The best ‘secret’ places are the ones you stumble across yourself. But here are some lesser-known places along The Coastal Way that we’ve discovered on our own stumblings, and we think you’ll like them.

Ynys Enlli (Bardsey Island)

Ynys Enlli (Bardsey Island) is the ‘island of 20,000 saints’, who are supposedly buried here, far outnumbering the current population of living souls (just four). Bardsey has always been a place of refuge, retreat and pilgrimage, and is the end point of the North Wales Pilgrim's Way. Ynys Enlli means ‘the island in the currents’ and it’s a great place for a day-trip. In 2023 the island became the first site in Europe to be awarded International Dark Sky Sanctuary certification. It joins 16 other sites worldwide recognised as the most remote and dark places on earth.

Seals in the sea around Bardsey Island, North Wales
View from the mainland of Bardsey Island

Ynys Enlli (Bardsey Island), off the Llŷn Peninsula coast, North Wales

Hell’s Mouth

Or to give it its correct Welsh title, Porth Neigwl. But we can see why it got the nickname. The gaping jaws and four-mile sands face straight into the Atlantic sou’westerlies, which made it a nightmare for sailors of old - but it’s heaven for surfers today. Surf schools run daily courses here; the waves get progressively bigger as you move northwards along the beach. Local surfers reckon that Llŷn’s best barrel is next-door at Porth Ceiriad, but on big-sea days, it’s definitely best left to experts. 

View of Hell's Mouth from the high ground, Llŷn Peninsula
aerial view of beach and headland.

Hell's Mouth/Porth Neigwl and Porth Ceiriad, Llŷn Peninsula


Ceredigion’s longest beach runs for three miles (5km) up from Borth to the sand dunes of the Dyfi National Nature Reserve, where you can find out more at the Ynyslas Visitor Centre. The ebbing tide reveals the gnarled stumps of a 5,000-year-old forest. This, according to local legend, is Cantre'r Gwaelod (the ‘lower hundred’), an ancient kingdom that was swamped when the gatekeeper Seithennyn got drunk and forgot to shut the flood gates.

Tree stumps on beach at sunset Submerged Forest.

Remains of the ancient submerged forest, Borth, Ceredigion, Mid Wales


Queen Victoria once owned Ynyshir Hall as her coastal retreat. Its grounds are now the RSPB Ynys-hir Nature Reserve, and the house is Ynyshir (they’ve dropped the ‘Hall’ bit), a two Michelin-starred restaurant-with-rooms. The food is extraordinary: chef-owner Gareth Ward’s intricate taster-menus mix local and international flavours with considerable panache.

Ynyshir es Restaurant Tür mit einem Namensschild.
Ynyshir, Eglwys Fach, eingebettet zwischen den Bäumen – in der Ferne.
Ein Gericht mit regionalen Produkten im Ynyshir nahe Machynlleth.

Ynyshir, Machynlleth, Mid Wales

Pwll y Wrach

Pwll y Wrach or the Witches’ Cauldron is one of the Pembrokeshire coast’s most startling sights: a giant crater formed by a collapsed cave, connected to the sea by a tunnel. The coast path takes you directly over the arch; kayakers (and seals) take the subterranean route to land on a shingle beach inside the crater.

autumn colours on cliffs with caves and sea.

Pwll y Wrach (Witches’ Cauldron), Pembrokeshire, West Wales

Melin Tregwynt

There’s been a woollen mill in this little wooded valley since the 17th century, when local farmers brought their fleeces to be spun into yarn and woven into blankets. Owned by the same family since 1912, Melin Tregwynt still makes fabrics in the traditional way. So far, so quaint – but it’s their very contemporary eye for design that has made them a favourite of hip hotels and fashionistas.

Woman operating woollen mill machinery
Green fabric from woollen mill Melin Tregwynt
Green woollen bed sheet from Melin Tregwynt on a bed

Melin Tregwynt crafted fabric, near Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, West Wales

Dr Beynon's Bug Farm

The entomologist, insect farmer and TV presenter Dr Sarah Beynon runs this working farm, research centre and visitor attraction just outside St Davids. The Bug Farm has plenty of serious scientific messages about ecology and sustainability, but it’s also a huge amount of fun, especially if you’ve got kids. The café’s menu includes lots of edible insects, naturally.

Two people sharing a meal at Bug Farm Grub Kitchen, Pembrokeshire
Inside the Grub Kitchen at the Bug Farm

Bug Farm Grub Kitchen, Pembrokeshire, West Wales

The Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon is an old slate quarry that’s been picturesquely swamped by the sea, leaving a turquoise lagoon in its place. The Red Bull Cliff Diving world series has visited three times, but anyone can enjoy it – it’s a five-minute walk (or kayak) from the car park in Abereiddi. There are usually coasteering groups mucking around here, plucking up the courage to do the 12m leap from the top. 

Coasteering without an accredited guide can be dangerous. Visit Wales has details of many accredited coasteering providers who can ensure that your coasteering adventure can be enjoyed safely.

Bachgen yn Abereiddi, Sir Benfro - mewn siaced achub felen a helmed goch.
Criw o dri ar fin neidio i 'Y Sinc', Abereiddi, Sir Benfro

Blue Lagoon, Abereiddi, Pembrokeshire, West Wales

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