Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroad

Some of the best holiday experiences can be found not at the other end of a long plane or boat trip but right here in Wales. Every stunning corner of the country has incredible and varied places to stay, exhilarating things to do, history to discover and a range of fantastic food to indulge. Don’t forget, while you are currently allowed to travel and holiday within Wales, please make sure you are aware of any restrictions in place and of the general advice to try to travel as little as possible and to only to do safely.

Staying responsible and safe is a must so don’t forget to keep the two metre distance with other walkers and travellers.

Benllech beach, Anglesey Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadAward-winning beaches throughout Wales (Rhosilli Beach on Gower)

Also, as things are constantly changing and reopening, please check with venues like castles, restaurants and tourist spots, whether they are open. So start planning your ultimate Welsh staycation, from relaxing in a hot tub in a field to snuggling in front of a roaring fire in a cute cottage before exploring five wonderful regions in Wales that can easily compete with a foreign holiday.

Pembrokeshire

With turquoise crystal clear waters and soft sandy beaches, Pembrokeshire can compete with any Caribbean holiday destination, apart from maybe the weather. In 2012 National Geographic magazine named Pembrokeshire the world’s second-best coastal destination, so it is an obvious choice for a staycation in Wales.

Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadTenby, Pembrokeshire harbour with pretty pastel properties on the cliff top and north beach below

The county has long been a popular holiday destination, enticing people back year after year with its unspoilt beaches, abundance of outdoor activities, pretty and peaceful coastal villages and centuries of unique history.

Beaches to visit

Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadBarafundle Bay, Stackpole, Pembrokeshire

This stunning Welsh county has an embarrassment of award-winning beaches from sweeping sands to quiet coves.

The biggest challenge for a staycation visitor is going to be choosing which ones to explore and enjoy. For the movie buff there’s the now legendary Freshwater West, starring in films such as Robin Hood and Harry Potter. For surfers and water sport enthusiasts there’s a wide choice, but many seasoned surfers recommend Whitesands Bay, Newgale Beach and Freshwater West as locations to try, whatever your level of experience.

If you choose Whitesands Bay you will be heading for the Welsh beach just named the most desirable in the UK by holidaycottages.co.uk. Find out more about it here.

Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadBroad Haven beach Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadThe shell house owned by Dobby in the Harry Potter movies built on Freshwater West beach

Beaches popular with families due to their facilities and high-season lifeguards include Tenby, Broad Haven and Poppit Sands. For peace and quiet try Barafundle Bay, which can only be found at the end of a half mile walk from the car park through pine trees and sand dunes.

Things to do

The county is a paradise for anyone who wants to explore the coast and the sea – from walking the coastal path to riding the surf. 

The 240 miles of pathway that is the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park offers dramatic scenery of cliffs, sea, beaches and wildlife but is also the gateway to many monuments and sites of historic interest in the area including St Non’s Chapel.

Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadCoasteering with Preseli Venture

Coasteering, surfing and water sports are all available along the coastline with companies such as Preseli Venture and Celtic Quest, as well as opportunities to go out to sea for whale, porpoise and dolphin spotting. Walk a few metres from the quiet Abereiddy beach and discover the National Trust owned Blue Lagoon. The lagoon is actually a former slate quarry now flooded and popular with organised water sports, coasteering, professional cliff diving and wonderful walks.

There are a number of islands to visit that are havens of natural beauty teeming with wildlife such as Ramsey Island just off the coast of St Davids, Skomer Island just off Marloes village or how about St Catherine’s Island at Tenby, the site of the fictional Sherringford in the final series of the popular BBC TV programme Sherlock. More information about Ramsey Island can be found here. Families with children of all ages are well catered for within the county, from Folly Farm and The Dinosaur Park, both near Tenby, or for older children (and adults too) try Oakwood Theme park, Heatherton World of Activities and Battlefiled Live, both near Narbeth.

Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadSt David’s Cathedral, Pembrokeshire Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadPentre Ifan burial chamber at sunset

Anyone looking to explore the history of the county will not be disappointed, in fact the whole staycation could be totally filled with visiting buildings from the past.

St David’s Cathedral and its adjacent Bishops’ Palace are magnificent medieval buildings to explore and the reason why St David’s can claim its unique title as the smallest city in Britain. Castles are aplenty, from the majestic Pembroke castle to the romantic ruins of Carew castle. For the more unusual, try St Govan’s church, a hermit’s tiny cell built into the cliffside on the south coast, or Pentre Ifan, described as the ‘Stonehenge of Wales’, found near Newport on the north coast.

Places to stay

If a touch of luxury is within your budget, as well as beaches and a vibrant coastal town as your base, then the premiere Ocean Room suite at the Atlantic Hotel in Tenby might tempt you, with its private balcony and hot tub overlooking south beach.

Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadThe Atlantic Hotel in Tenby includes the Ocean Room Suite carved into the cliff face

Or maybe a stay in a Norman castle is more your style?

Roch castle near Newgale beach combines its classic castle structure with contemporary interiors for a unique stay. For something a bit different for families or couples, how about a cool, converted 1960s bus in the middle of nowhere. Y Panorama at Aros Yn Pentreglas is tucked away in the foothills of the Preseli Mountains so the country and coast are on the doorstep, although the bus doesn’t move so it can’t take you there.

Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadY Panorama at Aros Yn Pentreglas is a converted 1960s bus Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadDamselfly is a glamping hut in the country

If meeting on-site farm animals and picking your own veg for supper sounds fun, then a stay at the pretty double glamping hut Damselfly near Boncath must be an attractive proposition.

Places to eat

Arguably the most recognised Pembrokeshire town is Tenby with its stunning beaches and pastel properties and it’s a great place to start when looking for places to eat, but the county has many pretty coastal villages to discover with most offering a chance to stop and feed on local produce.

Pubs by beaches at the end of exhilarating walks are a speciality in this county.

Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadThe Stackpole Inn, Pembrokeshire Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadCafe Mor, Freshwater West, Pembrokeshire Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadCoast, Saundersfoot in Pembrokeshire Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadLamb shoulder, tiger prawn and fish croquettes at Coast

Some popular routes to eateries include wandering along the National Trust’s Stackpole wildlife walk that, as well as views of lakes, beaches, birds and rugged cliffs to enjoy, there’s the 17th century Stackpole Inn waiting to greet you along the way. There is information on more walks with pubs en route here. Fish and chips by the beach is surely a must while staying in Pembrokeshire and Hooked @31 in the fishing village of Fishguard is a popular choice. 

The Lime Crab in New Quay was a shortlisted entry in the National Fish & Chip Awards 2019 and offers all the old favourites as well as exciting options such as lobster, deep fried halloumi and prawns in tempura batter. Cafe Mor is a boat overlooking Freshwater West now converted into an award-winning beach food shack powered by solar panels. Michelin-recommended Coast near Saundersfoot offers every table an incredible view over the stunning Coppet Hall Beach, whether inside or on the large outdoor terrace.

Llyn Peninsula

Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadPorthdinllaen on the Llyn Peninsula

In the top left corner of the Welsh coast is a stunning peninsula that is designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty.

Surrounded by the sparkling clear waters of the Irish Sea on one side and Cardigan Bay on the other, if a holiday abroad is based on quiet sandy beaches, luxury and intriguing places to visit then this area of Wales is a perfect staycation replacement. There are remains of Iron Age Forts and islands to discover, sweeping stretches of sandy beaches and plenty of cute coastal villages and historic sites to visit.

Beaches to visit

There are an embarrassment of beautiful beaches to explore, from family and dog-friendly spots to a surfer’s paradise. Llanbedrog beach is now owned by the National Trust and stretches for over a mile, Porth Neigwl beach is also known as Hell’s Mouth and with quality waves is popular with surfers and water activity enthusiasts.

Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadPorth Iago, near Aberdaron, Llyn Peninsula Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadAbersoch on the Llyn Peninsula, Gwynedd

Abersoch Beach is known for its soft sand and colourful beach huts and is popular with families.

Porth Oer beach is also known as Whistling Sands as bizarrely the sand actually whistles under your feet as you walk, so a good choice for the family to explore. For a quieter, cuter beach experience try the cove of Porth Iago near Pwllheli. There’s more information about fantastic beaches in north Wales here.

Things to do

On the southern coast of the peninsula the magical ruin of Criccieth Castle stands proud on top of a rocky headland overlooking the village and beach.

Wander further south down the coast and Harlech Castle is waiting to impress you. This handsome castle has arguably one of the most dramatic settings, crowning a rocky crag with a sheer drop down to the flat plains below.

Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadHarlech Castle Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadTre’r Ceiri hill fort, Llyn Peninsula

Designated a World Heritage Site, Harlech castle has experienced many sieges and battles, and was once the centre of power of Owain Glyndwr, Prince of Wales. There are many intriguing ancient sites to visit in the region but maybe one of the most popular is Tre’r Ceiri hill fort near Trefor on the northern coast. 

The fort is said to be one of the best and most complete Iron Age hill forts in Britain, where the remains of gateways, ramparts and round houses can still be seen.

Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadPortmeirion village featuring the Onion Dome, Chantry Row, The Bristol Colonnade and The Dome

A stay within the Llyn Peninsula region would not be complete without a visit to the incredible village of Portmeirion. A day trip is the very least a visitor to the area should consider to take the time to absorb the unique and pretty Italian-style village built on the Welsh coastline. There are plenty of outdoor activities to choose on and around the Llyn Peninsula, from water sports at beaches to course river fishing.

There are many established walks along the Llyn coastal path with mesmerising sea views and across the peaceful countryside, from a few miles stroll to a full day of rambling.

Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadChildren taking part in the Bear Grylls Survival Academy

For an adrenalin rush try the Dragon Raiders Activity Park featuring a paintball park and segway adventures and the Bear Grylls Survival Academy.

Places to stay

All this activity and outdoor exploring means a comfortable bed for the night must be secured and the area can offer a wide variety of accommodation, from the cute to the cavernous, the fantastic to the family-oriented. You can stay and even get married at Portmeirion in one of the two hotels. Hotel Portmeirion is a Grade II listed former Victorian villa converted into a hotel in 1925 by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, the famous architect who created Portmeirion.

Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadPortmeirion Hotel and the Dwyryd estuary Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadCastell Deudraeth, Portmeirion

Castell Deudraeth is a four-star hotel located within the grounds of Portmeirion and offers visitors contemporary style within a striking Gothic castle.

Travel down the Llyn Peninsula and the coastal cottages of Travel Together might be an option for accommodation. The complex of rustic, stone cottages look out over the sea at Nefyn can accommodate between two and seven people and are family and dog-friendly with access facilities for disabled people. An unusual place to consider staying is Bardsey Island.

Visitors reach the island by boat, you can bring your car too, but you need to bring a head torch as well because the accommodation is described as basic, none of the houses have mains electricity. What an adventure.

Places to eat

Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadTy Coch Inn, Porthdinllaen on the Llyn Peninsula

For food with sea views try the Ty Coch Inn right next to the beach in the fishing village of Porthdinllaen. As well as many eateries in Portmeirion one of the most popular places to eat according to Trip Advisor ratings is Tremfan Hall Restaurant in Llanbedrog.

The hotel offers an a la carte dining menu as well as a bistro menu ‘to go’. For a bite to eat at the beach The Little Tea Rooms at Mickey’s Boat Yard is a popular choice, serving home baked cakes and meals on the patio looking out Machroes Beach towards Abersoch. Other TripAdvisor recommended places to eat include Buffers at Pwllheli Station, Caffi Ni in Nefyn and Castle Fish Chips in Criccieth.

