Grab that camera and those walking boots, wrap up warm and discover vivid carpets of colour as the leaves cascade down the rich countryside of Wales this autumn - a perfect time for some leaf-peeping!
If you’re wondering what on earth leaf-peeping is then listen up! Leaf-peeping is a term growing in popularity, originating in North America, where people travel to capture and enjoy the changing season. We think that a stay in Wales, with all of its spectacular countryside, is a leaf-peeper's dream!
To inspire your next leaf-peeping journey, we’ve rounded up our favourite autumn walks and stays in Wales, from north to south and everywhere in between, to help you on your way.
🍂 North Wales
🍂 South Wales
🍂 West Wales
🍂 Mid Wales
🍂 Welsh borders
🏡 Stay in Wales
Autumn walks in North Wales
Grab your scarf and wellies and crunch your way through crisp golden and red autumn leaves in the striking woodlands of North Wales.
Forest Garden Discovery Trail
Explore wonderful trees from around the world in Coed y Brenin Forest Park, which offers a complete woodland experience within the Snowdonia National Park. Follow the informative circular trail which has fascinating facts on pull-out signs accompanying the range of colourful trees.
Start: Waymarked from the main car parks
Distance: 0.5-mile and 0.25-mile accessible trails
Stay: Custard Cottage, Barmouth | Sleeps: 6 + 1 dog
Swallow Falls is a beautiful series of dramatic waterfalls on the Afron Llugwy River. The trail is a waymarked route into the Gwydir Forest. It’s a photographer's dream, with plenty of viewing spots for that special snap. A great walk for groups and couples to admire the mesmerising views together.
Start: Ty’n Llwyn car park in Gwydir Forest
Distance: 2.5 miles
Difficulty: Easy-moderate Walk
Stay: Gilar House, Betws-y-Coed | Sleeps 10 + 2 dogs
A welcome retreat and one of the most quintessential seasonal views in Wales, particularly striking in autumn when it is wrapped in blazing red ivy, is Tu Hwnt i’r Bont (Beyond the Bridge), a traditional Welsh tearoom in the historic market town of Llanrwst in beautiful North Wales.
Stay: Cludfan, Llanrwst | Sleeps 3 + 1 dog
Llyn Elsi from Betws-y-Coed
This relaxed walk in North Wales takes you above the gateway to Snowdonia National Park, Betws-y-Coed, to the picturesque Llyn Elsi mountain lake, nestled amongst the season-changing trees of Gwydir Forest. A less challenging alternative to other Snowdonia walks, you can be back in Betws-y-Coed in time for a welcome pub lunch within a few hours.
Offering beautiful woodland scenery, the glassy waters of the mountain lake and the sweeping views towards Moel Siabod, this leisurely walk includes a variety of autumnal landscapes, perfect for leaf-peeping!
Distance: 4 miles
Stay: Cappele Cottage, Betws-y-Coed | Sleeps 4 + 2 dogs
North Wales Cottages
Autumn walks in South Wales
Dig out the autumn gear and discover all that the mountains and forests of South Wales have to offer this autumn.
This lovely 4-mile walk at Llanddewi Skirrid transports you into a wonderful woodland wonderland and out onto a fantastic open mountainside. There is a steep climb to the summit, but trust us, it’s worth it just for the splendid views of the surrounding countryside.
Start: Car park on the B4521, grid ref: SO328164
Distance: 4 miles
Stay: Skirrid View Shepherd Hut, Abergavenny | Sleeps 2
Known as ‘the town of books’, the pretty market town of Hay-on-Wye is Wales' literary centre. Set along the River Wye and backed by the Brecon Beacons National Park, it is a truly wonderful picturesque destination and a leaf-peeper's delight!
The river and rail trail circular walk is ideal for refreshing mind, body and soul, and offers some fantastic photo opportunities.
Start: Hay-on-Wye town centre
Distance: 2 miles
Difficulty: Good for all skill levels
Stay: Frontier Cabin, Hay-on-Wye | Sleeps 2 + 2 dogs
The Afan Forest Park is famous for its mountain bike trails, waymarked walks and family-friendly bike rides with the beautiful backdrop of the Afan Valley. There are numerous walks, and we think the Old Parish Road Walk is perfect for discovering ancient woodlands this autumn.
Start: Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre
Distance: 1.25 miles
Stay: Depot Rd, Afan Forest Park | Sleeps 12 + 4 dogs
More South Wales cottages for autumn walks:
Ty Bach, Hay-on-wye | Sleeps 2
Shoppe Barn, Abergavenny | Sleeps 8 + 2 dogs
The Applepip, Monmouth | Sleeps 2 + 1 dog
Pigscote Cottage, Monmouth | Sleeps 2 + 2 dogs
South Wales Cottages
Autumn walks in West Wales
Home to the 186-mile long Pembrokeshire Coast Path, plus beautiful beaches and colourful woodlands, there’s plenty to discover on an autumn walk in West Wales.
These woods are a leaf-peeper's dream in autumn when they display the full colour palette of the season. Weaving through glorious oak and beech forest near the quaint market town of Narberth, Pembrokeshire, this route is teeming with river and woodland wildlife. The woods are bisected by the main path, the Knights' Way, which is an ancient pilgrim's route between St Davids Cathedral and Amroth. Along with all the beautiful colours of the leaves, you may also spot otters, kingfishers, herons and woodpeckers.
Start: Lay-by south of Canaston Bridge
Distance: 4.8 miles
Stay: Llanbedr Felfre Shepherd's Hut, Narberth | Sleeps 2 + 1 dog
Colby Woodland Garden
Head to the tranquil, National Trust-owned Colby Woodland Garden near Amroth, Pembrokeshire, and experience the flaming colours of autumn, like bright red Acers and Sweet Gum leaves, as well as oranges, yellows and greens in this fantastical hidden wooded valley, which has a rich coal mining history.
