The Best Beaches In South Wales – Tried & Tested
Nothing beats a trip to the beach, fresh air, beach combing, building sandcastles, or just watching the waves crash on the shore. Here we take you to some of the beaches we have visited along the South Wales coast, all with their own degrees of awesomeness.
Don’t forget the Beach Activities and Games For Kids ideas!
Aberthaw beach is overlooked by a huge power station which gives the beach quite a futuristic feel. The beach itself is an exploring beach rather than one to sunbathe and swim at, at low tide it has an expanse of rocks and pebbles with plenty of rock pools which are rich in fossils.. The features that attract us to this beach are the huge square concrete blocks which run along the pebbles separating farmland from the sea, these are fab for the kids to climb on and run along. There is also a sea wall which runs for a few miles that the kids enjoy walking along, there are ladders along it to enable you to climb down onto the pebbles and if you follow this for approximately 3/4’s of a mile parallel to the power station you will come to a fab secluded sandbank..your very own mini beach. There are two large water cooling outlets for the power station in the sea which makes for a little education for the kids. Parking is free. There is a path which runs along the back of the sea wall which is ideal for buggies, bikes etc but the wall blocks out the view of the sea. Aberthaw is ideal to visit for a few hours. Map location here.
2.Nash Point Lighthouse
Nash Point lighthouse makes for a fantastic walk, the lighthouse and foghorn station are free to walk around the grounds but you can also visit the inside, visitor information here. There is a carpark on the top of the cliffs next to a small shack where you can buy ice creams, hot drinks and cake. There is a small charge for the carpark. Next to the cafe you will find a path that leads you down to the beach cove. Nash point beach is rich in fossils and quartz and is ideal for a spot of rock pooling. The beach itself is not accessible with a buggy or wheelchair but the light house is ideal with a hard path surrounding it. The views from the light house and surrounding cliffs are stunning. Map location here.
3. The Knap
The Knap is a pebble beach fantastic for finding fossils, it’s predominently pebbles but when the tide is out you will find some patches of sand for castle building. There is a long run of parking that runs along the shore overlooking the sea and just a few steps from the actual beach. It’s an ideal place for bikes and scooters with a vast amount of traffic free space to ride on. Parallel to the beach is a small lake with an abundance of swans you can walk around. There is also a free skate park. The car parking is free and there are toilets and a small tea van serving hot drinks and lots of yummies. Although the beach itself is inaccessible to wheelchairs due to the pebbles the location is ideal for wheelchair users and buggies given the closeness to the shore and the ample hardstanding to walk along. Its also a fab place to watch planes taking off and landing with the airport close by. The Knap is just 5 minutes away from Barry beach which is an ideal combination for a day out.
Porthcawl is a very large Sandy beach with a huge promenade to walk along. Alongside the beach is a funfair and lots of ice cream outlets, souveneir shops and penny arcades. It’s very traditionally ‘kiss me quick’ but this can be avoided by heading to the other end of the beach. There is also a harbour which has a nice walk out to the lighthouse. This is a great place for wheelchair users and buggies and is a lovely place to take a walk with a bag of chips and watch the sea. There are toilets at the funfair end and if you head towards the town (just a few minutes away) you’ll come to a huge play park, a golf putting green and a bowling green. You can park along the seafront for a small charge in the pay and display machines, or find some free parking if you’re lucky. (This is an ideal place to stop off before heading 5 minutes up the coast to Rest Bay)
5 Bracelet Bay
Bracelet Bay is a small bay on the south of the Gower Peninsula. It is the first bay you come to after leaving Swansea Bay and around Mumbles Head. It’s surrounded by limestone cliffs and the bay is pebbly, with some patches of sand. There is a great tunnel cave to the left of the beach that can be accessed when the tide is out and lots of rock pools. You can park the car overlooking the sea with a fab view of the lighthouse for a small charge. Adjacent to the car park is a fab children’s play park and a large cafe that serves food and drink that you can take away. Map location here.
