The Wales Way driving routes (visit breathtaking places in Wales)

Wales Way National driving routes
Wales Way National driving routes

Planning a road trip to Wales with a car, motorhome, campervan or caravan? Want to know more about the Wales Way- the national driving routes in Wales? Confused about which one is best for you? Here’s everything you need to know about touring the Wales Way with a vehicle, details about the three routes (North Wales Way, Cambrian Way and Coastal Way- with map!), plus places in Wales to visit and where to stay.

Don’t forget to grab your FREE Wales Way downloadable guide to help you plan your trip (see below)

*We work hard to make this the best motorhome blog and road trip website possible, full of helpful content for you. The website is supported by our readers, so if you buy through links on this site we may earn a commission- at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain our own.

If you find this post useful, you can also treat us to a coffee at the bottom of this page- we promise to enjoy it while creating more useful content like this- we might even indulge in a biscuit (or two!)


What is the Wales Way?

Did you know the Wales Tourist Board have created three tourist driving routes, designed to show off some of the best parts of the country? Designed in a similar way to the NC500 in Scotland, these three routes are collectively called the Wales Way.

WARNING: This post is about the DRIVING/ ROAD TRIP routes for the Wales Way. There are many similar walking and hiking routes around the same areas, which has caused plenty of confusion, especially with the Cambrian Way and the Coastal Way. Although there are plenty of places to park up and enjoy a beautiful hike, we won’t be covering those here.

Which places in Wales can you visit on the Wales Way?

Although there are plenty of places you could include in a Wales road trip itinerary, the national driving routes cover specific routes, showcasing some of the prettiest places in the country (see map below)

  • The North Wales Way covers the north coast and Anglesey.
  • The Cambrian Way winds through the centre of the country, including Snowdonia, the Cambrian Mountains and the Brecon Beacons.
  • The Coastal Way follows the beautiful west coast around Cardigan Bay

If you want to download your FREE guide to the routes, you can grab it here

Planning a trip to Wales?

Grab your FREE guide to the Wales Way road trip routes, including:

  • suggested routes around Wales
  • best places to see on your trip
  • campsites to stay at along the way
  • and other tips for touring Wales

Wales Way Map

Here’s a map of the Wales Way national driving routes, visiting some of the best places in Wales

Wales Way Driving Route Map
Wales Way Driving Route Map

Planning a Wales Road Trip?

If you are planning a trip to Wales, you might find these useful:

You can also grab our interactive map and online guide filled with places to visit in Wales- check it out here

Everything you need to help plan an amazing Welsh Road trip!

Driving the Cambrian Way in Wales

The Cambrian Way starts in Llandudno on the North Coast and runs through the centre of Wales down to Cardiff.

The route is 185 miles (300km) long and travels through two National Parks (Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons), as well as the Cambrian Mountains- truly one of the most scenic road trips in the UK.

Highlights of the route include:

  • some of the best walking, climbing and hiking in the UK
  • Adventure Parc Snowdonia- indoor surfing. (home to a world-first inland surf lagoon).
  • Zip Fforest- crazy fast zipline.
  • Tudor mansion at Gwydir Castle
  • Tu Hwnt ir Bont – at Llanrwst- possibly the world’s most famous tea room
  • Swallow Falls at Betws-y-Coed
Cambrian Way Wales- visiting some of the best places in Wales
Pont Fawr Bridge and Tu Hwnt ir Bont tea room

Best Cambrian Way stops for history lovers

The Rhondda Heritage Park is a must. Follow the footsteps of coal mine workers at this living museum and take a tour with a retired miner.

There’s also Cyfarthfa Castle Museum & Art Gallery, built in 1824 and later turned into a museum and art gallery.

Another home to visit is the tudor Gwydir Castle- which also runs as a Bed and Breakfast.

Best Places on the Cambrian Way for Foodies

For fine dining, visit the Michelin starred restaurants of The Walnut Tree and The Whitebrook.

Want to learn more about mushrooms? Visit Snowdonia Mushrooms and learn more about growing and cooking your own.

