Travels and Tourism

Wild Wales, North Wales | A Bucket List Destination

Wild Wales, North Wales

Explore some of the UK’s most breathtaking scenery with a drive through Snowdonia National Park and out across the Menai Strait to Anglesey. Start at Betws-y-Coed and head west past Swallow Falls into the heart of Snowdonia. The A4086 will take you past Snowdon itself, but you may want to stop off and explore the mountain.

Away from the awe-inspiring peaks North Wales is also home to lakes offering exhilarating watersports facilities. Look out for white water kayaking on natural rapids at The National White Water Centre.

Outside the park, take the scenic route on your way across the Strait by swinging through historic Caernarfon first, before heading over the water to explore the beautiful Isle of Anglesey.
Snowdonia road trip stop offs

On the shores of the Menai Strait, Caernarfon is one of North Wales’ smartest towns, and with its stylish waterfront and spectacular castle (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), it’s not to be missed.

Top tip: Welsh is widely-spoken across Gwynedd and Anglesey, so impress the locals and take a phrasebook with you, or learn a few choice words before setting off.

Distance and ideal duration: 50 miles, 1-2 days.

Did you know?

If you don’t fancy hiking all the way to the top of Snowdon, why not take a train? The Snowdon Mountain Railway runs to the summit and offers spectacular views.

North Wales is a beautiful area with some of the most dramatic scenery found in Wales. With such a diversity of countryside and wildlife habitats it is difficult to decide what might be the defining characteristic of the area as a whole.

8 Scenic Spots for Wild Camping in Wild Wales

Craving privacy, solitude and stunning scenery? You’ll love wild camping in Wales. With little more than a tent, sleeping bag and cooking gear, you can have dramatic mountain scenery, tumbling waterfalls and postcard-perfect seascapes all to yourself.

Escaping the crowds is one of the biggest draws of wild camping in Wales. Jam-packed holiday parks are a great option for some. But nothing beats a campsite that’s all yours. We’re talking no whirring generators, no barking dogs and no noisy kids. Unless of course, you bring them along for the fun.

The best wild camping destinations in Wild Wales

  • Wild camping in Snowdonia

Snowdonia attracts four million visitors a year and is the country’s signature national park. There are plenty of full-service campsites in Snowdonia National Park. But if you’re willing to venture off the beaten track, you’ll find spectacular wild camping spots. Remember, unlike official camping sites in Wales, you need permission from the landowner to set up your tent when wild camping.

Venture to the northern edge of the park if you want to get away from it all. The Cwm Caseg Valley is a gateway to the Carneddau Range. You’ll find some breathtaking wild camping in Wales here, including a hidden spot beside a crystalline mountain lake.

If you’re hoping to climb a mountain, Cader Idris has some great flat spots at the summit. Moel Ysgyfarnogod is another spectacular peak. However, it’s best to check the winds if you plan to wild camp on the summit as they can be strong.

  • Wild camping in the Brecon Beacons

Brecon Beacons National Park is subject to the same wild camping laws as the rest of Wales. That said, it’s a little easier to find wild camping spots in Wales here. National Park Authority Visitors Centres have lists of landowners who allow wild camping. Stop by a centre to pick up a list, contact property owners and find beautiful places to camp. We’re not talking about serviced campsites. These are basic and off the grid, so don’t expect facilities. Pack everything you need to spend a few nights in the mountains and don’t forget the hot chocolate.

  • Wild camping on the Llyn Peninsula

The Llyn Peninsula is one of the best wild camping spots in Wales. Expect long sandy beaches, rugged cliffs and rolling green hills. The flat, grass-covered cliffs are tailor-made for tents! There’s nothing quite like waking up to sparkling sea views and breathing in the salty air. As always, seeking permission from landowners is essential, so be sure to do your due diligence before setting up your tent.

