Last updated on September 21, 2020
I call it home, others call it the UK’s first ‘Area of outstanding Natural Beauty’ – but whatever you call it the fact remains: the Gower peninsula’s beaches in south Wales are unquestionably some of the best and most beautiful beaches in the UK, if not the world.
Here are a few of my personal favourite beaches on the Gower peninsula, along with some insider advice on where to park, eat and drink nearby – plus plenty of tips on dog-friendly beaches and accommodation in the Gower (hotels, B&Bs, pubs or campsites).
Jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean from Wales’ unspoilt south coast, the Gower peninsula – or ‘Gŵyr’ as it should rightly be called in Welsh – was named as the UK’s first ever official Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. And outstanding it most surely is…
Celebrated for its sprawling beaches, wide open farm land and cosy country pubs, it is a ruggedly romantic destination for anyone in need of some serious time in the great outdoors.
Wind-swept and wave-battered on all three sides, the Gower feels more like an island than a peninsula and you are never more than 20 or 30 minutes away from a beautiful butterscotch beach.
Explore moss-carpeted churches and crumbling castles. Hike the heaths and wade through salty marshes. Ride the waves with surfers and seals and keep your eyes peeled for dolphins and wild ponies.
Hike the famous Wales Coastal Path along rugged cliffs to shipwrecks and secluded coves used by smugglers for centuries.
Polish off a few Welsh cakes and a mug of tea in one of the Gower’s many old-world villages or cosy up with a pint and a log fire in one of the countless country pubs.
But before we get on to the best beaches, let me make one thing clear: the Gower peninsula is so much more than a “beach destination”. It is a place to reconnect with nature and the sea, with yourself and those you hold most dearly to you. Yet it isn’t a place at all. Not a destination but a state of being – a feeling of freedom.
In no particular order, here are what I consider to be the most beautiful beaches on the Gower peninsula in south Wales:
Three Cliffs Bay ~ A Call to Adventure
If I had to pick my favourite beach on the Gower peninsula, Three Cliffs Bay would certainly be a a strong contender.
There’s something about its remoteness, its layers of geological delights: wending rivers, castle-crowned sand dunes, perfect sands and, of course, its iconic cliffs.
Again, Three Cliffs isn’t merely a beach. No, it’s a call to adventure, a place you have to hike through forests to get to, wade through streams to arrive at.
A day out at Three Cliffs is very much about the journey.
Tip: Surprisingly they have lifeguards here in summer, so Three Cliffs is a great spot for family days out. I’d also highly recommend visiting the nearby Gower Heritage Centre, where you can learn about the history and culture of Gower and get hands on with activities like bread-making and pottery classes.
Dog-friendliness: Three Cliffs is one of the Gower’s year-round dog-friendly beaches. And by god do they love it here!
Where to eat & drink near Three Cliffs Bay: Shepherds is something of a Gower landmark. It’s basically an old convenience store / post office where you can buy ice-cream, snacks and drinks to take with you to the beach. There’s also a great pub not far from here call the Gower Inn – one of my old favourites and the perfect spot for a pint to three after a day at Three Cliffs.
Where to park near Three Cliffs Bay: Shepherds also has a carpark where you can pay by the hour (or perhaps it’s by day). You pay inside at the counter. I think they close at around 8pm in the summer, so I guess parking is free from then on (although technically I’m not sure you’re meant to park here then).
Accommodation near Three Cliffs Bay: Parc-Le-Breos is a grand 4-star country house/hotel nuzzled among a rambling Norman deer park. It’s somewhere I’m desperate to stay for an overnight B&B stay, while I’ve heard nothing but excellent things said of their afternoon teas and full restaurant service. Hoping to get a full hotel review published here sometime soon! Shepherds also has a few holiday lets, while the sensational 5-bedroom Maes Yr Haf holiday house/mansion, complete with hot tub, bar and state-of-the-art kitchen, would be ideal for large families or groups looking for a true double deluxe Gower holiday. All five rooms are doubles and have en-suite bathrooms.
Oxwich Bay ~ Possibly the Most Family- & Dog-Friendly Beach on the Gower
With its thatched cottages, old school house and 6th century church, arriving at the village of Oxwich is like arriving at a different world in a very different point in history. And the gorgeous 2.5-mile sandy beach itself is also otherworldly.
Fringed by the reed fields and nature filled woodlands of Oxwich Nature Reserve, which is known for its thriving wildlife, this two-and-a-half mile stretch of golden sands and tumbling dunes is undeniably one of the most beautiful beaches on the Gower peninsula and a long-time favourite of mine.
