Wales is a stunning country, full of natural beauty, but there are some places that stick out more than others. The three National Parks in Wales are some of those places. Discover where they are and all they have to offer families with this guide.
The 3 National Parks in Wales
Heading to Wales is a great opportunity for families. Be it a day trip or a holiday. You may be wondering how many National Parks are there in Wales? There are 3 National Parks in Wales that you can explore.
- Snowdonia in North Wales
- Pembrokeshire Coast located on the Western side of the country
- The Brecon Beacons in South Wales
Some of Wales’s much-loved cities, towns, villages, and family attractions are located in and around the National Parks in Wales, making them incredible locations to visit.
Snowdonia National Park
North Wales is one of the most popular locations in the country and for good reason. There are so many fabulous places to visit, and you may be wondering if there are any National Parks in North Wales. Snowdonia is a vast National Park that you can visit during your time in the region, and there are so many things you can do within the park or in the surrounding areas. Established in 1951, it is the largest national park in Wales, and with over 823 square miles to explore you are spoilt for choice.
Where is it?
- North West Wales
How you can reach it?
The Snowdonia National Park is easy to reach and is very accessible and unlike many other beauty spots across the world, you will be amongst the beauty of the rolling mountains before you know it.
There are main direct links to Snowdonia National Park, and you can access the areas to many of the train stations running through the area including Betws-y-coed and Blaenau Ffestiniog. While you are there you will find great bus services to take you to different points. Or just set about with your hiking gear and get exploring the moment you arrive.
There are also direct links to travel to the Snowdonia National Park Wales by car. From the north, you can quickly gain access to the National Park via the motorway links of the M56 and A55. If you were travelling from The Midlands area then M6, M5, and M54 will also give you access to the area, linking up with the A5. From other parts of Wales, the A470 runs directly to Snowdonia National Park,
When you arrive
There are many car parks in and around the area at different points. Be that the main Snowdonia mountain range or around the National Park where there are other things to see and do.
Locations close by
Heading to the Snowdonia National Park in Wales may feel like an epic place to visit but there is so much more around the area with lots of cities and towns waiting to be explored. While you are there you could visit any of the following locations.
- Conwy – A beautiful town with a fantastic castle and town walls, the world’s smallest house, and take a stroll along the Quay side.
- Betws-y-Coed – a beautiful village surrounded by the National Park.
- Caernarfon – Another wonderful town with an epic castle to explore and lots of areas with shops, bars, and restaurants.
- Portmeirion – A chance to experience a unique village that takes inspiration from The Amalfi Coast in Italy. A definite highlight.
Things to do in Snowdonia National Park
Within the National Park, you will find many things you can do to help you make the most of your visit to Snowdonia National Park. Here are a couple of suggestions:
- Climb Snowdon – No visit to the area would be complete without climbing Snowdon. You can do this in one of two ways. You can hike it which will take you around 5-6 hours to the summit and back down again. Or you can take a trip on the Victorian Mountain railway. The views from the summit are incredible on a clear day.
- Zip World Fforest – For any adventurous families you may want to head to Zip World Fforest where you can encounter the UK’s only alpine coaster, amongst other things.
- Dolgoch Falls – If it is natural beauty you are after, then heading to see some of the amazing waterfalls in the area, with caves to explore, could be a huge highlight of your trip here.
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park
A popular thing to do while you are in Wales is to head to the coast, but what would be the best spot in Wales? Pembrokeshire has fast become one of the most popular locations to visit by the sea in the UK, and for good reason. The Pembrokeshire National Park gives you miles of epic beaches and coasts to explore. With over 240 square miles to explore, here is a little more about the area, how to get there, and what you can do during your visit, in a National Park that was established in 1952.
Where is it?
- West Wales
How you can reach it?
The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Wales is within easy reach, particularly if you are based near Cardiff. While you may find it might take you a little longer to get there, it will be worth the trip. The beaches and surrounding areas are incredible. Here are some of the ways you can reach this fantastic location.
If you weren’t travelling by car, you can easily access the Pembrokeshire National Park by train. There are many direct links to the area with stations in towns such as Pembroke, Milford Haven, and Tenby, to name a few. There are interlinking changes in major cities such as Cardiff and Swansea, depending on what area you are travelling from.
Coastal bus service
There is an excellent coastal bus service that can take you to many different areas in the Pembrokeshire National Park. This can be especially useful if you are hoping to explore the Pembrokeshire coast path.
Getting there by car is also easy. You can access the area from the south using the M4 and if you are travelling from Northern areas then the M56 will give you access to North Wales and then you can travel on the A483 with plenty of guidance through sat nav or via signposts as you get closer. There are also plenty of car parks in and around the area to help you explore the different parts.
