Places to visit in South Wales
South Wales is a magical region to explore with a stack of beautiful sites to see. While it’s sometimes overlooked in light of holidays further north or in England and Scotland, South Wales is in fact full of natural and historic wonders waiting to be discovered.
From the English border right over to the western shores of Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion, the country is dotted with beauty spots, ripe for exploration. Historic fishing harbours, quaint villages, majestic castles, and magical waterfalls are just some of the things you’ll find on this Haven-curated list of the best places to visit in South Wales.
Tenby regularly tops polls of the best places to visit in South Wales. With its glorious beaches, welcoming atmosphere, and majestic Victorian houses, it’s easy to see why. This Pembrokeshire coastal gem has three beaches within the town itself, as well as the nearby Saundersfoot and Coppet Hall. All of these are glorious settings to sit down and bask in the sun with a good book while the children entertain themselves on the golden sands and in the crystal waters.
There is also plenty to explore further out of town, head inland to the ancient ruins of a Manorbier Castle or take a 20-minute boat journey from either the harbour or Castle Beach to Caldey Island with its scenic lighthouse, stunning views and the pretty Priory Beach. With Penally Court Holiday Park and Kiln Park Holiday Centre right next door and Lydstep Beach Holiday Park just outside of town, Haven has your accommodation covered on your trip to Tenby.
Another offering from Pembrokeshire, St David’s, nestled in a sheltered valley in the far west of Wales, is Britain’s smallest city. Though it is really no larger than a village, it features a beautiful a beautiful Cathedral that is the pride and joy of St David’s.
Once a popular pilgrimage site, the area continues to draw tourists as the local area is steeped in history and scattered with Neolithic tombs, Bronze Age stones, wells of healing and miniature chapels. The natural landscape matches the man-made in terms of beauty with idyllic coastal pathways and unusual ecosystems nearby. Families will find just as much to do as the pilgrims thanks to the golden beaches which are host to marine tours. The fresh sea air and classic Welsh hospitality only add to the ambience of what is one of the best places to visit in South Wales.
Aberystwyth has all the best aspects of a classic British seaside town: swimmable waters, sunbathe-able beaches, and the enticing scent of fish and chips wafting through the air. If you’re looking for somewhere to enjoy a day at the beach in Wales, Aberystwyth should be somewhere near the top of the list. A typical day out in Aberystwyth will always involve a stroll along its promenade lined by colourful terraced houses, the sunshine on your face and an ice cream in hand.
At Aber, you have the choice of two beaches. The north beach has a retro Royal Pier Arcade, the craggy Constitution Hill forming a natural barrier, and a long dark sand and shingle beach that is popular with day trippers. The quieter south beach is also charming with the wonderful backdrop provided by the castle and pastel houses. The castle grounds themselves provide another place to relax; sit on the grass next to the foundations of a medieval wall or go and take in the windswept views - on a clear day you might even see Snowdon. Haven’s Quay West Holiday Park is just a short drive away so there’s really no reason not to visit on your South Wales adventure.
An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Gower Peninsula is the most westerly part of the historic county of Glamorgan and one of the most diverse natural areas in Wales. The stunning sight of Rhossili Beach that extends for three miles, the iconic Worm’s Head rock formation, and Three Cliffs Bay are well worth the visit alone.
If you’re feeling extra energetic, take to the seas for some stand-up paddle boarding, the most exciting way to take in views of the beautiful coastline. On the southeast side of the peninsula lies Mumbles, a picturesque headland home to a traditional sleepy Welsh village. Once there, visitors can go to the ruins of the wonderful Oystermouth Castle and see the medieval wall paintings in the chapel.
Brecon Beacons National Park
One of the finest destinations in South Wales and a Haven favourite, The Brecon Beacons National Park is brimming with potential adventures. In the foothills of the Brecon Beacons lies the Vale of Neath which is home to a number of waterfalls which has led to it being dubbed “waterfall country”. However, this is just the start. Head further into the national park and you will discover charming towns, castles, and canals, each more picturesque than the one before.
Brecon Beacons is probably the most accessible national park in South Wales, at under an hour’s drive from the coast, it’s a really easy trip for a day of hiking. More adventurous souls can experience quad biking, gorge walking and magical hiking trails such as the Four Falls Trail and Pen y Fan, the highest mountain in South Wales that lies along a National Trust walking trail, 886m above sea level and is home to a Bronze Age burial site.