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The Gower

If relaxing on an amazing beach appeals to you on a foreign holiday, the Gower has been offering this for years.

The peninsula is awash with award-winning sandy shores to stun any visitor plus, unlike the still Mediterranean, the surf can be incredible and offer a wealth of surfing opportunities. Add an abundance of outdoor activities and a variety of places to eat and the Gower always has been and always will be a centre for incredible holidays. The first place in Britain to be named an area of outstanding natural beauty in 1956, the area has been stunning visitors for decades.

Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadOxwich Bay can compete with any beach abroad

Most recently, the Gower has been named as the best place in the UK to go for a staycation with good social distancing, according to money.co.uk’s recent Safecation Report.

More information here. It’s all about the beautiful beaches, spectacular rugged coastline, peaceful countryside, fresh local food and an array of outdoor activities within this 70 glorious square miles of south west wales.

Beaches to visit

Arguably the most well-known beach, regularly included in lists of the world’s best beaches, is Rhossili. This three-mile stretch of golden sands is backed by dunes and anchored at one end by a rocky outcrop called Worm’s Head that can only be reached for about two hours per day, so be careful you don’t get stranded. 

The coast around this distinctive feature offers caves, blowholes and a natural bridge within the rock for intrepid explorers to discover.

Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadWords head at Rhosilli beach, Gower Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadThe fields of beautiful yellow sunflowers at Rhossili Bay on the Gower Peninsula attract visitors when flowering

However some might say that Three Cliffs Bay wins the best beach competition for peace and iconic views on the Gower. The beautiful beach emerges from the wooded valley of the Pennard Hill river and even has the romantic ruins of Pennard castle looking down from the cliff. As there is a strong current and a brisk walk to reach it, Three Cliffs Bay can be a quieter location to choose if you want to avoid large crowds.

For families who need facilities as well as beauty then Caswell, Langland, Oxwich Bay and Port Eynon are usually the most popular choices.

Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadOxwich Bay on the Gower coast

If avoiding large crowds in the summer is on your staycation wish-list then Pobbles Bay or Mewslade might be among the best choices.  For a place that’s a hot spot for wild swimmers, a trek over sand dunes from Broughton Bay brings you to Blue Pool Bay and its natural tidal plunge-pool. More information about Gower beaches here.

Things to do

With all the beautiful beaches and underpopulated countryside on the Gower it is a popular destination for walkers and ramblers, surfers and water sports enthusiasts and even flyers – with paragliders a common site soaring high above the holidaymakers.

Gower Activities Centre is a good place to start when considering how to get the most out of the outdoors, including coasteering, canoeing and windsurfing or maybe a more relaxing boat trip around the rugged coastline sounds more appealing.

Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadGower is a surfer’s paradise

There are a number of surfing schools in the area that offer courses for all levels and most tip Llangennith as having the most reliable waves, although UK champion surfer Gwen Spurlock favours Langland with the right weather and wave conditions. The Gower has an abundance of walks to discover for all levels of fitness and speed, either hugging the coast or trekking inland, with one of the most popular being the coastal path along Rhossili, that ends up at the Worms Head Hotel in the village for rewarding refreshments.

Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadOystermouth Castle, Gower

Such is the propensity of castles to be explored in Wales that even this more compact peninsula has its fair share. Discover Oystermouth Castle in Mumbles and Weobley castle, a surprise ruin tucked away waiting to be found near Landimore.

Cefn Bryn is known as the backbone of the Gower, a five mile ridge of red sandstone common land, it entices walkers to explore with the lure of an ancient Neolithic burial ground called Arthur’s Stone at the ridge’s summit.

Places to stay 

For groups of up to seven people who want the beach close-by, The Old Rectory offers a stumble of about seven metres to the beach as it is literally on the sand at Rhosilli. Owned by the National Trust, the period property is the only building located on the iconic bay with no neighbours in sight and only the sound of the waves to lull you to sleep.

Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadThe Old Rectory National Trust Cottage, Rhossili, Gower

For a stay in a cabin try Eirlys near Southgate, included in The Times 2019/20 best glamping sites in the UK. A luxury bespoke cabin with a stylish interior, peaceful location, and hot tub there’s also a trampoline and cabin slide for the kids of all ages in the family.

Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadEirlys luxury log cabin

There are numerous coastal camping and glamping sites to choose from that include sea views from the tent and beachside apartments and complete houses to rent but for a touch of hotel luxury move up the coast to Llanelli and the Stradey Park Hotel and Spa.

This converted four-star Edwardian mansion has panoramic views of the Gower as well as spa days and treatments, afternoon teas and meals in the Copperplate bar and grill.

Places to eat

Mumbles on the eastern coast of the Gower is a pretty village offering independent boutique shopping as well as a centre for a variety of restaurants, cafes, pubs and quirky food outlets.   Since 2017 the Gower Seafood Hut on Mumbles’ seafront promenade has been selling fish and chips from a bright blue horse box from March to September.

Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadGower Seafood hut has been named one of the best restaurants in Swansea Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadGower has a range of places to eat including take away from the Gower Seafood Hut

Beach House Restaurant is another independent and popular place to find local produce and creative dishes, located next to the beach at Oxwich Bay, where you will also find the Oxwich Bay Hotel, again positioned perfectly right next to the sandy shore. Langland brasserie offers booked diners sea views of the bay from their elevated terrace.

For a pub experience The Ship Inn at Port Eynon has been refurbished for a more rustic seafaring decor including booths reminiscent of beer barrels, and the dog is welcome too. Britannia Inn in Llanmadoc is popular with families, probably helped with the cool wooden fort in the beer garden. For a cafe and cake experience try The Bay Bistro and Coffee House overlooking Rhossili Bay and the Three Cliffs Coffee Shop in Southgate, both serving daytime meals too.

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The Isle of Anglesey

If your annual holiday is usually an island in the Mediterranean, Wales can offer you an equivalent island staycation version too.

Anglesey might not have the night scene of Ibiza but it is a hot spot for beauty, peace and tranquility, maybe more so than any other part of the coast in Wales.

Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadIsle of Anglesey and its islands – this is Puffin Island Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadPrince William and Kate Middleton were shown in Anglesey on Prince William: A Planet for Us All

The island even has the royal seal of approval from Prince William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, regular visitors and former residents. And if you feel like island hopping you can hop on a ferry to Ireland from Holyhead in the north or pop across the Menai Strait to all the resorts along the north Wales coast.

Beaches to visit

The island has a 125-mile coastal path that takes in some of the most deserted sandy shores and coves in Wales, six have Blue Flag awards and seven have won a seaside award. For dolphin and seal watching try Lligwy Bay and take a picnic too as it has been named as one of the 10 best picnic spots in Britain by Coast Magazine.

Benllech beach is an expanse of sand and rock pools popular with families due to its high season lifeguards and also a centre for a variety of beach based activities such as windsurfing, sea-fishing and surfing. For peace and fewer people try Traeth yr Ora beach which has parking over a mile away so can be off-putting for some visitors looking for a more accessible beach.

Benllech beach, Anglesey Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadLlanddona Beach, part of Red Wharf Bay

For arguably one of the most unique beaches in Wales head to Porth Wen beach to discover an old brickworks standing empty on the shoreline since it closed in World War I. For beaches that are famous for being areas of outstanding natural beauty go to Cemaes Bay and Traeth Coch that can also boast a site of an ancient Iron Age fort.

If you choose to visit Rhosneigr beach on the south-west coast, your destination has just been named the seventh most desirable in the UK. Find out more about it here.

Things to do

Much of the list of things to do on Anglesey are based outside, from numerous golf courses to visiting the ruined church of Santes Dwynwen, the Welsh patron saint of lovers, on Llanddwyn Island. For bird-watching including puffins and a rare pair of choughs and spectacular views of the coastline visit South Stack Lighthouse and cliffs.

