Looking for places to visit in Wales? If you’re planning a weekend away to explore somewhere new without travelling too far, Wales has a lot to offer. For a couples retreat, stay in one of the luxurious suites in the stunning Llangoed Hall, in Brecon, and receive the ultimate fine dining experience in their award-winning restaurant.
Or why not get the whole family together and rent a holiday cottage at the Trefeddian Hotel, based in the picturesque village of Aberdovey on the west coast of Wales. With gorgeous views and great food, there is something to suit everyone in our guide to the best Welsh weekend breaks.
All hotels have been chosen and reviewed independently by our editorial team. This page contains affiliate links and we may receive a small commission for purchases made, but this comes at no extra cost to you and helps us to continue providing top-quality content for our loyal readers.
Parva Farmhouse, Tintern
Doubles from £95, check availability at booking.com
Some might call this three-storey farmhouse a restaurant-with-rooms, on the grounds that it’s the food that’s the standout here – chef-owner Roger Brook previously headed the kitchen at the Michelin-starred Walnut Tree Inn near Abergavenny and has already been awarded a Michelin plate at Parva Farmhouse. But Roger and his wife, Marta, prefer to call it a gourmet bed-and-breakfast to emphasise that this is a small, friendly place run without fuss (Roger does the cooking while Marta hosts). Whatever you call it, it’s well worth making a detour to.
The 17th-century roadside building was once a farmhouse but in recent decades had been run as a bed and breakfast. When the couple bought it the décor was a little tired (think varnished reproduction antiques and granny-style wallpaper). Having refurbished the ground-floor restaurant and lounge, Roger and Marta are now working through the eight bedrooms and en-suite bathrooms. We loved Room 4, tucked at the end of the corridor on the top floor, with fabulous river views. Although some of the inherited furniture remains, it’s now partnered with a contemporary bed, soothing moss-green walls and bed throws, and stylish lamps.
The Royston, Llanbrynmair
Doubles from £110, check availability at booking.com
If this splendid white house, perched on a mid-Wales hillside, looks incongruously urban, it’s because the building’s original owner built it to mimic his townhouse in Clapham; in went ornate staircases and fireplaces, generous bay windows and statement stained glass. Today it’s run as a relaxed guesthouse by Clive Sweeting and Rob Perham, creative and hospitable ex-advertising execs who moved here from Brighton, bringing with them a sense of fun, and playfully eclectic furnishings (top hats are a bit of a theme). Design junkies in search of a digital detox will love it.
All seven bedrooms are large, with Egyptian cotton bed linen, original art by Rob, and daringly smoky walls in olive or slate. Look out, too, for Danish-made Meraki smellies in the black-and-white metro-tiled bathrooms, and hand-woven Welsh blankets on the beds. But no TVs – you’re here to switch off. Winners for views and space are the first-floor “Superior” rooms (5 and 6), which have bay windows looking out to the Cambrian mountains (vintage binoculars and bird-watching guides are supplied) and armchairs by Italian designers Moroso.
One Cat Farm, Lampeter
Weave your way down winding Welsh lanes, through the stunning Brecon Beacons National Park (in springtime past fields of lambs and forests of bluebells) and you’ll end up in a small valley four miles south of the harbour town of Aberaeron. Tucked away down quiet tracks woven among rolling fields is One Cat Farm. It was was set up by Jessie Roberts-Duffey and Lyndon Duffey, who returned to Wales with their young family in 2015 to build a small, unique glampsite (there are no tents here but four cosy cabins, designed and built by Lyndon).
Wheelbarrows are parked outside The Pig Shed (a communal kitchen and lounge area) so guests can leave their cars behind and cart their luggage down the narrow stone path that leads to the cabins (here known, playfully, as dens).
Baskets of freshly cut logs are waiting for you to start your first campfire and a pared-back but homely communal kitchen is kitted out with a fridge, hobs, a toaster and kettles (and shelves filled with jars of popping corn, bottles of balsamic vinegar and fresh eggs). On one wall, a mini honesty shop (you put your money in a tin can) offers glamping luxuries including packets of marshmallows, bottles of Fentimans ginger beer and bars of NOM NOM peanut butter chocolate (made in Llanboidy, an hour down the road).
Inn at the Sticks, Llansteffan
The historic former hotel stood derelict until a couple of years ago, when ex-psychiatrist Ruth Stephens transformed it back into a simple inn with rooms. “My job hasn’t really changed,” she laughs. “I still listen to people’s woes and administer mind-altering substances.”