For local wines, check out the oldest family estate in Wales, Glyndwr Vineyard – don’t miss their resident llamas.

If you enjoy cider, visit the Apple County Cider in Skenfrith. You can sample traditional ales and lager at Tomos Watkin Brewery in Swansea or learn more about making beer at Monty’s Brewery in Powys.

Snowdonia- one of the best places to visit on the Cambrian Way
Snowdonia- one of the best places to visit on the Cambrian Way and North Wales Way

Best Cambrian Way Stops for Adventure-Seekers

This route is FULL of things to do for adventure seekers.

Visit Adventure Parc Snowdonia (home to the worlds first inland surf lagoon). There are 25km of graded single track and mountain bike trails at Gwydir Forest.

Fancy ziplining at 100mph? Visit Zip Forest – there’s also an Alpine rollercoaster and dare-devil freefalls.

Check out Go Below if you’d like to bounce on trampolines… underground in a cave!

There’s also the National White Water Centre for kayaking and other watersports- a little off the main route but worth it for the experience. There are also plenty of wonderful Wales Motorhome sites in the area to stay at with a motorhome, campervan or caravan.

Fun fact: Betws-y-Coed is the most misspelt place name in Britain, with around 360 variations! In case you were wondering, it means ‘prayer house in the woods’.

Driving the North Wales Way

The North Wales Way follows the old trading route from Holyhead to Broughton. It’s a 75-mile (120km) long route and can easily take 4/5 days to explore.

Highlights of the route include:
  • World Heritage Castles
  • National Slate Museum
  • Conwy and Llandudno
  • the Menai Straits
  • the Isle of Anglesey

The North Wales Way route starts near Chester- one of our favourite cities in the UK. It’s full of timbered houses and is famous for its ‘Rows’- a second row of shops above those at street level. It’s also home to the oldest racecourse and the largest Roman amphitheatre in Britain, as well as incredible city walls that surround the inner city.

Once you leave Chester, head north-west towards Holywell or head west into the hills towards Ruthin. Near Rhyl, you’ll find St Asaph- home to the UK’s smallest Cathedral.

Cross the Menai Bridge and enjoy breathtaking views back towards Snowdonia.

Finally, you’ll arrive in the old port town of Holyhead on Holy Island, Anglesey.

Conwy Castle- one of the highlights of the North Wales Way driving route
Conwy Castle- one of the highlights of the North Wales Way driving route

Best North Wales Way Stops for history lovers

The castles of Conwy, Caernarfon and Beaumaris are all World Heritage Sites and well worth a visit.

Beaumaris was started by Edward 1 but remains unfinished. Despite this, it’s still imposing with its 6 towers.

Caernarfon, another medieval castle, has the most spectacular location and is the investiture of the Princes of Wales.

There’s also the incredibly opulent Penrhyn Castle, built in the 19th century and home to an impressive fine art collection and spectacular views across Snowdonia and the North Wales coast.

Best North Wales Way Stops for Adventure-Seekers

If you’re looking for a little activity, one of the major hikes along the North Wales Way is Tryfan- a challenging climb up for experienced hikers.

Snowdonia National Park is home to a while range of outdoor adventures, including mountain biking, zip-lining (on the fastest zip line in the world), cave trampolining, white water rafting, golfing, and endless hiking trails, including Mount Snowdon- the highest mountain in Wales at 1,085 meters (3,650 feet) above sea level.

If you don’t fancy climbing up it, you can take the Snowdon Mountain Railway to the summit. There are also hundreds of hikes and short walks along the north Wales coastline- plenty of places to explore and enjoy outdoors.

Best North Wales Stops for Foodies

If you enjoy trying local dishes, Be sure to visit Halen Mon- a producer of sea salt on Anglesey.

You can sample Welsh wine at the Gwinllan Conwy vineyard or enjoy a brewery tour at Bragdy Conwy Brewery

For fine dining, try the Michelin star restaurant of Sosban and the Old Butchers, which doesn’t have a menu.

