The Coastal Way: For all the Family
Running along the entire sweep of Cardigan Bay, from Aberdaron in the north to St Davids in the south, the 180-mile/290km Coastal Way is one of three Wales Way national touring routes. Rather than a rigid set of directions, each ‘Way’ is a flexible route with plenty of opportunities to venture off the main path, following loops and detours so that you can create your very own personal journey.
This four-day itinerary offers fun for explorers of all ages. As you go, you’ll dive into wild watersports, mess about on bikes and witness wonderful wildlife in all its forms.
Kick off your trip at Glasfryn Parc near Pwllheli. It’s packed with adventurous activities for all the family, from crazy golf and clay pigeon shooting to high octane go-karting and super splashy wakeboarding. Next saddle up at Coed y Brenin Forest Park, the UK’s first purpose-built mountain bike centre. Novices can take it easy on gentle tracks like the Yr Afon, while adrenaline junkies test themselves on the bone-shaking Beast – 22 miles/35km of rough, rocky climbs and deadly descents.
Finish your day at the Centre for Alternative Technology in the woods near Machynlleth, where young explorers can go hands-on with decades of research into renewable energy and sustainable living.
Suggested overnight: Machynlleth
Travel along the A487/A4159/A44 to Bwlch Nant yr Arian Visitor Centre, set in a dramatic spot overlooking Cardigan Bay and the Cambrian Mountains. Explore a network of trails on foot, horseback or by bike. You’ll see red kites – the iconic birds of prey that thrive in these parts – in the skies (as many as 150 gather for daily feeding sessions). Next head to Llanerchaeron, a National Trust Georgian estate just outside Aberaeron seemingly untouched by the last two centuries. Featuring a perfectly preserved villa, working farm, lake and walled gardens it’s an immersive trip into the past. Carry on to New Quay and Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre, where you can learn about the animals who call our waters home – a cast of charismatic creatures that includes dolphins, porpoises and Atlantic grey seals.
Suggested overnight: New Quay
Head to St Davids for a pedal-powered day on a TYF Family Cycle Tour. This 18.6-mile/30 km leisurely bike ride guides you through the local history and reflects on the many ways that the St Davids peninsular has helped to shape the history of Wales and beyond. It has to be one of the best ways to explore the Pembrokeshire countryside.
Suggested overnight: St Davids
Start your day with an insect encounter at Dr Beynon’s Bug Farm just outside St Davids, a celebration of all things creepy and crawly. You’ll see unusual creatures in the Tropical Bug Zoo, learn about bug farming and even get to taste some edible insects in the Grub Kitchen (don’t worry, it serves plenty of non-bug dishes too).
End your coastal journey by enjoying a stroll with a difference at Sweet Home Alpaca, just off the A487 near Roch. Join an alpaca walk to explore 23 acres/9.3ha of green Pembrokeshire landscape in the company of one of these personality-packed animals. As you go, you’ll learn about all things alpaca and possibly spot some of native wildlife too.
Possible overnight: Solva, Newgale, Broad Haven or Little Haven