As a road trip, Wales is hard to beat. Stunning coastline, mountains, castles and the famous green valleys all combine to give a great location. Throw in culture, great restaurants and outdoor activities and it’s easy to see how “Welsh Wonders” is our second most popular tour!
Although the winding roads can seem daunting, as a rule Wales is fairly campervan friendly. Just be sure to take your time as use a bit of common sense when approaching narrow stretches. There are plenty of campsites with suitable pitches for motorhomes including hardstanding pitches, electric hook ups and chemical disposal points.
Whether you’ve collected your motorhome from our base in Cornwall or had it delivered to your door, we’d recommend at least a week’s hire, but it would be easy to fill a fortnight’s rental as there’s so much to do. To give an example of possible routes we’ve highlighted a 10 night trip that can easily be adjusted. This road trip includes a handover at Newquay Airport but equally could start from our base. Simply leave your car with us for the length of your hire.
As you arrive at the airport one of our staff will be waiting in the arrivals carpark with your chosen motorhome. During the handover we run through how everything on the vehicle works, answer any questions and take the damage deposit. To ensure you have all the information to hand during your tour the motorhome also has a handbook and tablet including “how to” videos.
After collecting your motorhome it’s time to set off and start the big adventure! In order to make the most of your time in Wales we’d recommend travelling a reasonable amount of time to Exeter before staying overnight. As with most cities, we’d usually catch a bus from the campsite or park up and get into the centre using the park and ride to
avoid the issues of finding parking for a larger vehicle.
As a compact city, Exeter crams a lot into its streets with plenty of restaurants and bars both in the centre and down by the marina. The focal point of the city is the 15th century cathedral, with regular tours and events. For lovers of history there are also roman remains, city walls and underground tunnels to explore.
Today see’s the tour reach Wales itself, crossing over the second Severn Bridge saves a huge amount of time and well worth the £6.60 fee for motorhomes. (Only payable when entering Wales) No tour of a country is complete without seeing the capital, and Cardiff is well worth taking the time to visit.
Having undergone the UK’s most successful regeneration project Cardiff Bay is packed with plenty to do. As well as the usual collection of shops and eateries in Mermaid Quay, we’d recommend buildings like the Norwegian Church and the Senedd for a visit.
Within the city itself there are more tourist attractions. If lucky enough to be in town when the Welsh national team are playing rugby at the Millennium Stadium be sure to head down to soak up the atmosphere around the ground even if you don’t have a ticket.
After a couple of days of city living it’s time to clear the lungs and head to the first of 3 national parks visited on the tour, the Brecon Beacons. The hills contain the highest peak in the Southern UK, Pen-Y-Fan. The remote area is actually used by our military to train in map reading and survival skills. There are numerous routes to stretch your legs in the area, the AA site has some good ones here.
The Brecon Beacons aren’t just about walking, the park has dark sky status, meaning it’s great for star gazing. Our travel tablet contains sky maps and astronomy apps to ensure you can ID exactly what you’re looking at. Although there are plenty of dark parking spots ideal for pulling up a campervan and spotting the shooting stars, overnight wild camping isn’t actively encouraged.
To the east of Pen-Y-Fan lies the Black Mountain pass, also known as the “Top Gear Road”. So called due to the show and motor magazines using the route for reviewing cars. If tackling the hairpins in a motorhome be sure to take your time! As an area the Brecon Beacons is worth more exploration if taking a longer hire.
After the hills of the Brecon Beacons it’s off to a second National Park. As the name suggests, the Pembrokeshire Coast overlooks the sea. Another area with plenty of walks, wildlife and outdoor activities, the park is an ideal area for motorhoming families.
When visiting Pembrokeshire, most people head for Tenby and with the stunning beaches and scenery it’s clear to see why. However, St Davids, Fishguard and Cardigan are all nature hotspots with marine wildlife being plentiful.
For adventurous families the coastline is ideal for coasteering, scrambling over rocks, jumping into the sea and generally having fun. If
taken part be sure to join some qualified instructors who know the area, tides and routes.
