Swansea Bay is one of Wales’s coastal gems, with dramatic coastlines, breathtaking scenery, fresh seafood and home to some of the best surfing spots in the UK. There are lots of exciting things to do in Swansea Bay, there are restaurants, coastal walks, piers, castles and more in this beautiful part of Wales, it’s a perfect seaside staycation spot in the UK. If you are thinking of visiting Swansea Bay, read my guide to things to do in Swansea Bay to start planning your perfect seaside getaway.
Swansea Bay Beaches
Swansea Bay includes the dramatic coastline of Gower, which compromises of limestone cliffs, award-winning beaches and surfing spots. There are over 6 miles of award-winning Blue Flag Beaches, coastal walks and stunning cliff top views to be enjoyed here. Even if the weather is unkind [which is often is in Wales], you can still take a stroll in the bracing sea air, stop in a traditional pub or take seaside snaps if you are a keen photographer.
Some of the most popular beaches include Llangennith, Oxwich Bay, Three Cliffs Bay beach and Rhosilli beach. They all have their unique set of characteristics, features and facilities and several of them are dog-friendly if you are looking to take your pooch for a seaside stroll.
Three Cliffs Bay
Three Cliffs Bay beach is home to wild swells, sand dunes and salt marsh. It gets its name from its three limestone cliffs. It’s a particularly photogenic part of Swansea Bay and many people come here to get those perfect Instagram shots. Be warned beach fans, the sea is particularly wild here, so swimming is not generally advised. Why not pack a picnic and admire the scenery instead?
Oxwich Bay is a large sandy beach that is ideal for sunbathing, surfing and swimming. There are lots of facilities nearby, including the stunning Oxwich Bay Hotel and it is one of the easier beaches to get to in this area. It’s also a fantastic beach for an evening stroll, you can also pop in for a cheeky glass of wine at the Oxwich Bay Hotel and watch the sun go down.
Rhossili has been voted Wales’ Best Beach 2018 and it’s easy to see why, it’s 3 miles of sandy beach, it’s also dog-friendly and has the iconic landmark, Worms Head. There’s also the opportunity to spot dolphins and seals if you are really lucky! Remember to bring a decent camera and lens kit if you want to get some amazing wildlife shots!
When I was growing up, Mumbles was most famous for the ‘Mumbles Mile’, a seafront pub crawl, consisting of 26 pubs [that was around a mile-ish], that was a rite of passage for the youth of Wales. You would stumble from one traditional pub to the next supping cheap larger [or blue WKD’s in my case] and hope you had enough money for a bag of chips at the end of the night to sober up. Many of those pubs have now closed and these days Mumbles has moved away from rampant drinking spot to a more cultured, hipster seaside strip.
Now there are art galleries, an artisan Mumbles brewery, boutique shops and high-end cafes. You can take a stroll along the seafront, have a cream tea in a cafe and then call into the Gower Gallery, or purchase a traditional Lovespoon from the Lovespoon Gallery.
One of the most recognisable spots in Mumble is Mumbles Pier, first built in 1898, it is one of Swansea Bay’s most iconic features from the Victorian era. The Pier is currently closed for some much-needed refurbishment but the site is still partially open and you can visit the beach hut cafe, and amusement arcades.
Camping in Llangennith
Llangennith beach is a popular spot for both surfing and camping. The Hill End campsite consists of several flat meadows next to sand dunes. The campsite is an ideal overnight spot for keen surfers as the beach is only a short walk through the sand dunes until you reach a sandy beach with pretty consistent waves. The campsite is well equipped with hot showers, toilets, shop and coffee shop and bistro. The guys who run the site are fairly laid back but won’t tolerate large groups making a racket throughout the night, so if you are looking for all night camping rave, this isn’t the place for you.
If you want to have a drink or two and watch the sunset over Llangennith beach then head up to the sand dunes that border the beach and the campsite and have a campfire with your buddies. There’s nothing quite like a campfire in the dunes, with a few cheeky wines to give you serious summer vibes. Hill End is open from 1st April to 31st October and a tent with up to 3 adults costs £21.00 Sunday – Thursday and £26.00 Friday and Saturday.
Swansea Bay food and drink
Swansea has a growing reputation for culinary excellence, including seafood and many traditional Welsh offerings such as cockles, lamb and laverbread. Microbreweries are also popping up as they catch up with the growing real ale trend in the UK. One of the most well know is Mumbles Brewery who brew ales with local flavours including ‘Mumbles Mile’ and ‘Mumbles Gold’. There are also many traditional pubs, cafes, ice cream shops and fine dining restaurants to choose from in the Swansea Bay area, you are frankly spoiled for choice.
