If there’s one thing Wales is known for, it’s the incredible natural scenery that can be found right across the country. From the beauty of Snowdonia National Park to the breath-taking Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons) , Wales has never-ending opportunities to escape into the natural world.
If you’re ready for an adventure then our very own students have spoken, revealing the ultimate hikes to explore in Wales for the perfect study break!
No matter where you’re studying, there’s a walk starting right on your doorstep.
The best walks across Wales according to each university
Swansea University is nestled along the stunning south-west coast of Wales, offering a breathtaking view of Swansea Bay and the Gower. Nicholas, an American student, shared how living in Swansea spoiled him with its natural beauty and stunning coastal landscape. He even commented how exploring the Gower coastal path is one of the most spectacular trails he’s ever walked, and he’s hiked the Norwegian forests many times! He also loves escaping to the botanical gardens near Singleton Park, Morriston Park, or the many beaches surrounding Swansea University like Port Eynon beach.
“My favourite memories in particular involved walking to Swansea Bay, being able to kick off my shoes, reading about survey theory for my dissertation, and then watching the ocean and sunset. It was my little slice of serenity in a very turbulent time.”
Nicholas believed that walking had a huge positive impact on his mental health during his studies. He recommends grabbing some friends, lots of water, a portable phone charger and leaving lots of space on your camera to take endless pictures of the beautiful views!
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH WALES
The University of South Wales is spread across three locations in Cardiff, Newport and Pontypridd. Each campus offers something different – city life, culture, extraordinary countryside, and spectacular beaches.
Our USW students struggled to pick just one favourite walk; Belle Vue Park in Newport, the forest route to the Meeting House, and the multiple nearby parks to each campus were just a few favourites. Some love visiting the capital city, Cardiff, to walk into the magnificent castle and down to Cardiff Bay. Others love exploring the Newport Wetlands.
“Continuously sitting in one place for hours and hours is also exhausting. The body and mind need a break. It could be in the form of breathing, relaxation, meditation or going for a walk.”
Taking a walk can have such a positive impact on your physical and mental health. USW students suggest that you don’t need to go on a big walk to feel the benefits of the fresh air but local walks to your lectures or to the shop can be enough to make you feel better. They share how walking can relax you during your stressful hours of studying. With three different locations, you are sure to be jam packed with lots of opportunities to try new walks and have fun with your friends.
Cardiff, the capital city of Wales, may be thought of as a city with towering buildings and busy roads but it certainly doesn’t lack greenery. In fact, Saloni, a Cardiff student from India, loves visiting local parks such as Bute Park and Alexander Gardens – which are all located right in the centre of Cardiff. With a mix of tall buildings, lush green parks, and a long-stretching coast, Cardiff stands out as a city and a home to so many students.
“Taking a break from studying and going for a walk helps in reducing stress and improves mood. It also increases focus and concentration as well as opens the room for new ideas and thoughts.”
If you’re feeling adventurous, Cardiff also offers some exciting opportunities to challenge yourself. For example, the popular Pen-y-Fan, the tallest peak in South Wales, takes approximately two hours to reach the top and rewards you with breathtaking views. For Batman fans, Henrhyd Falls, where the Dark Knight Rises was filmed, offers a stunning waterfall view.
These walks are all recommended by a Cardiff student so you can guarantee they’re worth it!
Cardiff has green spaces, stunning coast, and nearby adventurous opportunities that make it an ideal location for students seeking somewhere to escape. It offers the perfect lifestyle for someone looking for a bit of everything.
Aberystwyth University is located on the coast of west Wales, set between the Cambrian Mountains and Cardigan Bay. The surrounding beauty of hills, Victorian architecture, unique beaches, dolphins, and a sweeping promenade are just some of the many reasons to take that well-earned study break whilst you’re at Aberystwyth.
“Nature is very accessible in Aberystwyth; it’s one of the reasons I chose it, and one of my favourite things about it.”
Gwyn is a confident hiker. Being a member of the hiking committee at Aberystwyth, she frequently takes the chance to get outdoors and explore the beauty that sits on her doorstep. Whilst she finds it hard to narrow down her favourite walks, she finds the Coastal Path taking her up to Borth to be her most loved trail that doesn’t require any travel.
