The Gower Peninsular – South Wales
The Gower Peninsular is most notably a stretch of golden beaches and hidden coves. But it also has much beauty beyond the coast with its freshwater marshes, woodland, wild moors and picture postcard villages. The Gower was designated Britain’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1956 which has meant that it has been protected and with very little change since has retained all its charm. The tight control on development in the area has ensured that there is very little light pollution, which also ensures that the Gower has the most amazing dark starry skies to camp under.
There is plenty to do here to suit most people of all ages. From visiting the much loved seaside town of the Mumbles (known as the gateway to the Gower), to hitting the surf or to sampling the local food and ales in some cosy Welsh pubs. With all the beaches and sporting options it is an ideal place to explore with families. This extensive guide will provide you with all you need to know for visiting the Gower Peninsular.
Best Beaches on the Gower Peninsular
Langland Bay – Brilliant for Rock Pooling
Langland Bay is a wide bay of golden sand and pebbles backed with traditional beach huts. It is ideal for families as it has all the facilities you need, with toilets, car parking (£5.00 for the day), showers and places to eat. There is a lifeguard on duty in the summer months. Langland is pretty easy to get to being not far from the Mumbles which leads to it being one of the more crowded beaches in the Gower along with neighbouring Caswell. For a quieter patch head over the far end by the Tides Restaurant and the Lifeguard hut.
When the tide is out there are some great rock pools to explore at both ends of the beach where you can go crabbing or catch some shrimp. If your legs are up to it, it is also worth taking the coastal clifftop path and walking around to neighbouring Caswell Bay which is another fantastic beach.
Both restaurants which back the bay are good. The Tides restaurant is the place to head for a lunch time snack or an ice-cream. The more exclusive Langland Brasserie is the perfect spot for a post beach drink or a bowl of mussels.
Langland Brasserie is dog friendly on one section of the patio area but the beach itself is not dog friendly between May and September. If you don’t fancy eating at the restaurant, you can always join the locals and take your portable barbecue down onto the beach and watch the sun set.
Oxwich Bay – Ideal for Paddle Boarding
Oxwich Bay is a long wide crescent shaped beach stretching miles and is backed by sand dunes. It’s easily accessible and has a large car park which charges around £4.00 for the day. The sea here stays shallow and calm for a long way out, making it perfect for families. Although please note that there is no lifeguard on duty. The bay itself is so expanse that it makes it easy enough to find a quiet spot away from the crowds that lazily congregate at the main entrance to the beach.
Oxwich Bay is dog friendly all year round too, making it popular with walkers. Tide permitting, you can walk all the way across to Torbay and Three Cliffs which are also both dog friendly all year round.
If you fancy a go at Stand-up Paddle Boarding (SUP) you can hire a SUP through Oxwich Watersports. If you are looking to learn how to Paddle Board you may be interested in reading about how we got on learning at the River Wye for some beginners tips.
Oxwich Bay is backed by the Oxwich Hotel and the Beach House Restaurant. You’ll get a good meal at the hotel with a great kids menu. We enjoyed the tasty mussels and Thai Green Curry. The Beach House is really something special, much more fine dining with elegant seasonal dishes. Both welcome kids and dogs are welcome outside at both. If you want to take a picnic you can pick up some snacks in the village in the shop and cafe which is just opposite the main car park.
Tor Bay – Our Favourite Cove
It is hard to pick a favourite beach when there are so many gorgeous beaches on the Gower Peninsular to choose from. But if we had to choose, then Tor Bay would be ours. A remote sheltered cove, which sits between the limestone headlands of Great Tor and Little Tor. It is either accessible from Oxwich Bay when the tide is out or through a 20 minute walk from the main road.
The walk itself is nice but it does get steep for the last part and isn’t ideal for little legs which will likely get tired. Its not one for pushchairs so you’ll need a carrier for babies. Cue carrying them up it on a hot day is less than ideal. But it is well worth the effort to get there.