Worm’s Head Hotel
The Worm’s Head Hotel is a brilliant place to tuck into a proper pub lunch in their bar and restaurant and enjoy stunning views of Rhossili Bay. They have traditional pub style menu featuring Welsh seafood specialities such as Penclawdd Cockles & Laverbread and Burry Port Mussels, alongside a daily specials board. If visiting on a Sunday, you can also order a rather filling Sunday roast. Try and bag an outside table if the weather is dry for the fabulous sea views.
If you are looking for classic seaside fayre then head straight to Verdi’s for lunch and an ice cream. This family-run establishment overlooks Swansea Bay and is a fab dining spot to watch the waves. Choose from a wide range of menu options including pizza, pasta, salads, sandwiches and homemade focaccias. The real treat here is the award-winning Italian Ice Cream. There are 30 different flavours to choose from, so why not pick your favourites and create your own sundae?
King Arther Hotel
The rather Instagrammable Kind Arther Hotel also houses a restaurant that serves delicious home cooked food and real ales. Staff are on hand for menu recommendations and banter as you relax in the warming atmosphere. You can order generous portions of typical pub grub that also includes locally caught fish and seasonal game.
Dining at Oxwich Bay Hotel is an experience not to be missed. Dine in gorgeous surroundings in a beautifully decorated dining room with attentive waiting staff. Dishes are contemporary and fresh and typical offerings include Pan Roasted Pheasant, Pan Fried Salmon and Goats Cheese & Vegetable Strudel.
There are many more dining options in the Gower, try delicious Gower Beer Battered fish and home-made chips at the Kings Head Inn, or moreish salt and pepper calamari at the Gower Seafood Hut. Sweet lovers should grab an ice cream from Joe’s Ice Cream or cakes at the Three Cliffs Coffee Shop.
Swansea Bay Coastal Walks
There are many gorgeous walks around the Swansea Bay area, you can join the Wales coastal path following the stunning coastline of the Gower Peninsula, or take a stroll on a beach, or explore nature reserves. One of my favourite walks is Worm’s Head in Rhosilli.
The island is connected to the mainland by a causeway that is only exposed for around two and a half hours before and after low tide. Make sure you check the tide times before you set off unless you want to be stranded for half a day. There’s also a cafe nearby selling hot coffee if you’ve had a rather bracing walk through the sea air!
Several popular walks in the area include Oxwich to Pennard Cliffs, a fairly easy 5-mile walk, Rhossili to Port Eynon a 7.5-mile coastal walk through rugged surrounding and Langland Bay to Caswell Bay, a straightforward 2-mile circular route.
When embarking on any sort of hiking remember to always take proper gear with you. A sturdy pair of hiking boots, plenty of water and take layers that can be added/removed as needed. Also be sure to stick to proper paths and take all rubbish with you, it’s important to preserve the natural beauty of these wild places.
Surfing in Swansea Bay
Llangennith is a picturesque spot to surf in with consistent waves that rival Newquay in Cornwall. There are several breaks around the area to explore with windswells and groundswells in equal measure. Be aware that it can get quite crowded in the surf, so pay extra attention and care, especially if you are a beginner.
If you are new to wave riding why not book a surf-lesson with Big Blue Adventures? These guys are the outdoor specialist in Wales and offer a range of surf lesson options. The lessons take place at either Rhossili Bay or Llangennith Beach and are around 2 hours long, including all equipment, experienced instructor and training on the beach.
You can begin your surf adventure from only £35.00 per person but be warned, once you catch that first wave, you’ll be hooked my friend. If you want to further develop your surfing, surf camps are also available for you to enjoy a full week of surf-lessons and become queen of the waves!
Oxwich Bay Hotel
Oxwich Bay Hotel has the most perfect seaside location for an overnight stay. There is a mix of accommodation available including static holiday homes, hotel rooms, cottage rooms and rather enchanting ‘secret garden’ accommodation. Their ensuite bedrooms can also be upgraded to a luxury sea view room, for stunning views of the coast.
There is a huge range of activities in Swansea Bay and this selection should keep you busy for a long weekend. If you have more time, why not head to Swansea, the beautiful waterfront city that has a lot to offer in terms of culture and cuisine! Visit galleries, museums and restaurants including the Grape and Olive restaurant, a modern bar and eatery that offers 360-degree views of the marina. If you are looking for accommodation in Swansea why not check online with HotelsCombined to get the best deal? Search below!
Book your Wales tour and activities online!
Head to the Visit Swansea Bay website for more information on Swansea Bay, Mumbles and Gower and get planning your ideal Welsh coastal break!
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Many thanks to Visit Swansea Bay for organising and facilitating our stay!