Green Holidays in Wales
From the rugged mountains of Snowdonia to the verdant Brecon Beacons, lakes, forest, hills, rolling farmland, pretty villages and bustling towns, Wales has so much to offer. With miles of open country, it is the perfect place to escape for a bit of isolation amidst stunning scenery, or a break by some of Britain's most beautiful beaches, such as the sandy coves of Pembrokeshire.
Quaint cottages, eco-hotels, yurts and secluded tipi camps vie for your attention and the exciting activities on offer in this wonderfully green country are endless, from simple road biking in North Wales, terrific rambling options on scenic trails across rugged landscapes to coasteering on an adventure holiday and family wildlife discovery opportunities in Snowdonia.
For tips on how to be as eco-friendly as possible, see our guide to going green in the UK and for tips on green accommodation, have a look at our guide on how to tell if a hotel is green. Here are some of the best green places to stay and holidays in Wales, all reachable by train:
Featured places to stay in Wales
Camping £10 - 20/night; B & B £75 -135; Yurt £70 - 110: Cottages £585...
From £249 for a week
Bryniau Pell wknd £210 extra night £102 wk £420 Nyth y Wennol wknd £230...
From £75 per night, based on 2 people sharing
The eco barns each sleep a maximum of 4-7 people, and cost between £365...
from £349 for 7 nights, or £235 Mon-Fri (based on 2 people sharing)
Weeks: £420 to £550. Short breaks: £250 to £320 (discounts possible)
Double room £75.00 Kingsize Room £80.00
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Featured Holidays in Wales
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Featured Articles on Wales
Holly visits the legendary mountain biking centre in the heart of Snowdonia, North Wales.
Richard Hammond pays a vist to the Centre for Alternative Technology
The judges of The Times 'Green Spaces' travel awards each month select their favourite nominations. GreenTraveller's Richard Hammond is one of the...
How to travel by train and ferry to Wales
The major cities of South Wales can all be reached by train from London Paddington with First Great Western - to Newport it takes about 1hr 50 mins, Cardiff is about 2hrs and you can reach Swansea in just under 3hrs. To reach North Wales, travel from London Euston to Chester then take the Arriva Train to Bangor. For mid Wales (including the Brecon Beacons), take the Arriva train up from Newport to Abervagenny. If you wish to travel to South Wales, travel to Newport, then take the train to Milford Haven.
There are regular ferry services from Ireland to Holyhead (North Wales) and Fishguard and Pembroke (both Southwest Wales) plus there is a new ferry service between Cork and Swansea (South Wales). Our detailed journey planner shows where to change, prices, timetables, journey times and how to book tickets. Click on the links below for the following journeys:
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3 nights in peak season £312, low season 4 nights £252
3 night weekend or Monday-Friday £250 or £300 July/Aug/Christmas, 7 nights Fri -Fri £450 or £520 July/Aug/Christmas
From 319.00 (based on two staying) to:734.40
319.00 (based on two staying) to:734.40
From 545.00 (based on two staying) to:1133.00
£217 - £377 - 2 night stay, £492 - £972 - 7 stay
This Georgian manor house, with wisteria and roses climbing the wrought iron columns of its dainty, slate-roofed verandah, is a picture of elegance. Over its 25 years, this romantic ‘restaurant with rooms’ has won many prestigious awards for fine dining – featuring local and sustainable produce. There are even Welsh wines in its 400-strong wine list. So, after your meal of, say, roast loin of Welsh mountain lamb with devilled kidneys followed by bara brith and butter pudding with Welsh whisky ice cream, you’ll be ready to climb the stairs to bed in one of the eleven rooms, all with pretty garden views.
Bag yourself a pitch at the highest point and you’re guaranteed sea views, but no matter where you set up tent on this gently hilly site, the views over surrounding countryside are superb. The Cors Dyfi reserve is just a few minutes’ walk, although the campsite has it’s own community of feathered friends and a hide for ultra keen twitchers. There’s also a well-stocked fishing pool and children’s playground. Tents from £7.50 per night.
