished the mine is now providing a different type of industry to the locals in tourism. You can do a tour of the old mountain slate mines in the back of a truck. There are zip lining and underground trampolines really making this area fantastic for couples, singles and families alike.
Around Blaenau Ffestiniog you can also hike some amazing tracks with more views that will take your breath away, you can ride the railway and go from lush green countryside to the greyness of the Slate mountains or you can sit in your glamping tent and watch the world go by.
Contributed by Shobna from Just Go Places Blog
Conwy in North Wales is fairly compact but there’s plenty to do to keep you busy for a weekend.
The hulking Conwy Castle dominates the local landscape. Built by Edward 1 to keep the Welsh under control, Conwy Castle is one of the UNESCO world heritage sites in the United Kingdom. The castle is impressive to visit even in its current ruined state. The town sprung up around the castle and is enclosed by city walls that you can walk around. The city walls were meant to keep the troublesome Welsh outside and inside the walls the English could live in peace.
In sharp contrast to Castle Conwy, the smallest house in the United Kingdom (according to the Guiness Book of World Records) is also located in Conwy. Only 6 feet wide and 10 feet high, it has a prime location by the harbor and was occupied until 1900. In addition to the charming harbor, take a walk around the town and admire the historic architecture such as the medieval merchant houses.
Near Conwy, there is plenty of walking trails in the countryside. Other interesting things to do nearby include the Conwy Nature Reserve and the National Trust property, Bodnant Gardens. The Victorian resort town of Lladudno is not far away either.
The most charming place to stay in the center of Conwy is the Castle Hotel Conwy which has rooms as well as a pub. Castle Hotel started out as a mere inn in the 18th century. Not only the name but the grand facade was upgraded after becoming a stop on the Royal Mail coaching service. Local dignitaries held a function for Princess Victoria (later Queen) when she and her mother passed through Conwy.
Contributed by Mal from Raw Mal Roams
Snowdonia is the largest National Park in Wales situated in the northwest part of the country. The biggest attraction in Snowdonia is climbing Wales highest peak – Mount Snowdon which measures 1,085 meters. There are a few different routes to the top varying in difficulty.
If it’s your first time, take the Llanberis Path that starts in Llanberis and takes about 5 hours to the top and back. Alternatively, there is a train that takes passengers all the way to the peak. The view from the top is truly spectacular, but you need to get a little lucky to get good weather. On a clear day, you can see stunning mountain ranges, post glacier lakes and even Ireland in the distance!
If you have more time in the area, check out Beddgelert, which is a charming, small town for an ultimate Welsh experience. Other things to do in the area include a hike to Dolwyddelan Castle and kayaking ion Bala Lake.
The best time to visit Snowdonia National Park and climb Mount Snowdon is in the summer when you have the best chance for nice weather and good visibility. Best places to stay can be found in Llanerbis, Caernarfon or Conwy which are situated only a short drive to the national park and offer a good range of hotels for different budgets.
Best Weekends in the South of Wales
Contributed by Larch from The Silver Nomad
From England, once you drive over the Severn Bridge into Wales it is a 45-minute journey to the town of Abergavenny. Although it seems to be a quiet market town, Abergavenny is actually bustling and vibrant, with lots of things to see and do.
Abergavenny Museum is set within the keep of the ruins of Abergavenny Castle. On display are prehistoric tools, an artefacts from Abergavenny’s Roman origins, as well as various items from Victorian rural life.
Close by are the beautiful Linda Vista gardens with views out across Castle Meadows towards Abergavenny Bridge which crosses the River Usk. Rare orchids and shrubs can be found in the gardens and it is a pleasant place for a walk.
Abergavenny Castle is not the only castle in the area. Just outside Abergavenny are the ruins of threeNorman castles, Skenfrith, Grosmont and Whitecastle. There is a walking route of just over 18 miles which takes in the castles, starting from Whitecastle.
In the Town Hall, there is a market on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays where you can pick up produce from local and Wye Valley producers as well as Welsh souvenirs.
For fabulous vegetarian and vegan food try Bean and Bread in Lion Street. For a fun day, book yourself into the Abergavenny Bakery and learn how to make delicious artisan breads from around the world.
The Monmouth area is also blessed with vineyards which produce amazing Welsh wines. You can take a vineyard tour and wine tasting at the award-winning Whitecastle Vineyard, Sugar Loaf Vineyard or Ancre Hill Vineyard.
Stay at the beautiful and elegant Angel Hotel. The hotel was the winner of the Welsh Hotel of the year in the 2020 edition of the Good Hotel Guide. Take Afternoon Tea in the hotel or dinner in the Oak Room or Foxhunters Bar.
