Top 10 Spots on The Cambrian Way
The Cambrian Way is a complete north-south journey along the mountainous spine of Wales, running for 185 miles (300 km) from coast to coast. It winds through two National Parks – Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons – and the big green spaces of the Cambrian Mountains in between. Along the way, the route takes in historic towns and villages, forests, waterfalls and lakes, as well as the old slate and coal industrial heartlands.
We’ve put together our top 10 spots on this 185 mile journey, explore the Victorian splendour of Llandudno, the high and rugged mountains of Snowdonia National Park, fast and furious zip wires, an inland surf lagoon, a mighty castle, underground adventures and much much more.
An option for your return journey is to hop across to The Coastal Way and take your time meandering along the stunning Cardigan coastline where if you are very lucky you might even spot a few dolphins.
Our Top 10
1. The Great Orme
The Great Orme headland, a nature reserve with rare flora and wild Kashmir goats, rises dramatically above Llandudno. Go to the top San Franciscan-style on the historic tramway, or alpine-style by cable car. At the top, follow the nature trail from the Great Orme Country Park Visitor Centre to learn about the Orme’s intriguing history or perhaps visit the Great Orme Ancient Mine, the world’s largest Bronze Age mine.
Alternatively have an electric adventure and try a power assisted bike from The Bike Bar in the centre of town, ride around the Great Orme and enjoy the stunning coastal views. If you prefer to cycle under your own steam then The Bike Bar also offer road bikes.
Great Orme, Llandudno, Conwy, LL30 2XF
2. Bodnant Garden
Bodnant Garden situated above the River Conwy, with spectacular views across the valley to the Carneddau mountains of Snowdonia is one of the most beautiful gardens in Wales. Built and created by five generations of one family, Bodnant Garden is an unmissable haven of colour, wildlife and peace and quiet. With glorious roses, the famous Laburnum Arch, sweeping lawns, grand terraces and verdant woodland, there are many gardens in one at Bodnant. With year-round colour, the garden is a delightful place to visit for all ages at all times of the year.
Bodnant Garden, Tal-y-Cafn, near Colwyn Bay, Conwy, LL28 5RE
Tel. 01492 650460
Open: 10am – 5pm
Price: adult/child £14.80/£7.40
3. Adventure Parc Snowdonia
Set among glorious scenery, Snowdonia Adventure Park is a world-first inland surfing pool, with guaranteed consistent waves. With waves for all abilities from absolute beginner to a surf pro, the waves can be ridden with or without instruction and don’t worry if you don’t have a board, surfboard hire is included, and wetsuits can be hired. But that’s not all Snowdonia Adventure Park has to offer, check out the brand new indoor and outdoor activities, including Adrenaline Indoors and Explore Outdoors adventures featuring one of the longest artificial caving courses in the world, climbing & racer walls, leaps of faith, possibly the most extreme slides you will ever encounter and lots more.
Adventure Parc Snowdonia, Conway Road, Dolgarrog, Conwy, LL32 8QE
Tel. 01492 353123
Snowdon, the biggest attraction in Wales is a must. Take the train up the mountain from the little station in Llanberis, or walk to the top using one of the many paths – but however you get to the top, do it safely and ensure you’re well-prepared and well-equipped; the conditions on the mountain can change very suddenly.
Check out our Snowdon page for everything you need to know to climb, or take the train to the summit of Snowdon.
5. Zip World Slate Caverns, Blaenau Ffestiniog
Challenge yourself at Zip World Slate Caverns, home to an exhilarating Indiana Jones-esque adventure environment that includes an experience for almost everyone, from Titan, the first 4 person zip line in Europe to the unique, all weather underground adventures that are Bounce Below and Zip World Caverns. If that’s a bit too much adventure, then learn about Llechwedd mine and slate mining through the Deep Mine guided tour.
Zip World Slate Caverns, Blaenau Ffestiniog, LL41 3NB
6. Red Kite Feeding Centre, Rhayader
Watch the incredible swoops and dives of hundreds of red kites in their chestnut-red glory as they descend from the skies. At 3pm every summer afternoon, and 2pm in the winter, in a field in the middle of Wales the spectacle begins as a tractor trundles up a grassy slope with its cargo of beef, the cue to these majestic birds its feeding time.
The Red Kite has made a remarkable revival over the last few decades and mid-Wales is now a hotspot. Gigrin became the Official Red Kite Feeding Station in the winter 1992/93 following a request from the RSPB who had witnessed the farm’s owner feeding the kites as and when food (rabbit) was available. From these early begins the kite population at Gigrin farm has grown from a single pair to a rolling population of 300 to 600 hundred kites who come daily to feed. Visitors to the centre can view the spectacle from purpose built hides.