Explore Wales with Welsh Road Trips
Explore Wales with Welsh Road Trips: Travel through wild and beautiful countryside by foot, rail, bike, car or electric car. Enjoy a 6 night break of dinner, bed and breakfast (2 nights at each premises: Lasswade Country House. The Old Vicarage in Dolfor and Westview Guest House) Sample local food and wine whilst staying in quality eco-friendly comfort.
Price: £625 per person full board Depart: 2 April – 30 October 2015
Quite possibly the closest accommodation to the beach listed in our guide, Pendyffryn also happens to be situated along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path and in one of the sunniest locations in the whole of the UK. This renovated Victorian home offers two newly decorated ensuite bedrooms, the 'Seashore Room' with its views out over the seafront, and 'Islands Room' that looks out over Ramsey Island. Having once owned her own organic bakery, owner Rosemary is in a perfect position to offer up homecooked meals using organic produce wherever possible.
Bluestone National Park Resort
Regardless of whether you're looking to shack up in a lodge, cabin or studio, Bluestone National Park Resort has to be near the top of the list. With comfortable accommodation and a village that boasts shops, restaurants and a pub, there's plenty of ways to fill your time even when you're not exploring the nearby Adventure Centre and Blue Lagoon water park. It might not seem it at first glance, but Bluestone is impressively green, from the use of natural, sustainable materials, to solar-heated water in the lodges and a unique biomass energy centre that provides carbon-beutral heat for Blue Lagoon and the water park. Back in 2011, Bluestone was also awarded the Level Four Green Dragon Award for its environmental work.
The nearest railway station is Narberth. From the station, take the 381 bus to Canaston. From there it is a 45 minute walk. If this seems a bit far, a comprehensive list of local taxi companies is available at TrainTaxi. The Pembrokeshire Tourist Route (part of the National Cycle Network) runs through the national park.
Yr Helfa Bunkhouse
At the foot of Snowdon and with soaring mountain views in all directions is this traditional stone bunkhouse, recently renovated to provide accommodation for 18 people. Inside, it’s simple and spacious, with underfloor heating, whitewashed walls, exposed stone, and wooden bunks. The setting is stunning and there’s a half-mile walk from the car park to the bunkhouse, which only adds to the feeling of blissful isolation. Walking, climbing, biking, canoeing are all practically on your doorstep. Whole bunkhouse £150 per night; individual bookings £12 per person per night.
Owners, Bethan and Pryderi sensibly discourage cars from parking in the field where these 3 innovative geodesic domes are situated, looking like a high-tech space station on a Welsh sheep farm. You carry your luggage and provisions in a wheelbarrow to your dome-away-from-home. Inside the white canvas and see-thru structure there’s a sturdy wooden bed, small wood-burning stove, two single futons, wind-up radio and bedside lamp. Outside, there’s a picnic table and barbecue. You share kitchen and bathroom facilities, including a composting loo (and a flush one), with others and the farm with clucking chickens and bleating sheep.
The Old Rectory
This fine Georgian house in three acres, was home to the rectors of Boduan in the early 18th century. Today it is the home of Gary and Lindsay Ashcroft, who will bless you with a friendly welcome. There are three comfortable bedrooms as well as a separate self-catering two-bedroom cottage with its own south-facing garden, inglenook fireplace, fitted kitchen and laundry. While there are no longer any dog-collars to be seen, dogs are welcome, but, understandably, not inside the property: there’s a kennel and area set aside for them in the grounds. A regular bus from Pwllheli stops just 50 metres from the property.
Granary Lofts, Pembrokeshire
A collection of five lofts in Granary Warehouse, one of a pair of listed wharfside warehouses originally built in 1745 and now entirely restored to heritage standards. Combining a contemporary sensibility with traditional craftsmanship and materials, you'll find slate floors throughout the lower floors, reclaimed pitch pine higher up and fantastic views out over the water. Couples should opt for Skokholm, the cosy open-plan apartment, while larger groups should opt for Caldey, which sleeps 5, or the slightly smaller Grassholm and Bardsey, both of which sleep 4.
