We spent a couple of weeks in Wales in our campervan, exploring historical castles, walking along the narrow paths that follow the cliffs of the Pembrokeshire coast and kicking sand across long beaches. We ate buttery Welsh Cakes, indulgent ice-creams, crumbly Caerphilly cheese and delicious artisan chocolates and discovered corners of Wales we hadn’t found before.
The list of four Welsh campsites we stayed at are at the bottom of this post after more information about the four areas we explored.
Llanarthne & The National Botanic Garden of Wales
It was the National Botanic Garden of Wales that took us to this lush and peaceful part of Wales east of Carmarthen along the River Towy valley. We chose Glantowy Farm for its closeness to The National Botanic Garden of Wales which was just short of three miles away and chose to walk to the gardens but cycling is another option. Even if you drive, wear some comfy shoes as you can easily spend a whole day looking around this amazing site, there is so much to see! There are formal gardens, a vegetable garden, a terraced garden full of herbs, a large glasshouse and sculptures as well as lakes to walk around and an arboretum.
On our way back to the campsite we diverted to Paxton’s Tower that we had noticed on the hill. This folly, built to commemorate Nelson, is open so that you can climb up to the first floor and enjoy the panoramic views over the valley. On a clear day it is well-worth the effort.
Manorbier, Tenby & Pembroke
The Pembrokeshire coastline is spectacular and the attractive village of Manorbier has a number of campsites. This location worked well for us because we could combine coastal walking with buses and trains to reach Tenby, in one direction, and Pembroke in the other. We walked to Tenby and caught the bus back and we purchased return train tickets to Pembroke to visit the castle.
Manorbier has a castle too [open Spring, Summer and early Autumn only], one small cafe that can get busy at lunch time and a cosy and quirky pub.
Tenby is a busy seaside resort with handsome colourful buildings, the remains of the town’s walls, fabulous beaches and plenty of shops. We visited the three-storey National Trust’s Tudor Merchant’s House that sits down a narrow alleyway near the harbour. Packed with replica furniture and history, this charming house successfully took me back to 1500. Tenby also has a museum and art gallery and you can visit the Napoleonic Fort on St Catherine’s Island that is tidal [open March to December].
My top tip for Pembroke Castle is to join one of the free guided tours, they are not only fun but also informative and ensure you will get so much more from your visit. Open most or all of the year, this is a large castle with buildings stretching back to the Normans and plenty of nooks and crannies to explore. Hungry after scrambling around the castle we ate at Food at Williams on the main street and had an attractive and tasty vegetarian meal.
This small city sits near the end of a peninsula and is surrounded by farmland and a multitude of campsites. The peninsula’s coastline is a stunning wiggly combination of cliffs and bays. The city has pubs, cafes and a few shops and tucked away below these are the magnificent St Davids Cathedral and the ruins of The Bishop’s Palace.
We were mostly here for the coastal walking and from our campsite we walked south from the life boat station along Ramsey Sound. It was September and the grey seals had their pups. In almost every inaccessible cove we spotted a female and a fluffy white pup. In the other direction we walked beyond the beautiful Whitesands Bay to St Davids Head. The waves were rolling at Whitesands Bay and plenty of surfers were out enjoying the sea.
Devil’s Bridge near Aberystwyth
A tourist hotspot with a campsite that is a peaceful haven ticks boxes for lots of people. Devil’s Bridge attracts the tourist for its waterfall walks that you can pay to walk around. The longer waterfall walk is packed with gushing water but is not for those who can’t manage stairs! There are over 600 steps up and down to different viewpoints over the waterfalls.
As well as the waterfalls walk there is a steam railway that puffs between Devil’s Bridge and Aberystwyth. We might have used this but in 2021 you could only get on the trains in Aberystwyth as a Covid-19 precaution. Instead we had hot chocolate and toasted teacakes from the railway cafe, bought delicious handmade chocolates from Sarah Bunton‘s shop there and walked through the quiet hilly countryside above Devil’s Bridge passing old burial grounds and tiny churches. Social distancing was no problem on these lanes.
|Glantowy Farm CL, Llanarthne near Carmarthen||I enjoyed the peaceful location & open aspect of this Caravan & Motorhome Club Certified Location. It has 2 toilets, 1 shower & sinks and the shower is good and hot. There is room for 6 units and 1 shepherd’s hut. There is a pub nearby in the village with limited opening.|
|Park Farm Holiday Park, Manorbier||This grassy site is on a hill and the pitches are not marked out, not huge & some are sloped. The showers are in individual bathrooms with separate toilets. The water in the showers is just warm, the wash up outdoors & there is a long walk to the laundry. The reception is very friendly.|
|Rhosson Ganol Caravan Park, St David’s||We never met a member of staff on this grassy campsite and that felt strange and impersonal. Our pitch wasn’t overly spacious but had sea views & was fairly level. The shower block is modern but suffered from just warm water temperature that wasn’t adjustable & insufficient hooks. The sanitary block is also quite a long walk from the pitches down a track that became muddy after the rain!|
|Woodlands Caravan Park, Devil’s Bridge, near Aberystwyth||This campsite is part of the ACSI card scheme & if you have this is exceptional good value out of season. We had a large hard-standing pitch on this peaceful woodland site that is dotted with quirky sculptures. The facilities are modern & clean & the showers are roomy, although the water was only just warm.|