Dramatic coastlines with views across to North Devon, historic castles and ruins in nearly every town, quiet rural lanes lined with verdant hedges and boats gently bobbing in seaside harbour towns: this in the Celtic Trail.
Following the Sustrans National Cycle Route 4 (Fishguard to London) as far as Bristol, the Celtic Trail mixes coastal roads, inland lanes and traffic-free cycleways to show you the very best of South Wales. There’s plenty of history and local delicacies to enjoy along the way too, as the route passes through lots of towns along the way, most of which boast impressive castles or ruins like St Davids’ glorious Bishop’s Palace.
Spend some time exploring the sights along Pembrokeshire National Park's glorious coast, including historic St Davids, the golden sands at Broad Haven and the colourful harbour town of Tenby. Beyond the national park, you enjoy the modern cycling infrastructure around Swansea Bay and the city of Cardiff.
Though most of the Celtic Trail is on roads or paved cycle paths, there are a few unpaved sections. You could ride a touring bike, hybrid or endurance road bike with wider tyres, perhaps 30mm or more, or even a gravel bike with some slicker tyres. When I rode it some years ago, I chose a road bike with 25mm tyres, but that was all I had and it was still a really great trip!
In terms of overnight stops, I’ve routed this seven-stage Collection so that each leg finishes in a town, village or city where you’ll be able to find options for camping, hotels or guesthouses. There are also lots of train stations along the route, so you don’t have to ride the whole Celtic Trail in one go: take a few sections at a time or even ride it in a number of day trips if you like.
I’d recommend riding the Celtic Trail from west to east, starting in Fishguard, as this way you can make the most of the prevailing winds! Train travel to Fishguard comes highly recommended too, as it’s a gorgeous journey along the South Welsh coast, passing many of the places you’ll then ride through in a few days' time. The route finishes in central Bristol at the Sustrans map of cycle routes, but from here it’s a short cycle to Bristol Temple Meads train station, which offers national train line connections.
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Last updated: May 17, 2023
Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.
The Celtic Trail starts in the glorious North Pembrokeshire town of Fishguard, or rather here from Fishguard Harbour where there’s a railway station. You can ride the Celtic Trail in either direction, but I heartily recommend west to east, as this makes the most of the prevailing south-westerly winds…
If there was a ‘Queen Stage’ of the Celtic Trail, for me this would be it. The peaceful traffic-free Brunel Trail, the impressive Pembroke Castle, and one of the most picturesque parts of Pembrokeshire, the colourful seaside town of Tenby.
From Broad Haven, head inland with a hill warming your legs up…
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From Saundersfoot to Kidwelly, stage three features castles galore and some spectacular seaside riding.
It’s a stunning start with the seaside bridleway passing through tunnels in the cliffs straight after you leave Saundersfoot. Hug the beach to Amroth, where you rejoin the road, which then leads you…
The fourth stage on the Celtic Trail takes you from the little town of Kidwelly to the bayside city of Swansea, mostly along the coast before cutting across the Gower Peninsula. If you fancy extending your trip, an extra day to explore the Gower would be a marvellous idea.
After departing Kidwelly, this…
From the seaside city of Swansea to the rural village of Tonyrefail, the fifth stage of the Celtic Trail has an easy flat section to start before climbing up into the hills.
From Swansea, follow the signs for National Cycle Route 4 east, with the sea to your right.This section is not the most glamorous…
For the penultimate stage, you ride from Tonyrefail to Newport, a city found near where the River Usk flows into the Severn Estuary, and not far from your crossing to England in the final stage.
Countering all the ascents from the previous stage, here there’s more descending than climbing, although it…
From Wales to England, conclude your time on the Celtic Trail by crossing the River Severn and riding into the city of Bristol. There’s some debate as to where the Celtic Trail really ends, but that’s up to you. Chepstow also has a good train station if you want to finish your trip in Wales.
Bike Touring Collection by Halfords UK
Bike Touring Collection by Brompton Bicycle
Road Cycling Collection by Martin Donat
Bike Touring Collection by Fulda-Radweg R1