Six Welsh walks for a spirited staycation

Itching for the great outdoors? Don’t miss our favourite Welsh walks, soaking up the best of the gorgeous coastlines and dramatic mountain landscapes that the country has to offer. For a restorative staycation packed with history, unique culture and the great outdoors, discover your next adventure here. 

Chepstow to Tintern Abbey, Wye Valley

This Wye river trail, a favourite of pilgrims and romantics, is an easy jaunt along Monmouthshire’s southeastern borders. Starting at the pretty town of Chepstow, the route follows the river north. Leave behind the romance of Chepstow’s castle ruins on their rocky riverside outcrop, as the trail winds through thick forest and climbs stone steps that lead to scenic viewpoints. This designated AONB is perfectly framed by the trail, leading to the Romantic Wordsworth’s haunt, the evocative Tintern Abbey ruins. 

Canal Walk, Llangollen

Starting at the picturesque Horseshoe Falls, follow the route past the hillside Llantysilio Church, before detouring for the 13th-century Valle Crucis Abbey ruins. The sightseeing only gets better; on to pretty Llangollen, the picture-perfect riverside town filled with bakeries and delis, river views and steam trains. Tackle the climb up to Castell Dinas Brân for fantastic views over the valleys, before following the horse-drawn barges out of the town. The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is the exhilarating finisher of the trail. This Telford masterpiece is not for the faint hearted; a small iron railing to one side, and a canal to the other, as you traverse a lofty valley.

Manorbier to Tenby, Pembrokeshire

Start at historic Manorbier. It’s an easy train or bus from Tenby, but the contrast is spectacular. Manorbier is, quite simply, a beach, a church and a castle. And it is irresistibly pretty. Explore the Norman fortifications before heading to the coastal path. Nearby is the King’s Quoit neolithic burial chamber, marking the start of the cliff route that reveals sea stacks, coves and dazzling views. After gliding past scenic spots like Skrinkle Haven Beach, Church Door Cove and Lydstep Beach, you’ll enter the fascinating walled-town of Tenby, where there’s plenty to satisfy a weekend jaunt.

Branwen Walk, Harlech

Nestled between mountain and sea, this short and scenic trail is a great introduction to Snowdonia and the Wales Coast Path. Spend time in historic Harlech, a place of winding alleyways and old Welsh legends, bookended by the impressive castle that’s seen its fair share of conflicts. The trail soaks up the nearby sands of Morfa Harlech, a scene of undulating sand dunes popular with kiters, surfers and sandcastle connoisseurs. Best of all is the mountain and castle backdrop that accompanies every step. Harlech is a great jumping off point for inspired trips into the mountains. 

Porthgain Loop

Porthgain is an old industrial harbour, which once thrived on exporting road stones across the UK. Now, it’s a picturesque and historic spot, and marks the beginning of a coastal walk filled with incredible scenery. Follow the cliff path as it snakes along the Pembrokeshire coastline, with the odd beach or cove providing a little respite. Eventually you’ll arrive at Abereiddi’s famous Blue Lagoon, an old slate quarry backfilled with water. Head inland now, following the old tramway that used to connect quarry to harbour.

Aberdaron Mynydd Mawr Loop

Walk in the footsteps of generations of pilgrims, following the ancient trail from Aberdaron to the very edge of Wales. Start in the small coastal village, lauded as one of the prettiest in Wales, and discover the famous St Hywyn’s Church. Sat on the beach, it marks the end of the old pilgrim trails, with the village being the jumping off point for dangerous crossings to holy Bardsey Island. The whole scene is imbued with a wild romance, not lost on the great Welsh bard R S Thomas. Follow the dramatic Llŷn coastline to its end, where stirring views over the holy site on Bardsey Island completes your pilgrimage. 

Written in partnership with Visit Wales

Related articles