A family holiday needn’t feel like you’re doing it, well, on the cheap. With low prices, bargain accommodation, and free attractions, such as our seven national museums and 870 miles of coast path, there is plenty to do no matter what your budget family break.

 

Why Wales?

Ah, you knew we’d say that, didn’t you? But it’s about simple economics. The cost of living is lower here than in the rest of the UK, and it’s reflected in the cost of holidays. And because it’s easy to reach – an hour’s drive from Manchester and Birmingham, two from London – it’s cheaper to get here, too.

Family on beach at Beaumaris with pier in background.

Beaumaris, Anglesey

Tips for a budget family break in Wales

With some forward planning you can save money on your trip. Here are some tips on how to do this.

Avoid peak times

This isn’t always possible with children, so make the most of pre-school years to avoid the busiest holiday periods. There are bargain family holidays in what the travel industry calls the ‘shoulder season’ – the bits either side of peak summer holidays. The cheapest deals of all are in winter. Wrap up against the weather, and you’ll be rewarded with deserted beaches, snow-capped mountains, waterfalls in full flow – and rock-bottom prices.

Book early

Book your budget family break early to get the best deals. Simple as that. If you have a strong nerve, last-minute cancellations can yield bargains. But more often, late bookers find that the cheapest deals have long gone, and they may have to trade up to something more expensive. If you're travelling by train booking in advance and travelling outside of peak times can be much cheaper. Don't forget you can also travel by coach and by booking in advance that can be very cost effect.

Two adults and two children at the top of Pen-y-Fan.

Pen-y-Fan

Reap the rewards

Banks, credit cards, airlines, supermarkets – they all offer some kind of reward scheme. One of the smartest ways to use up loyalty points is by converting them to holiday experiences that can double (or treble, or quadruple) their face value. Last summer, for instance, Tesco Clubcard vouchers were worth three times their value at attractions like Folly Farm, the National Showcaves of Wales and hundreds of Welsh cottages.

Penguins in enclosure at Folly Farm.
Male rhino calf lying down in bedding.

Folly Farm, Pembrokeshire

Attractive offers

There are lots of attractions competing for your custom, so admission charges are generally low (and even lower if you look for discount coupons in flyers and press adverts). National Trust family membership costs £127 a year for a family, but gives access to around 40 great Welsh sites, and free parking at superb beaches.

Cadw membership is another great way to save money if you want to explore several castles and historical sites. You’ll also get 10% off in Cadw gift shops, a car sticker and map. There are concessions for some people, including free entry for people with disabilities and their carers.

What to do on a budget family holiday in Wales

Here are some suggestions of things to do on your family budget holiday, with many things being free of charge, including nature, museums and cycling.

Natural world

The views, the walks, the beaches, the wildlife, the sunsets – they all cost nothing. If you want to combine all five, walk along the cliff tops overlooking somewhere like Mwnt one late afternoon, and watch the dolphins frolicking in the waters below. Priceless. We’ve also got the highest mountains in southern Britain, and the 870-mile Wales Coast Path to explore: we’re the only country in the world to have a continuous path around its entire coastline.

Bottle-nosed dolphin in water.
Family walking along groyne on beach Rhyl.
woman and two children on coast path.

Natural world: bottle-nosed dolphin, beach and coast path

Star gazing

Wales is the place to come for star gazing, there are hundreds of places to experience our natural wonders under dark skies. Wales has a network of International Dark Sky Reserves and Dark Sky Parks. Top spots include Snowdonia International Dark Sky ReserveClwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB, Elan Valley International Dark Sky Park and many places in the Brecon Beacons.

Stars in the dark sky

Star gazing 

Bring the bikes

Wales has 1,200 miles of cycle paths on the National Cycle Network. They form long-distance National Cycle Trails which can be cycled in one go, or you can cherry-pick day and weekend sections. We’ve also got 331 miles of traffic-free rides which are perfect for families. If you don't want to bring your bikes you can hire them from a number of companies.

Then there are the world-class mountain bike centres, most of which have easy trails for beginners.

If you don't want to bring your bikes they are available to hire. In Cardiff you'll see Nextbikes dotted around both the city centre and suburbs, with it costing as little as £1 for an hour. Pick them up in one place and drop them off at another. Perfect from riding to Cardiff Bay.

Family pausing from cycling to enjoy view over lake Llyn Brenig.
Family riding bikes along the Taff Trail, South Wales.

Llyn Brenig, North Wales and the Taff Trail, South Wales

Seven national museums

Free family attractions include our seven National Museums. They offer world-class exhibits for free. They include the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea, that tells the story of industry and innovation and St Fagans with over 40 historical buildings and a huge amount of outdoor space. 

family looking at painting in gallery.
family looking at displays in museum.
An old plane on display with people looking at other exhibits at a museum.

Family friendly and free National Museums

Bargain accommodation

There are a number of options for staying in Wales without spending too much.

Camping and caravanning

Camping and caravanning are still the cheapest way to stay (and arguably the most fun for camping with kids). We’ve got hundreds of sites, ranging from farmers’ fields in remote beauty spots, to holiday centres with their own pools, restaurants and nightly cabaret.

Family (parents, son and daughter) playing at campsite overlooking beach.

Three Cliffs Bay, West Wales

Hostels and bunkhouses

Another budget option is staying in a hostel or bunkhouse. It's a great way to meet people, but there are options to book a room for your family's sole occupation.

Farmhouse breakfast

The most important meal of the day can also be the most memorable, when it’s a proper Welsh farmhouse breakfast, served up in a proper Welsh farm. There are more than 50 members of Farm Stay Wales, who open their homes to provide top quality B&B, often on real working farms. They also have lots of self-catering options in barn conversions, bunkhouses, and camping and caravan sites.  And of course, home-cooked breakfasts. Nothing like the full Welsh to set you up for the day.

Campervan holidays

Campervan holidays are a great way to have the freedom to explore Wales. There are classic campers and modern motorhomes available to hire.

Self-catering cottages

Self-catering cottages also offer superb value, particularly if you travel with other families: a converted barn can easily sleep a dozen or more, working out at just a few quid per person, per night. Bargain. 

woman and boy in museum with exhibit with ropes.
boy with sword marching on castle walls.
Three children running in the shallows of the sea on a beach.

Family budget holiday: St Fagans Museum, Harlech Castle and Aberporth beach, Ceredigion

We don't like to say 'cheap breaks in Wales' but with memorable experiences like these why would you need to spend more?

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