Brown and White Signs

The Welsh Ministers and their Government are directly responsible for the motorway and trunk roads in Wales. All other roads in Wales are the responsibility of the local authorities.

What are tourist signs?
Tourist signs are distinctive brown signs with white text used to direct drivers to a tourist destination in the final stages of their journey.

How is a tourist destination defined?
Tourist destinations are described as attractions or facilities (e.g. accommodation establishments, activity providers, restaurants, etc.).

If your tourist destination is an attraction, you need to determine its eligibility for tourist signing from the trunk road or motorway.
Facilities may be eligible for signing from the trunk road as well.

Please read the following series of questions, in conjunction with the flowchart and table showing likely costs and then complete the short checklist before deciding whether to submit a formal application.

Is the destination recognised by Visit Wales and a participant of its quality assurance scheme or an alternative that is appropriate to the destination?

  • To be eligible for tourist signing, all tourist destinations must be recognised by Visit Wales
  • Tourist attractions must participate in the Visit Wales Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Scheme.
  • Facilities must participate in the appropriate Visit Wales Quality Assurance Scheme or an equivalent scheme recognised by Visit Wales.  

Is the destination accessed directly from the trunk road?

  • Using the map and information in this table identify the trunk road nearest to the destination. Signing from the trunk road will only be provided if the eligibility criteria are met and the Local Highway Authority (LHA) agree to provide signs on the county road. A destination will only be signed if it is less than 6 or 10 miles from the trunk road. Only attractions will be signed from the motorway.
  • Please note if the destination is accessed from a county road (i.e. a road not shown on the map) the initial application for signs should be made to your LHA.

Does the attraction receive enough visitors?

  • A key factor in determining whether an attraction is eligible for tourist signing is the number of visitors it receives on an annual basis. This table provides details of the minimum visitor numbers required for an attraction to be eligible for signing from a specific type of trunk road. Minimum visitor numbers are lower again for attractions accessed from a Seasonal Tourist Route. The map identifies these routes.
  • Minimum visitor numbers do not apply to facilities but consideration will be given to traffic flow, size of business, etc.

Is adequate parking provided on-site?

  • Adequate parking should be provided at attractions for cars and, if necessary, for minibuses and coaches. Alternatively, adequate public parking should be available in the vicinity and with the permission of the car park operator.

It is important to note that eligibility does not confer an automatic entitlement to tourist signs. Several other considerations must be taken into account including existing sign provision, availability of space for new signs and road safety. The final decision on the provision of signing rests with the Welsh Government. 

There is no cost for making the initial application for tourist signing to the Welsh Government.

Following receipt and agreement in principle of the application, an initial feasibility study will need to be carried out by our trunk road agent. The purpose of the study is to ascertain whether the proposed signs can be accommodated on the section of trunk road identified and to develop an estimate for the cost of constructing the whole traffic signing package.  The cost of the feasibility study will be of the order £3,000 to £10,000 and is dependent on the class of road the signs are to be located on and the signing extent required.  Feasibility will include, as required:

  • Outline scheme and sign design, including production of sign face drawings
  • Environmental screening
  • Geotechnical screening
  • Initial road restraint assessment.

The above list is not exhaustive as different locations may require additional investigation.  If the applicant is happy with the estimate, the cost of feasibility will be included in their final invoice.  If the applicant does not wish to proceed, they will still be liable for the cost of the feasibility study.

Applicants also need to be aware that a commuted cost will be included in the estimate.  The purpose of this is to fund the ongoing sign maintenance costs.

Applicants are often surprised by how much traffic signs cost, because they are not aware of all the work involved in their manufacture and installation.

A simple breakdown of the steps that go into placing a sign within the highway boundary is as follows:

  • Sign Design
  • Risk & Road Safety Assessments
  • Sign Manufacture
  • Site Investigation
  • Traffic Management (cones)
  • Foundations
  • Posts
  • Sign Installation
  • Safety Fencing (if required)

Costs will also be dependent on the nature of the road on which the signs are to be installed and distance to the destination. Larger signs are required on higher speed roads such as dual carriageways and the motorway. More signs will be required on the county road network the further the destination is away from the trunk road.
Indicative costs have been provided in this table to allow applicants to decide if tourist signing is right for their business.

If you are considering making an application for tourist signs, first follow the flow chart and complete the checklist, to establish whether your business is eligible and you understand the likely costs involved if you are successful. 

Please be aware that all details provided to date will be shared with the Welsh Government Transport team and that they will advise directly of their data handling processes and Privacy Notice at the initial point of contact.

Where can I get further information?

Contact details for queries on the guidelines or quality assurance schemes and submission of completed application forms:

Welsh Government
Visit Wales
Rhodfa Padarn
SY23 3UR


Telephone: 03000 622418