The Hilary 4 Star Guest House
A quiet and peaceful family owned and run guest house in a peaceful tree lined avenue. With a beautiful garden, amazingly comfy beds and delicious breakfasts- including the world famous fried bread. Near to the town centre, beaches and the theatre. Rooms: 8 ensuite: 6 double/ king size, 2 twins. Single occupancy Price: £65 - £85 per room per night. Breakfast included. Reduction for single occupancy
Pabell Lên Powys
Originally built to store animal fodder, this barn was later christened Pabell Lên Powys (“Powys Literary Pavilion”) when, in the 1960s, it was temporarily used for a local literary event. Located on an organic sheep farm and surrounded by verdant views, the 4-person barn conversion has a private patio, an open plan dining area and underfloor heating throughout. From £295 per week; short breaks available.
Jackie and Graham are keen outdoor enthusiasts and are happy to give pointers on what to see and where to go in their little patch of Snowdonia. Their three rooms – Birch, Oak and Holly – are neat and comfy; guests have use of a large lounge with wood burning stove upstairs. Their eco efforts are admirable: the log-fuelled boiler provides both central heating and hot water, the roof is super-insulated, and rainwater is collected in water butts. Breakfasts are local and delicious: eggs from their hens, meat is from the local butchers, jams are homemade by Graham’s mum. Delicious dinners on request. They also have bikes to rent, from £18 per day. From £75 per night for 2.
Rubbing shoulders with the RBPB Ynyshir reserve is the Georgian Plas Mawr B&B, with a cheerful cherry-red front door and window boxes spilling flowers in summer. The three rooms are individually furnished; one double has views overlooking the reserve. The B&B is geared up for walkers and cyclists, with drying facilities for wet gear; even canoeists are catered for with a lockable storage available for canoes and paddles. The full Welsh breakfast includes local sausages and bacon and home-grown veggies, and they have an environmental policy on their website which gives details of their green endeavours. From £80 per night for two.
The Imperial Hotel
An elegant four-star hotel on Llandudno’s seafront with views across the bay. Classic, period design rooms are comfortable with lovely bathrooms. The hotel strives to be as environmentally conscious as possible; it produced its green policy back in 1998, long before green issues were being taken seriously in the hotel industry. The hotel uses green electricity, cooking oil is recycled into bio-oil, and there is a strict recycling policy.
Castellmarch, a family-run beef and sheep farm, has accommodation ranging from a simple ‘log pod’ for two – camp style beds in a wooden structure shaped like an upturned boat, complete with a kettle and heating - to solid, stone houses. These three properties, including former stables, date from the 18th century. They sleep five or six and feature exposed beams, leather sofas and private, outdoor areas with barbecues. There’s also a luxury log cabin on a hillside, sleeping five, with distant sea views over fields. The farm is just one mile from the village of Abersoch and only ten minutes’ walk to a superb and sandy beach.
A boat-washing area, hard standing for caravans, neat borders of geraniums… The Willows is a squeaky clean caravan and camping site with extensive views over fields to sea and mountains. Priding themselves on peacefulness, owners Anna and Miles ban groups. This is not a site for those who want to sing campfire songs. If, however, you value tranquillity, considerate fellow-campers and everything just-so, this is your kind of (wi-fi enabled) park. For a change from caravan or tent, you could try the Hobbit, a tubular wooden cabin, with beds for four. It’s fully insulated and even comes with a kettle and ice-box. Bilbo Baggins eat your heart out.
