Leaf peeping spots

Wales is a vision in the autumn. Rolling hills awash with golden colour, crisp leaves, roaring open fires in cosy inns and pubs. Explore these lovely leaf-peeping spots for a rejuvenating day out. 

Elan Valley, Mid Wales

Elan Valley dam.
Elan Valley, Mid Wales
In the heart of Mid Wales, Elan Valley is a spectacular area abundant with wildlife and nature that comes alive with colour in the autumn months. Take a walk around one of the area’s six dams to admire the striking colours of the trees and watery vistas. The visitor centre has a wealth of information on local walks, seasonal activities, an exhibition space and a play area. 

Bwlch Nant yr Arian, Mid Wales

Red kites swooping around a bird hide at Bwlch Nant Yr Arian
A hide at Bwlch Nant Yr Arian, Ceredigion
High in the Cambrian Mountains, Bwlch Nant yr Arian is a nature lover’s paradise, ideal for capturing spectacular autumnal views and exploring a number of walking and cycling routes. You can witness rare red kites eating at the daily feeds, either from a distance at the visitor centre or close-up down by the centre’s lake. For colourful panoramic views, take the uphill trail marked with a red footprint.  

The Wye Valley, Mid Wales

Sunset view from Upper Wyndcliff in the Wye Valley.

Upper Wyndcliff, Wye Valley
As an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Wye Valley is awash with photo opportunities of autumn foliage and sweeping views. Tintern Abbey’s monastic ruins are a sight to behold in the autumn, with trees on the surrounding hills tinted red and orange. For an impressive lookout, head to Kymin Tower, an 18th century round house and naval tower where you can observe gorgeous views of Monmouth and the Wye Valley. Serious hiking buffs should consider walking a section of the 136-mile Wye Valley Walk to explore the rich colours of the wooded ravines, limestone gorges and rugged moorland slopes.

Llanrwst, Llandudno and Colwyn Bay

Swallow Falls waterfall near Betws y Coed
Swallow Falls, Snowdonia by Wales on View
Start your day with a bracing walk to Swallow Falls on the River Llugwy, near Betws y Coed, for dramatic waterfalls and beautiful scenic viewpoints to enjoy the autumn colours. A short drive away is perhaps one of the most quintessentially autumnal views in Wales: The Virginia Creeper-clad ‘Ty Hwnt i’r Bont’ tearoom at Inigo Jones bridge in Llanrwst, where blazing red ivy envelopes the cottage.  

Pontneddfechan, Neath Valley

Sgwd yr Eira waterfall.
Sgwd yr Eira, Brecon Beacons
This beauty spot lies in the heart of the Vale of Neath. Autumn colours line the leafy trails leading up to Sgwd Gwladus, Melincourt Falls, Aberdulais and Sgwd yr Eira waterfalls. You can even walk behind a curtain of water at the latter. Pontneddfechan waterfall country is a photographer’s paradise. Along with waterfalls and tracks to explore, the remains of the old gunpowder works and silica mines provide plenty of nooks and crannies that are ripe for discovering. Once you’ve finished exploring, stop off for a cosy fireside pint in the Old White Horse Inn.

Coed y Brenin

Two cyclists on bikes at Coed y Brenin
Cycling in Coed y Brenin, Snowdonia Mountains and Coast
If you’re looking for a crisp walk through crunchy leaves, Coed y Brenin will let you do so amongst the sights and sounds of the woodland in autumn. Close to Dolgellau and Traswfynydd, this world-class mountain biking spot is a haven for soaking up the season with family walks, gentle cycling, waterfalls, an all-access trail and a visitor centre. The views from the café alone are worth a trip, with excellent vistas of the trees in a myriad of colours. You can dine on one of the café’s sustainable venison burgers, made using the on-site fallow deer. 

Aberglasney, Carmarthenshire

A carved wooden bench at Abergasney House and Gardens
A quiet spot in Aberglasney House and Gardens, Carmarthenshire
A must-see for autumn in Carmarthenshire, Aberglasney’s gardens are a sea of colour, with bright red and orange Nissa and Cornus plants as well as the white-flowered bugbane. With woodland walks, ancient yew tree tunnels and a Tearoom showcasing local produce, it has all the ingredients for a bracing autumn day out.

Bodnant Gardens, Colwyn Bay

Autumn leaves on a tree.

Autumn leaves at Bodnant Gardens, North Wales
A delight for foliage fans and families alike, the autumnal Bodnant Gardens feature a fiery show of Japanese acers and incredible views towards the Snowdonia mountains from the terraces, framed by the patchwork of colour and texture of surrounding plants and trees. The Dell at Bodnant is a tranquil little haven with peaceful walks and a waterfall, ideal for an autumn stroll. The shrub borders and Chapel Park are also great place to peep at the kaleidoscope of autumn colour. Finish off with a seasonal bowl of warming soup at one of the site’s tearooms.

Powis Castle, Mid Wales

Powis Castle and statue

Powis Castle, Mid Wales
Standing proudly above a terraced garden and rambling estate, the medieval fortress of Powis Castle and Gardens provides an arresting autumn scene for day-trippers and autumn visitors. The red hues of the castle echo the riot of autumn colour in the terraces and gardens beneath, with shrubby salvias, fuchsias, rambling red vines and maples bursting with red and gold. The surrounding woodland glows under the autumn sun, with crisp golden leaves carpeting the ground and dusky light offering great photo opportunities.

Brecon Beacons, Mid Wales

Llyn y Fan Fach from above.

Llyn y Fan Fach, Carmarthenshire
When the mountains start to curl up for winter, the scenery of the Brecon Beacons can be at its most dramatic. There are a handful of great stops to admire the fall foliage. Take a hike and bag some memento snaps at Craig Cerrig Gleisiaid a Fan Frynach, Llyn y Fan Fach or Llanthony Priory (which is sandwiched between the autumn-hued hills of Twmpa and Hay Bluff). For a peaceful autumn stroll, head to the Brecon and Monmouth Canal to see migrating birds heading to warmer climes, sun-dappled leafy trails, chugging canal barges and cosy pubs.

More autumn break ideas