August 22nd, 2019
The Welsh Coast offers plenty of perfect locations for some summer family camping, and if you prefer your holidays with a little more glamour then there are plenty of “Glamping” options too.
Ok, so I may be biased, but when it comes to camping, the Welsh coast is at the top of my destination list. And I’m not alone – travel giants the Lonely Planet agree. They frequently tip the Welsh Coast as one of the hottest destinations of the year.
But what is it that makes the coastline of Wales a camper’s paradise? Well, how about the hundreds of campsites with a sea view? Or the dozens of sandy beaches, hidden coves and secret caves? What about the stunning views that stretch as far as you can see? Or the history and heritage that is dotted along the coast giving little glimpses into a proud Celtic culture that dates back almost 3,000 years.
For me, every childhood summer was spent camping on the north Wales coast, and thinking about it now brings back delicious memories of free-range adventures, long sunny weeks, tangled hair, hearty camp-fire food and endless days on the beach building sand castles and splashing about in the waters of Cardigan Bay.
Camping was a simple affair for us then; there were no heated toilets, no on-site entertainment or café, no washing up area, no electric hook-ups and no “all-weather” pitches, but we adored our outdoor summers. These days, camping holidays are more popular than ever before, and, organising a fun and successful camping holiday has never been easier. Campsites along the Welsh Coast, from the wilds of the Llŷn Peninsula to the city campsites near Cardiff, now offer a huge range of facilities and along with lightweight tents, clever gadgets and gear for all weathers, means that everyone can be a happy camper!
We spoke to Catherine, an avid camping fan who lives with her husband Pete near the coastal town of Barmouth in North Wales. Their absolute favourite camping spot is the tiny campsite at Uwchmynydd on the end of the Llŷn Peninsula.
“There are loads of great things about camping!” smiles Catherine! “Like being outdoors 24-7, waking up with a smattering of early morning dew, being away from everyday distractions like technology, and not to mention that first cup of tea on the stove in an enamel cup while watching the coming and goings on the campsite.”
And Catherine believes that camping isn’t about roughing it these days either.
“There are those camping types who think camping is not ‘proper’ unless you’re armed with just a tent and a penknife. But I definitely don’t fall into this category! I always take a good camping stove, a cosy airbed and a comfy chair to make the experience a comfortable one” says Catherine.
Still not convinced? If camping isn’t your cup of tea (enamel cup or not), then the Welsh Coast is the perfect place to try a “glamping” holiday. This is a modern take on camping, with a glamorous twist. You don’t have to forego a real bed, stylish surroundings, private bathroom or even central heating. From Mongolian yurts to log cabins and shepherd’s huts to tree-houses, there are glamping options galore.
Jessica, from Porthmadog on the western coast of North Wales is an advocate of glamping, and has happily ditched her traditional tent in favour of a more sophisticated outdoor holiday.
“Glamping is great because it’s like camping but without all the hassle!” laughs Jessica. “I get the feeling of enjoying an ‘outdoorsy’ adventure but without the cold, damp or creepy crawlies. And I’m also likely to be closer to a nice toilet!”
And Jessica also believes that it’s the convenience of glamping holidays that have made them so popular in recent years, as well as the fact that they have opened up the idea of an outdoor holiday to all sorts of people who may not have previously given it a go.
“The convenience is great” says Jessica. “I don’t have much room to store, clean, pack and put-away loads of camping equipment, but with glamping, all you need is yourself, and some clothes!”
And while the typical wet Welsh summer may leave Catherine reaching for the waterproofs, Jessica thinks that a glamping holiday can continue whatever the weather.
“You don’t need to get wet when you glamp” says Jessica. “There’s usually loads more room inside glamping pods, so even if it’s a rainy day you can chill out inside and stay warm and dry.”
Catherine disagrees, and despite all the attractive creature comforts that glamping offers, won’t be persuaded to abandon her tent anytime soon.
“Camping provides a holiday with no strings,” Catherine smiles. “It’s about enjoying the simpler things in life rather than worrying whether you have a real bed with duck down duvet and if you can straighten your hair. Nobody on the campsite cares what you look like as you make your way in your PJ’s to the toilet block in morning; well that’s what I hope anyway!” she laughs.
Inspired to give it a try? Then check out our pick of the pitches, for both camping and glamping sites.
Our Pick of the Pitches
1: Graig Wen Campsite, Arthog, Dolgellau, Gwynedd.
This secluded site with stunning views of the Mawddach Estuary offers glampers the choice of stylish yurts or a new “eco-shelter”, built in its own woodland haven. Each yurt has futon beds, cooking facilities, a decking area and a wood burning stove for guaranteed cosy evenings. Each yurt has been individually styled for the ultimate in glamping luxury and the use of a newly refurbished toilet and shower block.
The site is situated a short drive from the town of Dolgellau, and apart from enjoying the peace and quiet, there are plenty of opportunities for biking, hiking, cycling and sightseeing, straight from the site.
For more information, prices and booking see www.graigwen.co.uk or call 01341 250482
2: Canvas Lodges, Pentre Mawr Country House, Llandyrnog, Denbigh. LL16 4LA.
This is the ultimate glamping experience, complete with your own private hot-tub. These luxurious canvas safari-style lodges are inspired by the wild landscapes of Africa, and will bring more than a touch of glamour to your camping trip. Each luxury lodge sleeps two people and has a king-sized bed, bedding, towels and bath robes, large bathrooms with free-standing bath, shower and toilet and a private hot tub on the balcony. The lodges are set in the grounds of a 5* country house B&B, in the heart of the Welsh countryside.
