Whether it’s replenishing adventure in wide open spaces, out of the box activities or life-affirming days out. Ideal for making memories and forging new connections, these adventure-filled days out will keep your Instagram feed busy and your memory bank overflowing.
Peak early at Pen-y-Fan
From Cardiff: 40 miles/1 hour drive
Starting the day watching the sunrise atop the highest mountain in southern Britain is simply magical. Standing at 886m, the mountain’s close proximity to Cardiff and range of routes make this an appealing endeavour. Views on the way to the summit are spectacular, drinking in views of Neuadd Reservoir and on a very clear day, the Malvern Hills and even Cadair Idris and Snowdonia. Touring with an experienced guide allows you to experience other routes far from the madding crowds and get up close and personal with peaks including Fan-y-Big, Craig Cwm Sere and Cefn Cwm Llwch.
Be a shepherd: look after an alpaca
From Cardiff: 30 miles/45 min drive (Swansea) and 46 miles/1 hour 15 min drive (Earlswood)
Alpacas may not be front of mind when it comes to planning your Welsh adventures. But with rolling green pastures and open spaces, Wales is an ideal place for animal sanctuaries to thrive. Visitors to Welsh Valley Alpacas in Felindre, Swansea and Amazing Alpacas near Earlswood, Monmouthshire can spend the day finessing their shepherding skills, learning all about how to care for alpacas and of course, feeding the herd. Some of the more affectionate ones might even move in for a ‘cwtch’ (cuddle).
Ride a wave: morning surf
From Cardiff: 30 miles/45min drive
If you’re feeling delicate after sampling Cardiff nightlife then shaking off the cobwebs with a dip in the sea could be just the ticket. Just a short distance away from the city buzz, there are ample opportunities to experience the invigorating Welsh sea, with both group classes and 1:1 surfing lessons. The nearby beachside town of Porthcawl is ideally situated for surf conditions, facing a westerly direction and right in the path of the Welsh coast’s Atlantic swells. The bays and coves of Coney Beach, Trecco Bay, Newton and Rest Bay are also perfectly situated for plenty of post-surf drinks and treats along the esplanade, seafront and harbourside.
Get salty: eat Laverbread
From Cardiff: 25 miles/45 min drive
Definitely one for those with an adventurous palate, laver is a fine seaweed collected along the Welsh coastline. Welsh laverbread or ‘bara lawr’ actually has nothing to do with bread; it is more like a purée. You’ll see it popping up on high quality / traditional menus in Wales, but to get a real appreciation and maybe even a taste for it, why not try cooking with it? For a very in-situ experience, why not cook your own feast at a Welsh BBQ-friendly beach. Rugged Dunraven Bay is a great little day out from Cardiff. Why not try your hand at Welsh rarebit with laverbread and ale or Leek and Laverbread Welsh cakes for a great culinary adventure.
Find your inner mermaid: open water swimming
From Cardiff: 16 miles/31 min drive
Swimming in open water is very different to swimming in a pool. Unseen currents, cold water and waves make wild swimming much more challenging. Join a local club or learn from experts before taking the plunge - we always recommend using a guide or swimming with a club in open water. Read more top tips on how to swim safe.
The Scandinavians aren’t the only ones with an affinity for invigorating dips outdoors. There are plenty of locations to go open water and wild swimming in Wales. Llandegfedd Lake, in Pontypool, is owned by Dŵr Cymru and is accredited as a Swim Wales S.A.F.E Cymru site. If you are a confident swimmer you can try out the various courses which range from around 100m – 300m, all with lifeguard supervision. You’ll start with an induction session - these usually take place from May to October, after that you can don your goggles and take the plunge. Unauthorised swimming in reservoirs can pose a danger to life, so these supervised sessions are a perfect way to enjoy the water safely.
On the rocks: canyoning and gorge walking
From Cardiff: 30 miles/40 min drive
A paradise for adrenaline junkies, the lush landscapes of the Brecon Beacons are a veritable feast of adventure and absolutely teeming with rivers, gorges, ledges, waterfalls and pools. There are plenty of operators giving you the chance to gorge walk and go canyoning, so expect to hop boulders, scramble cascades, traverse and jump off hair-raising waterfalls to your heart’s content.
Be an artisan: make, do and learn
From Cardiff: 40 miles/55 min drive
Not all adventures are high-octane. Some of the best days out are the ones we can take at a slower pace. Humble by Nature in Monmouthshire is a paradise for anyone who has an appreciation for the simple things in life: good food, being self-sufficient and living off the land. The farm (founded by BBC Springwatch presenter Kate Humble) offers courses in keeping goats, bee keeping, cider making, meat curing and even building your own pizza oven, so while your day out will come to an end, your artisan credentials can live forever.
Get muddy: assault course
From Cardiff: 28 miles/45 min drive
Just twenty minutes from Cardiff, this muddy assault course is the place for you and your friends to blow off steam. Ideal for team building and group adventures, this is an active adventure helping to bring your Ninja Warrior to the surface with Tyre Runs, Monkey Bars, Muddy Crawls and Vertical Walls to keep you busy. Even if you’re not in training for a super race, this muddy adventure will put your friendship to the test as you problem solve, scramble, slip and slide. After all that, there’s always Porthcawl nearby to rinse off and freshen up in the sea.
Be a wild forager: feast and forage
From Cardiff: 40 miles/55 min drive
Increasingly popular as food tastes and trends grow, this foraging adventure near Ogmore and Bridgend makes a meal of the wild delights to be found in Welsh hedgerows, woodlands and wild spots. Perfect for a peaceful and meandering day out with friends, the course leader will teach you how to identify and sustainably taste plants, herbs and fungi that are safe to eat before enjoying a truly wild meal.
Drive a train: Gwili Railway
From Cardiff: 70 miles/ hour 40 min drive
Anyone who ever watched or read about the adventures of Thomas, The Railway Children or even Harry Potter will still have a soft spot for steam trains and railways. So these sentimental memories of picnic lunches, train conductors and coal-fired train engine horns whizzing in the distance will sing in your heart as you become a steam train driver for day with Gwili Railway. Taster and day packages are available which will see you take the controls of a heritage locomotive railway and smell the burning coal as you trundle up the line (there’s always time for tea and sandwiches of course).
Be AdventureSmart: respect the water
Swimming in open water is very different to swimming in a pool, so it’s a good idea to swim at an organised venue where there will be a safety crew to provide guidance.
Our top tips for being safe when open water swimming are to:
- Wear a bright hat (bright green or bright orange are the best) and use a tow float so that you can be seen by other water users.
- Enter the water slowly and allow time for your body to get used to the cold.
- Check the tide times before swimming in the sea or in estuarine waters.
- If you are in difficulty in the water don’t panic, stay calm; attract attention by raising your hand and shouting for help.
Go to AdventureSmart.UK for all the information you need to help make your Welsh adventure both safe and fun!