We’ll let you in on a secret though. Porth Lago Beach in Rhydlios isn’t just for day-trippers. For a small fee, you can drive a motorhome onto the clifftops and wild camp for the night. Roll out your towel on the sandy beach, splash in the turquoise water and cast a line for bass. Pro tip: sizzle your catch of the day up for dinner with a sprig of wild thyme.

  • Wild camping in the Berwyn Mountains

Deep valleys, rugged peaks and windswept moorlands await in the Berwyn Mountains. Sleeping under the stars is one of the best ways to enjoy this wild and remote pocket of Wales. Many travellers skip the Berwyn Mountains in favour of neighbouring Snowdonia National Park. This is a blessing in disguise as it keeps the area uncrowded. The scenery is remarkable and the stargazing is out of this world.

Speaking of which. The Berwyn Mountains gained international headlines in the 1970s after a UFO incident. The event was dismissed as a simultaneous earthquake and meteor. Though some are convinced it was a spaceship crash. Whether you believe in UFOs or not, it’s a fascinating story.

Pack your hiking boots and bag one of the many peaks in North Wales. Cadair Berwyn is a challenge, but will take your breath away with incredible views. If you’re looking for remote spots for wild camping in North Wales, Cadair Berwyn is a hidden gem. Pack plenty of warm layers! The sunrises are beautiful, but the winds can be bitter cold. From some peaks you can spot Snowdon, the tallest peak in Wales!

Looking for something offbeat? Pitch your tent on Moel Fferna and explore an abandoned 19th-century slate mine. Moel Sych is another gloriously uncrowded wild camping North Wales spot.

  • Wild camping in Pembrokeshire

Ancient hillforts, centuries-old castles and astonishing sea views await in Pembrokeshire. Like the rest of Wales, wild camping in Pembrokeshire isn’t allowed without permission from the landowner. That said, wild camping in South Wales is definitely possible with the right approach.

Wild camping on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path will immerse you in beautiful landscapes. It’s easy enough to check into a cosy B&B in a nearby village. But where’s the fun in that? Wild camping means you can fall asleep to the sound of crashing waves and wake up to fiery sunrises. Plan your hike in the spring to see the wildflowers in full bloom. It’s no wonder Pembrokeshire is one of the best wild camping South Wales destinations.

  • Wild camping in Carmarthenshire

Reset your batteries with a wild camping adventure in Carmarthenshire. The region is nicknamed the “Garden of Wales” and offers a bounty of wild camping spots. Camp in a wildflower-filled meadow or enjoy complete solitude on a hilltop farm. Castles pepper the Tywi Valley, another world-class wild camping spot.

The Taf Estuary is another fantastic place to spend a night or two. If you’re looking for a little more comfort, check out Milkwood Camping. This hidden gem stays true to the back-to-basics wild camping philosophy. Though there are no complaints about the Scandinavian-style washhouse and wood-fired sauna. The perfect antidote to a long day of hiking.

Don’t miss the National Botanic Garden of Wales while you’re in Carmarthenshire. The gardens are open throughout the year and showcase plants from around the world. Discover tumbling waterfalls and crystalline streams in the Great Glasshouse. Get up close with eagles and raptors at the British Bird of Prey Centre.

  • Wild camping in Swansea

Swansea may be the second-largest city in Wales. But you can still find plenty of wild camping spots nearby. Whether you’re dreaming of wide open spaces or postcard-perfect sea views, you’ll find it in Wales. A chat with local landowners can unlock some of the best South Wales wild camping experiences.

  • Wild camping on the Gower Peninsula

Hiking the Gower Coast Path is a great way to wild camp in Wales. This 39-mile-long trail takes in some of the most spectacular scenery in the country. You’ll pinch yourself as you walk past golden beaches, soaring limestone cliffs and wildlife-rich salt marshes. The peninsula has earned its crown as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The trail takes around four to five days to complete, depending on your speed.

