Our 1680 miles of beautiful coast and lakes pooled in gorgeous hills are both good reasons to learn the ropes in Wales. Here are some wonderful places to start your sailing adventures - bring your own dinghy if you have enough experience or check out absolute beginners lessons with qualified instructors. 

Olympic Gold medal winner Hannah Mills shares her thoughts on sailing in Cardiff Bay, the events that take place and the reasons she comes back to Wales to enjoy sailing.

Cardiff Sailing Centre

Cardiff Sailing Centre in Cardiff Bay caters for beginners, those with experience and everyone in between! If you’re new to sailing, you can get started with a two day Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Keelboat course, or try the RYA Dinghy level 1 course. For younger visitors, there’s also a three day youth dinghy sailing course – ideal for children aged 8 to 16.

Lisvane & Llanishen Reservoirs, Cardiff, South Wales

Llanishen Reservoir has been brought back to its former glory with a huge restoration project fulfilled by Dwr Cymru Welsh Water.  Opened in 2023, this stunning reservoir offers youth and adult sailing taster sessions with experienced qualified instructors. For those who want to expand their sailing skills, RYA Level 1, 2 and 3 sailing courses are offered throughout the year. The stunning Visitor Centre has panoramic views from the café, where there’s a delicious lunch menu to sample.

man sailing on reservoir.

Sailing on Lisvane & Llanishen Reservoirs, Cardiff, South Wales

Plas Menai, Caernarfon, North Wales

Plas Menai, the National Watersports Centre, is based on the Menai Strait overlooking beautiful Anglesey. They offer Royal Yachting Association accredited beginners courses for dinghies, catamarans and keel boats, aimed at getting you out on the water and having fun. You can also improve your sailing skills with advanced courses or take a week long course if you're feeling super keen. It's an amazing place to get out onto the water - you've got wide stretches of water and fascinating coastlines to explore.

A person on a small sailing boat.

Sailing lessons on the Menai Strait with Plas Menai, North Wales

Plas Menai - The National Outdoor Centre

Plas Menai

Dolbadarn Castle

Llandegfedd Lake, Torfaen, South Wales

Reservoirs such as Llandegfedd near Newport offer calm safe conditions for learners. The Llandegfedd Lake Visitor and Watersports Centre offers sailing experiences for adults, children and organised groups. Activities including dinghy sailing, with equipment hire available from March through to October.

boats and jetty, with visitor centre in background.

Llandegfedd Lake, Torfaen, South Wales

Llyn Tegid, Bala, Eryri (Snowdonia)

At a mile wide, Llyn Tegid in Bala is the largest natural lake in Wales and broad enough to pick up speed in prevailing south west winds. Four miles downwind is a lovely drift to enjoy the scenery of Eryri (Snowdonia) National Park. You can take part in a number of activities, including sailing at Gwersyll yr Urdd Glan-Llyn.

Llyn Tegid at sunset, Bala, North Wales.

Llyn Tegid, Eryri (Snowdonia)

Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire, West Wales

Lord Nelson called it 'the finest port in Christendom'. We say the Milford Haven waterway and the Daugleddau Estuary is three sailing venues in one. Within, it provides sheltered water and 200 miles of coastline scalloped into bays and wooded creeks. At its mouth are complex wind and tidal conditions to tease experienced sailors. And in calm conditions a short sail around the corner reveals the spectacular cliffs of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path. Nearby Dale is great for beginners - it's a mile wide sheltered bay with flat waters to stretch your sea legs.

Several sailing boats in a bay.

Sailing at Dale, Pembrokeshire, West Wales

Llys-y-frân Lake

Learn to sail at Llys-y-frân in North Pembrokeshire. As a RYA accredited training centre, experienced instructors introduce the basics of learning to sail with a double hander or single hander on a five day practical course. Set in 350 acres of woodland, Llys-y-frân Lake offers a range of watesports and land activities, along with a newly opened campsite which sits alongside the modern visitor centre.

people sailing on lake.

Sailing on Llys-y-frân Lake, Pembrokeshire, West Wales

New Quay, Ceredigion, Mid Wales

No wonder New Quay has hosted the Cardigan Bay Regatta since 1870. Its headland hooks into Cardigan Bay, providing shelter from prevailing south west winds yet open sea within a mile – ideal conditions for beginners in simple dinghies on flat water as much as experienced sailors to hoist a spinnaker and blast over waves. Either might be joined by one of the only resident bottlenose dolphin pods in Britain. Cardigan Bay Watersports offer a range of activities, including sailing. There are sessions for beginners or more experienced sailors.

sailing boat on water, with coastal town in background.
three sailing boats.

New Quay, Ceredigion, West Wales

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