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Are you replacing your holiday abroad with a staycation in Wales in 2021? Whether you are or not, here are the best places to visit in Wales for a Wales Staycation to feel like you are truly on holiday and somewhere new!
Wales is a fairly small country but there are so many places to visit in Wales and it is so varied too! North and South Wales are completely different and so is the East, West and Middle!
Whether you’re looking for a holiday in the mountains, a holiday on the beach, a holiday with an island feel or unique accommodation with a hot tub and some privacy, you’ll find this for your Staycation in Wales!
What is a Staycation?
Incase you are new to the idea of a ‘staycation’ here’s what a staycation means:
A staycation is a holiday that you spend in your own home or your own country, relaxing and enjoying leisure activities there.
Why Go on a Staycation in Wales?
Wales is often left off of the radar when it comes to visiting places in the UK and I think thats the case for a few reasons:
Often people think of Wales as not having anything to offer. That it’s all fields full of sheep, backwards towns, and a lot of rain, but that simply isn’t true! Well, it is true, but it does offer much more than that and this is what I’m going to show you in this Wales blog post!
Additionally, if you live in England, Scotland or even Ireland, Wales can seem quite far away. With only the M4 going into Wales right in the very South, only A Roads going into Wales in the very North, and Mountains and Country Lanes making up the Middle of Wales, it is further than one might think to get to the best places to visit in Wales and I think that puts us off!
Why drive all the way to Wales when you can fly to Spain or Italy in less time hey??
Well, things are different this year aren’t they and it looks like UK staycations are here to stay and visiting Wales is one of the best options for a UK Staycation I think.
I am biased because I live in Wales now and I grew up here around my travels but I honestly believe you’ll be so surprised by what Wales can offer you and what an amazing holiday in Wales you can have!
What’s The Best Time to Visit Wales?
You may also think that the weather in Wales is always terrible and I don’t blame you for thinking that. It is just as unpredictable as the rest of the UK yes, but when you’re on the coastline on a sunny day, you could almost be in Portugal!
Here’s my post on the best time to visit Wales for more information to help you plan when to go on your staycation in Wales!
Here’s a map of these staycations in Wales to help you plan what will work best for you:
Staycations in Wales:
1 – The Gower Peninsula
Perfect Wales Staycation for: Beaches, Island Feel, Couples, Families, Friends, Outdoor Activities, Camping
Well located on the South Coast of Wales, not too far from Cardiff and just off the M4, is The Gower, also known as Swansea Gower!
I recommend this as a great location for staycations in Wales because it’s easy to get to and when you get there it has an island feel to it thanks to being a Peninsula. It was also the very first area of outstanding natural beauty in the UK!
Things to do in the Gower:
The Gower has 30 beaches so if it’s a beach holiday you’re after on your Wales staycation, this is a good place to visit!
Rhossili Bay is one of the most famous beaches in Wales, it’s a huge beach and you can walk to the tip of the Peninsula to Worms Head. Caswell Bay, Oxwell Bay and the Three Cliffs Bay are also beautiful, huge sand beaches that could look like they are in Portugal!
The Mumbles is a cute seaside town, just what you expect from a British holiday complete with a beach and pier and if you need a bit of city life whilst on this staycation in Wales, you can head to Swansea City within 20 minutes.
If you want some adrenaline activities for you or to keep the kids busy, coasteering is one of the top activities to go in the Gower and you can spend days exploring the archaeological sites like caves, forts and castles!
2 – Tenby
Perfect Wales Staycation for: Beaches, Holiday Parks, Families, Couples, Friends, Classic Holiday Fun, Camping
Pembrokeshire is the most popular holiday area in Wales and Tenby is the most popular place to go! It’s a postcard picture seaside town full of brightly painted buildings and some beautiful sandy beaches surrounding it.
Tenby works as a great base for a Wales staycation because it has all the amenities you’ll need for a holiday, especially a family holiday.
If you’re used to visiting all-inclusive holiday parks and towns abroad where you have everything on your doorstep, Tenby is for you!
Things to do in Tenby:
On your doorstep you have Tenby harbourfront, 4 beaches to visit including a small island, Tenby Castle and an unlimited amount of shops serving all of your holiday needs.
Tenby is a great base to see more of Pembrokeshire from too and from here you can walk or drive the many of the best beaches in Pembrokeshire, if you want to get out surfing or kayaking you can do this at nearby beaches like Barafundle Bay, or you can go for long beach walks at Saundersfoot beach.
Inland, it’s really easy to get to places like Oakwood Theme Park and Folly Farm for holiday activities to do with children.
For more accommodation in Tenby see: 10 Tenby Cottages for Self Catering in Tenby!
