10 Best Places To Live In Wales In 2023

best places to live in Wales

The best places to live in Wales are excellent options if you are an expat from outside or inside the UK looking for a new place to live in.

Over the past couple of years, the real estate industry in Wales has undergone a significant transformation.

The market has become increasingly dynamic, with a growing number of individuals seeking a home that caters to their every need, including a workspace and access to nearby green areas.

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Should You Live In Wales?

Despite its unique cultural and historical significance, Wales is often overshadowed by its more prominent and widely recognized neighbor, England.

Visitors to Wales often remark on the country’s breathtaking landscapes, welcoming locals, and reasonable cost of living. Additionally, Wales boasts a delectable culinary scene that is not to be missed.

For those considering a relocation to Wales, selecting the ideal location can be a daunting task. However, this comprehensive guide to the best places to live in Wales will provide valuable insights to aid in your decision-making process.

Top 3 Best Places To Live In Wales

According to recent data, Kidwelly has emerged as the top-ranking city in the ‘quality of living’ category.

Whilst many Welsh towns vied for a spot in the top 10 ranking, only one was successful in securing a place. Carmarthenshire, a charming locale, was deemed the most desirable Welsh town to reside in.

The report also provided insight into other noteworthy Welsh locations that are considered prime living destinations. Tenby in Pembrokeshire has been ranked as the second-best place to live in Wales, following Kidwelly.

The town has earned the highest score in the ‘going green’ category, making it an attractive destination for eco-conscious individuals.

Taking the third spot on the list is Porthmadog, a town located in Gwynedd’s Meirionydd region. Similar to Kidwelly, Porthmadog received the highest ranking in the ‘quality of living’ category.

10 Best Places To Live In Wales In 2023

1. Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire

Located in the region of Carmarthenshire, West Wales, lies one of the best places to live in Wales called Kidwelly, situated approximately 10 miles to the west of Llanelli.

best places to live in Wales
Kidwelly Castle

Kidwelly is strategically located on the banks of the River Gwendraeth, overlooking the picturesque Carmarthen Bay.

Located on the coast, Kidwelly is a prime destination for exploring the stunning natural beauty of West Wales, including the Pembrokeshire National Park, the Gower Peninsula, and the Brecon Beacons.

Its central location makes it an ideal hub for travelers looking to experience the best of what the region has to offer. The region boasts a remarkable blend of undulating landscapes, coastal vistas, and verdant forests – a true representation of the quintessential Welsh experience.

Founded circa 1115 AD and bestowed with a Royal Charter by King Henry I, Kidwelly boasts a rich historical legacy.

Kidwelly boasts a population of around 3,000 individuals, and attracts a staggering 30,000 tourists each year.

The moniker ‘Kidwelly’ is believed to have ancient origins. According to the writings of the 9th-century monk Nennius, the earliest known iteration of the name is ‘Cetgueli’.

The establishment of the town and castle dates back to the 12th century, when the Normans made their way into the region. Maes Gwenllian, a nearby field, has gained notoriety as the site of a historic battle in 1136.

Princess Gwenllian, sister of Owain Gwynedd, valiantly led her husband’s troops into combat against a Norman army, in the absence of her spouse.

It is speculated that her demise occurred either in the midst of the conflict or in its immediate aftermath.

Kidwelly, an ancient town in South Wales, experienced substantial growth during the industrial revolution, much like several other towns in the region.

The town boasts a thriving brickworks and tinworks industry. Following the closure of the industrial works, there has been a noticeable decline in such activities, save for the Kidwelly Industrial Museum.

In recent years, the town has undergone a transformation to better serve the needs of the tourism and retail sectors, shifting away from its previous focus on heavy industry.

Kidwelly Castle, established in 1106, is just one of the many historical attractions that adorn the beautiful countryside of this region.

Other notable landmarks include a 14th-century bridge and gate, a former quay that has been transformed into a nature reserve, a Norman parish church, and an industrial museum.

2. Tenby, Pembrokeshire

Tenby, a picturesque seaside town in Wales, is widely regarded as one of the best places to live in Wales that rivals other charming coastal towns such as Mevagissey and Polperro.

Indulge in the pleasures of the acclaimed town of Tenby by embarking on a 48-hour excursion – we guarantee that once you arrive, you’ll be captivated for a lifetime.

Tenby boasts exceptional transportation infrastructure, including a railway station that offers a bi-hourly service from Swansea, as well as a ferry port located in Pembroke Dock.

Bus companies provide transportation services throughout the southern coastline and inland areas, including Haverfordwest and Kilgetty.

