Last updated on December 25, 2022 by Wandering our World
Aberystwyth is one of Wales’ most iconic seaside towns. Located in the middle of Wales, it’s home to countless historic sites, and of course bountiful wonders of nature – including its coastline. What many people don’t know is that it’s also the perfect place to spend your camping holiday!
Here’s a handy guide to help you do just that!
Luckily if you’re planning your own Aberystwyth camping adventure we have everything you need right here. From what to expect at each campsite and any permits you need, to the best places for the food, and even what wildlife you could spot including where to see them and what time of year is best!
Simply put, everything you need is right here. Let’s get started!
- Getting To Aberystwyth
- The Eight Best Campsites
- Camping Rules, Regulations & Advice For Aberystwyth
- Things To Do When Camping In Aberystwyth
- Places To Eat
- When To Go Camping In Aberystwyth: Weather, Wildlife, Events
Getting There (Within the UK)
Remember to make use of any handy journey planners online, like this one. You can also rent cars in any city you end up in after a flight or train journey.
Aberystwyth is not out of the way and quite easy to get to by car or caravan. From London, it’ll take around 5 hours via the M4, or a little longer via the M40 or M1.
From Manchester, it’ll take around 3 hours via the M56. If you take any of the A roads, it’ll take 4 hours. From Edinburgh, it’ll take around 7 hours via the M6.
It’s easy to get anywhere in the UK via train. From any London station, it’ll take about 4-6 hours by train, and you’ll have to make at least one change. The cheapest tickets are usually about £57.
From Manchester, it’s about 4 hours for as little as £20 (with one change). And from Edinburgh, the cheapest tickets start from £57, and they can go over £100. The journey will take around 7 hours with multiple changes.
Car Ferry or Plane
If you live in Northern Ireland, there are weekly car ferry services (car ferry = bring your car onto the boat) that set off from Belfast to the Isle of Man and then to Liverpool.
From Liverpool, you could then drive 3 hours via the M53 to Aberystwyth or catch a train. You could even get a domestic flight from Belfast to Birmingham or Liverpool and go from there.
The Eight Best Aberystwyth Campsites
1. Aberystwyth Holiday Village
Along with 200 static holiday homes, you can also bring a tent and camp on the pitches at Aberystwyth Holiday Village. There are toilets and showers and a choice of floor materials such as tarmac and grass.
Each pitch has electric points. Additional facilities include a swimming pool, bars, entertainment, park fishing and a mini-market – perfect for families.
Bookings are no longer made on a nightly basis. If you’re planning to camp in or bring your motorhome to Aberystwyth multiple times a year, this site is ideal as you can book a pitch for 12 months at a time.
2. Midfield Holiday and Residential Park
Midfield Holiday and Residential Park can be booked for a few nights, but make sure to do so months in advance. You can bring your caravan or motorhome too.
This site is set against a beautiful backdrop of the Welsh countryside, as well as the small towns of Cardigan Bay and Rheidol Valley. It’s a great escape from the city.
3. Aber Bay Holiday Park
Aber Bay Holiday Park is a caravan park suited to families, located in Clarach Bay. You’ll find a restaurant, swimming pool, and access to wi-fi for free.
Nearby you can walk along the coastal paths and admire the sea views, or watch the kids play on the park’s sheltered beach area.
4. Morfa Bychan Holiday Park
At Morfa Bychan Holiday Park you can pitch up a tent or park your motorhome, with electric hook-ups and water hook-ups available. They take nightly bookings from £25.
There are also static caravans available to book from £250 per 2 nights for 4 people, some of which are pet friendly.
All of this is with stunning views of the sea and direct access to a beach, as well as basic amenities like showers, toilets, and entertainment facilities.
CampSiriol is a quiet, low-key place to pitch your tent. Situated in Clarach Valley, this is a family-run site advertised as the ideal place to experience the Welsh countryside. It’s surrounded by nature and there are even glamping options available.
There is only one caravan space and 4 pitches for tents, so book well in advance. Facilities include showers and toilets, and you can bring a firepit or BBQ. Pets are not allowed.
6. Grovenor Farm Holiday Park
Grovenor Farm Holiday Park has 50 pitches, and you can bring your motorhome or caravan, but there are no electric hook-ups. Facilities include showers, toilets, drinking water, and chemical disposal. Pets are welcome.
Very close by you’ll find places to fish, a beach, horse riding, a swimming pool, and tennis pitches.
7. Ffynnonwen Farm Wild Camping
Rural and peaceful, Ffynnonwen Farm Wild Camping pitches start from as little as £16 per night for 5 people. Pets are allowed here, and you can pitch your motorhome or caravan too.
