Unmissable Caves and Caverns to Explore in Wales
Rugged peaks and fairy-tale castles aren’t the only draw in Wales. Beneath the country lie hidden caves and caverns that will challenge your perceptions of Cymru. Ready to start exploring? Whether you’re looking for adrenalin-fuelled adventures that will get your pulse racing or family-friendly tours, there’s something for everyone in our roundup of the best caves in Wales.
Mining caves in Wales
Wales has a proud mining heritage and many of its former caverns and quarries have been reimagined as adventure attractions. Here’s a collection of our favourites.
Zip World Llechwedd – Snowdonia
Located in a former slate quarry, Zip World Llechwedd is one of the top-rated caves in North Wales. The exhilarating Caverns zipline course is entirely underground and takes you through tunnels, caverns and chasms. You’ll also encounter rope bridges, tightropes and via ferrata routes along the way. If you want to go caving in Wales, Zip World Llechwedd is a must-visit attraction.
History buffs love the Llechwedd Deep Mine Tour, which brings the slate caverns to life with augmented reality. It starts with a ride on one of the steepest cable railways in Britain. You’ll descend more than 500 feet underground and get a first-hand look at the tunnels where Welsh slate miners worked in the 19th century.
Explore 10 different chambers, including the cavern where the town’s famous Llechwedd Cheese matures for around 14 months. Be sure to pick some up when you’re back in town. You’ll be amazed by the complex flavour of this unique, cave-aged cheddar.
These caverns in Wales are a stone’s throw from the historic mining town of Blaenau Ffestiniog, which was once celebrated as the Slate Capital of the World. Spend an hour or two strolling around the town and checking out the cute shops, cafes and pubs along the High Street.
Sygun Copper Mine – Beddgelert
Slate wasn’t the only resource being mined in Wales in the 19th century. The country was also a copper treasure house. Descend into the Sygun Copper Mine to learn about the Victorian copper boom. It’s one of the most unique caves in North Wales and features veins of the shimmering metal embedded in the rocks. The mine is a short drive from the charming village of Beddgelert, a great base to explore Snowdonia National Park.
The Silver Mountain Experience – Ponterwyd
Guided tours take you deep into a Victorian silver mine and the owners have brought the mines to life with creative themes. Explore the caves from the perspective of a 19th-century miner or add an element of fantasy with a dragon-themed tour.
The nail-biting Black Chasm tour takes things one step further with smoke, strobe lights and plenty of action! It’s definitely one of the best caves in Wales for teens! Above ground, you’ll find an excellent museum and a cute café. Pretty much everything you need for a fun-filled family day out.
Big Pit National Coal Museum – Blaenavon
Another award-winning attraction, the Big Pit National Coal Museum takes you behind-the-scenes of an enormous mine. Tours are led by former miners, which makes this one of the most authentic caves in Wales. At the deepest points of the tour, you’ll be more than 100 metres underground. Wear warm clothes as the mines can get cold! The mine is set in the Blaenavon Industrial Landscape, an official UNESCO World Heritage Site.
You’ll also find some great heritage pubs in the town centre. Here you can enjoy Welsh classics like Glamorgan sausages and ‘cawl’ lamb soup that the Big Pit miners once refuelled with.
A Welsh Coal Mining Experience – Trehafod
Like the Big Pit National Coal Museum, tours at this attraction are run by former miners. This makes it one of the best caves in Wales for history enthusiasts. The mine is located in Rhondda Heritage Park and takes you into the Lewis Merthyr Colliery, one of the many coal mines that once dotted the area. The real highlight are the guides, who entertain you with hand-on-heart stories of their days in the mine.
Go Below – Snowdonia
Based in Snowdonia National Park, Go Below promises a similar experience to Zip World Llechwedd. The family-friendly attraction offers a variety of underground tours featuring activities like zip lining, abseiling and rock climbing. If you’re looking for a Wales caving experience that will wear out the kids, Go Below is a top pick.
Corris Mine Explorers – Corris
Strap on a helmet and descend into a Victorian slate mine in Corris. On this caving in Wales tour, you’ll travel deep into an abandoned mine and explore a network of narrow tunnels and chambers. Antique tools and machinery dot the mine and lend a sense of authenticity to this top-rated attraction. Feeling bold? If you’re travelling with a group, Underground Sleepovers offer a unique chance to spend the night in an abandoned slate mine.
King Arthur’s Labyrinth – Corris
A firm favourite with families, King Arthur’s Labyrinth in Corris takes you on a journey back to the Dark Age. The former slate mine is reimagined as one of the best kid-friendly caves in North Wales. Board a wooden boat and travel along a mirror-smooth underground river hidden beneath the mountains of Snowdonia. Along the way, a mysterious hooded boatman will entertain you with stories of Arthurian myths and legends.
Great Orme Mines – Llandudno
History and industry collide at the Great Orme Mines in Llandudno. The enormous Bronze Age cavern was discovered in the 1980s and proves the Welsh have been mining for more than 3500 years. Unlike some of the modern mines in our countdown, this cavern was carved using tools crafted from stones and bones.
Natural caves in Wales
Wales is famous for ancient castles and postcard-perfect countryside. But what many people don’t realise is that beneath the surface lie incredible subterranean landscapes formed over millions of years. From award-winning attractions to hidden gems, here are some of our favourite natural caves in Wales to explore.
National Showcaves Centre – Abercraf
Set in Brecon Beacons National Park, the National Showcaves Centre is an award-winning attraction. Explore a trio of caverns, including Dan yr Ogof, one of the most beautiful caves in South Wales. Discovered by two brothers in the early 1900s, it features 16 kilometres of underground passageways decorated with otherworldly rock formations.