I’ve always thought of Oxwich as one of the quieter, less-touristy Gower beaches. I go here to avoid the crowds and stroll the sands at sunset.
Generally speaking the water is flat here throughout the summer, making it ideal for swimming, paddle boarding or kayaking.
When the waves are huge elsewhere (typically during the autumn/winter months), Oxwich can be a good place to surf, with small clean waves.
Where to eat & drink in Oxwich: The Oxwich Bay Hotel has a great bar area with great pub grub – I also love sitting in the beer garden with a pint and taking in the views over the beach. There are also a couple of small cafe/take-out style places, although the star attraction is definitely the Michelin-starred Beach House restaurant, which I highly recommend.
Dog-friendliness: Oxwich is one of the most dog-friendly beaches on the Gower, with dogs being allowed on the beach all year-round.
Where to park near Oxwich Bay: Oxwich car park is located right on the beach, making it ideal for people who don’t want to walk too far – some people just drive here and enjoy the views over the beach from their car). It costs a ridiculous £4 to park (it’s actually gone up to £5 at the time of writing but I’m hoping that’s only a temporary “Covid-19 price”). I think parking is free out of the summer season though, so at least there’s that.
Oxwich Bay accommodation: The Oxwich Bay Hotel is located right on the beach and is arguably one of the best hotels on the Gower peninsula – they also have static caravans to let. I’d also recommend the Bay View apartments and/or letting one of the beautiful holiday cottages in the village (I have so many happy memories of summers spent here). Not far from here you will also find Greenways Holiday Park, which is a great place to camp in a tent, caravan/tourer or static caravan.
Llangennith ~ Stellar Sands, Sensational Surf & Village Vibes
I appreciate this is a rather bold statement to make when talking about somewhere to go to paddle and play with buckets and spades, but Llangennith is so much more than a beach.
It’s a lifestyle, a way of life, a way of thinking. And it’s also one of the longest and most popular beaches on the Gower coast.
At its heart, Llangennith is a quiet rural village perched by the sea and surrounded by farm land. But over the decades it’s become a mecca for surfers from the across the UK and farther afield.
The gently-sloping sea bed and slow rolling waves at Llangennith make it an ideal place to learn to surf. And when the swell picks up you will see some of the best surfers in Britain carving and hanging five on the honky peelers.
And then of course there’s the village of Llangennith itself, where local life revolves around PJ’s Surfshop (where you can pick up pretty much everything you could dream of to feed your new surf obsession) and the legendary King’s Head pub (and hotel).
There’s really no better way to spend a summer’s day in the Gower than by going for surf followed by a few beers and a barbie in the dunes, then a few more beers at the King’s Head.
Top tip: Definitely check out my dedicated guide to Llangennith.
Dog-friendliness: Llangennith is a year-round paradise for dogs and definitely one of the most dog-friendly beaches on the Gower. Just be careful you don’t lose your furry family member in the dunes.
Where to eat & drink in Llangennith: The King’s Head is possibly one of my favourite all-time pubs. They have fantastic Welsh ales on tap (I recommend anything from the Gower Brewery) and their pub grub is absolutely spot on.
Where to park in Llangennith: Parking for Llangennith beach can be found right behind the dunes, about a 5-minute walk to the beach. The carpark is owned and operated by the same team behind Hillend Campsite and Caravan Park. It’s currently £5 at the gate to park, which I think is extortionate, so be sure to arrive early and spend a full day here to make the most of it.
Accommodation in Llangennith: Located just behind the dunes, within strolling distance of the beach/surf (and just about stumbling distance from the King’s Head pub), Hillend Campsite is arguably one of the finest campsites in Wales, if not the UK. It can get booked up pretty quickly so be sure to arrive early to secure your spot. The King’s Head also harbours a beautiful 4-star hotel in the heart of the village, and would be your best bet for a more luxurious stay. I also recommend the beautiful dog- and family-friendly Western House B&B, located right in the heart of village, and the 3-bedroom Brynymor Cottage (sleeps 5) if you’re travelling as a family/group and would prefer to book an entire house.
Tip: If you don’t manage to get in at Llangennith’s legendary Hillend Campsite then check out my guide to the best campsites on the Gower peninsula here.
Rhossili Bay ~ Surf & Seals at One of the World’s “Top 10 Beaches”
With its cliffside walks and sweeping elevated views, Rhossili Bay is arguably the most dramatically beautiful beach on the Gower peninsula.
It’s also been voted as one of TripAdvisor’s “Top 10” global beaches, so it’s also the most famous beach on the Gower.
