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The best places to visit in Wales holiday cottages

The best places to visit in Wales

Ed Roberts 24 June 2021

Wales is an ancient country to the west of England, gilded with mountains and deep valleys edged with some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. It is home to the UK’s second-highest mountain, three national parks, five Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), and the 870-mile-long Wales Coast Path. Every turn in the road reveals unforgettable views from rolling green hills to deep swathes of woodland, olde-worlde harbours and endless sandy beaches.

This fine country is famous for its distinct culture, its language, love of rugby and song, it’s coal mining and engineering heritage, fabled kings, and majestic castles - there is so much to see and experience in Wales. Such choice inspires delicious dilemmas about where to stay, and Wales offers so much to entice you; the variety is staggering. Select holiday homes from modern sea-view apartments, remote country cottages, tastefully converted barns, and glamping prospects, and that’s just the tip of the daffodil!

Discover stunning properties in locations like the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, the Gower Peninsula, the Brecon Beacons, the Isle of Anglesey, and the Llyn Peninsula; there’s enough to see to span two lifetimes. We have had a good think and come up with some of the top places to stay in Wales to inspire your decisions. Whether we’ve picked them for beauty, their visitor attractions, or their great places to eat, we can guarantee that one of these places is set to become a future favourite for you. 

For even more inspiration visit our expanded North and South Wales guides for more ideas on things to do, and the best Instagrammable locations. Let us show you some of the best places to visit in Wales.

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Best places to visit in North Wales

Anglesey

Anglesey

Anglesey is a large island separated from the north coast of Wales by the Menai Strait, one of the most ferocious river currents in the UK. It is home to some of the earliest sites of human activity in the UK including a Bronze Age mine called Amlwch Copper Kingdom. Also visit: Tacla Taid motor museum, Foel Farm Park, Pili Palas Nature World, and Anglesey Sea Zoo on your holiday to Anglesey. 

There are also miles and miles of gorgeous coastline and it is an up-and-coming destination for foodies too. Just offshore is Holyhead which is known for its ferry terminal where boats leave for Ireland. This is one of best places to visit in Wales for ancient historic sites.

Top attractions on Anglesey:  

Snowdonia

Snowdonia

Snowdonia National Park is home to the UK mainland’s second-highest mountain, Mount Snowdon, and other rival peaks such as Glyder Fawr, Y Garn, Elidir Fawr, and Tryfan of the Glyderau. You can take a scenic railway ride to the top of Mount Snowdon; you’ll need proper gear and good boots to climb the others though. 

Also, in the national park, you will find the town of Betws-y-Coed that serves as a gateway to the peaks, long-distance walking trails and visitor attractions like Fairy Glen, Swallow Falls, and Zip World Fforest. Snowdonia is one of the most famous beauty spots and places to see in Wales.

Top attractions in Snowdonia: 

Cardigan Bay

Cardigan Bay

Cardigan Bay is a large bay off the west coast of Wales encircled by the southern edge of the Llyn Peninsula to the north and past the coastal edge of Snowdonia National Park, the Mawdacch Estuary, the Dyfi Estuary, Aberystwyth, and south to the town of Cardigan. The coast is characterised by its long sandy beaches and some of the largest dune systems in the British Isles. 

Attractions in Cardigan Bay include Cardigan Castle, Portmeirion, Harlech Castle, Cardigan Island Coastal Farm Park, and Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre. It's a nice place to visit on your holiday to Wales.

Top attractions in Cardigan Bay: 

Best places to visit in South Wales

Tenby

Tenby

Tenby is one of the top places to visit in Wales. With its wide sandy beaches and pastel-coloured townhouses lining the harbour, it is the epitome of a Welsh coastal idyll writ large. Found on the western side of Carmarthen Bay, wayfarers can pick up the Pembrokeshire Coast Path that runs through town. Other great attractions include a trip to Caldey Island to spot sea birds or take a stroll around Manorbier Castle. 

Tenby has a whole host of cafes, pubs and restaurants in its busy town centre. And best of all, Tenby is a superb place for a beach holiday, so bring your bikini and your trunks and enjoy some sunshine at one of Wales’ best-loved seaside towns.

Top attractions in Tenby: 

The Gower Peninsula

The Gower Peninsula

The gorgeous Gower Peninsula reaches out into the Bristol Channel to the west of Swansea and Tenby. In 1956, The Gower became Wales’ first AONB and it is home to beautiful walking trails, lots of places of historical interest, curious landforms, ancient standing stones, and some fantastic beaches. 

If you love sunbathing and surfing, then speed your way over to Rhossili Bay. A great landmark is Oystermouth Castle, which dates back to the 12th century and dominates a hillside above the lovely Mumbles. You won’t go hungry on The Gower either because there is a bold and varied selection of fine restaurants, cosy pubs, and smashing cafes to get to know on your holiday to South Wales.

Top attractions in Gower:

Brecon Beacons

Brecon Beacons

The Brecon Beacons National Park covers a vast region of South Wales, and it is adored by lovers of outdoor pursuits such as trekking, climbing, walking, canoeing, stargazing, mountain biking, and the list goes on. It is home to some great mountains like Sugar Loaf, Corn Du, and Pen y Fan, there’s even more than 1,200 miles of public trails and hill walks to discover. 

