by Katy Depledge
Full of cultural and coastal delights, West Wales is a beautiful part of the UK and a popular tourist attraction for many.
Colourful seaside towns, world-famous beaches and an interesting hidden history. What more could you want? Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day on a romantic beach or an active hike in the Preseli Hills, West Wales has it all.
Heading to this delightful region on your next staycation? Here’s our ultimate Guide to West Wales…
West Wales includes the counties of Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, and Ceredigion (Cardiganshire).
These counties have changed multiple times over the years, with Dyfed previously being the amalgamation of all three counties. For a full list of changes, here’s our guide to Welsh counties over the years.
West Wales is a stunning region, home to Wales’ only Biosphere Reserve, the Dyfi Estuary and the only Marine Nature Reserve in the country, around Skomer Island in Pembrokeshire.
There are plenty of things to see and do in West Wales from exploring the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park to attending an atmospheric food festival!
The Wales Coast Path is one of the best ways to experience the beauty fo the Welsh coast. The path is 870 miles, running from Flintshire in North Wales to Cheptstow in Monmoutshire.
Walking the Wales Coast Path is no easy task – the entire path would take six to seven weeks to complete.
If you’re looking for something a little less challenging, why not try a small section of the route. Our favourite walks along the Wales Coast Path include Berporth to Tresaith (Ceredigion), Marloes Sands to Martin’s Haven (Pembrokeshire) and Carmarthenshire Bay to the Gower (Carmarthenshire).
In complete contrast to the rugged coastline and sandy shores of the coast, The Preseli Hills rise 536m high and provide 360-degree panoramic views of Pembrokeshire and beyond.
A hike to Foel Cwmcerwyn, the highest point in the Preseli Hills, may even treat you to views of Snowdon and the Wicklow mountains in Ireland! Or why not pull on your walking boots and hike The Golden Road, a 7-mile route along the spine of the Preseli Hills.
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path is a 186 mile section of the Wales Coast Path and is one of the most spectacular walking routes in the UK.
From St Dogmaels in the north to Amroth in the south, the trail covers some of the most varied coastal scenery in Britain.
Experience an array of wildlife from puffins breeding on Skomer Island to porpoises and dolphins along the coast. Not forgetting views of world-class beaches, rugged cliffs and ancient heritage as you stroll along the first National Trail in Wales.
West Wales is home to a number of festivals and events every year. From iconic Welsh music festivals such as the Lost Cove Surf Festival in St David’s to sporting events such as The Wales Triathlon in Fishguard.
For all you foodies out there, there are plenty of food and drink festivals in West Wales. Enjoy the taste of local produce, and watch celebrity chefs doing their thing as you soak up the atmosphere at a local food event. Some of our favourites include the Aberaeron FEATival, Narberth Food Festival and Gwledd Food Festival in Carmarthenshire.
Not forgetting the National Eisteddfod, a celebration of Welsh culture and language, held during the first weekend of August. Every year the festival travels from place to place, alternating between north and south wales. This year the event is held in Tregaron, Ceredigion, attracting around 150,000 visitors every year.
For a full list of events and festivals, take a look at our guide to the best Pembrokeshire events.
A great day out for the whole family, Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo is located in Begelly, Pembrokeshire. With a wide variety of activities such as tractor rides, adventure play areas and plenty of zoo and farm animals, kids are sure to be entertained for hours.
Looking for a day of adrenaline and adventure? Oakwood Theme Park is the place for you! From toddler-friendly rides to high-speed rollercoasters, there’s something for the whole family to enjoy.
As one of the most iconic castles in Pembrokeshire, Pembroke Castle has a long and fascinating history. Located in the centre of Pembroke, this medieval castle was the birthplace of Henry VII.
Join a free guided tour and let the expert guides bring the castle to life as you step back in time and explore the mighty fortress.
The remains of Carmarthen Castle sit on a rocky hilltop overlooking the River Twyi. This impressive castle in Carmartheshire, dominates the town. It was once was of the largest castles in Wales, built by King Henry I as a motte-and-bailey castle with timber defences.
If you love historic buildings, you’ll love a day out to Carmarthen Castle!
Discover the 900-year history of Cardigan Castle and the people who lived there. Explore medieval walls, visit the beautiful Georgian Mansion and wander through the Grade II listed gardens.
The castle also plays host to a number of exhibitions from the Cardigan Castle Story to the unique story of Barbara Wood, the last private owner of Cardigan Castle.
Did you know? Cardigan Castle is the birthplace of the National Eisteddfod!
Step back in time and discover the best castles in West Wales.
Set within the heart of the Cambrian Mountains, Devil’s Bridge Falls are a set of idyllic waterfalls in Ceredigion.
Just 12 miles outside the popular town of Aberystwyth, the falls are surrounded by enchanting woodlands. Discover the delights of Devil’s Bridge Falls on one of the many walks in the area.
Cenarth Falls are a focal point for the charming village of Cenarth. The falls are located along the River Teifi.
Take a stroll along the river to the popular falls and pools and keep your eye’s peeled for Salmon leaping upstream in Autumn as they return home to breed.
Want to discover more impressive waterfalls? Read our guide on the best waterfalls in Wales.
Set within the scenic village of Llanarthney in Carmarthenshire, the National Botanic Garden of Wales boasts over 568 acres of lovely gardens.