You’ll start in the chocolate-box seaside village of Mumbles or in the tiny village of Crofty. Both are great places to stock up on hiking snacks. Wild camping isn’t technically allowed on the Gower Coast Path. However, there are some beautiful sites where pitching a tent for the night is okay. If all else fails, the trail is dotted with guest houses and B&Bs where you’ll receive a warm welcome and a hot breakfast.

Tips for wild camping in Wild Wales

With the right attitude, finding wild camping spots in Wales is possible. To help make your experience as relaxing as possible, we’ve put together the following tips:

  • Limit your stay to one night

Many landowners are happy to let adventurous campers pitch their tents for a night or two. While some will allow you to stay longer, most prefer campers to move on to minimise their impact. Asking to stay for one of two nights will maximise your chances of a “yes” from landowners. If you’re asked to move on, respect the wishes of the landowner and pack up without argument.

  • Be discreet

Wild camping is all about getting away from it all, so it makes sense to be discreet when setting up your tent. Where can you wild camp in Wales? As a general rule, stay away from roads, walking trails and fences. Wild camping is all about getting away from it all, so it makes sense to be discreet when setting up your tent. For example, the official Snowdonia National Park Wild Camping Code advises camping on high ground such as open hills and fells. However, you should stay away from houses, farms, gardens and private properties.

  • Keep noise levels low

Leave the Bluetooth speaker at home. After all, wild camping in Wales is all about connecting with nature. Keeping noise levels low is also respectful to landowners.

  • Dusk to dawn

Wild campers do their best to fly under the radar. For many people, this means setting up their tent at dusk and taking it down at dawn. If anything, this philosophy is a great excuse to get up early and enjoy the sunrise.

  • Leave no trace

This is one of the most important rules of wild camping in Wales. Leave no trace! Pack away all rubbish, including food scraps and toilet paper. And leave your temporary campsite exactly as you found it.

  • Be prepared to pay

Some landowners will ask for a small fee or token amount to wild camp on their property. We recommend travelling with cash so it’s easier to make the transaction if they ask.

  • Pack a trowel

Nature will definitely call when you’re wild camping. When it’s time to go, take care of business 30 to 50 metres away from streams, rivers and lakes. Packing a trowel makes it easy to bury waste at least six inches deep. Pack toilet paper in a plastic bag and take used paper with you rather than burying it. Dog poo bags are ideal for this and the contents can be disposed of safely later.

  • Move on if you’re unsure

If you’re unsure if a site is suitable for wild camping, it’s best to move on to a different location. This is the best way to respect the rights of landowners and your fellow nature lovers using the area.

Things to do at Wild Wales

For such a small country, Wales certainly has packed a lot in. No matter what your interests, Wales will be able to offer something perfect for you to do. Regardless of whether you’ve decided to explore the idyllic landscape of Pembrokeshire or tick the rugged Snowdonia National Park off your bucket list, there will be plenty of things to do in Wales.

Of course, there’s also no end to the relaxation and tranquillity that can be experienced. Whether it’s soaking up the sun on part of the country’s 870-miles of coastline or enjoying plenty of pampering in one of the prestigious spas at one of the many hotels in Wales, it’s easy to take plenty of ‘me-time’. The cities of South Wales even have their foot firmly in the 21st century, so there are plenty of wining, dining and shopping experiences to be had.

Nature and wildlife to spot in Wales Wild Wales

Wildlife spotting in Wales

There’s a broad range of wildlife to see throughout the seasons in Wales. The summer months are particularly good for getting out in search of the country’s flora and fauna while autumn is an intense season for watching wildlife with many species on the move before the winter chills. Here are some of our top places to spot wildlife.