Locations close by
When visiting the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, you may be wondering what other places you can visit in and around the area. It might be for specific beaches you have heard about, or you might be keen to enjoy the fishing villages, market towns, and other areas that make this location extra special. Here are a few to consider:
- Tenby – One of the most popular locations in the Pembrokeshire area that attracts families year on year. A wonderful beach, a fabulous town, with lots of attractions including Folly Farm and Dinosaur Park.
- Pembroke – The largest town in Pembrokeshire and well worth a visit if you want lots of choices for shops, bars, and restaurants. There is also a great castle to explore with kids.
- Milford Haven – This has a beautiful natural harbour formed by an estuary, and is a lovely fishing town with lots to see and do.
Things to do in Pembrokeshire Coast National Park
Within the national park, you will find that there are so many things you can do to help you make the most of your visit to Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Here are a couple of suggestions:
- Visit Barafundle Beach – One of the most spectacular beaches in the area with long stretches of whites sands and plenty to explore within the rockpools. It is also a perfect location for paddling and enjoying the sea.
- Top location for surfing – If you have an adventurous family who wants to get out and enjoy all of the water sports then heading to Freshwater West is the place to do it. This beach is in Castlemartin, a lovely village that is also an ideal place to explore.
- Explore the coast path – Walking is often one of the best ways to see the natural beauty of the area, and walking the coast path could be a highlight of your trip here.
The Brecon Beacons National Park
If you were hoping to find stunning mountains and countryside, then one of the best Welsh National Parks is the Brecon Beacons, South Wales. Heading to the area will give you a chance to experience some of the most beautiful spots, climb one of the highest summits, and also enjoy the surrounding villages and areas. Established in 1957, and with over 520 square miles to explore, here is a little more information.
Where is it?
- Mid to South Wales
- Powys and Brecknockshire are the main regions
How you can reach it?
The Brecon Beacons National Park is vast, and like Snowdonia, there are many different access points to it. Whether you are travelling by car or train, here is a little more information on how you can reach this stunning location.
You can find hourly direct train lines between the link of Manchester and Cardiff which stop off at one of the main train stations in Abergavenny. However, there are other train stations in which you can access the Brecon Beacons including Merthyr Tydfil and Pontypridd. Note that you will need a taxi or bus to access the National Park from these stations.
If you are travelling by car from the North, then the M56 will give you access to North Wales and then the A483 will give you access towards Mid Wales and beyond. You can also access South Wales via the M4 and even the M6 in the Midlands area of England will give you a link across to the A483. The area is signposted so you will be able to pick up the route fairly easily. There are plenty of car parks in the area enabling you to explore some of the best areas.
Locations close by
There are some incredible locations close to the Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales and you will find some incredible villages and market towns to explore. Within these areas, there are some amazing things to do the whole family will enjoy. Here is a selection of some of the places you may want to add to your itinerary during your visit to one of the most stunning National Parks of Wales.
- Hay-on-Wye – This is a lovely village on the edge of the Brecon Beacons where you will find some beautiful shops and stores. Most famous for the book festival held here every June.
- Brecon – This is a town that can easily be explored on foot. With a lovely canal floating through it, beautiful streets to explore, and plenty of craft festivals and events going on throughout the year.
- Talgarth – Another beautiful spot in the Brecon Beacons where you will be able to enjoy rural life at its finest.
- Abergavenny – Lastly, the wonderful town of Abergavenny has stunning ruins to walk around and for any food loves the famous food festival held every September could be a huge highlight. It’s a market town with a lively market and some great eateries too.
Things to do in The Brecon Beacons National Park
Within the National Park, you will find that there are so many things you can do to help you make the most of your visit to the Wales Brecon Beacons National Park. Here are a couple of suggestions:
- Reach the summit of Pen-Y-Fan – The highest mountain in the area, Pen-Y-Fan is worth the hike. It will take you around 5 hours to get to the summit and back down again. There are different routes depending on your experience. It gives amazing views on a clear day.
- Exploring caves – if you are after a bit more adventure then heading to The National Showcaves Centre for Wales. A great day out with lots of attractions within the site.
- Visit a National Trust – if you want beautiful waterfalls and to see some of the most beautiful areas of the Brecon Beacons, then head to Henrhyd Falls. Here you will explore different walks and areas with lots for the whole family to get involved with.
The three National Parks in Wales are large areas of natural beauty, and whether you want to explore them by car or on foot, there are lots to see and do in and around all of them. The only question remaining is, which one will you visit first?