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
from £349 for 7 nights, or £235 Mon-Fri (based on 2 people sharing)
Tipi- weekend from £279 - £349, mid week from £195-325, Yurts - weekend...
The eco barns each sleep a maximum of 4-7 people, and cost between £365...
Double room £75.00 Kingsize Room £80.00
From £249 for a week
Weeks: £420 to £550. Short breaks: £250 to £320 (discounts possible)
Bryniau Pell wknd £210 extra night £102 wk £420 Nyth y Wennol wknd £230...
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
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...
Holly visits the legendary mountain biking centre in the heart of Snowdonia, North Wales.
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
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
It's hard to believe that Hen Glyn was once considered derelict. Having been restored using largely sustainable materials, this Grade II listed cottage now effortlessly combines the modern and the traditional, with original 18th century wooden beams and panelling decorating the otherwise contemporary interiors. Sleeping up to 4, this is also easily one of the best accommodations in the region for walkers; the farm has some 230 acres to explore, while countless way-marked routes start right on the doorstep. In the evenings, rest your weary legs in Hen Glyn's heated outdoor hot tub and gaze out over the surrounding hillside.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Two pretty stone holiday cottages – Helygen and Eithinog – sit side by side with fabulous views over the Cambrian Mountains; perfectly placed for walkers and those wishing to visit Dyfi's nature reserves and coast. Inside, you'll find gleaming wooden floors and spacious open-plan living areas with cosy wood-burning stoves; generous bedrooms have chunky wooden beds and rolling green views. You're spoilt for choice for things to do in the area: explore the surrounding countryside on foot, head to the coast or, if you can't tear yourself away, sit back and soak up those views from the comfort of your cottage.
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.
Bryncoch Farm Campsite
Up until ten years ago, Bryncoch only existed as a fully-working farm. In the years since, owner Trevor Richardson has managed to cultivate a 3-acre section of land and produced a fantastic little campsite. Complete with a central lake (developed from a natural stream), Bryncoch Farm offers space for tents and caravans, as well as a handful of innovative 'log pods'. These double insulated timber camping huts can sleep a family of 4, with a futon bed for parents, and additional space for up to 6 if needed. The latest 'Gothic Pod' has just been opened to the public and is wheelchair friendly. Guests can fish on the central lake for £5 a day.
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.
On a quiet side street in the picturesque former fishing village of Aberdaron, this holiday home sleeps eight in four bedrooms (all en-suite). There is solar powered hot water, a wood-burning stove, underfloor heating and a light, airy dining and living room area that opens onto a sheltered patio. There’s free wi-fi and a kitchen with all mod-cons. What’s more, the property is wheelchair accessible and the use of an electric mobility scooter (as well as bicycles) is included in the rental price. Aberdaron was once a resting place for pilgrims setting off to visit nearby Bardsey Island, appropriate then that this comfortable holiday let is called Gorffwysfa, meaning 'place to rest’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This smallholding is set in a beautiful piece of countryside overlooking the Preseli mountains. Not only does the site offer up a truly green organic B&B (run entirely from alternative energy sources), but also a traditional 'green' camping site, complete with on site recycling and composting facilities, and a fantastic log cabin that offers great views out over the Preseli Hills. Another of the long list of the camp's impressive aims is to offset the carbon used in getting here, plus you'll find that both the B&B and lodge are heated using locally-sourced wood. And if you were thinking that things couldn't possibly get any greener, you can even sign up for a beginner's gardening course with emphasis placed on ethical and responsible practices.
The closest railway station is Clunderwen. From there, take the 430 bus too Blaenffos. Route 82 on the National Cycle Network is nearby.
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.
More holidays in Wales
£925 pp (based on 2 people sharing)
£785 per person based on two people sharing