Croeso i Gymru, or welcome to Wales! Whether you are already based in the UK or want to include Wales on your wider European itinerary, a road trip to this fascinating and beautiful country is a travel must.
This guide offers a mostly coastal itinerary along the south and west of Wales. From secluded beaches to cascading waterfalls, misty mountains to majestic Norman castles, we’ve got it covered.
Travelling by motorhome to Wales
Taking a Welsh road trip is simple and straightforward. You don’t even need to pay a toll on the Severn Bridges these days. The Welsh Tourist Board has a wealth of information about the country including activities, events, attractions and camping and caravan sites. As with the rest of the UK, wild camping is illegal but you may find local pubs that will let you stay on the grounds in exchange for a pint or two. There are also a number of options for free overnight stays in this lovely country, which you can read about in our blog to free overnight motorhome parking in Wales.
As you’d expect from such a tourist-friendly destination, there are plenty of great paid options for motorhome campsites. We’ll include a recommendation or two alongside each destination covered in the Wales road trip itinerary below.
Planning your road trip
The route we have outlined below could be part of a Wales road trip for 5 or 7 days or it could be longer. You might even take a section of it and incorporate it into a more ambitious UK-wide trip or as a warm-up to a road trip to the Atlantic Way in Ireland. The world is your lobster!
As always with road trips, Wales is best enjoyed at a slower pace with a bit of time put aside to stay an extra day if you fall in love with a place or if the weather doesn't cooperate. Wales is a famously rainy country and you can have four seasons in one hour, never mind a day. Make sure you come prepared with plenty of waterproof clothing, good boots if you are going hiking, sunscreen, and a sense of adventure.
The best time of year for a Welsh road trip depends on what you want from your holiday. Beaches around the Gower and Pembrokeshire will be very busy during summer and parking could be a nightmare. But the weather could/should be better in peak season and you might be able to arrange your trip to coincide with one of Wales’ excellent music festivals. Spring and Autumn are a lovely times for a Wales road trip. The former offers gorgeous blooms of wildflowers, misty morning views and banks of fragrant and tasty wild garlic. The latter gives you the chance to see Wales’ ancient woodlands resplendent in Autumnal colours and perhaps a seal pup sighting.
Wales road trip itinerary
As we mentioned, the following can be a 5 or 7-day Wales road trip itinerary or longer if you have the time. You can do it whichever way round you like.
Abergavenny via Brecon to Swansea
Stock up on delicious local cheeses and other produce in Abergavenny, the food capital of Wales, then set off northwest for a stunning journey through the Brecon Beacons. Pen Y Fan, which translates roughly as Top Spot, dominates the view along the way. If you would like to climb this glorious mountain take a look at the Visit Wales guide before planning your approach.
A pitstop at Brecon town offers the chance to check out the Cathedral or Brecon Canal Basin. Journey southwards through the heart of the Brecon Beacons National Park, leaving plenty of time to visit the cascades in the area’s Waterfall Country before heading onto Swansea and the start of the Gower.
Where to stay
Despite the name, Brecon Beacons Wild Camping is a paid site but offers a great sense of freedom and good access to Pen Y Fan and many other attractions. If you are keen to cycle or walk some of the Taff Trail, Pencelli Castle Caravan and Camping Park is a great choice.
From £26 per night
Pencelli Castle Farm, Pencelli, Brecon LD3 7LX, United Kingdom
Swansea to Rhossili Bay
Driving across the Gower you’ll be treated to a delightful colour palette of pale green grasses, and seemingly endless white sandy beaches. This is the UK’s first designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and it leads the charge in style.
Don’t miss a swim or walk at the beautiful Three Cliffs Bay before heading on to Oxwich Bay and Rhossili Bay where the views of Worm’s Head are more than worth getting stuck behind the odd tractor. If you are partial to a fine ale, stop in at one of the many welcoming pubs for a pint of Gower Gold, a delicious local ale. Head northwards make a stop at the characterful Weobley Castle, picking up some delicious salt marsh lamb for a BBQ if the mood takes you.