3 – Llandudno
Perfect Wales Staycation for: Classic Holiday Fun, Families, Beaches
Llandudno is a coastal holiday town in North Wales so if you’re coming from North England or Scotland to go on a Wales staycation, this is a good option for you! Llandudno is described as a timeless holiday destination and was the ‘Queen of the Welsh Resorts’ until the middle of the 19th century.
So, if you love typical ‘British holiday’ towns complete with pastel-coloured buildings, a pier, a busy beach and plenty of activities, did someone say Punch and Judy??, then it’s a great place to visit for you!
To be honest, I thought Llandudno would be too touristy and too cheesy for me before I visited, but it is actually beautiful and clean with plenty of things to do nearby!
Things to do in Llandudno:
If this is a family staycation in Wales and you don’t want to be travelling far, you can easily spend a few days in and around Llandudno town on the many surronding beaches, on the fairground rides, and wandering in shops.
Nearby, you can visit Great Orme Country Park, an iconic mini-mountain and limestone cliff which you can drive to or get the unique Great Orme Tramway to the top. Conwy is also nearby but there’s more on Conwy below.
4 – St Davids
Perfect Wales Staycation for: Culture, Couples, Families, Beaches, Outdoor Activities
The city of St David’s in the corner of Pembrokeshire gives you history and art to rival any historic European city!
It’s a great place for your staycation in Wales if you enjoy having the facilities of a small city/town nearby (St David’s is technically a city but the smallest city in Britain!) but also having plenty of nature on your doorstep!
Things to do in St Davids:
Spend some time checking out the impressive St David’s Castle and also the tourist centre of the city nearby with plenty of independent shops and galleries like Oriel y Parc Gallery.
Take a boat ride over to Ramsey Island and search for seals. Drive to some of the many huge sand beaches nearby like Whitesands Bay and Newgale Beach, or head further afield in Pembrokeshire to more beaches, castles and attractions like Oak Wood Theme Park as St David’s is a great base to see more of Pembroke from!
To help you plan you staycation in Wales, have a look at more of my Wales Posts:
5 – Aberaeron
Perfect Wales Staycation for: Outdoor Activities, Culture, Beaches, Couples, Families, Camping
Another top British holiday spot in Wales is Aberaeron. Aberaeron is a colourful Georgian harbour town on the Cardigan Bay, however, it’s much more charming and relaxed that the likes of Llandudno mentioned above.
If you enjoy small fishing villages, unique activities, exploring independent shops and eating cake in small cafes, this is the place for you.
Admittedly, Aberaeron is a bit harder and longer to get to from England as it’s on the West Coast of Wales but if you live in Wales already, it’s perfect for your local Wales staycation!
Things to do in Aberaeron:
Enjoy fresh food overlooking the harbour with the colourful buildings behind you, go Dolphin Spotting in Cardigan Bay where you’re most likely to see bottlenose Dolphins in the Summer and September and October.
Go on a Silver Mine Experience at Wales’s best-kept silver-lead mine or ride the Vale of Rheidol Railway through stunning scenery.
6 – Llyn Peninsula
Perfect Wales Staycation for: Island feel, Beaches, Holiday Parks, Classic Holiday Fun, Water Sports, Families
The Llyn Peninsula is known as ‘Snowdon’s arm’ and stretches well into the Irish Sea from North Wales. If you’re coming over to Wales from North England or Scotland for a staycation in Wales this is a perfect place to stay because it’s not that hard to get to!
If you like beach holidays abroad then the Llyn Peninsula will rival some of the best beaches in Europe because here you sandy beaches, water safe for watersports and there’s even a bar on the beach rated as one of the best beach bars in the world!
Things to do in Llyn Peninsula:
Visit Abersoch beach which is perfect for a family holiday in Wales. It’s trendy with plenty of cafes, restaurants and shops with pretty colourful beach huts and there are lots of water sports on offers like paddleboarding and wakeboarding.
Ty Coch Inn is literally a pub on the beach near the village of Morfa Nefyn and is well worth a visit if you want to be utterly surprised by what Wales can offer!
And when you’ve had enough of the beaches you can visit Plas yn Rhiw, a 16th Century Manor House or go for a hike in Snowdonia National Park.
7 – Anglesey
Perfect Wales Staycation for: Island feel, Culture, Beaches, Outdoor Activities, Families, Couples, Friends
The coastline of Wales offers so much and here is another chance to feel like you’re on an island holiday, because Anglesey is actually an island, but still be in mainland Wales because it’s connected by a short bridge.
If you usually like island holidays abroad where you are surrounded by water and able to get everywhere pretty quickly, head to the Northern tip of Wales to Angelsey for your Wales staycation and you’ll be able to visit beaches, market towns and forests.
Want more ideas for things to do in North Wales? Read my 2 Day North Wales itinerary here!
