The four dreamy Welsh villages named as among Britain's 'greatest'

horse riders cool off in river
-Credit: (Image: Phil Taylor)

Two North Wales villages have been named among the "greatest" in Britain, according to a 2024 list by The Telegraph which ranks the country's top 30 villages. The list, which spans from Gwynedd to Cumbria and Cornwall, includes four Welsh villages and three Scottish ones.

The Telegraph highlighted beauty and authenticity as key factors in their selection, aiming to spotlight villages that remain relatively untouched by mass tourism.

In its introduction, The Telegraph remarked: "Britain has no shortage of eye-catching villages, but a combination of good looks, convenience for day trippers and a few influential endorsements can be enough to turn what was once a peaceful retreat into an overtourism battleground inundated with selfie stick-wielding tourists from April till October." Find out about the latest events in Wales by signing up to our What's On newsletter here

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The article continued: "Fortunately, there are still plenty of beautiful but uncrowded British villages that do retain their authentic character, where medieval pubs and churches remain the beating heart of the community, and where welcoming shopkeepers stock treats from local producers."

The full list, along with detailed reasons for each village's inclusion, is available on its website, reports North Wales Live.

From the Welsh selections, two hail from the north and two from the south. South Wales' contributions include Solva in Pembrokeshire, described as having "ice-cream pastels" and a "fjord-like harbour", and Laugharne in Carmarthenshire, famed for its castle ruins, historic walls, and connections to the poet Dylan Thomas.

Flying the flag for North Wales were Aberffraw on Anglesey and Beddgelert in Gwynedd. Here's what The Telegraph had to say about them.

Aberffraw, Anglesey

The Telegraph noted: "Looking at dinky, sleepy Aberffraw on Anglesey's southwest coast, you'd never guess it was the chief seat of the Princes of Gwynedd in the Middle Ages, a legacy still celebrated in its scallop-shaped biscuits."

"Nowadays, the village is a huddle of pretty stone and pastel-painted cottages peeking above the tidal waters of the River Ffraw. With the first glimmer of sun, you'll race with childlike joy over wind-whipped dunes to its gorgeous sweep of powdery sand, Traeth Mawr."

"Views stretch across the Irish Sea to the glowering mountains of Snowdonia and the Llyn Peninsula. If you fancy a slightly longer ramble, hook onto the coast path, which passes a Bronze Age burial cairn en route to the cove of Porth Cwyfan. Here medieval St Cwyfan's Church sits on a rugged little island that gets completely cut off at high tide."

Last year Aberffraw was voted the best place to live on Anglesey in a poll conducted by North Wales Live.

The Telegraph recommends staying at Capel Seion, a Grade II-listed converted chapel, if you're visiting Aberffraw. For dining options, the paper suggests a trip up the coast to Oyster Catcher, a restaurant in Rhosneigr with stunning beach views and a commitment to sustainable fishing and farming.

For a day out, The Telegraph recommends heading to Traeth Llanddwyn, the island's southernmost tip. Described as an "uplifting three-and-a-half-mile beach, fringed by dune and Corsican pine. From there you can walk out to Ynys Llanddwyn at low tide."

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Ancient St Mary's church in Beddgelert
A view of one of Wales' most idyllic villages- Solva. -Credit:Country Living Group / Drew Buckley

Beddgelert in Gwynedd also comes highly recommended. Nestled deep in Snowdonia's mountains, the Telegraph says the riverside village offers a glimpse of a bygone era with its stone cottages, humpback bridge, cosy pubs and highland railway.

It points out how the village is known for its statue of a famous hound, supposedly named after Prince Llywelyn the Great's dog, Gelert. However, it points out that it's believed that a local landlord invented this story centuries ago to boost tourism.

"At any time of year, this is a cracking base for chucking on boots to hit trails wiggling up into gnarly mountains. Warm up with a four-hour circular walk, ticking off the high moors of Grib Ddu, glacial Llyn Dinas lake and the Aberglaslyn Pass, a narrow gorge where the boulder-smashing Glaslyn River thunders past cliffs and lichen-wisped forests."

In 2023, Beddgelert was named one of the 30 most unspoilt villages in Britain. It's described as Eryri's 'loveliest'.

For somewhere to stay in Beddgelert, The Telegraph recommended Plas Tan y Graig, an "elegant Victorian house". This, it said, has "river and Aberglaslyn views, a garden terrace, and fill-your-boots breakfasts playing up local produce".

For refuelling after a day's hiking, an "unfussy meal" at the Saracens Head is ideal, says the paper, adding: "Go for a pint of Faithful Gelert and pub grub faves. Kids, muddy boots and dogs are welcome."

Best day out is, inevitably, "Snowdon" (Yr Wyddfa). The Telegraph suggests using the nearby Rhyd Ddu Path as it is a "tremendously beautiful (and surprisingly quiet) seven-mile stomp up to the 1,085m summit".


View of Solva
Aerial view of Laugharne in Wales, the location of the writer Dylan Thomas's Boathouse

The Telegraph says: "In a county full of seaside lovelies, Solva stands out. But be warned: once you clap eyes on this village, with its flower-draped, stone cottages in bright ice-cream pastels and deep, fjord-like harbour where boats gaily bob, you’ll be sorely tempted to jack in the day job and move to the coast pronto.

"No, its charms haven’t gone unnoticed, but visit in spring or autumn instead of the height of summer and you’ll feel the magic. You’ll be happy to hang out in the village itself, with its galleries, craft shops and pubs: the Ship Inn (cosy beams and craft beers) and the Harbour Inn (waterfront views).

"Or go for an exhilarating ramble on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, up and over gorse-clad cliffs and coves to St David's. Stop for a spiritual moment at St Non’s where legend has it, St David was born in 500AD."

The Telegraph recommends the 16th-century Cambrian Inn (doubles from £100) as a great place to stay, pointing out its pistachio-green façade and how it blends period features with bright, modern flair.

For food it recommends "local legend" Mrs Will the Fish and a boat-fresh seafood platter, before popping into MamGu for Welshcakes which come in various flavours. As for the best day out, The Telegraph suggested heading over to St David's and taking a look around its mighty medieval cathedral followed by some beach time at Whitesands.

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The Telegraph says: "Famous as the onetime home and resting place of poet Dylan Thomas – whose former residence in the Boathouse is now a small museum – Laugharne is more than a pilgrimage site."

It points out how It’s located on the right bank of the River Taf, with the estuary glistening half the day, and the mudbanks drawing in waders and corvids the rest of the time.

"The main drag, King Street, is lined with Georgian-style terraces, two of which house the popular Brown’s Hotel and New Three Mariners pubs. The skeletal castle ruin and old walls overlook lawns ideal for a picnic and Sir John’s Hill, a forest-clad hill protecting Laugharne from the Bristol Channel breezes, is great for a short poetry-themed walk."

It adds that, without a railway station or a main road and with few bus links, Laugharne is quite cut off – but it says this perhaps "explains its romantic air".

For somewhere to stay in Laugharne, The Telegraph recommends one of the chic rooms at Brown’s (doubles from £140 per night, including breakfast). Dexters at Brown’s serves superb steak dinners using 40-day, dry-aged beef, it says.

As for the best day out, The Telegraph suggests the Wales Coast Path, which winds through Laugharne, over Sir John’s Hill and on to Pendine Sands.