Rhossili is a small village and community on the southwestern tip of the Gower Peninsula in Swansea. It’s within an area designated as the first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the United Kingdom and you can absolutely see why, the beach is vast and golden sands. There is parking ( small charge)which overlooks the beach and from here you can either walk down onto Rhossili or head to the Worms Head (see further down). The walk down to Rhossili is pretty straight forward but little legs will probably be tired coming back up, it’s managable with a buggy although it may require an extra pair of hands to pass over a band of shingle and pebbles at the bottom. There are some steps so it may be a little tricky with a wheelchair although the adjacent Worms head has a fab walk with stunning views that is suitable for wheelchairs. (although you will not be able to cross to the island).
At low tide you can discover an old shipwreck protruding from the sand and you will often see seals and dolphins in the water. This is a fabulous beach to take a rake to and do a spot of beach art before climbing back to the top of the cliffs to view your art.
There is a pub which serves lovely food with a sea view balcony and also a cafe which sells ice creams, buckets and spades etc. There are also public toilets in the car park. Map location here.
Llangennith is a vast sandy beach to the opposite end to Rhossili. There is an island which is accessible at low tide which has an old hill fort on it. Map info here
Ogmore boasts of several different attractions, it is adjacent to Ogmore castle which is a ruin free to enter which sits on a river with some fabulous stepping stones for the kids to walk across. You can park at Ogmore beach which has a lifeguard station, public toilets and usually an ice cream van. Parking requires a small charge but you can park with a sea view right in front of you. The beach itself is a mixture of awesome pebbles and great stretches of sand when the sea is out. There are lots of rocks to climb on and ample rock pools. There is a hard path which runs from the lifeguard station which enables wheelchair users and buggies access to the beach. Map location here.
9. Llantwit Major
Llantwit Major is a great spot for clambering over rocks, rock pooling and fossil hunting. There is a free carpark that overlooks the beach which is mainly pebbles but some patches of sand can be found to build castles when the tide is out. There’s a small cafe and tuck shop which sells ice cream and hot drinks to take away. The food is reasonably priced and very homely. There are a few coastal paths which run up onto the cliffs, if you head up the one behind the lifeguard station you will be able to walk along to Tresilian, a fab secluded pebble cove. Map location here.
Tresilian can be accessed via the coastal path from Llantwit Major. The walk boasts of stunning views of the coast and in the summer is littered with meadow flowers. It is not accessible to wheelchairs or buggies but is suitable for little legs.
Map info here.
11. Fishguard Bay
We stopped off at Fishguard Bay whilst driving through, we stopped by the Ocean Lab and played in the play park which is adjacent to the beach, The beach was a mixture of sand, shingle and small pebbles, There’s a nice hard-standing walk way/sea wall barrier which enables you to walk out over the sea. We need to go back and explore some more.
Map location here.
12. Abereiddy & the Blue Lagoon
Abereiddy is a hamlet in the county of Pembrokeshire, in south-west Wales. It has a small beach which was awarded the Blue flag rural beach award in 2005. A large car park adjoins the beach, where in the summer an ice cream van can usually be found. You can all up onto the coastal path which takes you to the stunning Blue Lagoon which is nestled in the adding cove. Map location here.
We stopped off at Tenby one early morning to watch the sun come up, we didn’t really but intend to go back because from the little we saw it was very appealing…please find more info in this visitors guide. Map location here.
14. Burry Port Harbour
Parking was free at Burry Port Harbour. Lovely views and a stunning range of golden sand beaches it’s also a great for crabbing off the harbour walls. There’s a small lighthouse which you can walk around and the beach and harbour are pushchair and wheelchair friendly. There is usually an ice cream van in the car park which doesn’t charge an arm and a leg. Map location here.
15. Pembrey Country Park
We stumbled upon Pembrey Park by accident and it was a great find. The car parking was April to September – £5 per vehicle, October to March – £2.50 per vehicle, but absolutely worth every penny. The country park has ample woodlands to explore, fab adventure play parks, a miniature railway, dry ski slope, toboggan ride, crazy golf and a cafe. All along with a coffee kiosk and ice cream outlet nestled in the dunes of a fantastic and huge sandy beach. There are nature trails through the woods too. Find more info here. Map location here.