The Brecon Beacons has many castles too, some of which are the most beautiful in Wales – we would recommend visits to Carreg Cennen Castle, Hay Castle, and Abergavenny Castle. There are also market towns galore like Crickhowell, Brecon and Abergavenny where you can pick up some exemplary local produce to serve up at your holiday cottage.

Top attractions in the Brecon Beacons:

Best places to visit in West Wales

Abersystwyth

Aberystwyth

Aberystwyth is West Wales’ largest town with a castle and fantastic access to the best beaches in the region. Situated between three hills, it offers its many visitors two lovely sandy beaches and an elegant seafront. Aberystwyth is a university town, so there are lots of good pubs, clubs and places to eat in the town centre. 

Places of interest in and around the town include the funicular cliff railway (Aberystwyth Cliff Railway), and the Vale of Rheidol Railway where you can enjoy a 12-mile ride on a steam train out to Devil’s Bridge. Head out to the iconic ruins of Aberystwyth Castle for views across the Irish Sea and on clear days over 20 mountain peaks in the distance.

Top attractions in Aberystwyth:

Barmouth

Barmouth

Beautiful Barmouth on the Mawddach Estuary is a superb place for a West Wales getaway; its location at the southern edge of the Snowdonia National Park is second to none. With views of the peaks of the Llyn Peninsula and a welcoming long sandy beach, Barmouth is a true escape that feels far away from everywhere. There are lots of handy shops, restaurants, cafes and gorgeous cycling and walking trails to discover. 

Head across the estuary to catch a narrow-gauge steam train to Fairbourne through the dunes; its beauty is legendary. Harlech, up the coast, offers mountain views, long beaches, and an impressive castle high up above the sea. It’s a great choice for an easy day trip out from Barmouth.

Top attractions in Barmouth:

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park is one of three in Wales and is a beautiful mixture of breathtaking views, world-class beaches, and picture-perfect villages.  The Pembrokeshire Coast Path offers unforgettable sights along the way as well as beaches like Barafundle Bay, Tenby, and Saundersfoot. Water sports fanatics can enjoy a holiday in Pembrokeshire Coast National Park too as there are facilities and beaches galore, whether you are hoping to go sailing or surfing and anything in-between. 

Attractions include the majestic 13th-century Carew Castle, The Great Keep at Pembroke Castle, and a trip to the Cathedral in St David’s, the UK’s smallest city and the named after the country’s patron saint.

Top attractions in Pembrokeshire: 

Best places to visit in Mid Wales

Llandrindod Wells

Llandrindod Wells

Llandrindod Wells is a town famous for its status as a Victorian spa town and a great gateway to the Cambrian Mountains to the north and the Brecon Beacons to the south. Established as a resort during Victorian times, there is still evidence of the period’s influence in the architecture including the Albert Hall, the town’s theatre. There is even an annual Victorian Festival in Llandrindod Wells each August to keep the historical associations with the era alive and well. 

Llandrindod Wells is surrounded by country walking trails that wind around the valleys and farmland in the area. The town is also full of reasonably priced restaurants, pubs, and cafes to try out. For evening entertainment, head out to the Willow Globe Theatre for a show.

Top attractions in Llandrindod Wells:

Hay-on-Wye

Hay-on-Wye

Hay-on-Wye sits on the northern-most edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park, and is a busy town thanks, mainly, to its status as the ‘town of books’. Hay-on-Wye has many bookshops, each vastly different from its neighbour. There are children’s bookshops, antique bookshops, crime bookshops, and there is even a bookshop with a cinema inside! It is possible that every published book may have been for sale at one point in this wonderful town. 

Each year the preposterously famous Hay Literary Festival rolls into town in June attracting the world’s most famous authors, so book ahead if you are planning to coincide your visit with this outstanding event.

Top attractions in Hay-on-Wye: 

Builth Wells

Builth Wells

A few miles south of Llandrindod Wells, this Mid Wales town is located at the confluence of the Rivers Irfon and Wye. Builth Wells was also a Victorian spa-town in its heyday, nowadays it’s a quaint escape from the buzz of the cities. In Builth Wells, you can enjoy the Wye Valley Walk as it meanders its way from its lofty source to Chepstow where it meets with the River Severn. Another walking trail that can be picked up in town is the Lon Las Cymru, a 257-mile route that stretches all the way from Holyhead to Cardiff. 

Builth Wells is perhaps most famous these days for playing host to the annual Royal Welsh Show each July which is a showcase of agriculture and country life. Book your self-catering holiday cottage in advance if you are planning to attend.

Top attractions in Builth Wells:

Stay with us in Wales

Stay at one of our delightful self-catering holiday cottages in Wales. We have a selection of enticing holiday properties close to all of these excellent places to stay throughout North Wales, South Wales, Mid Wales, and West Wales. Where will you choose to rest on your holiday to Wales?

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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