The bustling Tenby harbour is home to a flourishing boating and fishing community, serving as a departure point for both Caldey Island boats and fishing and pleasure trips.

The Welsh name for the original town of Tenby was Dinbych y Pysgod, which translates to “little town of fishes”. The fortified town was established by The Normans.

The medieval town is still enclosed by the remaining old town walls. The formidable fortress that once safeguarded the town of Tenby was erected atop Castle Hill, yet today, only a solitary keep tower stands as a testament to its former grandeur.

Tenby’s charm is enhanced by the narrow cobbled streets and medieval houses within the old town walls.

Tenby gained popularity as a seaside resort during the Georgian and Victorian eras. The Esplanade and the Norton promenades, flanking the old town, are key contributors to the town’s remarkable architectural aesthetic.

The Norton, a picturesque road that meanders along the cliff top above North Beach, offers a quintessential postcard view of Tenby harbour. This location boasts a variety of high-quality lodging options.

The western side of town boasts a charming Victorian seaside development that is thoughtfully designed to complement the town’s overall ambiance.

Despite its limited size, the development seamlessly blends in with the surrounding area and does not detract from the town’s charm.

The grandiose hotels lining The Esplanade offer a stunning view of Tenby’s South Beach, with Caldey Island in the distance. In the vicinity, a plethora of bed and breakfast establishments, guest houses, and self-catering apartments are available for accommodation.

The heart of Tenby is a labyrinth of slender thoroughfares. During the summer months, local bars and restaurants take advantage of the warm weather by offering outdoor seating.

As a result, the roads are closed to vehicles during the day to create a pedestrian-friendly environment. The area boasts a plethora of unique and unconventional retail establishments. In 1972, the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park designated Tenby as a conservation area.

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3. Porthmadog, Gwynedd

Porthmadog, popularly referred to as ‘Port,’ is a town located on the periphery of The Snowdonia National Park. It is one of the best places to live in Wales.

It is positioned on the estuary of the Afon Glaslyn, which flows into Tremadog Bay. With a population of approximately 4,200, this town in Snowdonia ranks among the largest in the region.

With its diverse range of retail options, this location serves as an ideal hub for vacationers seeking to discover the wonders of Snowdonia and the Llŷn Peninsula’s scenic shoreline.

Porthmadog rose to prominence as a renowned port during the latter half of the 19th century, as it facilitated the exportation of slate from the quarries in Ffestiniog and Llanfrothen.

This slate was in high demand for roofing houses in the rapidly growing towns and cities of England, as well as in various other parts of the globe.

In 1873, Porthmadog saw a significant surge in its slate exportation, with a staggering number of over a thousand ships carrying a total of 116,000 tons of slate departing from the port.

The slate trade has left behind a rich legacy in Wales, making it a highly sought-after tourist destination. The area is particularly renowned for its impressive railway network, which includes the Ffestiniog Railway, the Welsh Highland Railway, and the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway. 

These attractions draw in countless visitors each year, eager to experience the region’s unique history and culture. The Cambrian Coast main line, a scenic railway route that spans from Pwllheli on the Llŷn Peninsula to Machynlleth, boasts of a station that stands out – the one located in Aberdovey.

This station serves as a crucial stopover for travelers heading to Shrewsbury in the East or Aberystwyth in the South.

4. Barmouth, Gwynedd

Barmouth, a destination where the majestic Mountains converge with the serene Sea, has been a hospitable host to tourists for more than a century and a half.

The breathtaking beauty of the sunsets is truly remarkable. Located on the western coast of Wales, with picturesque views of Cardigan Bay, lies a charming town nestled in the southern region of Snowdonia.

Barmouth serves as one of the best places to live in Wales for those seeking outdoor activities such as walking, cycling, paddleboarding, kayaking, sea paddling, and sandcastle building. 

The rich history of Barmouth can be fully experienced through a visit to the Heritage Trail and the two local museums.

The bustling streets of the town are dotted with a plethora of independent shops, cafes, pubs, and restaurants, providing ample opportunities for a day of leisurely browsing.

Patrons can indulge in a delightful shopping experience, punctuated by regular coffee breaks and perhaps a refreshing ice cream treat while taking in the picturesque view of the harbour and its lively boat traffic and seagulls.

Barmouth offers a plethora of options for a day trip to nearby destinations. Experience the rich cultural heritage of the region by embarking on a journey to explore the slate mines, ride on heritage steam trains, and marvel at the grandeur of castles, gardens, and prehistoric monuments.

