Hire power: boating on the Welsh coast

Don’t know about you, but some of the most fun we’ve had on holiday involved spontaneously larking around in boats. Although when we say ‘larking’, we mean ‘with all due respect for health and safety’, obviously. And when we say ‘spontaneously’… okay, we may have done a bit of research. And here it is, from top to bottom.

A family fun weekend

Man and lady sailing on the Menai Strait in North Wales.

Sailing boats on the Menai Strait, North Wales
The National Watersports Centre at Plas Menai runs courses on dinghy sailing, powerboating, cruising, sea kayaking, and also lots of youth activity holidays. We fancy a crack at their excellent family fun weekend, which gives everyone a chance to try a bit of everything. It’s based in the sheltered waters of the Menai Strait, which is a great place for beginners during slack tides. And when the tides really rip through, you can take a high-speed rib ride up through the white water and whirlpools of The Swellies. 

Coastline boating

On the Llŷn peninsula is a major watersports hotspot, Abersoch. The Abersoch Sailing School offers a whole range of watersports for families, from pedalos to powerboating. 

Pembrokeshire is Wales’s most popular coastal destination, and its 186 mile coastline is full of boating opportunities to match. Imagine kayaking through azure waters by towering cliffs, exploring sea caves… or powerboating round Ramsay Island across a treacherous reef called The Bitches? There are way too many options to list here – and there’s really no need, because they’re all listed on visitpembrokeshire.com.

Across the other side of Carmarthen Bay, the Gower Peninsula has a range of the watersports activities on offer – such as blasting out to Worm’s Head in a high-speed rib, past some of Britain’s most jaw-droppingly lovely beaches.

A group white water rafting at the Cardiff Internation White Water centre

Rafting at Cardiff International White Water

Swansea is closer to the sea literally, and also spiritually than any other Welsh city, and the new Knab Rock Centre at Mumbles is a good place to find out what’s on offer. We’re also big fans of 360 Beach and Watersports, a hub for beachsports, watersports and outdoor activity that’s within walking distance of the city centre. From here you can see right across Swansea Bay to Rest Bay and Porthcawl, which is the kiteboarding capital of Wales.

In the capital, Cardiff International White Water is superb. They do family kayak taster sessions on the flat-water pool, and family rafting sessions on the man-made rapids, where they tone down the speed of the water so that children as young as eight can enjoy it.

And if you get a taste for white water, then take to the wild rivers of North Wales at the National White Water Centre near Bala or on the River Dee at Llangollen.

Search for activity operators in Wales