Where to stay
Three Cliffs Bay Holiday Park is ideally positioned to explore this delightful beach. Another great option is Greenways campsite. With award-winning showers, Greenways promises plenty of comfort as well as spectacular views of Oxwich Bay and the Bristol Channel and access to the Wales Coast Path.
From £33.50 per night
North Hill Farm, N Hills Ln, Penmaen, Swansea SA3 2HB, United Kingdom
Rhossili Bay to St Davids
Heading west towards Pembrokeshire, break the journey with a stop at the 400 acres of horticultural loveliness that is the Welsh Botanic Gardens before travelling onto the harbour town of Tenby. Strolling the cobbled streets and eating fresh seafood in the shelter of the 13th Century town walls you’ll feel like you're holidaying inside a postcard, in the best possible way.
Making your way further west you’ll have your pick of glorious beaches and coastal walks. From the lighthouse at St Ann’s Head (reputedly the sunniest place in Wales) to mindblowing views at Marlowe Sands and Druidstone Beach, you’ll easily fill a few days and nights of your Wales road trip itinerary.
Britain’s smallest city, St Davids is a must-visit on any Welsh road trip. The ‘city’ itself is small but offers a number of great eateries and access to a section of the Wales coast path that will enchant even the weariest travellers. If the weather is right take a boat trip out to the RSPB reserve at Ramsey Island where you can spot seals, puffins and porpoises.
Where to stay
Caerfai Bay Caravan and Tent Park is a family-run site, situated above the gorgeous beach of the same name and only 15 minutes walk from St Davids. For exploring St Ann’s Head and Marlowe Sands, the Point Farm Campsite is a great choice. Advanced booking is essential.
From £24 per night
Ffordd Caerfai, St Davids, Haverfordwest SA62 6QT, United Kingdom
St Davids to Portmeirion
This is the longest stretch of your Welsh road trip so if you want to make the odd stop off, an afternoon dolphin spotting in New Quay or a stroll on the beach at Aberystwyth is well worth the car park fee. On a clear day, you might be able to see the jagged peaks of Snowdonia National Park in the distance as well as a wonderful array of seabirds including cormorants, choughs, little auks and shags.
Arriving at your final stop in Snowdonia you have the option of some wonderful walking routes. Some of the longer walks will require a bit of planning ahead and, of course, the right equipment. For example, if you want to park at Pen y Pass you will need to pre-book a parking space. If hiking is not your thing, don’t worry. Check out the Visit Wales website for more details on activities and cultural highlights (including the ubiquitous castles).
Complete your trip with a visit to Portmeirion, a genuinely unique private village which you can visit with a pre-booked day ticket or stay the night in one of the hotels and guest houses.
Where to stay
Snowdonia has a wide range of motorhome campsites. The Llwyn yr Hem Caravan and Camping Park offer secluded sites in a wonderful location (as well as the chance to practice your Welsh pronunciation!). Another favourite is the Llechrwd campsite, a small family-run site on the river Dwyryd in the beautiful Vale of Ffestiniog. Try saying that after a few Snowdonia Ales.
From £23 per night
Brithdir, Dolgellau LL40 2SA, United Kingdom
Before you go
Roads in Wales are very good and there is plenty of helpful signage (and friendly locals to ask for directions if you get stuck). Many of the areas we have mentioned in this itinerary are rural so expect to share road space with sheep, cows and a variety of plant and farm machinery.
As we have mentioned, Welsh weather is famously unpredictable and changeable. If you are going to hike in a mountainous area or climb one of Wales’ peaks, always check the mountain forecast beforehand.
The areas around Pembrokeshire and Cardigan Bay are important breeding grounds for seals, in fact, Ramsey Island is host to one of the largest breeding colonies of Atlantic Grey Seals in the British Isles. If you are lucky enough to see a pup (usually late August to early November) keep your distance and don’t venture onto beaches where the pup and/or its family are sheltering, especially not with dogs. If the mum feels threatened she is likely to abandon the pup completely. Find out more here.
There’s so much to see in Wales, so what better way to experience it than in a motorhome? If you don’t have your own vehicle but would like to find out more about enjoying the freedom of the open road in a rented vehicle, check out motorhomes for hire in Wales today.