There are no facilities here at all here, which is why it is often so idyllic. You’ll have to take everything you need with you. There is no shop nearby either, so get everything you need before you head off. There is free parking, but there isn’t much parking available so its best to get here early in the summer months. The nearest parking is at Penmaen (Grid Ref SS526884). If you can’t park here there is space to park on the other south side of the road just across the cattle grid a little further down.
Three Cliffs – Perfect for Photographing
Three Cliffs Bay, along with Worms Head (see below) is probably one of the most photographed beaches in the Gower Peninsular. With its three cliffs jutting out into the sea and its sandy bay crossed by the Pennard Pill it is unquestionably a pretty beach.
There have been dangerous rip tides here and so they have recently started to man the beach in the summer months with a lifeguard. As a family we opt not to swim here but choose the neighbouring Tor Bay as mentioned above.
The closest parking is at Penmaen or Southgate. From Penmaen you take the same path as for Tor Bay but then follow the signs for Three Cliffs instead. Otherwise, park at Southgate pay and display and walk from there. As with Tor Bay, there are no facilities here so you’ll need to take everything you need with you.
Rhossili Bay – A Surfers Paradise
Rhossili Bay is a multi-award winning beach and in 2017 was named as the only European beach to make it on the list of Suitcase’s top 10 beaches in the world.
It is located at the most Western part of the Gower Peninsular. Its rocky outcrop known as Worms Head stretches out to sea and becomes an island when the tide comes in. The ‘Worm’ in Worm’s Head actually comes from ‘wurm’ which is Norse for Dragon in Vikings language.
You can walk across to the worm, but you need to be careful of the tides as it gets completely cut off. So if you are going to tackle the walk across to the Worm make sure you check the tide times and let the Coastwatch centre know of your plans. The famous Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, spent one night on Worms Head when he got stranded there.
“I stayed on that Worm from dusk to midnight, sitting on that top grass, frightened to go further in because of the rats and because of things I am ashamed to be frightened of. Then the tips of the reef began to poke out of the water and, perilously, I climbed along them to the shore.” – Dylan Thomas.
Rhossili bay is very popular with surfers. If you haven’t tried surfing before its best to have a lesson before hitting the waves. Its a lot harder than it looks!
To access the bay there are steps from the village of Rhossili. It is a fair walk not suitable for pushchairs, but again its definitely worth the effort. There is a hotel (which I can’t vouch for) and a small cafe and facilities in the village.
Blue Pool Bay – You Can Swim in a Rock Pool
Blue Pool Bay is a small secluded bay in western Gower. The nearest parking is at Broughton (Grid Ref: SS416925). The main reason to visit is to swim in a natural rock pool which is deep enough to jump into from the rocks above. How often do you get to swim in a rock pool?!
The easiest access to the bay is via Broughhton Bay when the tide is at low tide as you can just walk around. Otherwise the bay is completely cut off. You can also access via the coastal path, however it is a steep path to negotiate. Again, as with all the best beaches there are no facilities at the beach. Your nearest pit stop is the popular Kings Head in Llangennith.
Where to Visit in the Gower with the Kids
Apart from the obvious draw of the beaches, there are a host of other things to do in the area. There are plenty of options for sports enthusiasts from coasteering, mountain climbing, mountain biking, surfing and horseriding. Gower Activity Centre have a whole host of activities to choose from.
The Gower Heritage Centre is a rural life museum based around around a working 12th Century water-mill. It’s quite rustic but it makes for a fun half day out. It has an adventure play area, a small animal farm and Wales’ smallest cinema. They tend to run events during the school holidays and at weekends so its worth checking their website here before you visit.
Take a walk and visit King Arthurs Stone at Cefn Bryn. A burial tomb dating back to 2500 B.C. and one of the first sites to be protected under the Ancient Monuments Act of 1882. There are beautiful walks in this area which are at the highest point of the Gower.