Hidden amongst the forests and pastures of Graig Wen’s dramatic 45-acre site are four beautiful slate-roofed cottages, a five-bed B&B with views over the Mawddach Estuary, a campsite, a sustainable ‘caban’ and a couple of secluded yurts. It’s right on the Mawddach cycle trail; you’re perfectly placed for a car-free holiday. Beaches are minutes away, and the walking and cycling opportunities in the mountains and surrounding landscape are practically endless. Bring the bike and dog! Cottages from £435 per week; B&B from £80 per night; camping from £8 per person per night; yurts from £240 per weekend.
A secluded and family-friendly campsite tucked away in the quiet hamlet of Llanreithan, near St Davids and just a stone's throw from the rugged northern coast. The campsite offers a sheltered three acre field that has eight designated pitches - each with its own campfire place and picnic table, and an additional six secluded pitches dotted around the 52 acre sheep farm. All are a good distance from the nearest road, offering plenty of peace and quiet. As well as these pitches, guests also have the chance to stay in one of four luxury camping yurts, Each yurt has a separate, covered outside kitchen tent, with cooker, all utensils and picnic table available between May and September, providing a luxurious alternative in the same stunning location. There’s a wood-fired pizza oven and ‘pizza night’ is a weekly ritual.
Hafan Y Mor Holiday Park
Just a walk from a train station (Penychain), this Haven holiday park is perfectly situated for green travellers. It also happens to have direct access to the beach of Tremadog Bay and be surrounded by distant mountains. If the weather’s unkind though, there are countless activities to keep everyone happy: an indoor heated pool complex with water slides, mini golf, climbing wall, show bar and more. As for the accommodation, as well as standard caravans, there are rather luxurious wooden chalets as well as new large ‘retreat’ caravans, 12 ft wide, with their own verandahs. If you’re travelling with your own caravan or tent, there are grass pitches. Recycling points are situated around the park.
This grand old 15th-century house has had its fair share of noble owners, but none as illustrious as Queen Victoria, who refurbished the hall and planted many of the trees in the gardens that encircle the house today. The hotel’s nine bedrooms – named after artists – are adorned in a sumptuous palate of dramatic reds, deep purples and shocking pinks – Matisse has candyfloss striped wallpaper; Renoir has a Louis VIII style bed and mountain views. Head chef Paul Croasdale uses local ingredients – seafood from Cardigan Bay, Welsh Black beef, herbs and vegetables from the kitchen garden, and wild garlic and mushrooms from the surrounding woodland – to create inventive fare in the elegant restaurant. £205-£550 per night for B&B.
The Dunoon Hotel
A lovely hotel with a touch of old Victorian charm, with oak-panelled rooms, an unpretentious restaurant serving good, honest food, and fifty individual rooms. The staff pride themselves on unfussy yet attentive service and you won’t find any gyms, saunas or pools here: relaxation is the key word at The Dunoon, their 'leisure facilities' are their armchairs, so kick back in one with the papers and let the afternoon saunter by. Mountains, beaches, forests, rivers, as well as National Trust properties, steam railways and pretty Welsh villages are all close by. Doubles from £106.
Pen Y Bwlch B&B
From the outside, this traditional stone cottage in the small village of Rhiw, looks unassuming. Inside, the simplicity continues with style. The 2 double rooms feature white-painted sloping ceilings, roll-top baths, locally-made soap and fine linens. It is the food for which Pen Y Bwlch is renowned though: eggs from their own hens, local cheeses and dry cure bacon, herb and tomato frittata and fresh muffins…and that’s just breakfast. Owner Anne also cooks delicious evening meals, leaving you more time to explore. Nearby, there’s a small National Trust manor house with ornamental gardens and miles of beaches where you can spot dolphins and puffins.
On the banks of the River Llugwy in the pretty Snowdonia village of Betws-y-Coed is is Bryn Afon, a traditional Victorian stone-built B&B, run by welcoming, helpful hosts, Mike and Rachael. You’ll wake to fabulous views of the river and waterfalls and the delicious smells of local sausages wafting up the stairs – but if you don’t fancy a cooked breakfast, try the locally-made yoghurt and homemade granola. Active types are well catered for: there is bike storage for cyclists, and a mud room where you can leave your wet gear. Great value, too. 5% discount if you arrive on foot or by the pt. Doubles from £65.
