Top Beaches in South Wales
As one of the only countries in the world to have an unbroken, waymarked path around its entire 870 mile-long coastline, Wales isn’t short of a stretch of sand or two. Whilst the beaches of Wales aren’t renowned for their pristine white sands and crystal clear waters as one might find in the Caribbean, the nation’s unique charm lies in the abundance of quaint seaside towns, secluded coves, rugged cliffsides, and breathtaking bay views across the shorelines.
From the bustling Swansea promenades and natural beauty of the Gower Peninsula to Pembrokeshire’s mesmerising deep sapphire-blue waters, the southern shores are home to some of the most beautiful beaches Wales has to offer.
Here are our top five recommendations for the best beaches in South Wales:
1. Rhossili Bay, Gower Peninsula
The proud receiver of multiple accolades, the award-winning Rhossili Bay is located at the most western point of the Gower Peninsula and was named the best beach in the UK on TripAdvisor in June 2010. The vast 3-mile long beach is a favourite amongst the surfing community, given its exposure to the brutish Atlantic swell, but you’ll also find many an ambler roaming the surrounding cliffs for the spectacular, sweeping sea views.
From Rhossili Bay, you can embark on stunning walks around the headland that lead to panoramic views of the Worms Head tidal islands; at low tide, beach-goers might be lucky enough to spot the ancient remnants of the Helvetia ship reck of 1887!
2. Barafundle Bay, Pembrokeshire
Only accessible for those willing to make the half a mile walk from the car park, beautiful Barafundle Bay is the epitome of a seaside escape. Barafundle rewards its adventurers with their very own slice of paradise on this charming curved chunk of coastline, with its unspoiled golden sands and shimmering blue waters making the trip well worthwhile.
Once voted one of the best beaches in the world, Barafundle Bay is the jewel embedded in Pembrokeshire’s southern coast that boasts all manner of seaside luxuries. With secluded rocky coves to explore and fun to be had at the rock pools, Barafundle Bay is a wonderful choice for a family day out.
3. Whitesands Bay, Pembrokeshire
Surf’s up! Whitesands Bay is all about living for sand, sea, and surfing. The northern section of the hotspot attracts those keen to learn the ways of the waves; whether you’re a seasoned surfer or brand new to the board, Whitesands Bay holds classes right on the beachfront throughout the summer season! Forget Bondi Beach, the expansive, breathtaking bay offers an untamed mix of fine white sand and rocky promontory but is widely famed for its spectacular sunsets.
Just a stone’s throw away from the infamously tiny cathedral city of St David’s, Whitesands Bay is perfect if you’re looking for a secluded seaside escape but with local nearby amenities.
Offering a tremendous amount of space, its wow-factor rooms will gladly welcome you after a long day’s surf!
4. Three Cliffs Bay, Swansea
Renowned as the UK’s first designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it comes as no surprise that the Gower Peninsula has some of the most unusual and captivating rock formations along its coastline. Three Cliffs Bay, just half an hour from Swansea, is no exception, boasting dramatic crags, salt marshes, steep sand dunes, and the rugged appeal of limestone cliffs and rock pools.
Those who aren’t phased by the wild and windswept conditions of Three Cliffs Bay might enjoy clambering up from the bay to take in the haunting ruins of the 14th-century Pennard Castle or the lighter amusements of an alfresco lunch at this remarkable clifftop location.
5. Tenby North, Pembrokeshire
When it comes to planning an idyllic coastal town retreat, you’ll struggle to find any place better than the welcoming seaside haven of Tenby. At the eastern end of Tenby’s popular north beach, the iconic harbour and lifeboat station can often be spotted in photography of the picturesque town, whilst the obscure natural beauty of the Goskar Rock ascending up through the middle of the sands takes pride of place. Overlooking the beach, Tenby’s charming setting is framed by the rows of pretty pastel-toned Georgian and Victorian houses dispersed along the surrounding clifftops.
Tenby’s close proximity to Cardiff and straightforward accessibility by road or rail makes it one of the finest tourist destinations in Wales for families near and far. With lifeguards on duty throughout the summer and with some of the cleanest water in the UK, Tenby North is a children-friendly beach with plenty of rock pools to explore up and down the wide stretch of sand!
Whether you’re looking for the Welsh-equivalent of Surfer’s Paradise, your next coastal hiking destination, or dog-friendly beaches, the familiar ebb and flow of the tide is never too far away in Wales.