You can’t come to the Gower and not visit the seaside town of the Mumbles. Mumbles has all the typical seaside fun of the penny arcades. But it also has crazy golf, Oystermouth Castle and the lifeboat station to visit. There is a nice long promenade to walk along and two good childrens parks. One based on the promenade and one at the end near Castellamare Restaurant and Bracelet Bay. If you’d like to know more about visiting the Mumbles then we have a full list of where to visit with kids in the Mumbles HERE.
What to do if it Rains, which is possible as after all it is Wales
If it is raining, your best bet is to head Swansea way. Here you could visit the National Waterfront Museum which exhibits the history and innovation in Wales spanning back over the last 300 years. Then there is the LC2 Centre. Along with indoor sports and a soft play area it has a fantastic indoor pool complex with slides, a wave pool and a surf zone. If you’re kids are into animals and bugs then visiting the indoor Rain Forest Jungle at Plantasia is a good bet.
Where to Eat in the Gower
The Gower has some fantastic places to eat which showcase local Welsh produce and suppliers. As already mentioned above, The Beach House Restaurant in Oxwich is a must visit. Here you will be served up delicious seasonal dishes, in a relaxed setting with the most magnificent views over Oxwich Bay. Even the house gin is locally sourced from Penderyn Distillery.
The Britannia Inn is a firm favourite for us. This traditional pub serves up hearty pub classics from Beef and Ale pies to Cawl made with local Gower Salt Marsh Lamb. My favourite is the very filling beef pie with shortcrust pastry. There is a nice outside area with stunning views out to the estuary and a play area out the back.
The Rake and Riddle in Penclawdd is also very good. They fully cater for families with a range of snack options to full al a carte. Like the Britannia it has a small play area for kids.
In the Mumbles, there is of course even more to choose from. Patricks, PAs or the Front Room all being good choices. Then there is Joes Ice-Cream which is a firm favourite with locals.
Where to Stay in the Gower Peninsular
Camping is very popular in the Gower. With its dark starry skies you can see why. Luckily there are plenty to choose from. I’ve listed some of our favourites below.
Kennexstone Campsite, a small campsite in Llangennith. It has space for tents, touring caravans, camper vans and some glamping huts. As a bonus there are electric hook-ups for tents. Its a quiet campsite with limited facilities but it makes a great base for exploring the area.
Greenways of Gower Camping in Oxwich is a great choice for families. It has static caravans, fields for tents (no electric) and a club house. It is also within walking distance of the beach. But be warned the walk is on the road and is pretty steep for little legs. The site has some fantastic views over Oxwich Bay. Of the fields for tents there are two quieter fields with no music allowed. It also has a small play area which ideal for little ones. Both campsites are dog friendly and have exercise areas for letting your dogs off their leads.
Skysea Camping sits right on the bay of Port Eynon and is also dog friendly. It is strictly for families with no groups allowed. It also has the benefit from being close to the amenities of the village.
The King Arthur Hotel is a quaint Country Inn with log fires based near Cefyn Bryn in Reynoldston. For families they have a couple of two bedroom, dog friendly self catering cottages right next to the hotel. The hotel has doubles rooms and bed and breakfast is available when booking the hotel rooms. It is a popular wedding venue so its worth checking before booking otherwise you may be bombarded with wedding guests. Doubles from £85. Cottages start from £350 for a short break.
The Kings Head pub in Llangennith also has family rooms available for the night or bookable for the week. It is a very popular pub in the heart of Llangennith. An ideal base for exploring Rhossili, Broughton and Blue Pool. Prices start at £165 per night for a family room and £99 for a double.
If you want somewhere less remote, then Patricks with Rooms in the Mumbles is a good option. Most rooms will take two extra Z Beds for kids up to age 12. They are very family friendly with baby monitors, toys games and kiddies breakfasts available. Prices from £125.
To explore the Gower Peninsular you will need a car. Whilst it only stretches 19 miles long and 5 miles wide it is pretty spread out. Public transport in the area isn’t great for reaching the best spots.
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