The Gower is one of South Wales’ big tourist attractions. It’s a peninsular just west of Swansea and was the first area in the United Kingdom to be designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It’s a real mix of rugged coastline, glorious beaches, great views and castles.
I was lucky enough to fly around the Gower last summer so some of the photos in this post will give you a great view of some of the great beaches.
Most of the sandy beaches are on the south side of the Gower:
- Oxwich Bay is a large bay to south side of the Gower and is south-facing. It has ample parking (not free), camping and a small hotel nearby which is great for lunch or a beer. Small boats can be launched from close to the hotel. Being so large the beach can be a bit wind-swept at times but it is a great beach. You can still use the beach at high tide.
- Just east of Oxwich is Three Cliffs Bay (see large photo at top of this post). This beach is smaller than Oxwich but is still quite large. In the centre of the beach are the 3 large cliffs which give the beach its name and are popular with rock climbers. Access to the beach is a little restricted – there is no immediate car-parking. You can reach the beach from Southgate, near to the Pennard Golf Club (don’t park in the Golf Club), or from the Three Cliffs Bay campsite near Penmaen. From both locations it’s a walk which means the beach is often quiet. There are no facilities at all at the beach. The beach is almost totally covered at high tide.
- Going further east from Three Cliffs Bay is Caswell. Caswell too is a fine sandy beach with lots of facilities – especially good if you have kids. There’s car parking close to the beach, shops, food and toilets. The beach isn’t very good at high tide so time your visit well.
- Langland Bay is further east again and closer to Mumbles and Swansea. It’s much more surrounded by housing but has a nice feel to it. It has good paid parking and a nice promenade in front of cute beach huts. The beach is a mixture of sand and rocks which the kids will find interesting. There are toilets, shops and tea-rooms. The cliff walk from Langland around to Caswell is well worth doing and we recently saw seals in the water from the coastal path.
As with all coastal access along the South Wales coast make sure you check the tides. The South Wales coast has some of the largest tidal ranges in the world (15m/50ft) and the tide can come in quickly. Make sure that you have an escape route when the tide is coming in. Many people are rescued every year and some people have drowned having been cut-off.
Check the tides here for Mumbles before you go.
Further along the coast from the beaches above you come to Mumbles. Mumbles is a great place to visit – there’s a nice walk for a mile or more from Mumbles village centre to Mumbles pier and Bracelet Bay. If you are in a car then Bracelet Bay is a good place to park up and admire the view across Swansea Bay and the Bristol Channel. There isn’t any sand in Bracelet Bay though there are a couple of small sandy patches near Mumbles pier.
Mumbles has a large number of shops, cafes, pubs, chip shops and amusement arcades. It’s also home to the great Patricks with Rooms restaurant and hotel. Mumbles Castle is also worth a visit.