Whether you are planning to live in Barmouth or just taking a quick visit, a plethora of accommodations awaits to suit your preferences and financial means.

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5. Cardigan, Ceredigion

Ceredigion’s traditional southern entry point was the town of Cardigan, one of the best places to live in Wales. Aberteifi, the Welsh name for Cardigan, means “town at” the mouth of the Teifi River. This place was a major Atlantic port in the 18th century.

best places to live in Wales
North end of Cardigan High Street.

Cardigan is located at the most advantageous crossing site of the Teifi River, shielded from the sea by a sharp bend in the river.

The town’s rise was further aided by its proximity to both wooded areas and fertile agricultural territory.  Crafts and business practices that have been around for centuries are getting a modern makeover.

In 1093, the Normans constructed the area’s first fortress. A total of 16 different groups battled over who would dominate Cardigan during the following 150 years.

The modern stone fortress was constructed by Lord Rhys ap Guffydd around 1171. Its defensive walls overlooking the historic bridge, which was battled over and conquered several times by Welsh princes, Norman knights, and English monarchs, may be seen today on the banks of the Teifi.

The Creative Cardigan winter lantern procession and Barley Saturday are the town’s two biggest attractions.

Cardigan’s annual Barley Saturday festival takes place on the final Saturday of April and features a parade of the region’s best horses and agricultural equipment; the city’s December light procession heralds the arrival of the holiday season.

Cardigan is home to a thriving arts community, with performances taking place in the town’s two theaters and several other locations (including the Castle’s grounds).

In addition to hosting a variety of year-round professional performances and exhibitions, the Theatr Mwldan also has a cinema, gallery, and café.

It is also the site of Gwyl Fawr, the town’s eisteddfod, which takes place towards the end of June and features a number of concerts in addition to musical, literary, and dance contests.

The November ‘Other Voices’ festival features performances by contemporary, internationally renowned, Welsh musicians at Mwldan and St. Mary’s Church, as well as at a variety of smaller venues ranging from cellar bars to art galleries and bakeries, all of which contribute to the wonderful atmosphere along the festival’s music trail around town.   

The ancient Guildhall building in the middle of town is home to the indoor market in the town of Cardigan. The two-story market hall was formerly the town’s meat and dairy bazaar.

The market has evolved into a bustling retail district with more than fifty individual kiosks manned by local entrepreneurs. You may shop at the Guildhall Market any day of the week.

Locally owned and operated businesses in Cardigan take great delight in providing customers with the freshest local cuisine, including bread, meat, fruit, vegetables, locally produced beer, and handcrafted cakes and sweets. You may also buy groceries, tools, furniture, and even clothing and shoes.

6. Llandudno, Conwy

Llandudno is a coastal resort located in the Conwy county borough, the ancient county of Denbighshire, and in the northwest corner of Wales.

It faces Llandudno Bay, which is located on the Irish Sea, between the limestone headlands of Great Orme (located to the northwest) and Little Orme (located to the east).

The peak of Great Orme, which is 207 meters (679 feet) above sea level and is accessible via tramway, cable lift, road, and nature walk, has been discovered to contain traces of prehistoric and Roman settlement.

On its slopes there are herds of wild goats. Little Orme is located at a height of 463 feet (141 meters), and there are caverns located all around its base.

The town, which is located in an area that was formerly used for fishing and copper mining, was built around the railroad in the second half of the 19th century to become an attractive and dignified resort.

As one of the best places to live in Wales, it is distinguished by its broad boulevards and charming Victorian architecture.

There, Charles Dodgson, better known by his pen name Lewis Carroll, shared with Alice Liddell the tales that would later provide the foundation for his novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865).

In more recent years, Llandudno has developed into a destination that is more marketed and congested with tourists.

7. Abergavenny, Monmouthshire

Abergavenny, much like Rome, is encircled by seven mountains and was known to the Romans as Gobannium. Welsh people refer to the city as Y Fenni, after one of the brooks that runs through the middle of the town.

The town of Abergavenny is one of the best places to live in Wales. It is an excellent location from which to go on excursions to the neighboring Blaenavon World Heritage Site and the Brecon Beacons National Park.

The Abergavenny Food Festival, which takes place every year in the fall and is a mainstay on the gastronomic calendar, is evidence of the city’s well-deserved reputation as a gourmet Mecca.

In addition, its periodic food and craft fairs are frequented by some of the most skilled artisans producers from all over the area. The Abergavenny Castle and Museum, the St. Mary’s Priory church, the market hall, and the castle meadows are among its most popular tourist destinations.