Ruby, also from Aberystwyth University, agrees that this is one of her favourite walks, calling it “beautiful”. So, using both of their advice to pack plenty of water, a camera, headphones, and layers for the windy front, start planning your coastal walk to Borth!
Being brought up in the hot, dry Sonoran Desert in Arizona, Gwyn fell in love with the sea here in Wales.
According to Gwyn, this has had a profound positive impact on her mental health, and she speaks from personal experience. As someone with ADHD, she found it challenging to focus within a sedentary lifestyle, but walking has helped her to improve her focus significantly and gain a positive frame of mind. It’s helped her live the lifestyle she wanted.
CARDIFF METROPOLITAN UNIVERSITY
As a student, it's important to take breaks from studying, get some fresh air and exercise regularly. Luckily, Cardiff Metropolitan University is located in a city with plenty of options for walking and outdoor activities! Some of the students' favourite places to go are Roath Park and the Taff Trail because they’re so close to the university; so when they’re in need of that study break, they don’t have to go far to grasp that natural scenery.
“Take a stroll through the pretty parks in Cardiff and you can even stop at the cafés for a coffee or ice cream!”
Walking in Cardiff can be so much more than just counting steps. It offers a place to socialise with friends, absorb the fascinating wildlife around you and enjoy the peace of quiet parks nestled amongst the city buildings. Cardiff Metropolitan University offers the unique experience of both city and countryside meaning you’re never far from a piece of something you love.
Whether you’re looking for a peaceful walk-in nature or a fun outing with friends, there are plenty of options to explore. Grab a coffee and some snacks and enjoy the lifestyle of living in Cardiff.
Wrexham University is distributed across three campuses between the Cambrian Mountains and the lower Dee Valley in North Wales. Wrexham is rich in history, with charming small towns and the opportunity to visit new and exciting places.
The Llangollen Canal weaves through Wrexham and offers a peaceful and picturesque walk. It’s perfect for cycling or walking and takes you through small pretty towns with many places to stop for a picnic along the way.
Offa's Dyke Path is a long-distance trail that sweeps along the Welsh/English border, passing through the town of Wrexham and the nearby Clwydian Range area of outstanding natural beauty. It offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside and is a popular route for walkers who want to push themselves a little bit more.
"Walk as much as you can. It will improve your mental and physical health as well as making you feel close to nature.”
Walking around Wrexham either by yourself or with friends is the best way to relax and take a break from your studies, feel closer to the countryside and give you the energy boost you need!
Bangor University is found within the breath-taking beauty of North Wales, surrounded by beautiful mountains, picturesque shores, and pretty towns which are all just a stone’s throw away. Being located so close to the tallest peak in Wales, Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) there are plenty of opportunities to explore the most unforgettable hikes in Wales. You’ll be rewarded with phenomenal panoramic views.here
Kenna Olia, a student at Bangor University, shares how experiencing nature in its purest form helps to take his mind off academic-related issues and enjoy the fresh journey.
“I also get the opportunity to hang out with friends through these walks and this offers the chance for us to bond even further. Take a few friends with you whenever possible. It’s much more fun that way.”
Kenna loves going for walks with his friends. His favourite places are the Pier and Menai Bridge that he often takes whilst listening to music and enjoying the break. Not forgetting the beautiful beaches that sweep across the north coast, he suggests taking some snacks when walking along them as you may be there for a while once you’ve been captured by its beauty!
University of Wales Trinity Saint David has multiple campuses across Carmarthen, Swansea, Cardiff and Lampeter. This means you’re spoilt for choice with your dream location!
When it comes to exploring, you won’t be disappointed. Take a stroll along the Llansteffan Coast in Carmarthenshire, where you can hike to the top of Llansteffan Castle or indulge in some beachside treats like ice cream and cake! Head to Swansea’s Gower Peninsula for breath-taking views and hikes for all levels of adventurers, or wander around the spectacular Llyn Brianne reservoir if you’re in Lampeter.
“Wales gives me the perfect lifestyle. I can walk to the beach or stroll into the beautiful town of Carmarthen.”
Whether it’s peaceful walks, fun-filled group strolls, or adventurous hikes, these locations can give you them all.
If beautiful landscapes and memorable walks are for you, then Wales is the perfect place to study.
Find out more about our eight universities here.