1. Aberafon Gyrn Goch, Caernarfon Aberafon
scores on the old ‘location, location, location’ chestnut, in a beautiful spot sandwiched between the beach and the mountains on the Llyn Peninsula, 10 miles south of Caernarfon. Negotiating a steep, narrow lane to the site, past the bumbling stream by the amenities block, feels like you are descending into a secret valley within the mountains.
Drive past a covered games room and the owners’ lovely house, past upper fields and down to a ‘Beach Field’, a grassy patch so close to the sea as to be virtually in it. Both tiers of the campsite sharply meet the coastline and there is a tiny, partly sandy, wild beach full of rockpools to explore. There is even a slipway to launch your boat from, should you happen to carry one with you. What's allowed Families, tents, campervans, caravans, dogs – yes. Groups – no.
Amenities 65 pitches, for tents and tourers, 40 hook-ups. Campfires permitted on the beach; wood available to buy. Clean but basic facilities – 1 shower/toilet block, laundry facilities, dish-washer, ice-pack freezing, TV and pool room. Shop for buying essentials, open in summer holidays only.
2. Caerfai Farm St Davids, Pembrokeshire
This is a welcome-all, traditional campsite, with the usual scattering of tents, the odd campervan, buckets and spades, wetsuits and surfboards. Caerfai Farm
is one of the original pioneers of low-carbon camping. Indeed this organic, family-run dairy farm has won awards a-plenty for its eco-initiatives; for example the landmark wind turbine you pass on your way down the lane.
There are four fields, three of which look out to sea, with the best views had by those in the ‘cliff field’ next to the coast path. Yes, you are camping virtually on top of the Pembrokeshire coast, with pretty little Caerfai beach just a five-minute stroll away. The fantastic farm shop sells some outstanding local produce, and don't miss the fresh croissants in the morning. What's allowed Tents, campervans and dogs – yes. Caravans, groups – no.
Amenities 4 fields, 1 with storm shelter. Water standpipes within 100m of each pitch. Men’s and ladies’ toilet blocks with 1 shower each. 3 additional single showers, plus 2 family showers. Dish-washing room. Laundry room at the farm (across the lane). No campfires. Onsite farm shop.
3. Carreglwyd Port Eynon, Swansea
The sleepy village of Port Eynon on the Gower Peninsula is dominated by campsites, and static caravan parks occupy various hillside fields above the town. But help is at hand at Carreglwyd
, which has five camping fields, of which only the two closest to reception are favoured by caravans, with tents having the run of the place beyond.
Pitches nearest the beach tuck in under the shelter of thick hedges, affording views of Port Eynon Bay from the higher ground. This is a well-organised and well-equipped site, and its direct access to the beach means that it’s a perfect place for young families, with a crescent of calm, family-friendly waters and plenty of water sports opportunities that makes it kid-friendly heaven during summer. What's allowed Tents, campervans, caravans, dogs (on a lead at all times), families – yes. Big groups, young groups – no.
Amenities Toilets, hot showers, basins, a family room, laundry and washing-up facilities. Onsite shop sells groceries and camping accessories. Electric hook-ups and chemical disposal points also available. No campfires.
4. Castle Knights Usk, Monmouthshire
Built around 1120, the fantastically well-preserved Usk Castle overlooks the charming Mid-Wales market town, and beyond to the Black Mountains. It’s a suitably atmospheric setting – the ancient ivy-clad walls, weathered gargoyles, an imposing round tower – history hued into every stone. Castle Knights
campers have the run of the castle grounds and the ruins are free to explore. Unsurprisingly, kids will adore this place, with medieval fancy dress, archery and bicycle jousting on offer. There’s even a wooden watchtower from which your knee-high noblemen can plot their next defence of the realm. It’s not all pitched battles, though: the setting is wonderfully peaceful.
What's allowed Glampers, tent campers, dogs – yes. Groups (up to 20) can hire out the site exclusively. Stag and hen parties can also be arranged.