Gigrin Farm, South Street, Rhayader, Powys, LD6 5BL
Tel. 01597 810243
Open: 1pm – 5pm Mon-Wed, Sat-Sun
Price: adult/child £7.50/£4
7. Hay on Wye
Hay on Wye, famed for its many bookshops and the world renowned ‘Hay Festival’ is bursting with quirkiness, culture and adventure. This quaint market town is a reader’s idea of heaven with a choice of 30 or more bookshops; Richard Booth’s Bookshop is an emporium for new and used books, Rose’s Books specialises in rare and out-of-print children’s books and the hard to resist Murder and Mayhem, the crime and horror bookshop, with floors of classic detective and mystery novels to name just a few. And when you’ve had your fill of books there are plenty of adorable cafes and antique shops to peruse.
While the town itself has many charms, perhaps its best feature is its location. With the Black Mountains and the Brecon Beacons, the winding River Wye, lakes and forests, there is no shortage of ways to enjoy the stunning scenery. Our favourite is a paddle down the river between the four mile stretch between Glasbury and Hay, where you can stop for a picnic at one of the many secluded spots along the river. There are plenty places for you hire a canoe with tailored excursions allowing you to explore at your own pace.
8. Waterfall Country, Ystradfellt
There’s something surreally magical about a torrent of water plunging off a cliff and into a crystal pool. They belong in fairy tales, or Hollywood fantasies. In a corner of Brecon Beacons National Park there is an area with an unusually large number of publicly accessible waterfalls, known as ‘Waterfall Country’.
The Four Falls Trail visits 4 of the most beautiful, Sgŵd Clun-Gwyn, Sgŵd Isaf Clun-Gwyn, Sgŵd y Pannwr and Sgŵd-yr-Eira on the Afon Mellte river in the heart of Waterfall Country. Each of these waterfalls is a dramatic sight but Sgŵd-yr-Eira (which means “fall of snow” in Welsh) is the most well-known one, as you can walk right behind its thundering curtain of water!
For more information on The Four Falls Trail you can download the leaflet here.
9. Welsh Mining Experience at Rhondda Heritage Park
Journey underground with the miners who once worked at the Lewis Merthyr Colliery in the heart of the Rhondda Valley – the ‘Home of Coal’. The highlight is the 40-minute Black Gold Experience, where you visit the mine’s engine houses and lamp room and then don a miner’s helmet and lamp and accompanied by an ex-miner descend into the depths of the mine itself. The commentary vividly recreates the experience of the miners working at the coal front and the social impact of the coal industry.
Other displays at the Rhondda Heritage Park include recreated domestic interiors and shops, and a sobering section on the Tynewydd Colliery disaster of 1877.
Lewis Merthyr Colliery, Coed Cae Road, Trehafod, CF37 2NP
Tel. 01443 682036
Open: 9am – 4:30pm Tue-Sat
Price: Tour adult/child £6.95/£5.75
There’s lots to see and do in and around Cardiff but our favourite is Cardiff Castle. In the heart of Wales’ capital city, Cardiff, the castle is at once a Roman fort, a Norman stronghold and a Victorian Gothic fantasy palace. Spanning 2000 years of history you can see where Roman soldier slept, noble knights held court, and the castles transformation into a romantic Victorian fantasy by the Bute family, one of the richest in the World.
The 3rd Marquess of Bute gave the ‘eccentric genius’ architect William Burges a free rein to create the amazingly lavish and opulent interiors; each breath-taking room rich with murals, stained glass, gilding and superb craftsmanship. A house tour is a must, the expert guides have intimate knowledge of every nook and cranny of these spectacular rooms.
Cardiff Castle, Castle Street, Cardiff, CF10 3RB
Tel. 029 2087 8100
Open: 9am – 5/6pm
Price: adult/child £13.50/£9.50 (tours are extra)
Tip: we recommend you park up your camper at one of the Park and Rides on the outskirts of the city and catch the bus to the centre.
One final tip, the Wales Way is an epic adventure, so to enjoy it to its full, we would suggest taking your time to enjoy all that it has to offer and adjust to the pace of life. Ideally you should take advantage of both the Cambrian Way and the Coastal Way and allow 1-2 weeks for this adventure.
Book a vintage VW Campervan hire TODAY and do the Wales Way in cool retro style. Snowdonia Classic Campers is conveniently located close to the start of the Coastal the Way, just south of the historic town of Caernarfon.
It is a great location to start your holiday.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Main photo ‘Poppy touring Llynnau Mymbyr, Snowdonia National Park, credit ©VisitSnowdonia