Hit the beach
August is one of the hottest and sunniest months of the year, with temperatures averaging highs of 21°C. So why not make the most of it by hitting one of Wales’s many gorgeous beaches?
Whether you’re after a child-friendly space for your toddler’s first paddle, a busy strip with cafes, ice cream vans and watersports schools, or a rugged, deserted cove, Wales has a beach for you. Here are five of our mid-summer favourites!
- Barry Island Beach is a vibrant place bursting with life and all the amenities of a busy summer holiday destination.
- Benllech Beach is the most popular family beach in Anglesey. It’s a beautiful sheltered stretch with excellent facilities and plenty of space to spread out.
- Barmouth Beach in Gwynedd is home to old-fashioned amusements and is one of the few beaches where kids can still ride donkeys on the sand.
- The Llyn Peninsula boasts many stunning beaches, but head to Porth Iago Beach to avoid the crowds. This sheltered cove’s pale sands and crystal waters remain peaceful even in mid-summer.
- Pendine Sands in Carmarthenshire has seven miles of golden sand, so you can be as close or as far from other people as you like. Plus you can drive onto it, which is perfect if you’ve got young kids and heaps of beach paraphernalia to carry.
Pitch a tent
Or, why not go against the masses this summer and head for the mountains instead of the coast? August is a brilliant time to take the family camping in the beautiful Brecon Beacons National Park.
The 1,344 km² national park is home to some of Wales’s most stunning inland landscapes with mountain plateaus, waterfalls, river gorges, glacial lakes, and open moorland.
You’ll find campsites and caravan parks of all shapes and sizes, so you’ll be able to find one with the facilities you need. Whether that’s an onsite bar, restaurant and play centre, or a basic plot with nothing for miles around, the park has something for everyone.
Your holiday can be as active or relaxed as you like as there’s not just one way to enjoy the park. If you have little ones to transport, you can drive through the area, stopping at quaint little towns and activity centres. You can hike trails of different lengths, search for castles and waterfalls and watch for wildlife. Or, how about a guided horseback trek or multi-day canoe trip through the beautiful scenery? Alternatively, pitch your tent, pull up a camp chair and relax surrounded by nothing but natural beauty – and probably a fair few sheep.
Celebrate Welsh culture
The National Eisteddfod is a huge celebration of the Welsh language, arts and culture. It’s a highlight of the country’s summer calendar and attracts over 150,000 visitors each year to its location, which alternates annually from North to South Wales.
Over the week, thousands of entrants participate in music, dance, drama, poetry, and literature competitions. Around the sides of the contest, a festival of all things Welsh takes place with hundreds of stalls selling locally produced food, drink, and traditional Welsh items. You’ll also find activities, games and workshops for the whole family, fairground rides, live music and a party atmosphere.
Stroll through the sunflowers
Feel like Alice in Wonderland as you wander through fields of towering sunflowers. The Welsh sunflower season runs from July to September, but the exact dates vary each year depending on the weather. So your best chance to enjoy this magical and surreal experience is to visit during August. And bring your camera because the sea of yellow flowers offers many Instagram-worthy photo opportunities!
Head to Pembrokeshire Sunflower Farm to stroll through a whopping seven acres of over 500,000 sunflowers. You can spend all day exploring the working farm, so bring a picnic to enjoy among the blooms! Then you can buy flowers for £1 per head to take home with you and start your own sunflower farm!
Alternatively, head to National Trust-run Rhossili Bay for field after field of sunflowers with a stunning backdrop of the Gower coastline. Visit at sunset for some incredible views.
Head indoors in Cardiff
Let’s be honest when it comes to the Welsh weather, it’s best to have a rainy day backup plan in place. Luckily, you’ll find plenty of indoor activities in Cardiff to keep the whole family entertained.
- Bounce, climb, cart and play in Cardiff’s many indoor activity centres, including trampoline parks, go-kart tracks and an indoor climbing centre.
- Both Cardiff Castle and Castell Coch are beautiful and fascinating places to explore on rainy days.
- Visit the Royal Mint to learn over 1,000 years of history and for the chance to strike your own commemorative coin.
- Tour Principality Stadium for a behind-the-scenes look at the home of Welsh rugby.
- The Museum of Cardiff is free to enter, has constantly changing exhibits, and plenty to entertain little ones.
Each summer Llanwrtyd Wells in Mid Wales hosts an event so strange it has to be seen to be believed. The World Championships of Bog Snorkelling.