It’s not jam-packed with facilities, with the toilets being composting toilets. Campfires are allowed and the views are spectacular, so it is great for walkers and wild campers.
8. Gwersylla Tymawr Camping
Gwersylla Tymawr Camping prides itself on its free-range and eco-camping experience amongst grazing sheep in the Welsh hills and mountains (with showers, drinking water, and compostable toilets).
You don’t have to stick to their dedicated pitches, and you can move your tent to somewhere more secluded. There are no hook-ups or lighting so come prepared.
Children under 5 are free and costs are £5.50 per person per night. Youth or DofE groups are £5 per person per night.
Camping Rules, Regulations, & Advice
Free/Wild Camping In Aberystwyth
You must have the landowner’s permission to free camp in Wales, with no exceptions.
Wild camping in Aberystwyth may be tolerated on hiking trails that take more than a day to complete, but you must leave no trace and only have your tent up when it’s dark. Take it down as soon as the sun rises.
You cannot camp on the beaches.
Looking After Yourself & Nature
Check your campsite’s rules surrounding campfires and stick to a fire pit if you can. Put fires out thoroughly by using water, stirring, and watering again.
Try to stick to biodegradable and plant-based products that are not harsh to the environment. For cleaning out motorhome and caravan tanks, use organic cleaners. For showering, use soap bars. Keep clear of any natural water sources to not contaminate them or scare away any animals that want to bathe or drink.
Don’t feed wild animals as they could become a nuisance to you and other campers. They can also become ill.
Keep the noise down so you do not disturb surrounding wildlife or other campers. Try and stick to a small group of no more than 6-8.
Of course, if there are no bins at your site, take your rubbish with you or find a bin on your travels.
Leaving no trace means not touching, taking, or disturbing anything natural, like tree trunks, rocks, dirt, wildflowers, insects, and mammals. Keep an eye out for ground nests and rare plants and remember that any animals you see could be protected and therefore it is illegal to touch or harm them. Keep your pet on a lead at all times.
Hazards while camping in the UK include bad weather and manmade fire risks. The only snake you could potentially encounter in woodland edges and heathland is an adder, and even then, its bite is not lethal or dangerous. Keep away still, as it is protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
Insects you may come across include midges, gnats, and mosquitos. To optimise your avoidance of these biting insects, camp somewhere that is not damp (this can be difficult in British weather!) and well-drained, like a hill. Wear long sleeves and trousers as well as an insect repellent. Always keep the inner door of your tent closed, even when going to grab something. Keep rubbish sealed away. Stick to non-fragranced toiletries and remember that light attracts insects; smoke deters them.
Ticks are a risk. Check yourself regularly and remove any from your skin with tweezers, then treat with antiseptic.
When hiking or walking, you may walk through fields of livestock if you don’t disturb them. Anything that counts as open country can be accessed under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.
When fishing on private land you should have permission from the landowner. You also need a rod licence to fish in Wales and you should follow the relevant bye-laws.
Things To Bring When Camping In Aberystwyth
Here are some essentials to bring along on your Aberystwyth camping trip:
- A water filter
- Rubbish bags
- A filtered torch
- Warm clothing
- Waterproof clothing
- Insect repellent
- A fire pit
- First aid kit
- Plant-based/organic and non-fragranced toiletries
- Plant-based/organic cleaning products
Things To Do
1. Amgueddfa Ceredigion Museum
At Amgueddfa Ceredigion Museum is housed in a preserved Edwardian theatre, and features exhibitions of Ceredigion history made up of over 60,000 objects. There’s also a café and gift shop. It’s free to enter, but donations are welcome.
2. Aberystwyth Cliff Railway
Hop on board a train departing from Aberystwyth Cliff Railway and you’ll be treated to beautiful panoramic views through surrounding towns, Cardigan Bay, and the mountain peaks of Wales. You can just turn up and buy a ticket with returns starting from £4.50.
3. Aberystwyth Castle Grounds
Aberystwyth Castle was built by King Edward I as part of his campaign against the Welsh. It has endured a violent history and ensures a fascinating visit. It’s also a picturesque place to have a stroll through with its location by the sea. Admission is free.
4. Pen Dinas Hill Fort
Pen Dinas Hill Fort dates all the way back to the Iron Age and is situated on a coastal hill in Ceredigion.
You’ll find many hillforts like this one throughout Wales as they were used as a form of defence, and this fort is a great visit due to the miles of countryside surrounding it. It’s the perfect pitstop for a walk or hike.
5. Bwlch y Geuffordd Gardens
For some peace and tranquillity, visit Bwlch y Geuffordd Gardens which has won numerous awards for its beautiful array of plants. There’s also a fantasy garden for children so it’s great for families.