Stay: Glan Y Mor Garden View, Amroth | Sleeps 2
Bosherston Lily Ponds
This mile-long, wildlife-rich, dog-friendly circular walk gently transports you around bright lakeside woodland and magically opens up, revealing one of Pembrokeshire’s many beautiful beaches, Broad Haven South beach, before twisting back along the lovely waterside and woodland trail.
Start: Bosherston Lily Ponds car park, grid ref: SR966948
Distance: 1-mile circular route
Stay: The Dingle, Freshwater East | Sleeps 14 + 2 dogs
Bordering Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire, Cenarth Falls is a real visual treat, with its cascade of waterfalls just upstream from the pretty village of Cenarth in Ceredigion. Enjoy a woodland stroll along the Afon Teifi on this walk, a stunning sight when the river is in full flow. You can also see leaping salmon jumping up the falls in the autumn months!
Stay: Ynyslas, Newcastle Emlyn | Sleeps 8 + 5 dogs
We have lots of welcoming autumnal retreats in West Wales, including hot tub cottages, to retreat to and relax in for a good night's sleep after a bracing autumnal walk.
West Wales Cottages
Autumn walks in Mid Wales
Take a deep breath in and feel the fresh countryside air of Mid Wales. Explore all that this exceptional Welsh county has to offer this autumn.
Traverse this gorgeous National Trail winding through Mid Wales’ fantastic forests and wild woodland. Due to its rural nature, Glyndwr’s Way is suited to shorter walks. Pit stop at Lake Vyrnwy, Bryntail Mine or Powis Castle for a scenic picnic, and pass through pretty market towns along the way.
Start: Knighton on the English border
Distance: 135 miles
Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous
Stay: Mount Pleasant, Llandovery | Sleeps: 6 + 1 dog
Devil's Bridge Falls
Tucked away in the heart of the Cambrian mountains are Devils Bridge Falls, a wonderful, rugged, photo-worthy series of cascading Welsh waterfalls. Devil’s Bridge is a set of three unique bridges built one on top of the other, a must-see along with some autumnal leaf-peeping. The Punchbowl and 3 Bridges walk includes a lovely seating area with unique views to sit and marvel at the stacked bridges and the turbulent water crashing against the worn rock.
Distance: 10 to 30 minutes
Difficulty: Moderate walk with 220 slate steps. Accessible tarmac path (please check opening times)
Stay: Llwyngwinau Isaf Barn, Tregaron | Sleeps 10 + 2 dogs
Offa’s Dyke Path is a long-distance trail that passes through eight counties. It crisscrosses the border between Wales and England over 20 times and links three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, including the Wye Valley, the Shropshire Hills and the Clwydian Range / Dee Valley.
Break up the journey with a gentle stroll for an hour or two, or plan the whole trail over a couple of weeks for an unforgettable walk across the spectacular countryside, which includes the picturesque riverside meadows of the Severn valleys. Discover castles, country churches, Iron Age forts and welcoming country pubs along the way as you set off on this magical journey.
Start: Prestatyn - Chepstow
Distance: 177 miles
Stay: Poundgate Pound Cottage, Knighton | Sleeps 4
Browse our cosy autumnal retreats in Mid Wales, including luxury hot tub cottages, to soak in and unwind after all that leaf-peeping.
Mid Wales Cottages
Autumn walks in the Welsh borders
Make the most of both regions with these autumn-inspired walks in the Welsh borders.
Forest of Dean
Explore this ancient forest, home to a wide array of wildlife including peregrine falcons and Mandarin ducks. Photograph or just enjoy the incredible views over the River Wye and beyond. Discover the rural tranquillity of The Forest Of Dean and switch off from everyday life on a forest holiday with our dog-friendly and luxury hot tub cottages.
Meander through the forest on the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail which links several different site-specific sculptures, specially commissioned just for the forest.
Start: Forestry England’s Beechenhurst site
Distance: 4.5 miles, with 2.2- and 3-mile shortcuts
Stay: Cosy Coach Cottage, Blakeney | Sleeps 5 + 2 dogs
Forest Of Dean Cottages
Explore picturesque walking trails across the beautifully idyllic Wye Valley, combining sightseeing, cultural discoveries, adventure and activity!
The gently rolling countryside of the Wye Valley is a haven for leaf-peepers and walkers, especially in the autumn, with beautiful palettes of the season everywhere. Whether you’re after a mild amble through the scenic woodlands or are seeking a challenging hike through wild landscapes, there’s a trail made for you. Try the Llandogo Village Walk for stunning surprise views.
Luxury Wye Valley Cottages
Start: Village church
Distance: 3 miles
Stay: Old Stables - Wolvesnewton, Chepstow | Sleeps 2 + 1 dog
More Welsh border cottages for autumn walks:
Old Cheyney Cheyney Estate, Bishops Frome | Sleeps 8 + 2 dogs
Kennel Barn, Coleford | Sleeps 6
The Chapel Cheyney Estate, Bishops Frome | Sleeps 2 + 1 dog
Hangerberry Sunnyside Cottage, Lydbrook | Sleeps 4 + 1 dog
Welsh Border Cottages
Stay in Wales this autumn
After a crisp autumn walk, what could be better than sinking into your own warm, welcoming retreat to enjoy a hot bath or evening by the log fire? We have luxury cottages with all the creature comforts across all of Wales, from the Brecon Beacons to the Pembrokeshire coast and Snowdonia. Discover your perfect leaf-peeping walking retreat.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.