Among the gardens’ attractions is the world’s largest single-span glasshouse, which houses a large collection of Mediterranean plants. This impressive greenhouse is open to the public, so visitors are invited to explore it and enjoy its warm temperatures!
Located in Llanllwni, Ceredigion, Norwood Gardens covers three acres and consists of seven individually themed gardens. Take a stroll through the delightful woodland area or take in the vibrant Mediterranean Garden.
In need of some refreshments? You’ll also find a tea room on site, serving delicious lunches and hot drinks.
Cae Hir Gardens lie just eight miles from the stunning coastline of Cardigan Bay within the foothills of the Cambrian Mountains. With over five impressive acres to explore, it’s a great day out for the whole family.
Discover more scenic landscapes in our guide to the best Welsh gardens.
Forming part of the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path, Marloes Sands is a popular beach in West Wales, backed by dramatic cliffs and a vibrant heathland. With a huge expanse of golden sand, the beach is the ideal place to spend a morning sunbathing or building sandcastles with the kids.
Keep your eyes peeled for puffins, ravens and seals as you walk along the shores of this idyllic location.
Pendine Sands is a long stretch of beach that spans seven miles along the shores of Carmarthen Bay. The beach is popular amongst surfers, swimmers and sailing enthusiasts.
Due to the beach’s wide, flat shores, you can even drive onto the beach during certain times and racing events are often taken place here.
Lydstep Beach is a small, but beautiful bay, with dramatic views across to Caldey Island.
Located near the colourful resort of Tenby, the beach is popular amongst watersports enthusiasts, offering plenty of opportunities to try your hand at jet-skiing, snorkeling and swimming. Lifeguards patrol the beach during the summer months.
Ynyslas Beach is a sandy beach located 1.5 miles north of Borth and is one of Cardigan Bay’s best beaches. The beach is part of the Dyfi National Nature Reserve, home to an abundance of wildlife and is an ideal place to walk your loveable pooch.
Experience the ever-changing dunes and stunning display of flowers as you explore The Dune Walk or Ynyslas Walk. The visitor centre provides information about both walks as well as refreshments and toilets.
Newport Sands Beach is a long stretch of sand backed by large dunes. This popular dog-friendly beach in Pembrokeshire is a magnet for outdoor enthusiasts far and wide.
Enjoy a spot of canoeing, sailing and windsurfing or a morning stroll along the beach with your four-legged friend.
Another popular beach in Pembrokeshire, Freshwater West is a beautiful, windswept beach and a popular surfing spot in West Wales.
This dog-friendly beach is also the iconic setting for Shell Cottage and Dobby’s Grave, attracting Harry Potter fans from all over the world.
For a full range of beaches without any dog restrictions, check out our guide to dog-friendly beaches in West Wales.
An award-winning restaurant in Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire. Coast is a sleek, modern restaurant located on the shoreline, just metres away from the golden sandy beach of Coppet Hall. As one of the best restaurants in Pembrokeshire, Coast boasts excellent food and drink using locally sourced ingredients.
A Michelin Star restaurant, run by Welsh speaker Nathan Davies, SY23 is based in Aberystwyth, Ceredigion. Enjoy a drink downstairs before indulging in a 10-course tasting menu in the intimate dining room. An experience like no other.
Y Polyn is a family-owned restaurant, tucked away in the Towy Valley in Carmarthenshire. Expect generous portions, classic flavor combinations and simple, but beautiful meals. Head to Y Polyn if you’re looking for a relaxed vibe with a well-balanced menu.
Winner of The Best Food Experience Pembrokeshire 2019, The Stackpole Inn is one of the best pubs in Pembrokeshire. Enjoy a light lunch or evening meal after strolling along the delightful sands of Barafundle Bay.
Located in the heart of the UK’s smallest city, The Farmers Arms is a traditional Welsh pub with a rustic charm. Enjoy a hearty meal around the fire or gather your mates for quiz night! The Farmers Arms has great access to the surrounding beaches and coastal walks.
A country dining pub just 7 miles outside of Aberystwyth, Y Ffarmers is a great place to pop in for a drink or two whilst exploring the Ceredigion coastline. With a spacious restaurant indoors and heated outside dining area, this West Wales pub is popular whatever the weather.
There are plenty of pubs in Carmarthenshire to enjoy, but we love The Friends Arms in Carmarthen so much so that it made our favourite pubs in Carmarthenshire guide. Attracting regulars from all over Carmarthen, The Friends Arms offers a regular quiz night and cosy log fire. Looking for a place to watch the rugby internationals? The Friends Arms won’t disappoint!
There are so many incredible places to stay in West Wales, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Pembrokeshire is home to so many gorgeous towns and villages. From Britains’s smallest city, St David’s to the colourful seaside town of Fishguard.
Or why not head to Tenby and wander through their atmospheric streets or grab an ice cream and spend an afternoon sitting on the golden sandy beach. Read our guide to the best towns in Pembrokeshire for more inspiration.
Choose from a countryside barn or coastal cottage in Cardigan Bay, the perfect destination to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Or why not head to the charming towns of Gwbert, Llangranog or Borth, for a relaxing sleep after a day on the beach.
With destinations such as the Towy Valley, the Brecon Beacons, Llandovery and Carmarthen, Carmarthenshire is a great place to stay if you’re looking for a relaxing stay away from the crowds.
All West Wales Cottages
Hi, I'm Katy and I joined Sykes in February 2020.
Favourite UK destination: I absolutely love Snowdonia and try and spend as m...
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