From north to south: your guide to the Wales Coast Path

Jade Braham

Jade Braham

If there's one thing people know about Wales*, other than its often wet weather, it's that the country has a spectacular and varied coastline with everything from ancient landscapes to unspoilt beaches, Regency towns to coastal castles.

The wide sweep of Rhossili Bay on the Gower Peninsula
The wide sweep of Rhossili Bay on the Gower Peninsula © Anders93 - Adobe Stock Image

It's known to be a walkers' paradise, but the 870-mile coastal path also has many coves, heritage sites and towns for non-walkers to discover.

Known as the Wales Coast Path, the waymarked route is the first of its kind to follow a country's entire coastline, starting near Chester in North Wales and finishing in Chepstow in the southeast.

Getting to Wales: don't miss the latest online savings from Sykes Cottages*, which offers a wide range of self-catering accommodation up and down the Wales Coast Path.

Celebrating a decade

In 2022, the Wales Coast Path celebrated its 10th anniversary with the launch of 20 new itineraries for all interests.

While some hardy souls have managed to walk the coastline's entire length, many tend to dip in and out, selecting one of the Blue Flag beaches or pockets of gentle water for swimming, canoeing and kayaking beyond the horizon.

Often, bottlenose dolphins, turtles and blue sharks can be spotted and, since Wales has more castles per square mile than anywhere in Europe, there are several to explore. So, get ready to stretch your legs and introduce yourself to the Wales Coast Path in all its splendour.

North Wales

It's safe to assume that when thinking of North Wales, stunning Snowdonia comes to mind. But with the A487 paralleling the coastline and the A55 connecting the mainland with Anglesey, it's really very easy to access the Wales Coast Path.

For one, Conwy's quayside runs along the path, passing docked sailing boats and the smallest house in Britain, which is just 72 inches wide and 122 inches high.

Formidable Conwy Castle
Formidable Conwy Castle © Crown copyright Cymru Wales - courtesy of Visit Wales

Standing sentinel above is Conwy Castle, a 13th-century fortress built by King Edward I, whose 1,400-yard walls wrap around the town.

The South Stack Lighthouse is Wales's version of Tintagel Castle. It has 400 steps and a metal bridge connecting Holy Island with a small isle off its northwest coast.

The lighthouse was built in 1809 by Trinity House and acts as a waymark for vessels crossing the Irish Sea. Today, visitors can tour the former engine room, and look out towards the RSPB South Stack Cliffs Nature Reserve, which hosts 9,000 seabirds.

Porthmadog sits on the Wales Coast Path, passing Ffestiniog Railway, the world's oldest independent railway company.

Pretty Portmeirion
Pretty Portmeirion © Eddie Cloud - Adobe Stock Image

The nearby Italianate village of Portmeirion, inspired by Italy's Portofino, isn't strictly on the path, but its proximity means it's a must-see and its gelato a must-try.

Looking for a home-from-home? Don't miss the latest deals on holiday park stays at the likes of Bluestone Resort* in Pembrokeshire, Parkdean* with properties across Wales, Haven*, which has parks in north Wales and Forest Holidays* in Brecon and Snowdonia.


With traditional seaside towns, mid-Wales has been attracting holidaymakers for centuries. The Regency coastal town of Aberaeron is an ideal base for Bridgerton and Jane Austen fans.

Its multi-coloured houses are prime examples of Georgian architecture while maritime pursuits include crabbing and eating freshly caught fish.

The 60-mile-long Ceredigion Coast Path has several paradise-like beaches, including Mwnt, which is great for wildlife and dolphin-spotting.

Llangrannog Beach on the Ceredigion Coast Path
Llangrannog Beach on the Ceredigion Coast Path © Crown copyright Cymru Wales - courtesy of Visit Wales

You'll likewise find unspoilt beaches that are a well-guarded secret. Among the best are Cwmtydu Beach and Castell Bach. The former has lime kilns that hint at its smuggling days, with frequent appearances from migrating birds and Atlantic grey seals.