Take your time over dinner, at a scrubbed pine table by the woodburner. First, there’s a rich, gamey wood pigeon breast with puy lentils, then a main of braised pork belly. If they were to visit today those miners might be a bit nonplussed by the puy lentils, if not their meaty companions, but they’d be right at home among the conviviality of what has been returned not just to an inn but also to a community hub.
The Grove, Narberth
Doubles from £120, check availability at booking.com
The Grove is a 17th-century hotel near two of Pembrokeshire’s prettiest and most prosperous towns: Narberth and Tenby. Headed by Allister Barsby (previously of Gidleigh Park in Devon) the restaurant serves some of the most accomplished and imaginative dishes in the region. A loyal supporter of local producers, Allister uses heather-scented Coedcanlas honey in his pastries, Welsh goat’s cheeses, foraged foods, hand-dived Tenby scallops, and herbs and vegetables from the hotel’s kitchen garden.
Highlights on the eight-course tasting menu include diced cured salmon, punctuated by hillocks of home-smoked mussel emulsion and tiny orbs of caviar; a rose-pink fillet of Welsh beef with frilly, pan-fried king oyster mushrooms and kale from the kitchen garden; and a rich chocolate delice with a creamy peanut ice cream and crunchy caramelised banana popcorn.
Llangoed Hall, Brecon
Doubles from £160, check availability at booking.com
A ‘white palace’ allegedly home to the first Welsh parliament. A Jacobean mansion won in a card game. A family home restored to its former glory by designer Laura Ashley’s family. The site that Llangoed Hall sits on certainly vaunts a colourful history. Now it’s home to a country house hotel with acclaimed restaurant, extensive gardens (walled, rose and fruit among them) and stunning bedrooms.
All 23 bedrooms were styled by Sir Bernard Ashley (husband of Laura and owner of the hotel in the 1980s and ‘90s) and have been painstakingly maintained by the current owners. The most beautiful are the master suites. In ours, tall, arched windows gave views of the croquet lawn and the idyllic Wye Valley beyond. A four-poster bed was carved with swirly details, duck-egg blue settees matched the wall behind, and an antique wardrobe and writing desk were artworks in themselves. Then there was the bathroom, which came with a stand-alone bath, parquet flooring and a corner armchair. It was the kind of room you fantasise about owning…
The Whitebrook, Monmouthshire
The Crown at Whitebrook in Monmouthshire was Wales’ longest-standing Michelin-starred restaurant up until its closure three years ago. (It’s old head chef, James Sommerin, now has a fine dining restaurant in Penarth on the outskirts of Cardiff.) But, with a new owner and contemporary rebranding, The Whitebrook reopened to the public in October 2013. And it didn’t take long for new chef patron, Chris Harrod, to reclaim its coveted Michelin Star: less than a year. In January 2014, renovations were made to the accommodation, offering boutique lodgings to match the dining, which brought new merits from the AA and Welsh Tourist Board, grading the restaurant with rooms with five stars.
What Wales’ rural Wye Valley lacks in population, it makes up for with its abundance of foraged edibles. A self-confessed locavore at heart, Harrod looks to the rich Welsh landscape for inspiration in his fine-dining menu, so expect to see plenty of wild leaves, flowers and herbs from the Severn Estuary and surrounding Monmouthshire woodlands…
Beach House, Oxwich, Swansea
Owners Neil Kedward and Zoe Agar have looked to Oxwich Bay, on the stunning Gower Peninsular of South West Wales, for the setting of their third venture, Beach House. With an impressive seaside spot and a bounty of local fresh seafood, it’s soon to become popular with locals and tourists alike. Not resting on their laurels with such a spectacular beachside location, Neil and Zoe have enlisted acclaimed chef and native Welshman Hywel Griffith to the take the best of Wales’ rich produce to the next level.
Hywel makes no secrets about his passion for his native country, so expect a menu bursting with champion ingredients from the very best Glamorgan producers and the freshest seafood and shellfish. Keep tabs on Hywel’s Twitter account for picture proof of the slippery catch-of-the-day and deliveries of just-plucked seasonal produce…
The Trefeddian Hotel, Aberdovey
Doubles from £130, check availability at booking.com
Tell someone you’re going to Aberdovey and the standard reply tends to be “Abu Dhabi? Lucky you!” It’s not so much the visitors on the hot sands of the Arabian Gulf who are fortunate, however, but those who make a beeline for this picturesque estuary village in Snowdonia, on the west coast of Wales. Easy train connections from the West Midlands mean this is classic holiday cottage territory.
