Who doesn't love vast, unspoiled beaches, friendly, quaint villages and incredible seafood? You can get all this and more a lot closer to home than you might think, along the Wales Coast Path. This 870-mile walking route traces the entire Welsh coastline, snaking past beaches and cosy pubs plus a whole host of castles and nature reserves along the way. Of course, you're not going to be able to walk the whole thing in one day (!) which is why we've put together this list of great places to stay on the Welsh coast.
If you fancy a little historical context for your Welsh adventure, why not stay in the house Welsh poet Dylan Thomas was born in and where he wrote some of his works? Located in Swansea, Dylan Thomas House is beautifully restored Edwardian house-turned-hotel with period decor. Its four bedrooms are ideal for a family stay.
With simple, modern rooms and a garden, The Gower Hotel is a welcome retreat from the bustle of everyday life, with the added bonus of delicious food in its onsite restaurant. It's only two miles from Caswell Bay, a wide, sandy beach popular with families, surfers and visitors alike. The beach has Blue Flag status, meaning you know it's well worth the visit.
Just one minute away from the beach (and with lovely views from the rooms), Oxwich Bay Hotel is a little gem. Reward yourself after a hard day's hike with a glass of wine at one of the picnic benches overlooking the beach. And if that doesn't float your boat, there's always the eight-acre grounds to explore – as well as the Wales Coast Path itself, of course.
Even with the advantage of being in beautiful Pembrokeshire, The Park Hotel Tenby enjoys a prime location and spectacular views. It's situated on a cliffside above Tenby's North Beach (also Blue Flag – do we dare say we sense a theme?) with the coast path running adjacent to the grounds, which include an outdoor swimming pool and lovely terraced gardens.
Built around a historic windmill but sleek and modern with arty touches inside, Twr y Felin Hotel is a stylish place to stay on all counts. The arty theme continues in the hotel's proximity to Oriel y Parc, an art gallery-cum- Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Visitor Centre. Whether you're in the mood for art and culture or nature (or both), the choice is yours.
If you've always wanted to stay in a castle, grab the opportunity with both hands at Roch Castle. This 12th-century castle is located between St David's and Haverfordwest, and most of the rooms offer panoramic views, not only out to sea across St Brides Bay, but inland over Pembrokeshire's rolling countryside. It's just a five-minute drive to Newgale Sands, a beach popular with surfers.
A small 15-room boutique hotel with a big heart located right on the harbour (no surprises there), the Harbourmaster Hotel may look somewhat unassuming, but it's a splash of style on the Wales Coast Path. The views are impressive (most rooms are sea- or harbour-facing), as are the imaginative menus and sleek-but-rustic rooms.
It may overlook Cardigan Bay rather than sit directly on it, but we can't resist mentioning the charming town of Portmeirion and Hotel Portmeirion. Surrounded by woodlands and miles of sandy beaches, the hotel exudes exactly the same fairytale quality as the town itself, inspired as it was by Portofino's pastel facades.
Converted from a traditional 1860s farmhouse, staying at Penbontbren gives you the best of both worlds: it's only two miles from amazing beaches, but tucked away in the peaceful Ceredigion countryside with gardens and village pubs at your doorstep. Freshly cooked breakfasts every morning, featuring local Rhydlewis salmon, are a highlight.
Top image: Three Cliffs Bay in Gower South Wales © Steve Pleydell/Shutterstock