Southern Wales is home to the town of Abergavenny, also known in Welsh as Y Fenni. It is located in the ancient and contemporary county of Monmouthshire (Sir Fynwy). It is located at the point where the Rivers Gavenny and Usk come together.

Both the Romans, who constructed the stronghold of Gobannium, and the Normans, who constructed the castle in the 11th century, understood the importance of the location in terms of its strategic value in defending a vital valley corridor between the Brecon Beacons and the Black Mountains into South Wales.

On the grounds of the castle, in a building that was once used as a hunting lodge, you’ll find the Abergavenny Museum. The market town that developed under the shelter of the castle was assaulted on several occasions during the course of the subsequent 500 years.

Although it did some manufacturing of flannel and had significant cattle and horse fairs in the 18th and 19th centuries, Abergavenny did not participate in the industrial expansion that occurred in the coalfield cities to the west of it.

It is now a service center as well as an appealing vacation resort, and it has also developed into a residential base for commuters who work in other Monmouthshire towns that are close.

The Abergavenny Food Festival takes place in the town every September, while the Abergavenny Festival of Cycling features the Grand Prix of Wales and takes place earlier in the summer. Both of these events are held in the town.

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8. Brecon, Powys

Brecon is a lively market town that sits on the very edge of the beautiful Brecon Beacons National Park. The Brecon Beacons National Park is also known as the Bannau Brycheiniog.

It is well-known for the illustrious Brecon Jazz Festival, as well as for its history, links to the military, independent shops and cafés, and, of course, its majestic cathedral.

Brecon is one of the best places to live in Wales for those who want to explore the national park, participate in watersports or go fishing in the rivers, canals, or lakes in the area, go mountain biking, or ride bicycles.

Nestled in the Usk Valley, between the Black Mountains to the east and the Brecon Beacons to the south, is where you’ll find Brecon, the city that serves as the beating heart of Brecon Beacons National Park.

The attractive market town is well-known for its Georgian architecture that it has and makes for an excellent location for a vacation since there is an abundance of lodging options, cafés, restaurants, and shopping. The town has been there for a very long time and has played an important role in the history of the area.

Brecon is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United Kingdom for people who enjoy being outdoors.

The city offers visitors countless opportunities to participate in outdoor activities such as walking, climbing, canoeing, and horseback riding thanks to its convenient location near the River Usk, the Brecon and Monmouthshire Canal, and the Brecon Beacons, which are located in close proximity to the city. 

9. Blaenavon, Torfaen

Blaenavon is one of the best places to live in Wales. The Blaenavon region serves as a testament to the dominance of South Wales as the leading global supplier of coal and iron during the 19th century.

best places to live in Wales
Blaenavon Workmen’s Hall and War Memorial

The Blaenavon Ironworks and Big Pit are significant sites that offer a comprehensive insight into the industrialization process. The preserved locations, along with the surrounding landscape, showcase the essential components of mineral exploitation, transport, manufacturing, and settlement.

The environment is also a reflection of the early stages of industrial society’s growth. The town presents a comprehensive picture of the social structure of the community as well as a striking reflection of the peculiar culture that had formed in sections of the South Wales Valleys that were historically significant for their ironworking and coal mining industries.

When all of these factors are considered together, it becomes clear that the property offers one of the most advantageous settings anywhere in the world in which the whole social, economic, and technical process of industrialization via the production of iron and coal may be examined and comprehended.

10. Glanaman, Carmarthenshire

Located in the picturesque valley of the River Amman in Carmarthenshire, Glanamman is a thriving mining town. Glanamman, a Welsh village, has a rich history of preserving the Welsh language as a primary means of communication among its residents.

Glanaman is one of the best places to live in. The village’s daily affairs and activities are predominantly conducted in Welsh, reflecting its strong cultural heritage.

Similar to Garnant, the town underwent a prosperous period in coal-mining during the 19th and early 20th centuries. However, the extraction of coal has been sporadic since the closure of the last major colliery in 1947.

Located on the periphery of the Black Mountain, in the westernmost region of the Brecon Beacons National Park, lies a town situated approximately 13 miles north of Swansea.

The town is graced by the presence of the River Amman, which flows through its heart. Located in the western region of the South Wales Coalfield, Glanamman boasts an abundance of high-quality anthracite coal.

The mining boom’s impact on the Cwmamman parish, encompassing Garnant and nearby villages, is evident in its remarkable growth from slightly over 3,000 inhabitants in 1951 to over 11,000 in the early 20th century.

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