October 3, 2023

Destination: Wales

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A Guide to Walking the Wales Coast Path

When planning a walking holiday in Wales, all too often people don’t look much further than the Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons) and Snowdonia National Park.

Which is a shame, because in the Wales Coast Path the country is home to one of the British Isles’ most spectacular coastal walking routes.

The views are beautiful, there’s wildlife aplenty, and of course, there’s no shortage of historic sites and friendly towns and villages to explore along the way.

Ponies on the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path, Wales

Where does the Wales Coast Path start and finish?

The Wales Coast Path starts in Chepstow and ends in Chester, although you can walk the route in any direction.

How long is the Wales Coast Path?

The Wales Coast Path is 870 miles (1,400km).

How many days does it take to walk the Wales Coast Path?

The Wales Coast Path is rather a long hike, so to complete the whole path in one go is quite the accomplishment. 

If you were up for the challenge, then we’d recommend walking the route over six to seven weeks, averaging 20 miles a day. 

However, the Wales Coast Path can also be split into eight sections. This makes it a little more manageable and means you can take your time completing the route.

What are the eight sections of the Wales Coast Path?

Castle Bolbadarn across Llyn Pardarn

  1. North Wales Coast and Dee Estuary – 81 miles (132 km)
  2. Isle of Anglesey – 135 miles (217 km)
  3. Llŷn and Snowdonia Coast – 167 miles (264 km)
  4. Ceredigion – 75 miles (119 km)
  5. Pembrokeshire Coast Path – 182 miles (291 km)
  6. Carmarthenshire – 68 miles (108 km)
  7. Gower and Swansea Bay – 69 miles (111 km)
  8. South Wales Coast and Severn Estuary – 97 miles (157 km)

How fit do you need to be to walk the Wales Coast Path?

To walk sections of the Wales Coast Path you need to have a good level of fitness. It’s an undulating coastal path, so expect some climbs and rolling hills, alongside some flatter sections, too. 

If you walk the Wales Coast Path in one fell swoop, we’d certainly recommend doing a bit of training beforehand, so your body’s used to back-to-back days of walking.

What is the toughest section on the Wales Coast Path?

The whole of the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path has around 11,000m (35,000 ft) of elevation. To put that into context, Everest is 8,849m (29,032ft), so you’re definitely in for some climbing over the 182-mile (291 km) walk.

How well signposted is the Wales Coast Path?

The Wales Coast Path is well-signposted throughout, even in the rural and urban areas. Look out for the blue and yellow logo with a white dragon-tailed seashell.

We would recommend taking a map or a watch with the GPS downloaded on it as backup, too.

What are the highlights of the Wales Coast Path?

Chepstow Castle and lake

Chepstow Castle (Cadw.gov.wales), where your adventure begins, is a cliff-top fortress boasting over 900 years of history. It was built in 1067 by Earl William FitzOsbern, but many an Earl has left their mark since.

It isn’t long before you’re greeted by a few more castles, Flint Castle (Visitwales.com) and Conwy Castle (Cadw.gov.wales), which are both 13th-century estuary fortresses.

Take a worthy diversion on Llandudno Pier (Llandudnopier.com), Wales’ longest pier. 

The Isle of Anglesey Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), offers a mixture of rolling hills, forests, and spectacular sea views. Look out for the majestic South Stack Lighthouse (Visitanglesey.co.uk) and take a visit to Beaumaris Castle (Cadw.gov.wales), surrounded by a water-filled moat.

Rising handsomely above the Bristol Channel, St Donat’s Castle (Visitwales.com), is the longest continually inhabited castle in Wales. On selected dates the castle opens its doors to the public – so check ahead.

Cefn Sidan Beach (Visitwales.com) is one of the longest beaches in Wales. It’s flat, sandy, and you can still see the remains of the hull of the SS Paul when the tide is out.

On the banks of the River Seiont in Conwy, Caernarfon Castle (Cadw.gov.wales) is one of a trio of castles, along with Beaumaris and Harlech, created by Edward I.

Caernarfon Castle and beach

The Pembrokeshire Coast Path offers much more than just hills. Make a quick stop at St Davids, the UK’s smallest city, and visit St Davids Cathedral (Stdavidscathedral.org.uk) while you’re there, too.

The picturesque seaside town of Tenby is also a delightful place to take a break. Surrounded by four beaches, it’s the ideal place to spend a non-walking day.

Make sure you also check out Freshwater West Beach – known for being one of the most beautiful beaches in Pembrokeshire – especially if you like surfing.

The coastal town of Laugharne is a quaint place to stop and break up your walk. Take a visit to the Dylan Thomas Boathouse (Dylanthomasboathouse.com) and enjoy the works of one of the most renowned Anglo-Welsh writers.

Gower was the UK’s first designated AONB, so we recommend taking your time through this section and soaking up all Gower has to offer.

Pwlldu Head

From Rhossili Bay and Worm’s Head to Three Cliffs Bay and the charming fishing village of Mumbles, there’s plenty to see and do.

Nash Point (Visitthevale.com) is a stunning beach with rugged cliffs, rock pools, fossils, and the famous Nash Point Lighthouse. A great spot to stop for some hot Welsh cakes.

At Cardiff Bay, Senedd (Senedd.wales) is the home of the Welsh Parliament. It offers public galleries that share a little insight into the Welsh leadership, while there’s also a café to grab some refreshments.

Are there many places to stay when walking the Wales Coast Path?

The Wales Coast Path goes through many villages and towns, so it’s generally quite easy to find somewhere to stay. If you’re going during a busy season, though, we recommend booking ahead.

If, like us, you have a passion for wildlife, there’s also a fun app you can download to your phone. Crwydro Arfordir Cymru (Pembrokeshiremarinecode.org.uk) shares information about Welsh wildlife and how to protect it, which you can follow along during your walk.

Planning a walking holiday in Wales? Explore it – and the best of the rest of the UK – on one of our guided grand tours.

Experienced by

Jago

Expert Guide

Signature Tours

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