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 £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
Weeks: £420 to £550. Short breaks: £250 to £320 (discounts possible)
Camping £10 - 20/night; B & B £75 -135; Yurt £70 - 110: Cottages £585...
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...
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Featured Holidays in Wales
See more holidays in Wales
Featured Articles on Wales
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.
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
From 545.00 (based on two staying) to:1133.00
319.00 (based on two staying) to:734.40
From 319.00 (based on two staying) to:734.40
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.
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.
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 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’.
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.
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.
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
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.
Anna’s Welsh Zoo at Manor House
Anna’s Welsh Zoo is set within 52 organic acres of Pembrokeshire Parkland and supports endangered species from all over the world, along with all the variety of British native wildlife. They specialise in close-up, immersive animal experiences and all the animals are maintained in spacious, natural enclosures. There are five unique animal walkthroughs where the visitor can get up close to many species. Open 10am – 6pm, 363 days a year. (winter opening hours vary - see website for details)
Season tickets are great value at just twice the price of standard entry!! Under 4’s go free…
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.
Living Room Treehouse
You are carried – from the woodland floor to the tree canopy – via a sweeping spiral staircase: an architectural wonder in wood. Stripped branches are knotted together to create wonderfully wonky fences, their knobbly imperfections contrasting beautifully against the sleek, modern pods. Inside, the Hobbit-esque tree houses are neatly divided into living and sleeping quarters with portholes and glass doors, wood-burners for cosy evenings, and Scandinavian-inspired beds and chairs. From £339 for two nights.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
More holidays in Wales
£785 per person based on two people sharing
£925 pp (based on 2 people sharing)