North Wales

Llangollen History Trail

Medieval churches, castle ruins, views over the Dee valley and (mostly) easy walking – there’s much to recommend on the Llangollen History Trail. With luck you may see otters by the Horseshoe Falls – and if not, you can watch kayakers shoot the rapids from the terrace of the Corn Mill in Llangollen, or watch the Llangollen Railway steam train chuff into the station across the river.

Image of a waterfall on the River Dee
View of the Horseshoe Falls on a cloudy day.
Horseshoe Falls and the Dee Valley, Llangollen, North Wales

Abergynolwyn, Snowdonia

Walk through slate quarrying history and discover the gorgeous Talyllyn and Dysynni valleys beneath the shadow of Cader Idris. Your walk starts at Abergynolwyn, a former slate village centred around the Railway Inn, taking in the romantic ruins of Castell y Bere before circuiting Foel Caerberllan hill. You can walk the first section, or spice it up by catching the Talyllyn Railway steam train for a short hop up to Nant Gwernol. You can download a .pdf of the walk on the Talyllyn Railway's website.

Porthdinllaen, Llŷn Peninsula

The Ty Coch sits bang on the beach of one of Britain’s prettiest seaside villages, with a great selection of local ales. Porthdinllaen itself is a National Trust-run hamlet from which cars are banished, so to reach it you’ll have a gentle romp along the beach, clifftop or golf course. You’ll have a drink in hand, Yr Eifl’s peaks spread across the bay, your feet are in the sea and all is well with the world.

Couple sitting on a wall enjoying a drink outside the Ty Coch Inn
A man and a woman walking along the coast path with the sea on the left hand side
Ty Coch, Porth Dinallaen

West Wales

Maenclochog circuit, Pembrokeshire

Walkers have stridden the Preseli Hills for millennia. The Golden Road, a Neolithic trade route, takes you into a moorland littered with Neolithic hut circles and standing stones. It’s from these hills that Stonehenge’s bluestones were hewn. The goal is Foel Cwmcerwyn, the highpoint of these hills. The Tafarn Sinc runs it a close second: built of corrugated iron, the pub was rescued by its own community after a worldwide fundraising appeal. By the way, you’re not far from the Gwaun Valley and the legendary Dyffryn Arms – or Bessie's as locals call it, in honour of its estimable landlady.

A collection of Neolithic stones on the Preseli Hills, looking over to Carn Menyn peak
Bedd Arthur, one of the views along the Golden Road

Abereiddi to Porthgain, Pembrokeshire

A full list of wonderful Pembrokeshire coastal pub walks would be so vast as to crash the internet, so we’ll (reluctantly) settle for just one. Head up past the Blue Lagoon for a two-mile clifftop amble to the tiny harbour at Porthgain. To conform with the strict ‘pub walk’ criteria, enjoy local beer and pub nosh at the Sloop Inn, or bend the rules and have gourmet fish ‘n’ chips at The Shed. On the walk home, work off excess calories by climbing the steps down to Traeth Llyfn – it’s a marvellous and, because of its location, seldom visited beach.

Porthgain harbour.
Steep metal steps down to a beach.
A plate of battered fish and chips.
Views along the Abereiddi to Porthgain walk, plus fish and chips from The Shed, Pembrokeshire, West Wales

Laugharne, Carmarthenshire

We’re on the trail of Dylan Thomas, to discover the heron-priested shores and wooded hills that inspired the poet’s work. There’s a good circular walk here, which ticks off all the essentials, including his Boathouse home, writing shed, and the churchyard in which he was buried in 1953. Be sure to stop for a reverential pint at Dylan’s favourite local boozer, Brown's Hotel. It’s what he would have wanted.

View of Laugharne from Dylan Thomas boathouse
Laugharne, Carmarthenshire

South Wales

Monknash to Nash Point, Glamorgan

The only snag with starting at the Plough and Harrow is that you may not be able to drag yourself away from a perfect country pub that’s been there since 1383. But it’s worth heading down the Cwm Nash valley to discover the finest bit of coast no one knows about: a long beach beneath cliffs studded with fossils. If the tide is in a cliff path still gets you to Nash Point, where a tea-hut waits before your return inland… perhaps via the Horseshoe Inn at Marcross.

Monk Nash Lighthouse, Vale of Glamorgan
Nash Point lighthouse, near Marcross, Vale of Glamorgan

The hills behind Cardiff

Head north of the capital beyond the M4 and it gets very rural, very quickly. The most prominent lump is Garth Hill, at the foot of which is the Gwaelod-y-Garth Inn, a popular start/end point for a short, steep walk. Across the other side of the valley, Caerphilly mountain is good for circular strolls with the Black Cock Inn never far away. Head north, and another ridgeway walk passes the Rose and Crown up on Eglwysilan Common.

Landscape view with Castell Coch in the woods on the hill
Castell Coch, in the hills behind Cardiff

Skenfrith, Monmouthshire

The River Monnow gives the county its name and, for much of its length, marks the border between Wales and England. This is glorious walking country, and The Bell at Skenfrith has taken full advantage by creating a series of circular walks that come with maps and local lore. Pick a route, do the walk, and return to the Dog and Boot bar, where local ales and ciders come with free dog biscuits (for your dog, to be absolutely clear).

Mid Wales

Hay-on-Wye, Powys

With a terrain of river valleys and soft green hills, this easy circuit into the farmland around Hay-on-Wye makes ideal Sunday strolling. You’ll track the river then ascend for gorgeous views en route to the historic village of Clyro and the Baskerville Arms. Walk up an appetite or walk off lunch.

Group walking in Hay on Wye.
Winter walking in Hay on Wye

Offa’s Dyke, Powys

This long-distance path runs for 177 miles (285km) along the 8th century border, so you’ll have developed a decent thirst by the time you reach its approximate mid-point. Best place to rehydrate is the Monty's Brewery visitor centre in Montgomery. They brew the path’s official beer, Best Offa, and make a donation from each pint to help pay for the path’s upkeep.

Outside Monty's Brewery visitor center - white cottage
Monty's Brewery Visitor's Centre

Talybont, Ceredigion

The Spirit of the Miners walk heads up into the hills from Talybont , offering fabulous views of the Dyfi valley and Cader Idris. The start/end point is guarded by two leonine pubs: take your pick from the White Lion and the Black Lion (or ‘Y Blac’ as it’s known following a smart refurb).

Related stories