Things to do in Angelesey:
Spend some time in Beaumaris, a charming seaside town with a mix of medieval, Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian architecture and Beaumaris Castle which is good for children to visit.
Walk as far as you can around Wales Coastal Path, go rock pooling in one of Anglesey’s many beaches, or have a go at some extreme sports like sailing, surfing, kayaking or coasteering!
8 – Hay-on-Wye
Perfect Wales Staycation for: Culture, Couples, Relaxing, Hiking, Families, Friends,
If you’re a culture lover then a staycation in Wales in Hay-on-Wye is for you and it will be even better if you love the mountains too as Hay-on-Wye is located at the top of the Brecon Beacons National Park.
Hay on Wye is also located very close to the England Wales border not far from Herefordshire so if you live in South or the Middle of England it’s an easy location to get to for your staycation in Wales!
Things to do in Hay-on-Wye:
The pretty market town of Hay-on-Wye is known for its literature. There are more bookshops in Hay-on-Wye than you could ever imagine as well as some cool literature art displays too.
Hiking and waterfall exploring are what the Brecon Beacons are known for and Hay-on-Wye is in a perfect location on the edge of this national park.
There are also many other pretty market towns within the Brecon Beacons like Crickhowell and Llandeilo so if you want to spend a few days exploring them only, then you can!
9 – Cardiff
Perfect Wales Staycation for: Culture, City Lovers, Nightlife, Shopping, Outdoor Activities, Couples Families,
Cardiff is Wales Capital City. I love Cardiff because of its cosmopolitan city vibe with its oceanfront location. Cardiff is easy to reach from the Midlands and South of England via the M4 and acts as a gateway into the rest of South Wales.
Cardiff is also well connected by train from England and South Wales and once there is really good public transport so there’s no need for a car!
Although Wales offers so much, especially outdoor activities and attractions as I hope you can tell from this post, if you’re looking for a unique city break for your UK staycation and Wales staycation because you can’t get abroad, Cardiff is where you need to stay.
Things to do in Cardiff:
Cardiff Castle should be your first stop to soak in some history, Cardiff Bay will show you a completely opposite side to the city and you could easily feel like you’re in a modern city abroad, especially if you get some sunshine.
Cardiff has many museums, shopping malls and plenty of nice restaurants to eat and drink at as well as some lovely parks so it’s an all-round good city break in the UK.
Here’s my 1 day in Cardiff itinerary!
10 – Snowdonia National Park
Perfect Wales Staycation for: Hiking, Adventure Activities, Families, Couples, Friends, Mountain Holidays,
Snowdonia is a big area of North Wales and if you usually go abroad to the mountains of Austria, Switzerland or Italy, you may well be surprised at what Snowdonia National Park can offer you in terms of Mountains on a Wales staycation.
When driving along the mountain roads for the first time, I literally thought – why do we go to Europe for mountains when we have them here in Wales??
Snowdonia is one of the best staycations in Wales if you are coming from North England or Scotland due to it’s easy location in North Wales.
Things to do in Snowdonia:
Pick any one of the towns in Snowdonia to base yourself in or unique accommodation in the middle of no-where and from there you can do many hikes. Of course the most popular is to hike Mount Snowdon, I recommend the Pen-Y-Pass route.
Snowdonia is full of waterfalls too like Aber Falls and on the edges of the National Park that reach the coast, you get some incredible beaches like Porthdinllaen.
You can also do adrenaline-fueled activities liked ZipWorld and Adventure Park Snowdonia with a made-man surfing pool.
Put Portmeirion on your list for a unique visit to an Italian village in Wales!
Fancy some glamping in North Wales?? Have a look at my favourite, unique glamping spots in North Wales here!
11 – Aberystwyth
Perfect Wales Staycation for: Friends, Nightlife, Families, Culture, Classic Holiday Fun,
Aberystwyth is a university town but it’s also full of history and is right on the coast. Aberystwyth works well as one of the staycations in Wales for people who like to have a bit more life around them and all the amenities of a thriving town, but also have beaches and nature close by.
Aberystwyth is popular for hen and stag nights because of the nightlife on offer but also the holiday fun.
Things to do in Aberystwyth:
For some culture and history, you can visit Aberystwyth Castle, St. Michael’s Church and National Library of Wales, and for some nature and an amazing sunset, point climb up to Constitutional Hill and for some more exercise you can walk the Ceredigion Coastal Path.
12 – Pembrey
Perfect Wales Staycation for: Beaches, Families, Couples, Friends, Camping, Outdoor Activities, Holiday Parks
Pembrey Beach and National Park is a beautiful huge stretch of coastline between the popular holiday country of Pembrokeshire and Swansea city and it’s easy to reach from the M4.