The motorhome is set to do a fair bit of driving today, with a few stop offs to break the journey up. First off, we’d say New Quay is a must visit for one very special reason, dolphins! The pod is often close enough to be seen from the coast but there are several companies offering boat tours. Be sure to pre-book if you’re hoping to hit the waves for a closer look.
Moving on up the coast it’s time for lunch in Aberystwyth, as a university town it has plenty of places to eat and drink. It also has a steam railway for families after some entertainment for a couple hours. The rail track travels to Devils Bridge, a series of three bridges built on top of each other along the wall of a gorge.
Finally it’s another great road to Rhayader, passing through the Cambrian Mountains and running along the edge of the Elan Reservoirs, built in the late 1800s to supply water for the industrial towns of the midlands. Depending on your driving stamina you may wish to start up the A470 towards Snowdonia or park the motorhome up here over night.
The next couple of days are fairly flexible, Snowdonia is a large area with walks, castles, mines and postcard villages. We’ve provided an option that allows people to visit Dyffryn Ardudwy and Llanberis.
Dyffryn is a great base for exploring the Rhinogs, regularly voted the best walking area in Britain. Made even better as they’re usually without the crowds of other areas of Snowdonia. There are numerous resources for walks in the area such as Walking Britain.
Next stop is Llanberis, nestled at the base of Snowdon. Allowing you to climb England and Wales’ highest mountain on day 7. The most common option is to use the shuttle service to the start of the Miners or Pyg Track in the Llanberis pass then descend via the Llanberis path back into the town. An early start ensures missing the crowds and the climb should take around 6 hours.
Should the weather prove inclement for hill walking the Hydroelectric Station and Slate Museum and local mines are all worth a visit. The village is also well known for filming locations, James Bond, Highlander and Harry Potter all having been filmed in the immediate area.
After scaling Snowdon it’s a drive of an hour or so to get to the city of Chester, with the option to divert by 15 miles or so to visit Caenarfon Castle first.
Having arrived in Chester the night before, the morning is spent touring the historic city. With Roman ruins, the Rows, a castle and cathedral with a brilliant audio tour there are plenty of locations to visit.
For those after something different the city has a racecourse within the centre. On the edge of the city is a large zoo, accessible via complimentary buses from the station.
Setting off from Chester in the late afternoon, the evening is spent in Hereford. A pleasant city with plenty of places to eat and drink.
The return to Cornwall can be split in many different ways, from Hereford it’s an easy run in the motorhome to the Cotswolds, Bath and Bristol.
Bath features some great examples of Georgian architecture, including the famous sandstone coloured town houses of the Royal Crescent. As well as numerous bars and shops the city is named after its Roman baths, an interesting place to visit although the sulphur flavoured water is definitely an acquired taste!
If going a little further in the campervan, Glastonbury, Western Super Mare or Taunton are all suitable for a stop off. Although best known for it’s festival, Glastonbury has plenty more to see, including its ruined abbey and Glastonbury Tor. The climb to the top is rewarded with panoramic views of the Somerset Levels.
Unless taking the option for a late drop off on the final day, it makes sense to head towards or into Cornwall for your last night. Again there are numerous options but we’ve given Plymouth and Bodmin as examples.
Plymouth has a strong maritime history and this becomes clear as you tour the city. Whether visiting the Mayflower Steps, departure point for the Pilgrim Fathers or looking around the attractions of the Hoe the sea is never far away. For families, the aquarium is a great way to spend an hour or so. The huge display tanks are impressive and for kids there is a “petting zoo” section with staff on hand to answer any questions.
Bodmin is undergoing huge changes, due to become Cornwall’s first cycle town. With numerous cycling routes around the town and beyond. The Camel Trail provides 14 miles of flat cycling to Padstow. After cycling so far, be sure to reward yourself with a nice portion of fish and chips on the harbourside before heading back!
Unfortunately your motorhome hire is due to come to an end, all that remains is returning the campervan to us at Newquay airport, if your flight is later in the day we can arrange a later collection or an exchange in Newquay town instead. After returning the vehicle it’s time to set off for home, hopefully with some great memories of your road trip rental!
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