From here, walk the coastal path to Castell Bach's shingle beach. This is the epitome of a wild, secluded beach, as it's surrounded by an amphitheatre-like cliff and two striated islands.

Please note: all routes can be found on the Wales Coast Path website. Several sections are accessible for wheelchairs, buggies and trikes.

West Wales

Wales Coast Path's west is shrouded in mystery, legends and religion. Britain's smallest city, St Davids, is home to St Davids Cathedral, named after Wales's patron saint who spread Christianity throughout Wales.

Magnificent St Davids Cathedral
Magnificent St Davids Cathedral © Crown copyright Cymru Wales - courtesy of Visit Wales

To this day, pilgrims continue to worship here. If you hike the coastal routes, you'll follow in his footsteps and find St Non's Chapel and the award-winning Caerfai Bay and Newgale Beach, known for their epic surfing waves.

The chocolate-box village of Moylegrove in Pembrokeshire has twee cottages, much like the Cotswolds.

Plus, if you walk the Wales Coast Path from Moylegrove's beach, Ceibwr Bay, you'll come to Pwll Y Wrach, which translates to 'The Witches' Cauldron'. It's a collapsed cave with sparkling green-blue waters that only kayakers can enter.

St Govan's Chapel is another religious site, except this time it's connected to pirates and Sir Gawain, a knight of King Arthur's Camelot.

From here, the coastal path leads to Bosherston Lily Ponds, thought to be where King Arthur obtained Excalibur and the Caribbean-style Barafundle Bay.

The Wales Coast Path brims with geological wonders, including Church Doors Cove: enormous sandstone cliffs shaped like the name suggests.

The Green Bridge of Wales is an 80-foot arch, while the Scandinavian-like Elegug Stacks are two dramatic limestone pillars. The latter's name is Welsh for guillemot, a seabird that frequents the spot.

South Wales

One of Europe's youngest capital cities, Cardiff covers almost 10 miles of the Wales Coast Path. Beyond the urban sprawl of both Cardiff and Swansea, there's Laugharne, an estuary village dubbed by Wales's beloved poet Dylan Thomas as 'the strangest town in Wales'.

The Wales Coast Path runs through this market town, most of which follows the Dylan Birthday Walk, featuring the poet's favourite haunts, homes, and writing shed.

From here, the coastal path leads to Llansteffan Beach, where you'll find Scott's Bay, ideal for cautious cockle-picking, and the mighty 12th-century Llansteffan Castle, whose owners once controlled important river crossings.

Terrific Tenby on the south coast
Terrific Tenby on the south coast © Phil Monk - Adobe Stock Image

You can likewise learn how to coastal forage and cook ingredients like seaweed and crabs here with Craig Evans of Coastal Foraging.

For more sandy fun, head to Tenby, another Regency town known for its two Blue Flag beaches, South Beach and Castle Beach.

The Gower Peninsula was Britain's first location to be titled an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), featuring the golden Rhossili Bay.

The ruins of 12th-century Pennard Castle
The ruins of 12th-century Pennard Castle © Jackie Davies - Adobe Stock Image

But to avoid the crowds, head to Brandy Cove, which used to be a contraband smuggling site which can only be accessed via the Wales Coast Path.

Three Cliffs Bay is an adventure-lovers paradise! It has three limestone cliffs, sand dunes, salt marshes and Pennard Castle vying for your attention.

Weather in Wales

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Maximum daytime temperature °C
Hours of sunshine (daily)
Days with some rainfall
Sea temperature °C

The above guide shows the weather in Aberaeron. Find out more about conditions up and down the Wales Coast Path in our complete guide to the weather in Wales.

Ready to discover the Welsh coast? Find your own great value space with the latest offers from Sykes Cottages, which has properties across Wales.

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Jade Braham

Jade Braham

Posted on Monday 6th February 2023 in: Adventure Europe Excursions Nature UK

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