Pembrey is a good staycation in Wales because of it’s natural beauty and outdoor attractions, especially perfect for families. Pembrey isn’t an obvious holiday choice in Wales like places in Pembrokeshire so this is another reason why it’s good as it doesn’t get as busy yet it still offers all of the amenities you’ll need.
Things to do in Pembrey:
Start off by exploring the 8-mile beach and 550 acres of attached woodland that makeup Pembrey Country Park. Go horse riding at Pembrey Stables.
Go on Wales’ longest toboggan run, play crazy golf and in the forest adventure playground. For days out around Pembrey, you can Burry Port or go out onto Swansea Gower for the day which is number 1 in this list of places for staycations in Wales.
13 – Narberth
Perfect Wales Staycation for: Culture, Shopping, Beaches, Good Restaurants, Couples, Families, Camping
Narberth is a charming and colourful market town inland in the middle of Pembrokeshire. Staying here is a good location in Pembrokeshire because it gives you access to the whole county and coastline fairly easily with each side of Pembrokeshire only about 20 minutes away.
It also offers you a more rural style holiday than the likes of Tenby and it’s family holiday parks.
Things to do in Narberth:
Shopping in the town of Narberth is a must, it is filled with independent shops selling quality goods and lots of high quality and quirky cafes and restaurants, at the same time you can go to Narberth Castle.
From Narberth, you can reach all of Pembrokeshire so you can head to any of the popular beaches like Tenby, Saundersfoot, Milford Haven, or into the market town of Haverfordwest.
If you have children then you can enjoy Pembrokeshire’s top attractions like Oakwood Theme Park, Folly Farm and Blue Lagoon Water Park.
14 – Barry Island
Perfect Wales Staycation for: Classic Holiday Fun, Holiday Parks, Families, Friends
Barry Island is not actually an island but once you’re there you definitely feel like you’re on holiday away from it all. Barry Island is a typical British and Welsh seaside town resort complete with fairground rides, arcade games, a pier and all the souvenir shops you could want.
This is a great staycation in Wales if you are a family with children that need occupying and you enjoy the candy floss, the smell of hot doughnuts and a touristic atmosphere whether you’re on holiday in the UK or abroad.
It’s also just 20 minutes from Cardiff making it easy to reach from the Middle and South of England.
Things to do in Barry Island:
Barry Island is most well known to most people in the UK because of Gavin and Stacey so of course, going on on Gavin and Stacey tour is a must if you are a big fan. Barry Island has plenty of fun activities to like Barry Island Pleasure Beach, Pier and Promenade.
Take a 40-minute ride on the Barry Tourist Railway, hire one of the colourful beach huts for a day and also enjoy the beaches as Barry Island itself has a nice sand beach, although it does get busy in the summer and you can also head to Whitmore Bay and Jacksons Bay.
15 – Conwy
Perfect Wales Staycation for: Culture, History, Couples, Families
Conwy is a small market town in North Wales but there is plenty to do in town and around it and the reason why it’s a really good idea for a staycation in Wales is because of it’s easy access from North England, it’s practically just over the border.
Once you’re there you can enjoy a town like staycation soaking up the history but you can also get into nature quickly and into the mountains by driving 20 miles to Snowdonia National Park.
Things to do in Conwy:
Conwy Castle and Town Walls are a must-visit for history lovers to Conwy and so is visiting the smallest house in Great Britain and the National Trust Aberconwy House. For something a bit different you can head to the nearby National Beekeeping Centre.
Nearby, you can head to the holiday town of Llandudno noted earlier on in this post, head to the mountains in Snowdonia National Park or to Anglesey island.
16 – Bluestone Resort Wales
Perfect Wales Staycation for: Families, Classic Holiday Fun, Holiday Parks
Finally, if you like a traditional holiday park when you go on your holidays abroad, remember that the UK offers these too and there are plenty in Wales!
Bluestone Resort is a 5* National Park Resort in Pembrokeshire and it’s perfect for family fun in a safe and easy place.
They are a luxury self-catering, an eco-friendly resort offering a range of accommodation including lodges to make you feel like you’re in another country, not what you’d expect from Wales, however once there it offers lots of Welsh Charm!
With 500-acres of rolling countryside, there’s plenty of exploring to do for adults and children at the park and in the surrounding area of Pembrokeshire!
I hope this has helped you plan your perfect staycation in Wales!
- For more of my Wales posts to help you plan your trip to Wales see:
- The Best Time To Visit Wales By Weather & Things To Do!
- A 2 Day North Wales Itinerary To Explore The Best of North Wales!
- Plan Your Wales Road Trip With 36 Places To Visit in Wales!
- 7 Wales Road Trip Tips So You Have An Epic Road Trip in Wales!