Thousands of shimmering stalactites hang from the ceiling of Cathedral Cave. It’s so beautiful it’s been nicknamed the Dome of St. Paul’s. More than 40 Bronze Age human skeletons were found in eerily named Bone Cave. Millenia-old jewellery, Roman ceramics and bone tools have also been found in the cave. Not to mention skeletons of bears, wolves and other animals. If you’re an archaeology fiend, this is one of the top caves in South Wales for you.
Another pick for adventure enthusiasts, the natural cave at Porth-yr-Ogof was carved by the River Mellte. Park at the Cwm Porth car park and follow the steep, winding path down to the large cave entrance. Watch your step as it’s often slippery. It’s not safe to venture into the cave, but you are free to admire it from afar.
Henrhyd Falls – Powys
Walk in the footsteps of Batman in the hidden cave behind Henrhyd Falls. It was chosen as Batman’s lair in The Dark Knight Rises and is hidden behind a tumbling, 90-foot-high waterfall. If you’re adventurous and don’t mind getting your feet wet, this is one of the best caves in Wales. Pass through the cascade of water and experience Batman’s lair for yourself.
Ystrad-Ffin – Carmarthenshire
If you’re up for a challenge, seek out the hidden cave near Ystrad-Ffin in Carmarthenshire. It’s close to the tiny village of Rhandirmwyn and according to local legend, is the former hideout of Welsh outlaw Twm Sion Cati. Known as the Robin Hood of Wales, he roamed the country in the 16th century and stole only from the rich.
The cave is carved into Dinas Hill and set within a protected RSPB reserve. To get there you’ll hike through bluebell-blanketed woodlands. Moss-covered boulders conceal the entrance to the cave, so you’ll need to search closely to find it. But if you’re ready for an adventure, it’s certainly one of the top caves in Wales!
King Arthur’s Cave – Wye Valley
Not to be mistaken with King Arthur’s Cave in Corris, this hidden gem in the Wye Valley is the real deal. Hidden in a limestone cliff, this cave has a genuine connection to King Arthur and Merlin the wizard. Geological data reveals the cave was formed around 350 million years ago and has been used by humans since 80,000 BC. It’s one of the only caves in the British Isles with a legacy dating back to the Upper Palaeolithic period, making it one of the best caverns in Wales for history fanatics.
More recently, archaeologists have found fossils of woolly mammoths in the cave. But of course, the main reason people visit is the link to King Arthur. Local legend says the medieval king once used the cave as a hideout from Saxon soldiers. Other stories say King Arthur buried treasure deep beneath the cave floor and enlisted Merlin to protect it with a defensive spell.
Whether you believe the stories or not, King Arthur’s Cave is definitely one of the most interesting natural caves in Wales. Plus, it’s just a short drive from the riverside town of Monmouth, where you’ll find adorable cafes and tearooms.
Sea caves in Wales
Nothing showcases the power of the ocean like sea caves. Below we list some of the top sea caves in Wales.
Bacon Hole – Southgate
This enormous cave on the Gower Peninsula won’t just delight bacon lovers. It also fascinates geology buffs with blood-red streaks of oxide minerals embedded in the rocks. These patterns are what give the cave its unique name. The 20-metre-wide entrance is easily accessible on foot. Most people don’t venture far into the pitch-black cave before getting spooked and turning around. And if you visit in the winter, you’ll see bats hanging from the cave ceiling.
Bacon Hole is a short drive from the village of Southgate, where you’ll find some charming cafes, pubs and B&Bs. And yes, there’s plenty of scrumptious bacon to be had too! Just be sure to check into a B&B that offers full cooked breakfasts with all the trimmings.
The Witches’ Cauldron – Moylegrove
Known as Pwll Y Wrach in Welsh, The Witches’ Cauldron is a collapsed crater filled with turquoise water. It’s easy to access via the Ceibwr to Pwll y Wrach section of the well-marked Wales Coast Path. Park your car at Ceibwr Bay, then follow the clifftop path to the crater. Look out for seals splashing in the water below too.
Porthmynawyd Beach – Pembrokeshire
Fancy breaking up a day of caving in Wales with a swim? Set on beautiful St Brides Bay in Pembrokeshire and framed by soaring cliffs, Porthmynawyd Beach is home to a hidden sea cave that’s revealed at low tide. Follow the scenic footpath from Pointz Castle Farm down to the beach. The cave is on the eastern end of the beach, though you’ll only be able to visit it at low tide.
Cwmtydu Beach – Ceredigion
Hidden caves dot Cwmtydu Beach, which was once a hideout for smugglers. Today the beach is commandeered by seals, which flock to mate on the beach in September and October. Bring binoculars to watch them from a safe distance. Mums can be defensive if you get too close to their pups and bulls can be aggressive during mating season. Check the tides before you go – most of these sea caverns in Wales only appear at low tide.
Dinas Bach and Dinas Fawr – Llyn Peninsula
Looking for natural sea caves in North Wales? Set on the Llyn Peninsula, Dinas Bach and Dinas Fawr are a welcome change to the slate mines you’ll see peppered across North Wales. At low tide you can walk out to both of these caverns in Wales and marvel at their natural contours.
Nick, your trusted guide to Wales travel and exploration, shares a deep passion for this enchanting land. With years of exploration, Nick offers expert insights into the best of Wales. Join him on a journey through its captivating history, culture, and hidden gems, as he inspires you to create unforgettable Wales travel experiences.