Amenities Medieval pavilions (each sleeping 4–6) complete with 1 double and 2 single beds (plus extra singles if required). Additional space for up to 10 tents. Toilet and shower block with 3 toilets and 2 showers, plus fully equipped kitchen area with cutlery, fridge, freezer, gas hob and grill. 2 firepits and seating available.
5. Nant-y-Bîg Abersoch, North Wales
This family-run, environmentally aware campsite is situated on the Llyn Peninsula, a remarkable region known as the ‘Edge of Wales’ – and if you like walking on the edge, you’ll love Nant-y-Bîg
. The majority of pitches are flat, well maintained and provide plenty of space for the kids to roam. Check the weather report upon arrival; if wind is predicted, ask for a sheltered spot.
Fringed by lush green hills, the small town has a decent selection of pubs, cafés and restaurants, with some overlooking a pretty harbour. If you enjoy coastal walking then Nant-y-Bîg is your Eden. The relationship between the Llyn Peninsula’s steep hills and driving waters makes for intoxicating stuff. There’s wildlife a plenty – keep your eyes peeled for the bay’s famous dolphins and birdlife.
What's allowed Tents, campervans, motorhomes, caravans, dogs (on a lead) – yes. Groups and noise after 11pm – no.
Amenities Pitches spread across 3 large, separate fields (2 of which have sea views). The ‘Family Field’ is away from the sea but has the advantage of electric hook-ups and is very spacious. If you’re more about the views, then the ‘Panoramic’ or ‘Near the Beach’ areas are the better pick.
6. The Ceridwen Centre Llandysul, Carmarthenshire
This purpose-built hillside hideaway is as adept at hosting workshops, retreats, courses and weddings as it is at hosting your glamping getaway. Nestled within 40 acres of lush West Wales farmland, Ceridwen
lies in the fabled Teifi Valley, which straddles the Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire borders.
There’s a range of ingenious environmental features all over the farm including solar water heating, a biomass boiler and solar electricity. Awards aside, there’s plenty to tempt you to this spellbinding place. Undulating, verdant hills, gently flowing brooks, enchanting wooded glens... Whether you’re here as part of a group or seeking solace and seclusion, Ceridwen radiates a peace and calm. What's allowed Tents, small campervans, dogs (under control) – yes.
Amenities 3 yurts, gypsy wagon, eco-pod, log cabin, 5 tent pitches plus 2 hook-ups for campervans. Yurts furnished with rugs, cushions and blankets, wood-burning stoves and proper beds. Cooking facilities shared in the summer house. Table tennis in the big barn. Bike repair and hire on site.
7. Trellyn Woodland Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire
Across 16 acres of beautiful Pembrokeshire woodland, Trellyn
stretches to just five camping pitches, three yurts and two geodomes. That’s it. These ‘pitches’ are simply clearings in the woodland, furnished with a picnic table and a covered campfire area with a grill. This is also a stroke of genius, allowing you to cook outside in all weathers.
When Cool Camping first discovered this place in 2006, we wrote about how refreshing it was to find such a steadfastly uncommercial campsite, and how rare such beautiful, chilled-out woodland sites are. Since then, we’ve visited hundreds of other campsites and covered just about every inch of Wales hoping to find an equal to the Trellyn experience. We’ve failed. Trellyn wins!
What's allowed Tents, glampers, groups, caravans, campervans – yes. Dogs – no.
Amenities Campfires allowed. 5 tent pitches, with a campfire, camp shelter, picnic table and grill; 3 yurts and 2 geo-domes. Solar-heated showers, washing-up facilities, toilets, communal freezers and fridges. There’s a huge supply of fishing nets, surfboards and wetsuits. Electric hook-up available. The 2nd edition of Cool Camping Britain has just been published - available from coolcamping.co.uk and priced at £16.95 All images courtesy Cool Camping.