The Dingle Nature Reserve can also boast a beautiful location to connect with nature, in an ancient wooded valley.

Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadSouth stack lighthouse on Anglesey Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadWind surfers at Rhosneigr beach on Anglesey

Any visitors desperate to connect with the island’s history should put Beaumaris Castle on the agenda. Designated a World Heritage Site this last great castle built under the reign of Edward I in the 13th century is a magical place to explore. Plas Newydd House and Gardens is on the Menai Strait, owned by The National Trust, and a day can easily fly past at this 18th century manor including wandering through the largest collection of Rex Whistler paintings or walking through the bluebell woodlands.

Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadPlas Newydd house and gardens, Anglesey

Over the Menai Bridge and the magnificent Caernarfon Castle is waiting to impress and for any members of the family or friends longing for a fun fair and arcades then maybe venturing to the coastal towns of north Wales is the best plan.

Greenwood Family Park near Bangor and Knightly’s Fun Park near Rhyl might be worth considering for a family fun day out or maybe Zip World or Adventure Parc, both in Snowdonia, can tempt you further inland.

Places to stay

For a jaw-dropping place to stay try Chateau Rhianfa, a Grade II listed country house hotel that oozes character and luxury, described as a unique fairytale hotel with turrets and tall chimneys.

Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadChateau Rhianfa, Menai Bridge, Anglesey

Anglesey is peppered with disused windmills, some empty, but some have been converted into homes and holiday lets. The 200-year old Union Mill near Gaerwen has incredible views of the island from the top of the windmill tower and sleeps up to six people. For a romantic getaway try a converted hayloft with its own hot tub outside and gorgeous interiors that include a copper bath.

The Hayloft sleeps two and is located in Plas Rhosneigr.

Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadThe 200-year old Union Mill Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadThe Hayloft has a bonus hot tub

The Anglesey Gypsy Caravan site offers a unique place to stay in a Romany gypsy caravan in a paddock surrounded by stunning scenery, or there’s a variety of glamping lodges available at Wonderfully Wild near Beaumaris.

Places to eat

For a quaint little restaurant right by the sea to combine lunch with an incredible view try The Boathouse in Pentraeth. Another popular sea front establishment is the Pier House Cafe and Bistro in Beaumaris. The Tavern on the Bay at Traeth Coch (Red Wharf Bay) is not only popular with holiday makers that stay at the caravan sites in the area, but also popular among the locals, for good food and amazing coastal views.

The Black Lion is a characterful Grade II listed pub and restaurant to stop off and eat on the way to or from Camaes Bay and for yummy grub during the day try Wavecrest Cafe overlooking Church Bay, who claim to be famous on the island for the biggest and best scones.

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Brecon Beacons

If your ideal holiday is climbing hills and mountains, discovering lakes and admiring river valleys, then Wales is the perfect staycation destination for you. Again, for a small country Wales can offer you many mountain ranges to tackle (safely); it’s a mountain to climb just trying to decide where to park your hiking boots for the week.

Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadThe area has mountains to climb and valleys to explore Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadSo many places for an amazing staycation in Wales its hard to choose where to watch the sunset

From the majestic Snowdonia in Gwynedd to the Cambrian Mountains running down the centre of the country to the former coal mining valleys of south Wales, every county has its impressive hills and valleys. The Brecon Beacons area can offer a hills, valleys, water and woods staycation to rival any location in the Alps.

Mountains to visit

Many thousands of visitors choose to visit the Brecon Beacons National Park as a base to explore the mountain ranges of this famous area, the world famous Wye Valley nearby and the numerous vibrant market towns such as Hay-on-Wye and Abergavenny.

