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
The eco barns each sleep a maximum of 4-7 people, and cost between £365...
Weeks: £420 to £550. Short breaks: £250 to £320 (discounts possible)
Tipi- weekend from £279 - £349, mid week from £195-325, Yurts - weekend...
Bryniau Pell wknd £210 extra night £102 wk £420 Nyth y Wennol wknd £230...
From £249 for a week
from £349 for 7 nights, or £235 Mon-Fri (based on 2 people sharing)
Double room £75.00 Kingsize Room £80.00
From £75 per night, based on 2 people sharing
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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.
The judges of The Times 'Green Spaces' travel awards each month select their favourite nominations. GreenTraveller's Richard Hammond is one of the...
Richard Hammond pays a vist to the Centre for Alternative Technology
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:
More places to stay in Wales
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
£217 - £377 - 2 night stay, £492 - £972 - 7 stay
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.
Llwyndyrus Farm Spa Holidays
Five old stone cottages ranging from a cute as a button 16th century ‘maternity’ barn (yes, really) to a stable block have been luxuriously updated for human occupants, sleeping from two to seven. Log-burning stoves, underfloor heating, old A-frame beams, exposed stone walls and pure cosiness are the order of the day on this 200-acre working farm, a short and easy distance from an A road and a few miles from the south coast of the Llŷn peninsula. If the beauty and distant views of Snowdon aren’t enough to help you unwind, there’s a spa – a wooden building under beech trees - where you can be pampered with expert massage treatments.
Trellyn Woodland Camping
The ultimate Pembrokeshire camping experience, Trellyn is home to not only five separate camping pitches but also two yurts, an innovative dome and, new to 2012, a 'Dragon tipi'. This means you're sure to find something to tempt you whatever type of camping holiday you're looking for. Those searching for a decidedly luxury experience should head down to the 'Starlight Sailor' yurt, which boasts a solid oak floor, internal kitchen and cosy wood burner. The dome is equally impressive and was constructed out of rejected timber from an Oak kitchen manufacturer. If you're looking to set up your own tent the 'Lower Meadow' pitch overlooks the beach and has private access down into the local village. Also, don't miss the chance to join in with one of the owners' bushcraft courses, which cost £12 per person for a three-hour course.
The nearest railway station is Fishguard & Goodwick. From the station, take the 404 bus to Abercastle. Abercastle also lies on Route 4 of the National Cycle Network.
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.
Carrog Farm Cottages
Three old stone buildings, once the milking parlour and stables of this working family farm, have been converted into comfortable, airy accommodation for four, six or eight people. Original stone walls, large beams, 19th century graffiti, rooms big enough for a horse and cart and crogloffts – where barley was stored - remind us of the past, while underfloor heating, spacious bathrooms and sleek kitchens bring us, luxuriously, into the present. Sit outside on your patio, with a slice of bara brith from the welcome hamper and count yourself lucky. On clear days you can see across the fields and sea to Ireland.
There can’t be too many places to stay in this world where you can arrive by steam train; this 250-acre farm has it’s own stop on the Talyllyn Narrow Gauge Railway! Hendy Farm is a family-run sheep and cattle farm on the edge of the Dyfi Biosphere and guests are free to roam the farmland and meet the animals. Three comfortable and homely bedrooms are decked out in floral bedspreads and pale yellow walls, and there’s a separate sitting room should guests want to stick their feet up. The seaside town of Tywyn is a short walk away and there’s plenty of walking opportunities from the door.
Priory Mill Farm and Campsite
Dating back to the 16th Century, Priory Mill Farm is only a five minute walk from Brecon and is perched alongside the beautiful River Honddu. While still in the process of renovating a collection of traditional stone buildings, owners Noel and Susie have opened a small, low-impact campsite in a nearby meadow. Locally produced charcoal and firewood is provided so that guests can sit around the fire at night and listen to the river drift pass. Showers and washrooms come in the form of bow-roofed, cedar-boarded cabins that are insulated with sheepswool. The owners are keen to maintain the unspoilt beauty of the site so there's a big emphasis on recycling, as well as a limit on light pollution at night.
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.
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.
Kiln Park Holiday Park
Just a pebble's throw from Tenby's Blue Flag South beach, Kiln Park is a fantastic place to bring children, with outdoor and indoor pools, archery and fencing coaching and fantastic National Park Ranger Walks. With a selection of self-catering and adapted holiday homes, this is also an ideal base for family trips into the historic seaside town of Tenby, with its winding streets and bustling harbour. Along with Lydstep Beach Holiday Park, Kiln Park is part of Haven Holidays, which as been awarded Silver by the GTBS.
Take the train to Manorbier Railway Station. From there, take the 349 bus to Knowling Mead. Nearby is Route 4 on the National Cycle Network.
Mill Haven Place
Any real lover of the great outdoors will feel immediately at home at Mill Haven Place, a site just one mile from the Pembrokeshire Coast path. Whether you're looking for a cosy traditional cottage, a fully-furnished yurt or a patch of land for your own tent or motorhome, the owners can pretty much guarantee a comfortable stay. As well as the region's famous path, you'll also be just a short distance from the likes of Little Haven, Broad Haven, Marloes and Newgale. You should also make plenty of time for walking, cycling, horeriding on the beach, surfing and even coasteering on the nearby coast.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Lydstep Beach Holiday Park
The site commands a lofty position along the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, overlooking dramatic Caldey Island. This is an ideal location for anyone looking to spend most of their time on the beach, just a short distance from a Blue Flag beach and just minutes from the centre of Tenby. The accommodation consists of self-catering and adapted holiday homes, as well as luxury lodges with open plan interiors and private verandas. This park is part of Haven Holidays, a company that has been awarded GTBS Silver for its commitment to cutting its impact on the environment.
The nearest railway station in Manorbier. From there, take the 349 bus to Lydstep, and then walk down to the coast. Pembrokeshire Tourist Route on the National Cycle Network passes near to the beach.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
You'll find this collection of eco holiday cottages within an 18th century agricultural courtyard on Strumble Head. The pair of barns have been carefully renovated using a combination of traditional and environmentally-friendly techniques - water is sourced from a borehole and hot water is provided by solar thermal panels (plus the owners have just laid underfloor heat pipes). The accommodation's green credentials seem to go on and on - the owners have planted hundreds of trees in the surrounding area, any compost used has either been made on site or certified organic, and the owners are happy to pick up guests (and their bikes!) from the local train station.
The nearest railway station is Fishguard & Goodwick. From there, take the 404 bus to Trefasser. The cottages are just a short walk away along Trefasser Cross. Route 4 and the Cardigan Route, both on the National Cycle Network, pass close to the cottages.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Ship Hotel
Just a few metres from the beach, this small hotel and village inn run by the Harrison family, has nine rooms. Some have sea views across to the Gwylan islands and Aberdaron Bay. The rooms are tastefully decorated in warm and neutral colours, with coffee and tea-making facilities and wi-fi. After a day hiking the coast path or a boat trip across to Bardsey Island, you can relax and unwind with good food. There’s a restaurant with an open-fire where you can dine on award-winning locally farmed crab or lobster caught by the multi-tasking Harrison family.
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£785 per person based on two people sharing
£925 pp (based on 2 people sharing)