Spot seals at Marloes Sands
In late summer, you can see Atlantic grey seals and their pups on the remote beaches of Marloes Sands in Pembrokeshire. Around 150 pups are born each year and you’ll get the best view of them from the Deer Park’s clifftop. The coast surrounding the peninsula is a designated Marine Conservation Zone and the high diversity of habitats means you’ll spot all kinds of creatures in the water and on the shoreline here.
Catch sight of a bat at Colby Woodland
At Colby Woodland Garden Lesser horseshoe bats live in the old buildings around the Bothy tea-room. Many bats also use the old mine shafts and holes in woodland trees, in fact a rare Bechstein’s bat was once spotted here. The estate’s woodland, streams and meadows are also a haven for birds, otters, reptiles, and amphibians.
Meet White Park Cattle at Dinefwr
A truly unique part of the rolling Capability Brown designed parkland at Dinefwr is the rare and ancient breed of White Park Cattle. The estate is also home to a medieval deer park which echoes with the bellowing sound of Fallow bucks during the rutting season in October.
Walk among wild ponies in Snowdonia
The sight of wild ponies is an enchanting bonus to any walk in the Carneddau hills. These mountain ponies of Snowdonia are believed to date back to around 500BC and there are now around 200 left, still roaming the rugged upland landscape. In autumn you might see them grazing in readiness for colder months ahead.
Spy a red squirrel at Plas Newydd
Six red squirrels were brought to Plas Newydd in 2008 and released into the deciduous woodland. They bred successfully, and now over one hundred can be found throughout the gardens and parkland of the estate. Although they’re shy creatures, you can spot them collecting nuts and eating at feeding stations if you’re quick.
Look out for insects and ospreys at Cwm Ivy
The salt marsh at Cwm Ivy is alive with butterflies and dragonflies in summer. Keep an eye out for silver washed fritillaries, ringlets and gatekeeper butterflies, along with darter and southern hawker dragonflies, which are especially curious and will hover around you. Cwm Ivy is also teeming with birds. Look out for juvenile ospreys stopping off on their migration back to Africa.
Find a black honeybee at Penrhyn Castle
There are six hives full of native honeybees that pollinate around the Walled Garden and Water Garden at Penrhyn Castle. These are native black bees which are better at coping with the range of weather changes in North Wales. From snowdrops to the beautiful fuscia arch, the flowers here are a real treat. There’s also plenty of wildlife to discover from bats to badgers at Penrhyn.
Spot an otter at Stackpole
Stackpole is teeming with wildlife all year round from its infamous otters to the largest colony of greater horseshoe bats in Wales. The otters occupy a special place in staff, volunteers and visitors’ hearts alike and live in the spring fed Bosherston Lakes feeding on the eels, pike, perch and roach. Stackpole is wonderful for wildlife watching and you’ll find creatures great and small across the estate.
Look for rare ants at the Kymin
The Kymin is home to one of Britain’s rarest and largest ants, the red wood ant. Their impressive nests can be found across the land here and are fascinating to watch. The Kymin might be known for Georgian gentility and picnicking, but it’s also a haven for wildlife. With a mixture of open spaces and semi-ancient woodland, birds, bats, badgers, and even wild boar have made this small but special place home.
Go bird watching in Llŷn
The Llŷn peninsula is an ideal place for bird watching with dramatic coastal cliffs enjoyed by the fulmar, puffin and chough along with notable predators such as the raven, buzzard and peregrine falcon. Thousands of Manx shearwater breed on nearby Bardsey Island where you can find the only accredited bird observatory in Wales. If you’re lucky you may even spot bottlenose dolphins and porpoises on your wildlife adventures.
Discover waxcap mushrooms at Llanerchaeron
The meadows, woodland and waters of Llanerchaeron working farm and estate are a haven for birds, bats, otters and other wildlife, as well as a dazzling display of fungus including waxcaps in the autumn. Traditional, low-level farming at this Site of Scientific Interest allows the rare fungus to thrive.
Walk among ancient trees in the Brecon Beacons
A precious and increasingly rare habitat, our semi-ancient woodlands provide an important home for all kinds of wildlife. Clinging on at the foot of the Brecon Beacons, veteran trees in the Tarell Valley have lived for hundreds of years and are home to rare fungi and invertebrates dependent on them for their survival. You can identify these older trees by their gnarled and twisted trunks.

 

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