Contributed by Roma from Roaming Required
If you’re after a weekend break with a mix of ancient buildings, a hive of sporting activity, a thriving independent food scene all built around a medieval castle built on top of a grassy mound in the centre of the city, then Cardiff is the place for you.
On rainy days, lose hours in the cultural sites of National Museum and Cardiff Castle, or simply stroll through the beautiful Victorian arcades and quirky weekend markets, while snacking on Welsh cakes made fresh off the griddle.
Cardiff has a surprisingly spectacular range of independent restaurants and cafes serving up delicious goodness. The range is varied and there’s something for all tastes; including tapas, , neapolitan-style pizzerias, sustainable dining restaurants with a nose to tail ethos, there’s even an Ivy!
The Welsh do love their drink and finding somewhere to drink in Cardiff isn’t a challenge. There’s your average pub on every street corner, but if you’re looking for something a bit more special, head to Handsome Jack’s a subterranean drinking den, sip craft beer in a former fire station at Tiny Rebel, or Bootlegger for a speakeasy-style cocktail bar in the Castle Quarter. However you choose to dine in Cardiff, one thing is for sure, you shan’t go hungry!
Tenby and Pembrokeshire Weekend
Contributed by Suzanne from Meandering Wild
Tenby is a small seaside town on the south coast of Pembrokeshire in the far south-west of Wales. It is perfect for exploring and using as a base for a weekend exploring the area and is close to beaches, castles and wildlife.
It is about an hour from the end of the M4 making it accessible but remote at the same time and the size of the town means that everything is easily reached on foot if you want to stay local.
The town has two large sandy beaches divided by a rocky outcrop. The town stands behind the beach and is a bust seaside resort town. From the beach, small boats will take you to the monastic island of Caldey Island where you can visit the lighthouse, see the ornate monastery and taste the chocolate made on the island.
Near to Tenby are three stunning castles – Manorbier Castle, Carew Castle and Pembroke Castle which can all be explored easily from Tenby. If you want to escape the bustle of the mainland then Skomer Island makes the perfect trip. This small island is home to thousands of puffins who visit in the summer months and it is definitely visiting to experience the busy life in a puffin colony.
Contributed by Angie from Where Angie Wanders
One of the most beautiful places to visit for a weekend break in Wales is the Brecon Beacons. The national park spans over 519 sq. miles and offers the visitor a chance to chase waterfalls, climb mountains, wander around quaint Welsh villages and enjoy spectacular scenery.
The Brecon Beacons are a 4/5-hour car journey from England depending on driving conditions and have plenty of places to stay ranging from 4* hotels such as The Cawdor in Llandeilo to a stay in a yurt at Wye Glamping in Brecon.
If you love the outdoors, then the Brecon Beacons will have you smiling from ear-to-ear.
Hiking enthusiasts will enjoy the challenge of climbing Pen-Y-Fan the highest mountain in South Wales, or back to ground maybe a walk around Llangorse Lake famous for its connections with King Arthur!
Or perhaps a boat ride on the Monmouthshire and Brecon canal or a steam train ride on the Brecon railway is more your style.
For castle lovers, check out the ruins of Carreg Cennen Castle, situated high on a hilltop with amazing views all around the Welsh countryside from the top. And for those who are looking for some animal encounters then why not try horse riding through the countryside or maybe even sheep trekking – yes, it is an activity you can do in Wales!
Whatever you are looking for you can bet you will find it in the Brecon Beacons.
Poppit Sands Beach
Contributed by Sinead from Map Made Memories
Poppit Sands Beach lies on the west coast of Wales in the hamlet of Poppit. It is a scenic, tranquil location for a perfect weekend break in Wales.
The beach itself is a broad expanse of pristine sand bordering the Teifi Estuary that sweeps inland to the charming village of St.Dogmaels. The dog friendly Blue Flag beach is nestled between two headlands and is backed by low sand dunes. It is scenic, sheltered and quiet.
Visitors can soak up the sun and views, beachcomb for driftwood, fish in the Teifi Estuary or swim and surf in the sea.
For those seeking a more active weekend break, Poppit Sands lies at the end of the 300-kilometre-long Pembrokeshire Coastal path. Hikers can follow the well signposted cliff paths to enjoy breath-taking coastal views and can spot seals and dolphins in the clear waters below. The stretch of coastline from Poppit to Ceibwr Bay via Cemmaes Head is spectacular.
History fans can tour the medieval castle remains and Georgian mansion at Cardigan Castle in nearby Cardigan or the 12th Century abbey at St. Dogmaels. In addition to all the fresh fish on offer locally, foodies can enjoy a gin tasting experience – or the longer gin making experience – at the craft gin distillery, In The Welsh Wind.
