There is no doubt that camping in South Wales will be an unforgettable experience. And it can be as rustic or as modern – with all the mod cons as well as the kitchen sink – as you want it to be. You can stay on a sheep farm in the mountains or a holiday park on the coast if that’s what takes your fancy. If not, you might like a tipi in the middle of nowhere or an eco-campsite in the forest. Whichever it is, camping in Wales will never disappoint.
And when you are there don’t forget that Wales is the ‘outdoor capital’ of the UK. You can climb, swim, walk, jump, bike and swing your way around the country if you want to. Or you can take in the culture and history of this beautiful – and very welcoming – country.
But, to get you started, here’s our top ten of the very best things to do in South Wales.
1. Explore the coast with TYF
If you want to see the best of Wales, see it with TYF. They are the original adventure company and are credited with inventing coasteering. It’s a great ‘sport’ but the best way to explore the coast is with a combination of swimming, coasteering and kayaking on TYF’s Coastal Explorer Days. They will paddle you into caves, take you to deserted beaches and make you challenge yourself to leap into pools and off rocky outcrops. It’s all very safe and lots and lots of fun, with a green slant and lunch and all equipment provided. Seriously, there’s nothing else you could ever hope for.
2. Walk the gorge in the Brecon Beacons
If you enjoyed coastal exploring in Pembrokeshire then you’ll love a day out gorge walking in the beauty of the Brecon Beacons National Park. It’s like an inland version of the coastal explorer, with jumps, slides, scrambles, boulder hopping, cave exploring and rapid running. Traversing the river is fun but not as fun as throwing caution to the wind and chucking yourself in. Once you’re wet you’re wet. It’s perfect for groups, parties and families – as long as the kids are over 11. All the kit is included, along with instruction.
3. Explore waterfall country
Wales does some things very well. One of them is stunning landscapes and fabulous geological features. And that includes waterfalls. The Brecon Beacons National park is home to two of Wales’ finest, Blaen-y-Glyn waterfall and Henrhyd Falls as well as an area known as Wood of the Water. Here there are trails through the steep, tree lined gorges and woods and along the banks to explore a number of lovely falls and rapids. It’s all open access land and there is lots of car parking, so it’s perfect for a family day out or a day’s hiking in the forest.
4. Ride on the beach in Carmarthen
OK, so you’ve ridden a horse on a trek, spent a bit of time in the sand school and trotted down leafy lanes. But until you’ve cantered (or galloped) on a glorious sandy Welsh beach you’ve not ridden. It’s a real ‘bucket-list’ experience. We blame Black Beauty, of course, but it’s the ultimate equestrian adventure to let go and ride along deserted sands. Who wouldn’t want that? You can ride at any number of stables in Wales but only a handful can take you on the beach for that must-have riding day out. It’s a dream come true…
5. Explore Chepstow Castle
Wales is the land of the castle, so you can’t visit without exploring at least one. And if it has to be any castle in South Wales we recommend it’s Chepstow Castle, the ‘history lesson in stone’. Chepstow sits in a commanding position overlooking the River Wye, a position that gave it enormous importance throughout the middle ages. Built in 1067 just after the Norman conquest, it was the first stone built castle in Britain and still contains the oldest wooden doors in the UK (800 years).
6. Enter the furnace of inspiration, Cardiff
The Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff is Wales’ premier cultural centre, with performance spaces, art galleries and theatres and opportunities for everyone to engage with creativity in all its forms. There are free and ticketed performances all year as well as art exhibitions, workshops and events. And if that’s not enough, Mermaid Quay is just outside. It’s the place to hang out in Cardiff, with bars clubs restaurants and eateries aplenty. OH, and the Dr Who Experience too. A proper day out in the city.
7. Downhill all the way at BikePark Wales
Wales really is the place for adventure, including the two wheeled kind. At BikePark Wales everyone can enjoy a day out on the trails in gorgeous surroundings. There are trails for beginners, intermediates and experts and there is even an uplift service to take you to the top of the mountain so you can enjoy the best bit of it – the downhill part. There’s also a café and a bike hire shop if you don’t have your bike with you when you visit. No excuses then!
8. Go down the Big Pit, Blanaevon
Coal mining – and the industrial landscapes that it created – has long been a part of Wales. So every visitor to South Wales will want to find out more about an industry that fuelled the industrial revolution. At the Big Pit you can take an underground tour 300 feet below the surface in the company of an ex miner to the original workings of this once busy coal mine. The area around the mine is now a World Heritage Site and includes lots of other attractions including the Iron Works, a heritage railway and canal walks.
9. Take a train through mid Wales
The Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway opened in 1903. As a 2 foot 6 inches narrow gauge railway it carried farmers and their produce to market in Welshpool. Today it carries visitors on an 8 mile journey through open country, up steep climbs, across viaducts and bridges and through open parkland. It takes 45 minutes to complete the journey. It’s all about the journey not the destination when it comes to steam travel.
10. Walk the coastal path
In 2012, after a lot of hard work, Wales opened its new coastal path. At 870 miles long you could never hope to see it all in one weekend. But if you wanted to see some of the most spectacular coastal walks anywhere in Wales, head for Pembrokeshire. Walk to Barrafundle, the beach often said to be the world’s most beautiful, or walk to the old Lifeboat station at Angle or walk along the coast to the amazing Blue Lagoon, a disused slate quarry that’s a favourite spot for wild swimming. All of it is accessible – thanks to the coastal path and a series of bus routes that mean you won’t have to walk back again – and all of it is amazing. Put on your boots and get going!!
Wales has so much to offer the outdoor enthusiast. And there is a lot of camping too. Choose from all kinds of sites at Campsited, from glamping sites to tipis and traditional ‘on the farm’ camp sites. Have a great holiday!