For more information, prices and booking see www.hottubsafari.co.uk or call 01824 790732
3: Monty’s Yurt,
A little piece of heaven on the Pembrokeshire coast! Monty’s Yurt is a stunning, traditional Mongolian yurt situated on a quiet campsite near the village of Marloes. Finished with sumptuous fittings and fabrics for a true Eastern feel, each yurt sleeps five people and comes complete with double bed and three single futons and is very close to private cooking and bathroom facilities, all enclosed in a hedged plot for extra privacy. Monty’s Yurt is a stone’s throw from some of Pembrokeshire’s best coastline, beautiful and golden sandy beaches and some great family attractions. Monty’s Yurt is ideal for families looking for a unique Welsh coastal break.
For more information, prices and booking see www.qualityunearthed.co.uk or call 01348 830922
4: The Log Pod, Bryn Coch Farm Campsite Llandyfan Ammanford, Carmarthenshire. SA18 2TY
You’ll never have a chilly camping night again with a stay in a fabulous Log Pod at Bryn Coch Farm. Log Pods are cosy alternatives to tent camping, but the beautiful timber finish means the pod still feels like an outdoor adventure. Each lovely pod comes complete with a double futon, with plenty of room for additional airbeds, and its own power and light supply so the kids needn’t leave their favourite computer games or DVDs at home. And if you prefer to keep to the canvas, then try the all-new Gothic Tent – a beautiful alternative to modern fabric tents. And if you can drag yourself away from the pod, the campsite at Bryn Coch Farm has its own fully stocked fishing pond, and is just a hop and a skip from Llandyfan village centre.
For more information, prices and booking see www.southwalescamping.co.uk or call 01269 850005
5: Anglesey Tipi and Yurt Holidays, Cae’r Gaseg, Brynteg, Anglesey. LL78 8JT
Hidden in the woodland and meadows just a mile from the beautiful Eastern coastline of Anglesey, the tipis at Cae’r Gaseg are one of Anglesey’s Glamping gems. Each tipi is enjoys its own private and spacious pitch and are luxuriously kitted out with proper beds and log burners and are finished with ethnic style touches for a total tipi experience. Cooking equipment and a communal fire pit are available for meal times and relaxing hammocks are hidden in the trees for quiet times. The village of Brynteg is a few minutes’ walk and the larger town of Llangefni is a fifteen minute drive.
For more information, prices and booking see www.angleseytipis.co.uk or call 01248 853162
6: Three Cliffs Bay, North Hill Farm, North Hill Lane, Swansea. SA3 2HB
At this award-winning 4* campsite, you’re guaranteed a stunning sea view. Situated just above the beautiful Three Cliffs Bay, the site was voted the “number one view from a campsite in the world” by The Independent in 2006. As well as stunning views, campers can look forward to modern toilet, shower and laundry facilities and a fabulous on-site shop. Three Cliffs Bay Campsite is not only close to the beach for sunbathing, sand castles and rock-pooling, but all the family attractions of the stunning Gower coastline are within easy reach.
For more information, prices and booking see www.threecliffsbay.com or call 01792 371218
7: Shell Island Campsite, Llanbedr, Gwynedd. LL45 2PJ
At over 300 acres, Shell Island is one of Europe’s largest campsites but there are still plenty of hidden nooks, crannies and corners where you can pitch your tent and escape from the world. The campsite is situated on a tidal island not far from the historic town of Harlech. Campers have direct access to the beautiful sandy beaches and with stunning views across Cardigan Bay and southern Snowdonia you won’t want to leave! But if you run out of things to do around the campsite, you’re a stone’s throw from Harlech Castle, Portmeirion Village and the world famous Ffestiniog Railway.
For more information, prices and booking see www.shellisland.co.uk or call 01341 241453
8: Porthclais Farm Campsite, St Davids, Pemrbokeshire. SA62 6RR
If you love a charming and peaceful campsite with incredible coastal views, plenty of room for free-range kids to charge about and all within a short hop of some of the best beaches in the country, then look no further! Porthclais Farm Campsite is situated right on the stunning Pembrokeshire coastline and just a short walk from the popular “city” of St Davids. The pastures of this old farm have been turned into fabulous camping fields, all of which have incredible sea views. The Pembrokeshire Coast Path runs right next to the site, perfect for a day of coastal walking and exploring.
For more information, prices and booking see www.porthclais-farm-campsite.co.uk or call 07970 439310
9: Blackthorn Farm, Penrhos Feliw, Trearddur Bay, Anglesey. LL65 2LT
This coastal campsite gem is ideally situated on the western coast of Anglesey. The camping field is small, quiet and friendly, with superb sea views across Trearddur Bay and towards Holy Island and Holyhead. The facilities include spotless toilet and showers, laundry, wi-fi, on-site shop and a great café serving supper on Fridays and excellent breakfasts. The village of Trearddur Bay is close by, as are many of the family attractions on Anglesey like South Stack Lighthouse, Llanddwyn Island, the Sea Zoo, Beaumaris Castle and Plâs Newydd.
For more information, prices and booking see www.blackthornleisure.co.uk or call 01407 765262
10: The Willows, Mynytho, Abersoch, Gwynedd. LL53 7RW
The Willows is a luxury 5* campsite and is a small and un-crowded site on the outskirts of Abersoch village. It was nominated as a TOP 10 Campsite by the Guardian in 2011, and it’s easy to see why. It has breathtaking views across the Llŷn Peninsula and to the mountains of Snowdonia beyond. The luxury facilities such as spacious pitches, a modern toilet block with hairdryers, shaver points and plugs, a dog exercise field, children’s play area and camper’s kitchen make it a favourite with returning guests year after year. And once you’ve had enough of gazing at the views the site is close to Abersoch village for its superb family friendly beaches and some of the finest walking in Wales along the Llŷn Peninsula Coast Path.
For more information, prices and booking see www.the-willows-abersoch.co.uk or call 01758 740676