This route takes in the whole span of Welsh landscape, history and culture. Here are 11 highlights along The Cambrian Way - the journey itself is the ever-present 12th highlight, all the way from Llandudno to Cardiff.

Select Map

Hit the heights in Llandudno

Llandudno is an immaculate Victorian/Edwardian resort, complete with pier-and-prom. The best views are from Great Orme, a mighty limestone crag that you can ascend by the Great Orme Tramway or cable car. On top, there’s a visitor centre, nature reserve and the Great Orme Copper Mine, while its eastern flanks shelter the Llandudno Snowsports Centre.

Read more: Family days out in Llandudno

Blick auf Llandudno von außen auf dem Meer.

The seafront at Llandudno

Wander the gardens at Bodnant

We once asked Prince Charles (now King Charles III of course) to name his favourite gardens, and he rates Bodnant as ‘one of Wales’ national treasures’. The upper section around Bodnant Hall comes with terraced gardens and informal lawns, while the lower Dell has a fabulous wild garden. The standard of excellence continues throughout the estate and into nearby Garden Centre, Craft CentreWelsh Food Centre and the Bodnant Estate Holiday Cottages.

Read more: 10 great gardens around Wales

Couple walking in Bodnant Garden, Conwy
Walled gardens with flowers and plants and people walking at Bodnant Garden.
Close up of bees pollinating red flowers at Bodnant Garden.

Beautiful Bodnant Garden, near Colwyn Bay

Catch a wave at Adventure Parc Snowdonia

Yes, you could do it in the sea. But Adventure Parc Snowdonia has created perfect waves every time in a lagoon in the middle of the countryside. They can vary the waves too – so whatever level of surfer you are there will be a session for you. There’s also a watery assault course, the Crash & Splash Lagoon and open water swimming sessions.

Two boys getting ready to surf
Two people taking off on a wave at Surf Snowdonia, in North Wales

The surfing lagoon at Adventure Parc Snowdonia,  Conwy Valley

There's also plenty if you prefer to stay dry. Try the Pump Track and Skate Bowl, hire an e-bike or mountain bike and explore or walk one of the many trails.

You can stay a few nights too. Choose from the comfy Hilton Garden Inn which also features the Wave Garden Spa or go for something slightly more rustic and stay in a luxury Glamping Pod.

interior of hotel room at Hilton Garden Inn, Adventure Parc Snowdonia
busy bar with customers sat on stools and in seats.

HIlton Garden Inn and Zephry’s Bar and and Grill, Adventure Parc Snowdonia

Go downhill fast at Blaenau Ffestiniog

Once the ‘slate capital of the world’, Blaenau Ffestiniog has reinvented itself as an adventure centre. Mountain bikers hurtle down the screes at Antur Stiniog, while zipwires soar overhead at Zip World Titan 2. In the vast slate caverns below ground, there are more zip zones and the surreal, trippy Bounce Below: layers of bouncy cargo nets connected by slides and ladders. To get it all into historical perspective, start with an underground tour of Zip World Llechwedd.

Individuals zip-lining above the mountains of Blaenau Ffestiniog.

Zip World Titan 2 at Blaenau Ffestiniog.

Discover the delights of Brecon

Brecon is a bright, brilliant market town with interesting galleries, friendly cafés and lots of indie shops. You can take a look inside the 12th-century cathedral and visit the excellent Regimental Museum of The Royal Welsh too. It’s also the end point of the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal so you could even hop on a canal boat and explore. And if you fancy a bike or a hike, the Taff Trail walking/cycle route runs 55 miles (88km) all the way to Cardiff Bay.

interior of cathedral with stained glass windows.
River with houses along the riverbank, and the top of Brecon Cathedral in the distance

Inside Brecon Cathedral and Brecon town.

Go underground at National Showcaves Centre for Wales

There’s a stack of attractions on one entry ticket at The National Showcaves Centre for Wales! The highlights are the three remarkable cave adventures. Between them, Dan-yr-Ogof Cave, Cathedral Cave and Bone Cave offer enormous caverns, a waterfall and spectacularly colourful rock formations. Then there’s also the Dinosaur Park, the Shire Horse centre, a museum packed with interactive exhibits and a café and rock shop. It’s the perfect family day out.

Read more: Exploring the underground secrets of Wales

Inside one of the caves at Dan yr Ogof

Inside Dan-yr-Ogof cave at the National Showcaves Centre for Wales.

Meet an ex-miner at Welsh Coal Mining Experience

The Rhondda Valleys form the world’s most famous coal-mining area. There used to be 53 pits and this one – the Lewis Merthyr colliery – has been preserved as A Welsh Coal Mining Experience at Rhondda Heritage Park. This living-history museum vividly recreates the hardships and camaraderie of the mining community. The guides are ex-miners and, in the café, the food is proper Welsh-Italian: there’s been a big ex-pat Italian community here for more than a century.

A former miner smiling at the camera with a tower colliery behind him.
Exterior of mining attraction and colliery tower with flowers in foreground.

A Welsh Coal Mining Experience, Rhondda Heritage Park, South Wales

Storm the bastions at Caerphilly Castle

Caerphilly Castle is the biggest in Wales - mighty towers, great hall, drawbridge and siege engines that actually work, all surrounded by a vast moat. It was originally built in the 1200s by Norman lords, and was restored to its present grandeur by various Marquesses of Bute in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Nearby, you can step back in time some more by roaming the stately house and gardens of Colonel Edward Pritchard. Llancaiach Fawr Manor is well worth a stop, but mind where you step – it’s said to be one of the most haunted houses in Britain!

Read more: Is Wales the castle capital of Europe?

Entrance to Caerphilly Castle, South Wales.
Caerphilly Castle aus der ferne, Südwales.

Caerphilly Castle, Caerphilly

Cash in at The Royal Mint Experience

Every single coin in your pocket, purse and piggy bank was made in Llantrisant at the Royal Mint. That’s around 30,000,000,000 coins, with a face value of £4.6bn, give or take. As well as minting British coins here, they make money and medals for dozens of other countries, too. The visitor centre and behind-the-scenes tours give a fascinating insight into the whole process.

Outside main entrance of The Royal Mint Experience, South East Wales.
Medals on display.

The Royal Mint Experience, Llantrisant

Step back in time at St Fagans National Museum of History

One of the world’s best open-air museums, St Fagans National Museum of History is home to more than 40 historic Welsh buildings. Chapels and farms, a pub and miners’ institute and many more have all been moved to the grounds of an Elizabethan manor just outside Cardiff. The buildings are fascinating, but it’s the inspiring explanations from the craftsmen and women who act as your guides that really brings it to life. Like all seven of our National Museums, it’s free.

Kennixton Farmhouse, St Fagans National Museum of Wales, Cardiff.
Exterior of a food store and ironmonger with displays in windows.
A display of hanging Welsh lovespoons at St Fagans National Museum of History, Cardiff.

St Fagans National Museum of History, near Cardiff

Hit the town in Cardiff

Cardiff, our capital city, is a perfect city-break destination. Start at Cardiff Castle, whose Roman walls, Norman keep and sumptuous Victorian mansion stand at the edge of Bute Park. Across the road, National Museum Cardiff has natural history and a world-class art collection. Head south and you’re in the shopping district, with the giant St David's centre and Victorian and Edwardian arcades at its centre. Down in Cardiff Bay, the old coal ports have been transformed by a shiny new waterfront, dominated by the copper roof of the Wales Millennium Centre.

Read more: Enjoy a short stay in Cardiff

Aerial view of a city park, castle and stadium.

A view across Cardiff with Cardiff Bay in the background.

Related stories