To enjoy the local scenery, visitors should choose to stay at the aptly named Cliff Hotel and Spa which is just metres from the cliff edge and offers a fantastic view of Poppit Sands and the Irish Sea.
Contributed by Rich from RJ On Tour
Monmouth is a pretty town located where the River Wye and Monnow meet on the border of England and Wales. It is a great place for a mini-break and if you time it right there are some great music festivals.
One of the most historically significant buildings in Monmouth is the Monnow Bridge. This is the last remaining fortified bridge in the UK and is rather impressive. As with most towns on the border, it has a castle. Monmouth Castle is a nice ruin to visit which date back to the 11th century, still standing are parts of the tower and main hall. For fans of history, the local museum has a big collection of artefacts relating to Admiral Horatio Nelson amongst other eras.
The area is popular with hikers and outdoor enthusiasts who are drawn to the river Wye and Wye Valley AONB. This is a fantastic place for a walk including many circular walks from Monmouth Town centre. The most impressive is upstream along the Wye to Symonds Yat and back through some stunning woodland. Another popular walk is to the Kymin, a hill overlooking the town and the surrounding area.
Water sports in particular Canoeing and Kayaking are easily enjoyed from various providers in Monmouth. These offer guided trips from the town going either up or downstream.
The town centre has a variety of pubs and restaurants including the centrally located Punch House in Agincourt Square. The Punch House is also a centrally located place to stay. The coaching inn is a Grade II listed building with many original features.
Gower Peninsula, South Wales
Contributed by Ben Holbrook from Driftwood Journals
Jutting out from Wales’s rugged south coast, the Gower peninsula is famed for being the UK’s first ever official AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty). And boy is it outstandingly beautiful! It is surrounded by blissful beaches and you are never more than 15 minutes or so from the sea – in many ways it feels more like an island.
And there’s plenty to see and do, too. Spend a weekend walking with wild ponies out to the iconic Worm’s Head island at Rhossili Bay, which has been listed by all sorts of travel publications as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Go coasteering and rock climbing with the friendly local instructors at RipnRock or take a surf lesson at Llangennith beach, followed by a few pints and some proper pub grub at the fire-lit King’s Head.
Spend another day cycling along the promenade to the quaint fishing village of Mumbles, where you can tour the famous ice cream parlours (Joe’s, Verdi’s, Forte’s) and nibble local delicacies like laverbread (seaweed!), cockles and Welshcakes at the many cutesy cafes and restaurants that look out over the bay.
Work it all off with a hike along the Wales Coastal Path (the world’s first to span the entire length of a country’s coastline), stopping at secluded beach coves (like Pwlldu Bay and Brandy Cove), which were used by smugglers and pirates to bring their illicit contraband ashore. Whether you’re into adventure in the great outdoors or food-focused fun in cosy cafes and country pubs, the Gower peninsula is guaranteed to delight. Be sure to say “os gwelwch yn dda” (please) and “diolch” (thank you) if you fancy trying out a bit of Welsh!
Contributed by Mansoureh from Travels with Mansoureh
In the north of Wales, on the border of Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire lies the beautiful village of Cenarth. The village straddles the River Teifi and it is famous for its waterfalls. Conrath Falls are basically a series of small waterfalls and rock pools.
The best time to visit the falls is autumn when you can see salmon and seatrout leaping up the falls. Don’t worry if you miss the autumn, Cenarth Falls is a natural beauty spot and it is open throughout the year. The car park is free of charge during the winters, but you have to pay during the summer seasons.
From the car park, there is a walking path alongside the river, where you can stroll around and have a better view of the 18th-century bridge of Cenarth. The bridge is a three arch bridge, which was built in 1787 by William Edwards.
Cenarth is only 20 minutes drive from Mwnt beach, one of the prettiest spot on the north coast. There are a few walking coastal paths, which offers you an amazing view of the sea.
Many visitors prefer to go for camping and glamping in Cenarth. Cenarth Park Holiday is open to visitors in the summer season, while you can find cool wooden pods on Airbnb during the off-peak seasons.
I hope this guide to some of the best weekends in Wales has whet your appetite for the next time you are able to visit Wales and enjoy its beauty.
Map of the Best Weekend in Wales
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Larch lives a semi-nomadic life. Her life changed 20 years ago when a silly accident left her with restricted use of her right arm and neck and was told she would never work again. She turned her life around, retrained herself and set up as a self-employed website designer. This allowed her to work wherever she was in the world. Her passion for travel led her to start up her travel blog The Silver Nomad, to inspire over 40s to explore new destinations and expand their horizons. In 2019 Larch qualified as a CAA Drone Pilot which she combines with her travels.