Mountains and hill ranges to explore include The Black Mountain Range to the north of Swansea, said to be one of Wales’ most wild and remote corners of the country, hiding isolated lakes and caves carved by glaciers. It’s highest peak is called Fan Brycheiniog standing at 802 metres above sea level. The Black Mountains can found on the border with England and include the Waun Fach plateau at 811 metres high and a climb up Pen y Fan (886 metres), Sugar Loaf and Hay Bluff are a must for mountain-lovers.

Popular but quieter than Snowdonia, even in the height of summer, it is unlikely you will have to queue to get to the summit of Pen y Fan.

Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadPen y Fan summit in the Brecon Beacons National Park Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadThe Cribyn viewed from the summit of Pen y Fan in the Brecon Beacons National Park

Things to do

The Brecon Beacons and the Wye Valley can accommodate almost any outdoor land, water or air based activity that can be done. The list is long and includes water sports, horse riding, mountain biking, caving, climbing, paragliding and, of course, walking along one of the two national trails.

Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadExplore the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadElan Valley reserviors include the Garreg Ddu reservior

For some time off from climbing, try immersing yourself in the beautiful landscape of the area via boat on the Monmouthshire and Brecon canal or travelling east to spend time in the stunning Wye Valley. For waterside walks Elan Valley Reservoirs will tempt you off the mountain top and for an adrenalin rush try Sky Trek Experience, crossing the treetops via zip wires and cables.

Children of all ages will find the caves and dinosaurs at Dan Yr Ogof showcaves an exciting day out too.

Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadWorld Bog Snorkelling Championships at Waen Rhydd peat bog in Llanwrtyd Wells 2019 Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadBrecon Beacons has been named as one of the best places in the UK for stargazing, maybe from this horse truck called Wanderoo you can hire for a staycation

The area is also well-known on the events map, with highlights when running including the Hay Festival of Literature and Arts, Abgeravenny Food Festival, Brecon Jazz Festival and Green Man to name just a few. Move further north out of the national park to Llanwrtyd Wells and you will come across the annual world bog snorkeling championships usually held every August bank holiday.

Places to stay

There are many campsites, pubs, guests houses and hotels to use as a base for exploring the Brecon Beacons area and also many unusual places to lay your head for the night. Wanderoo is a a characterful converted horse truck in the Brecon Beacons National Park, with romantic studio interiors and a hot tub beneath the stars.

The Tower near Crickhowell offers a romantic fairytale stay for two in a former folly and Ty Hedfan is the total opposite, a contemporary structure overhanging the River Ysgir near Brecon that sleeps up to six people.

Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadThe Tower near Crickhowell Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadTy Hedfan near Brecon

For a touch of luxury the five star Peterstone Court Country House and Spa near Llanhamlach offers a restaurant, pool and spa within a characterful Georgian country property and estate. For bed and breakfast in style try the Town House in Brecon or for a luxury base near Crickhowell and the canal network, The Old Rectory near Llangattock is well placed as a charming property with pretty grounds.

Places to eat

The Skirrid Mountain Inn at Llanfihangel Crucorney is said to be one of the oldest pubs in Wales and was once said to be the local court house and even the place where the ‘guilty’ were hung, hence the building’s reputation for being haunted. You can enjoy a meal at the Inn or if you are a bit braver, stay the night.

Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadThe Skirrid Mountain Inn in Llanvihangel Crucorney near Abergavenny where you can eat or sleep or both Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadThe Walnut Tree, Skenfrith, Abergavenny

There is a huge variety of cafes, pubs and restaurants in and around the market towns of the area.

Some highlights include The Old Electric Shop in Hay with a good range of vegetarian dishes, The Angel Hotel in Abergavenny and the Michelin-starred restaurant the Walnut Tree where you can stay in an on-site cottage too.

Five Welsh staycations better than any holiday abroadBurger at Hills in Brecon

For a burger to beat most, Hills in Brecon looks like a strong contender and for a meal or a bed for the night Llanthony Prior near Abergavenny is unique and atmospheric place, surrounded by the ruins of the medieval building and the black mountains.

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