16. Dunraven Bay
Dunraven is possible one of the best hidden gems on the south coast,it is a great mix of sand and pebbles, there are ample rock pools when the tide is out and lots of fossils to be found and vast amounts of sand.. Adjacent to the beach Dunraven park ruins-a fabulous set of walled gardens, a pavilion, woodlands and a tower to explore. From here you can take the coastal path (which is stunning in the Summer months with an abundance of wild garlic) to a more secluded beach which in rainy weather has a cliffside beach waterfall. The park ruins are accessible from the car park for buggies and wheelchair users.
There is a cafe shack in the car park and the coast heritage visitors centre is a fab place to pop into with the kids. There is a small charge for car parking and there are also public toilets. Even when the tide is in Dunraven is a lovely place to visit to watch the waves crashing on the rocks. Map location here.
17. Rest Bay
Rest Bay is at the opposite end to Porthcawl and is a haven for surfers, It’s a very accessible beach for wheelchair users and buggies and a great place for scooters and bikes, there is a hardstanding boardwalk that runs parallel to the beach for approx 1.5 which then ends but you can walk further on foot along the sea shore and farmland. The beach itself is a mixture of pebbles and vast amounts of rocks which are fab for climbing and rock pooling, and awesome sand for digging in when the tide is low, there are ample mini rock coves with pools of water to sit by.. There is a lifeguard station and surf schools and a cafe which sells ice cream and takeaway hot drinks with public toilets. There is a small charge for car parking. Map location here.
Take a look at what happened when we went to Rest Bay Looking for Love with Chalk Pens.
We also found these amazing Natural Ocean Foam Pools at Rest Bay!
18. St Govans Chapel
St Govans Chapel is just all sorts of awesomeness. Parking is on the clifftop and is free. From here it is a few minutes to reach the Chapel which is nestled in a cove filled with boulderous rocks. You walk through the chapel (which is free and always open) and come to a fab cove to explore. The Chapel has a sea view and has some lovely grass patches to picnic on. Alongside the cliffs that surround the chapel is a coastal walk to the left of the car park with stunning views of the rocky and rugged coastline, there are lots of wartime plane markers bunkers etc and St Govans head.
19. Pendine Sands
Pending Sands is a great beach to explore when the tide is out, with lots of rock pools and nooks and crannies to explore in. The beach is rich in large sea shells and has a huge stretch of idyllic sand. There is a souvenir shop and cafe that sits overlooking the beach and a play park at the end of the promenade adjacent to the carpark with the cafe in. You can head up onto the coastal path which takes you onto the cliffs and gives you stunning and rugged views of the coastline.
Map location here.
Amroth is a predominently pebbled beach when the tide is in but a great sandy beach when out. The beach stretches the whole length of the village and at extreme low tide you can still see the petrified forest, destroyed when sea levels rose 7000 years ago, it’s great for fossil hunting. It has a road with a pavement that runs along its entirety which is ideal to amble along and is suitable for buggies and wheelchair users. There are a few shops to buy ice creams and souvenirs and places to purchase takeaway beverages. Map location here.
Saundersfoot is a great place to explore, the beach itself is surrounded by a small town which is popular with seaside tourists. There is a great harbour with lots of boats which you can wall around via the harbour/sea wall. Even when the tide is in it is the perfect place to go to to eat a bag of chips and admire the sea. You can park with a sea view from your car window. Saundersfoot is an ideal location for scooters, buggies and wheelchair users. Map location here
22. Barafundle Bay
Barafundle is pure idyllic beauty and you may even feel you’ve discovered paradise. It is accessed via the coastal path which runs from Stackpole. We took a buggy with us and although we had to carry the buggy up a run of steps to bring you to the top of the coastal path, once passing these we were able to push the buggy. It took us approx 20 minutes to walk to the secluded Bay of Barafundle. Once there the sand is vast, golden in the sunshine and clean from anything to take away it’s smooth canvas apart from the odd shell and trail of footprints.
The car park is owned by the National Trust and has a charge for parking. There are public toilets. Map location here.