Parys Mine Anglesey- one of the best places to visit in North Wales
Parys Mine Anglesey- one of the best places to visit in North Wales

Best Things to do in Anglesey

Anglesey is regularly mentioned as one of the best places to visit in Wales. Here are some of the highlights you can include in your Wales road trip itinerary:

  • Coastal hikes — there are SO many to choose from and all will deliver incredible views over the sea.
  • Parys Mountain — an abandoned copper mine that now looks like the surface of Mars.
  • Beaumaris Castle — built during the late 13th century and considered to be the most technically perfect castle (its symmetry is incredibly accurate)
  • Visit a lighthouse — dotted all across the coastline of Anglesey, you’ll find a number of beautiful lighthouses. You can even stay in one!

Does it cost money to get to Anglesey if it’s an island?

No- there’s a suspension bridge (the Menai bridge – although sometimes called the Telford Bridge by locals), and it’s free to cross. Cars and motorhomes can get across no problem.

Planning a trip to Wales?

Grab your FREE guide to the Wales Way road trip routes, including:

  • suggested routes around Wales
  • best places to see on your trip
  • campsites to stay at along the way
  • and other tips for touring Wales

Driving the Coastal Way in Wales

The Coastal Way runs the entire length of Cardigan Bay- 180-mile (290km). It starts at Aberdaron and ends at St Davids ( the smallest city in the UK) Of course, you can drive it in the opposite direction if you wish.

Some of the highlights (or places close to the route) include:

  • Cardigan Bay- famous for frequent sightings of bottlenose dolphins
  • Ramsey Island
  • Fishguard- a pretty harbour and village
  • Strumble Head lighthouse
  • Aberystwyth- an ancient market town and home of the National Library of Wales

Best Coastal Way Stops for Nature lovers

Don’t miss a trip to Ramsey Island- home of the highest cliffs in Wales and the largest grey seal colony in the UK, plus countless birds such as ravens and peregrines. In spring and summer the island is full of colour from bluebells, pink thrifts and heather.

You can only access the island via a boat from St Justinians, near St Davids.

Coastal Way Wales- one of the highlights on the driving route
Tresaith Beach, one of the highlights on the Wales Coastal Way driving route

Coastal Way- best places in Wales for history lovers

Don’t miss the impressive Cardigan Castle- the first stone castle built by a Welshman over 900 years ago. You can also enjoy a meal at the castle’s restaurant, a contemporary floor to ceiling glass venue offering panoramic views over the countryside.

Best places in Wales on the Coastal Way for Food lovers

For traditional honey, cakes and ice-cream, don’t miss New Honey Quay Farm tea room. If you have a sweet tooth, the Wickedly Welsh Chocolate Company is about to be your new best-friend.

For alcohol, visit the Dà Mhìle Distillery in Ceredigion, Cwm Deri vineyard or Bluestone Brewing, both in Pembrokeshire.

There’s also Pizzatipi in Cambrian for wood-fired pizzas, the highest pub in Pembrokeshire Tafarn Sinc, or delicious fish and chips at The Shed Bistro.

Coastal Way Stops for Adventure-Seekers

The Coastal Way has several sandy beaches and is popular with surfers and water sport enthusiasts. The waves are decent due to the influence of the Atlantic, particularly at Porth Neigwl Beach, (also known as Hell’s Mouth) and Porthor to the north (National Trust property).

Even if you don’t surf, you can still enjoy the Whistling Sands of Porthor- each step on the sand produces a ‘whistling sound’.

You can also enjoy coasteering along the coastline of the Llŷn Peninsula. This is an opportunity to see the coastline from the water through a mix of swimming, bobbing, scrambling and jumping on courses for beginners to experts- do NOT do this without an experienced and insured guide.

If you found all that useful, don’t forget to grab your FREE guide to the Wales Way routes

You can also grab our interactive map and online guide filled with places to visit in Wales- check it out here

The post The Wales Way driving routes (visit breathtaking places in Wales) appeared first on Wandering Bird Motorhome Travel Blog.