Where There Is Wales, There Is A Road: Your Guide To Three Classic Holiday Itineraries | winter travel

Against the backdrop of winter, Wales’ landscapes – from towering castles to windswept coastlines – seem to come to life. Without the summer crowds, you may find that you often have that raw countryside to yourself. With such a wealth of fortunes, you’ll understand if you can’t decide where to start. So, we’ve curated the three most notable national roads in Wales – the Cambrian Way, the Coastal Road and the North Wales Road – to put together three journeys that are sure to leave you feeling relaxed, inspired and invigorated. Whether it’s for a relaxing week or a weekend getaway, there’s a “method” for you.

Cambrian method
Starting from Cardiff in the south to Conwy in the north, the Cambrian Road was originally chartered in 1967. The current route follows the winding branches of the A470 and has become the final journey on the road through the rugged, mountainous heart of Wales.

Start your journey at Cardiff Castle. A short drive north to the Royal Mint Experience in Llantrisant reveals how our country’s currencies were created, while in the southern valleys, underground tours of A Welsh Coal Mining Experience abound with fascinating knowledge of the industry that once dominated the region.

Winter weather further enhances the stunning scenery of Brecon Beacons National Park; The beautiful Sgwd yr Eira waterfall, for example, is a remote waterfall that often freezes in the middle of the waterfall in January and February. Explore the vast lakes of the Ilan Valley by bike or on foot. The local craft center is a great stop for souvenir shopping – showcasing everything from handmade chocolate, pottery and jewelry to the award-winning Davy Distillery.

Much like many of the lodges you’ll find along this route, Cross Foxes, to the south of Snowdonia National Park, serves hearty meals using fresh, local ingredients – highlights include cockle, leek and Caerphilly arancini, or the Welsh lamb burger with cheddar cheese and mint mayonnaise .

Set up camp in Betws-y-Coed before setting off for the impressively majestic Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon). At 1,085 metres, the highest peak in Wales is a stunning sight, even if viewed from ground level and when covered in clouds. With accommodation galore throughout the Cambrian Road, from hostels and bed and breakfasts to four-star rooms, you’ll never be short of options.

The six dams of the Ilan Valley create stunning views of Lake Ilan

The coastal road
From St Davids in the south to Aberdaron in the north, the Coastal Way is a 180-mile stretch of road that traces Cardigan Bay, with secluded beaches, towering limestone cliffs and colorful villages along the way.

Start your drive in the pristine sands of Baravandel Bay, and explore walking trails that lead to cliff-top vistas over sheltered coves. Dotted along the coastal path are eclectic accommodation options, including Manor Town House in Fishguard Bay, a refurbished Georgian guest house with impressive views of the winter sunsets on the Pembrokeshire coast. or Denmark’s welcoming eco-farm lodge, about 30 minutes from Aberaeron. It’s common to find old stone guesthouses, boutique hotels, and even luxury luxury experiences designed to blend with nature with minimal disruption.

In Barmouth, you can take a slow walk across the old wooden railway bridge over the estuary – an especially beautiful sight when clouds threaten to rain. By contrast, the collection of white, indigo, and ocher buildings that make up the Italianate-style village of Portmeirion, on the banks of the Dwyryd Estuary, is a cultural highlight.

With its glassy cove and coastal views, the fishing village of Aberdaron is postcard-perfect. Join local families for a spot of lobster along the sea walls or immerse yourself in the local culinary scene: at Potted Lobster in nearby Pwllheli, where creamy seafood slathered on half of the Llŷn Peninsula gets a sure thumbs up.

Portmeirion
Portmeirion’s Italianate-inspired architecture is a coastal road highlight

North Wales Road
Following an ancient trade route that led to the Isle of Anglesey, the 75-mile North Wales Road is a heritage route dotted with villages. The charming 700-year-old Chirk Castle opens the tour on the English-Welsh border near Wrexham.

From here, the A5 meanders through the Horseshoe Pass to Snowdonia and the Ogwen Valley, with the dramatic Carneddau and Glyderau runs down the road. Marvel at the waterfalls that tumble effortlessly through the crevices as you pass by.

In Colwyn Bay, chef Bryn Williams cooks up a seafood storm at his tiny Port Eirias restaurant, combining seasonal ingredients with the fresh catch from local fishermen. For something less formal, stop at On the Hoof, on the Rug Estate near Corwen – the organic bison burger is worth a visit.

Cross the Menai Strait either via the Thomas Telford Menai Suspension Bridge, completed in 1826, or the contemporary alternative, Britannia. Hint: the latter offers nice views of the former. From there, the stunning Beaumaris Castle – also known as the greatest castle never built, because the money ran out – is great for exploring and climbing in all its unfinished glory.

Get in tune with the laid-back Anglesey lifestyle, get a behind-the-scenes look at how sea salt is harvested by hand at Halen Môn, pop into the town with the famously long name to try your hand at the pronunciation of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch (translated as “St. St. Tysilio near the Red Cave”).

In Anglesey, charming B&B-style cottages await. Book into the cozy Tyddyn Crythor or Red Robin Cottage in Brynsiencyn for stunning views of the mountain scenery.

Find inspiration for your winter holiday at Visit Wales

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