For a mixed generation get-together, we recommend one of the handful of cottages at the Trefeddian Hotel. A classic family-friendly retreat with a bit of old-fashioned grandeur still palpable despite extensive remodelling and renovation, it’s in a quiet position just outside the village, separated from the sand dunes by a golf course (visit off-season and you can watch its greens being dutifully nibbled by a flock of sheep). Cottage guests can use all the hotel facilities, which include a great children’s games room and swimming pool. There is a restaurant too but, if you’re staying in a cottage, you can eat in and enjoy home-cooked family meals some nights and, if you have willing grandparents in tow, leave them to babysit on others while you enjoy a meal or two out.
Ynyshir, Eglwys Fach
At first, on arrival, nothing quite prepares you for the surprises in store at Ynyshir. A stunning white mansion-style property in immaculate grounds close to Snowdonia, it looks like any other top-end country house hotel but then you step into the bar with its black walls, bare floorboards and sheep fleeces draped over chairs. And then you spot the twin decks and shelves of vinyl – essentially a DJ booth within the restaurant with its open kitchen facing the diners. Pure theatre.
Cornish crab arrives live and kept in tanks before being cooked and picked to order to retain freshness. The sauce made from the crab shells was intense and rich, the sweet crab meat and Singaporean chilli sauce was served with a hot steamed bun and coriander. A single Orkney scallop was barbecued only on one side so it was quiveringly fresh and opaque, topped with aged wagyu fat and elder vinegar, while made-to-order Montgomery cheddar macaroni cheese with Wiltshire truffles was simply off the scale. No macaroni cheese will ever get close to it.
Wright’s Food Emporium, Llanarthney
Journalist and chef Simon Wright once co-ran Y Polyn with the Mansons but now owns Wright’s Food Emporium a few miles east. Its roadside location and plain exterior are so at odds with what’s inside – pork belly Cubano baps and coconut milk cake in the café, Charcutier native-breed sausages in the shop – that stepping through the door really is like entering a kind of gastronomic Narnia.
There’s a wine corner, selling natural wines from small producers (you can also refill bottles by the tap, from two industrial-looking wooden barrels), plus family-sized pies of the day (they’ll decant them into your own pie tin if you want to pass them off as your own), cheeses, beers, local coffee, chutney, Welsh cider and fresh bread.
Restaurant James Sommerin, Penarth
The Victorian seaside resort of Penarth is by far the Vale of Glamorgan’s best town for food. A brisk walk along its beautifully-restored art deco pier will set you up for dinner at James Sommerin, a Michelin-starred fine dining seafront restaurant manned by its namesake. Welshman James offers a five-, seven- or 10-course tasting menu, showcasing his delicate style of cooking and love of local produce.
Despite the simple name, cod, caper, potato, bread is exquisite; rabbit with cavolo nero and parsnip is some of the richest, sweetest meat we’ve tried; and clever wine-pairing takes an already excellent meal into 10/10 territory. If you want to make a weekend of it, there are also nine stylish bedrooms on site, with views over the Severn Estuary and luxurious Welsh Mydffai toiletries.
The Hardwick, Abergavenny
Stephen Terry, owner and chef of Abergavenny’s The Hardwick, and proud adopted Welshman, has worked with the greats – including Michel Roux Jr, Alain Passard and a young Marco Pierre White – and pocketed Michelin stars, but there’s not a shred of show-off in him or his cooking. He and his brigade work with outstanding produce from Wales and the Marches, and turn out highly elevated pub food that never feels pretentious.
As well as hearty platefuls like Middle White pork belly and black pudding with capers, apple and mustard sauce, or ribeye steak with wild garlic, portobello rarebit and chips, there are vegetable-loving dishes, such as salt-roast beetroot with goat’s curd, cauliflower soup with Welsh cheddar, and seasonal treats of asparagus or puntarelle. Sip on a pint of Ty Gwyn cider, Butty Bach or Hereford Pale Ale. The old boozer’s smart but cosy rooms look neat and modern, with walk-in showers, tables commissioned from a local joiner, Melin Tregwynt textiles, and furniture and art from the Terrys’ own home.