In the wildlife garden, you might spot creatures like dragonflies, bunnies, and caterpillars. Or maybe you’ll be more interested in the artistic sculpture garden or the peace garden.
You’re welcome to bring a picnic to enjoy, but drinks can be provided for as little as £0.50. Admission is £2.50 for children and £5.00 for adults. Dogs are not allowed.
6. Millennium Clock Tower
The Millennium Clock Tower in Ceredigion was built in celebration of the new millennium. It’s situated in the middle of the town, and you’re bound to walk past it on your shopping or sightseeing adventures in Aberystwyth.
7. Aberystwyth Arts Centre
The award-winning Aberystwyth Arts Centre hosts theatre productions, films, exhibitions, courses, and markets. Stop by to see what’s going on or check their website.
8. Parc Natur Penglais
Parc Natur Penglais is a nature reserve formed out of a disused quarry. It’s a great place for a walk through the woodlands and hills, and you’ll be led to beautiful views of surrounding Aberystwyth. It’s especially famous for its bluebell woods.
9. Aberystwyth North Beach
You simply can’t visit Wales without visiting a nearby beach! Aberystwyth North Beach features picturesque homes on the promenade and is located right next to the nearby town.
On clear days you may witness stunning views of North Wales, including Snowdonia. There’s a pier where you’ll find toilets and places to eat. Pets are allowed.
Places To Eat
1. Little Italy
This small restaurant takes reservations of up to 6 people in advance, preferably a day or two before. You’ll be served authentic Italian food made with fresh ingredients.
Pasta dishes and pizzas are around £10-£15 depending on the type, and starters are as little as £5. It’s a great place to enjoy an evening meal.
2. Penguin Pizza & Café Aberystwyth
Penguin Pizza and Café serves fresh pizzas as well as classic café items like bacon baps, sausage rolls, pasties, drinks, and delicious cakes – all ideal for lunchtime. You can order their pizza for delivery and collection, or just turn up.
There are some great deals fit for families and friend groups, such as two pizzas and 2 garlic breads for just £21.
Sophie’s Café is another affordable place to eat with vegan and vegetarian options. Head over for a cooked breakfast before a day out on the beach or a walkabout surrounding towns, reserves, and valleys. You’ll also find lunch items like burgers and salads.
4. The Chip Box 4
No trip to a Welsh town is complete without some fish and chips. The Chip Box 4 is just one of the many places in Aberystwyth to grab a portion for a reasonable price. There’s also Express Fish and Chips and Central Fish Restaurant nearby.
When To Visit
Time your Aberystwyth camping trip well to avoid the worst of Welsh weather or to see the best of Welsh wildlife. There might also be an event you won’t want to miss.
Wales is cold to mild for most of the year and it rains at least 10 days per month. The rainiest months tend to be January, December, and November with an average of 16 days of rain. When it isn’t raining, it will probably be overcast.
The summer months of June, July and August have pleasant highs of around 20 degrees (C), but keep in mind that it will be humid due to Britain’s moist atmosphere.
The coldest months are December, January, and February, with average lows of 2 degrees (C).
Aberystwyth is home to countless nature reserves, with Ceredigion being home to 3 of them (Coed y Cwm, Pen Dinas and Tanybwlch and Parc Natur Penglais). Here are some of the best times for nature spotting:
All through the year, you’ll be able to spot various bird species, including owls, ducks, swans, geese, redshanks, curlews, starlings, and hundreds more. But the best time to birdwatch is early spring. To see owls, head out during the evenings as they come out and hunt for food.
During spring and summer, walk through Aberystwyth’s beautiful woodland, where you can find wild mushrooms and garlic, as well as patches of wildflowers and many tree species like Sycamore Beech, Sweet Chestnut, Norway Maple, and Oak.
Mammals and other animals in Aberystwyth include badgers, bats, dormice, newts, water voles, otters, and squirrels. Many of these animals are most likely to be seen at dawn and dusk, like the otter.
Newts can be spotted dancing after dark but watch out for great crested newts as it’s against the law to disturb them. Newts hibernate from late summer to spring.
Here are some recurring events that take place in Aberystwyth:
- Aberystwyth Farmers Market takes place multiple times a year. You’ll find hand-crafted clothing, flowers, loaves of bread, cheeses, wines, vegetables, and much more. Many items are seasonal, so each market is different from the last. These markets often take place at The Old Bus Depot.
- Various Christmas markets take place in Aberystwyth on the weekends of December in the Ceredigion town centre or around Cardigan Bay. You’ll find the usual favourites like street food, crafts, gifts, and local produce.
- The Aberystwyth Arts Centre often hosts markets throughout the year, like the Winter Craft and Gift Fair.