Every August, hundreds of participants from around the world descend on this small town with one aim: to leap into a peat bog and race to the end. More often than not dressed in a crazy fancy dress outfit. Competitors must snorkel through the 600m long swampy trench in the fastest time possible. The current record stands at 1 minute 18 seconds.
This eccentric event has become known worldwide and is celebrated with a festival atmosphere and plenty of family-friendly fun. There are food and drink tents, souvenir stalls, live music, bouncy castles and games. Plus all the entertainment you could want in the form of soggy snorkelers emerging from the bog!
Take your pick of the festivals!
Summer is festival season in Wales! Here are some good ones to check out in August:
- Green Gathering: An ‘off grid’ Festival where the focus is on low-impact living and inspiring change. Solar-powered stages feature music, poetry, and performance art.
- Castell Roc: Throughout August, live music performances are held inside the atmospheric venue of Chepstow castle.
- Llangwm Literary Festival: Three days of art and literature in a beautiful setting on the edge of the Pembrokeshire Coastal National Park.
- Gŵyl Machynlleth Festival: An eight-day celebration of international and Welsh music and culture.
- Victorian Festival: Step back in time in Llandrindod Wells for eight days of performances and spectacles inspired by the Victorian era. Feel free to dress up!
- Between the Trees: An alternative festival set deep in the Welsh woodlands. It celebrates music, art, spoken word, science and nature.
- Pride Cymru: An energetic and colourful two-day festival celebrating Wales’s LGBTQ+ community on the lawns of Cardiff City Hall.
Race the train
In June, Wales gave you the chance to prove you could run faster than a horse, but, in August, it’s time to go up against a steam train!
Race the Train is a multi-terrain race that attracts competitors from all over the world. They come to run against the Talyllyn Railway steam train, which runs from coastal Tywyn in Gwynedd to Aberglonwyn and back in around 1 hour and 47 minutes.
There is a choice of routes and distances. The original 14-mile race follows the train’s entire route, while for the shorter challenges – 6.2 miles, 5.5 miles and 3.5 miles – racers start part way along the route.
The train line is never very far from your side as you run, and friends and family can ride the train for the duration of the race, cheering you on as they steam along behind you!
Go extreme swimming
August is prime sea swimming time in Wales since the ocean has had all summer to warm up. Plus, you stand a better than average chance of it being sunny when you climb back out. So make the most of it by going coasteering!
This awesome activity was invented in Pembrokeshire by adventure sports enthusiasts and nature lovers. It’s a fun activity for the whole family that combines all the adrenaline of ocean swimming and cliff jumping with the fun of exploring the rocky coastline and marine life spotting.
So clamber, rock climb, jump, swim, slide, hike, and leap around the Welsh coast with certified guides and full safety gear.
Find the best fish ‘n chips
A Welsh summer holiday is just not complete without fish and chips for tea. But not all chip shops are created equal, and nothing is more disappointing than unwrapping your paper parcel to discover undercooked chips and soggy cod. So to ensure that doesn’t happen, here are a few top-notch fish and chip shops to try in Wales. Don’t forget the salt n vinegar!
- Feccis & Sons – Pembrokeshire: This Tenby institution has been serving delicious fish and chips for nearly 100 years. And they offer an excellent gluten-free menu every day of the week.
- The Golden Fry – Benllech, Anglesey. Get a takeaway from this excellent chippy and enjoy it sitting on the sea wall listening to the sound of the sea. Protect your chips from the swooping seagulls though!
- Penaluna’s – Hirwaun, Brecon Beacons: Get a taste of the seaside in this little village in the Cynon Valley. The award-winning fish n chip shop is known for its delicious menu and friendly service.
- The Creel – Abersoch: This tiny, family-run takeaway on the Llyn Peninsula is known for its tasty specials – if it’s available, the battered mackerel is a must-try.
- Yans Fish Bar – Cardiff: In a city with nearly endless fish and chip shop options, Yans is top of the pack. Friendly and welcoming, they dish up locally caught fish in light crispy batter and delicious fish cakes.
So there we go
See anything that appeals to you? Fancy spending your holiday chasing trains, cliff jumping, camping, sunbathing or bog snorkelling? If so, book a holiday cottage now so you can start planning your summer holiday in Wales!
What about next month? Here’s our guide to the top 10 things to do in Wales in September.