We drove past Manobier on a road trip along the coast, i stopped to take a few snaps from the beach whilst we drank a flask of tea. The beach seemed good for the kids to explore and beach comb for pebbles and shells. Modern day Manorbier is a tourist spot and a surfing site. Attractions in the village include Manorbier Castle, and a beach in the cove about half a mile to the south west of the village. Manor bier lies in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path. You can find more info about the castle here. Map location here.
24. Freshwater West
Freshwater West was another beach along the coast which we stopped at to admire from afar with a flask of tea, There looked to be ample rugged rocks containing rock pools, lots of sand dunes and a ;are expanse of sand to play on.
Map location here.
25. Little Haven
Little Haven was a lovely cove which we stopped at whilst the tide was in. Although we did not get to go on the beach which looked fab for rock pooling, we were able to walk out on a path to the end of Point Road we sits on the sea when the tide is in. This is wheelchair and buggy friendly. When the tide is out there is lots of sand and you can walk around to other beaches. Please be aware of the tides. There was a pub overlooking the beach. Map location here.
26. Nolton Haven
Nolton Haven is a hamlet halfway along the coast of St Bride’s Bay in Pembrokeshire, Wales. It is included within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. We stopped off as we drove through, the beach is and quiet. In the winter it is a fab place to find vast amounts of icicles. Map location here.
27. Worms Head
Worms Head is a fantastic tidal island governed by the sea, it’s the perfect spot for a pirates adventure. When the tide is out you can cross over a rock pool filled causeway to explore the island. On the banks you will be able to spot seals that congregate there. There is a natural bridge on the Island which you can cross and keep your eyes peeled and ears open to hear the sounds of the islands natural blow hole that eerily sends out noise. During the right conditions the blow hole is heard to emit impressive boomings and hissing; in fact, there is an old Gower saying – “The old Worm’s blowing, time for a boat to be going”.
This was a favoured spot of famous welsh poet Dylan Thomas whom is said to have sat on the grasslands of the worms head for inspiration in his writing. Please be aware of tide times before heading out to ensure you do not get stranded by the incoming tide.
Worms Head crossing times can be found here.
Parking is charges are roughly £4 in the National Trust car park. Worms Head is an ideal combination with Rhossili and makes for a very full day out. Map location here
28. Whiteford Sands
Whiteford Lighthouse and Cwm Ivy Tor are located on the coast at Whiteford Point near Whiteford Sands, on the Gower peninsula, south Wales. The lighthouse is the only remaining cast iron lighthouse surrounded by the sea in the United Kingdom. It was built in 1865. The tower is 61ft high and made up of eight courses of cast iron plates. The light was extinguished in 1921. When the tide is out you are able to walk up to and around the lighthouse. It’s strangely beautiful. Our walk took us through a forest, over marshlands and onto the beach, find more of the route we took here.
Map location here
29. Three Cliffs Bay
Three cliffs bay offers some spectacular scenary, We started our walk outside Shepherd’s shop on the main road (A4188) next to the Gower Heritage Centre and followed the signs for Three Cliffs bay. You’ll need wellies as it was quite muddy in places.
There was a small charge for car parking which was payable inside the shop.
Penmaen Woods, A4118, Swansea, SA3 ,Wales
Our walk took us along the river through woodland and over marshy sandbanks until we came to Three Cliffs Bay. The beach was a beautiful cove with some awesome stepping stones but was quite difficult to navigate yourself and the kids over the muddy banks and water ways, the sand was very soft in places and left me feeling a bit uneasy with the the children….but they had a fab time exploring their surroundings.
We’ll definitely return when the weather is drier and would expect it to feel a lot safer in the Summer months.
There was plenty of opportunities to explore with a Pennard castle ruins overlooking the valley and access to adjoining beach coves. You can see more of our walk here. Map location here.
Additional beaches that have been highly recommended by our followers include:
Oxwich Bay is a bay on the south of the Gower Peninsula, Wales. Its landscape features sand dunes, salt marshes and woodland. Oxwich Bay includes a 2.5-mile long sandy beach, accessible from the village of Oxwich. Map location and more info here.
Langland Bay is a popular coastal holiday resort in Gower, Swansea in south Wales. It is a popular surfing beach which regularly meets the European Blue Flag award for quality Map location and more info here.