Ty Gwydr is an innovative, ultra modern take on the traditional countryside bolt-hole. You'll be impressed by the open plan kitchen with its ceiling to floor windows that look out over the surrounding mountains, as well as the comfortable, cosy bedrooms (one of which even houses a four poster bed). It's also very green, with ground source heating and efficient wool insulation. It was also painted using Ecological lime wash paints. Outside, there's a beautiful landscaped garden and decking, plus a private 8 person hot tub! There's also plenty of outdoor activities nearby, including Llangorse indoor climbing and rope centre, a couple of pony trekking centres and boating and water skiing on the lake.
Centre for Alternative Technology
CAT is an internationally renowned visitor centre, research and residential centre, entirely powered solely by wind, solar and hydro technology. Covering all aspects of green living - from woodland management to renewal energy and environmental building - the centre runs courses on sustainable living, as well as educational programmes for schools and graduate training programmes. There are seven acres of interactive displays, and a shop and vegetarian restaurant on site. There are also two eco cabins on site – hot water is heated by the woodstove or solar panels, and wind and water turbines provide electricity.
Y Goeden Eirin
Current owners, Eluned and John, have breathed new life into this old cowshed; their B&B is a real home from home. The three bedrooms (2 doubles, 1 twin) are spacious and light, with underfloor heating and smart bathrooms decked out in local slate. They are dedicated to serving good, homemade food: Eluned won the Sunday Times Cook of the Year a few years ago and has appeared on cooking programmes, so expect to be well fed. They are very conscious of the environment and have solar panels and good insulation, too.
Hafod Elwy Hall
This centuries-old house – the name goes back to at least 1334 – is crammed with original features (slate floors, fireplaces, archways) and is set in beautiful open countryside against the backdrop of the Snowdonia mountains. Bedrooms have four-posters, cast-iron baths, Edwardian bathrooms. At breakfast you’ll feast on eggs, sausages and bacon from their home-reared animals. They are committed to reducing their impact – their turbine provides much of their electricity, they have high-spec insulation, and rooms are heated by carbon-neutral wood stoves – and have won many awards for their efforts. You’re surrounded by spectacular scenery for walking, cycling, bird watching and horse-riding. Doubles from £75.
Middle Ninfa offers comfortable self-catering accommodation for up to six people in the beautiful surroundings of Monmouthshire. The renovated stone building has lost none of its rustic charm, while also offering modern conveniences - there's a even a sauna in the adjoining building. The farm produces its own fresh veg, salad, fruit and duck eggs, which guests can enjoy during their stay. There's also the chance to spend three days building your own coracle or curach, or even design your own skin boat as part of a workshop. Campers also have the chance to stay at Middle Ninfa's secluded site, which has been voted one of the best small campsites in the UK.
Gwesty Ty Newydd
Sea views don’t get much more sensational than this. You can hear, smell and – possibly, on a stormy night – touch and taste the sea from your bedroom window. The 11 en-suite rooms in neutral colours, with pine furniture, all have views of wide, sandy Aberdaron Bay. Beyond is the tip of the Llŷn peninsula, the other side of which lies Bardsey Island, from where the crabs and lobster on the menu originate. The island is a historic pilgrimage site and Aberdaron was the last stop for pilgrims on their way there. The village church, St Hywyn’s, is known as the cathedral of Llŷn.
Brynawel Guest House
Delightful bedrooms at this B&B are in keeping with the Georgian surrounds: some have cast-iron fireplaces, brass bedsteads and tie-backed curtains; the downstairs room has lovely wooden panelling and shutters. A short stroll away down a leafy lane is Glyn and Corina's own restaurant, Glan yr Afon, where breakfast and dinner are served.
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£925 pp (based on 2 people sharing)
£785 per person based on two people sharing