Stroll with wild horses to the craggy island of Worm’s Head and keep your eyes peeled for seals and dolphins dancing in the waves below.
Clamber down the steps and set up base on the broad stretch of sand, or take to the water and surf the beginner-friendly waves, which a sheltered from the wind by the cliffs.
It’s difficult to pick just one, but if you’re visiting the Gower peninsula for just a day or two and only have time to visit one beach, Rhossili might be your safest bet.
Dog-friendliness: Rhossili beach is has been voted one of the most dog-friendly beaches on the Gower by The Times. A fantastic spot at anytime of year.
Where to eat & drink near Rhossili: You’re spoilt for choice in Rhossili. Check out the beautiful Bay Bistro for everything from healthy brunches and coffee & cake to hearty evening meals and local ales – the views over Rhossili and Llangennith from the rear terrace are insane. A burger and a pint at the Worm’s Head Hotel makes for the perfect sundowner, while The Lookout is a fantastic spot for locally-made ice-cream, coffee, pastries, cake and pizza and anytime of day.
Where to park near Rhossili: The National Trust owns and operates Rhossili carpark, which is conveniently located for both the beach and headland walk. You can pay by the hour, although it’s free for National Trust members. There are public toilets too.
Accommodation near Rhossili: I can’t think of a better place to stay on the Gower than the 3-star Worm’s Head Hotel. Epic views and an ideal location from which to explore the peninsula. You’ll also find plenty of charming holiday homes for let, including Little Hill Cottage and Broad Park. Gower Holiday Village is also a great option for families.
Fall Bay ~ Paradise Found
Most people follow the footpath from Rhossili down to the Worm’s Head island and end their hike there. But if you keep following the coast to the left (as you’re facing the sea), you’ll soon find yourself at the secluded paradise beach of Fall Bay.
I walked here recently and watched on in awe as a few lucky locals swam in the crystal waters and stretched out on the pristine sands.
It’s probably a bit far to walk with a full family “beach day setup”, but for minimalist beach goers I’m not sure there’s a more idyllic spot on the Gower than this fern-fringed beauty spot.
Dog-friendliness near Fall Bay: Yep. All year-round, baby.
Where to eat & drink near Fall Bay: Your best bet would be somewhere in Rhossili, but I’d suggest taking a picnic and plenty of water.
Where to park near Fall Bay: Rhossili or at the village hall carpark (apparently there’s an honesty box).
Accommodation near Fall Bay: Rhossili.
Mewslade Bay ~ A Local Secret
Continue on along the Wales Coast Path from Fall Bay and you’ll eventually end up at Mewslade Bay (it’ll take about 30-40 mins from Worm’s Head).
This is a gorgeous little cove at low tide and very much a “only locals know about this spot”, so be sure to respect it and its people. Hopefully I don’t get shunned out of the Gower for sharing it here.
Dog-friendliness: Mewslade is a dog-friendly beach but it’s not the easiest to get to so be careful.
Where to eat & drink: Rhossili.
Where to park near Mewslade: There’s a small field/carpark just opposite a local house/farm with an honesty box (£3 last time I visited). From here you just need to keep an eye out for the gate leading to the footpath that’ll take you to Mewslade beach. It’s not obvious but I believe it is signed.
Port Eynon ~ Smuggler Caves, Camping & Cracking Fish & Chips
With its fantastic facilities, clean blue-flag sands and full lifeguard service, Port Eynon is one of the best beaches on the Gower peninsula for families and visitors who want to camp in comfort.
Port Eynon has that charmingly kitch vibe of all good ol’ fashioned British ‘bucket and spade’ seaside resorts, with plenty of gift shops and places to buy ice cream or fun stuff to mess about with on the beach.
The campsite is fantastic – with static caravans and lodges available to let as well as traditional tent pitches – and located within mere footsteps of the beach.
When I think of Port Eynon, however, the main thing I think of is its swashbuckling history of smuggling and piracy.
Led by brigand John Lucas, a violent Welshman who made a name for himself as a pirate in France, a local gang of smugglers stored their contraband at Culver Hole cave, built into the cliffs just along the coast from Port Eynon.
From here, so legend has it, they would sneak back and forth between the base at the nearby salt house via a series of secret tunnels built into the cliffs.
Stretch out on the sand or grab a fishing net and explore the rock pools that appear at low tide, or take a metal detector and scout the dunes – where Lucas and his band of scoundrels are said to have buried their plunder.
Dog-friendliness: Dogs are not allowed on Port Eynon beach between May 1 and September 30 – but they are allowed on Horton beach at the far end (more on this to follow).
Where to eat & drink in Port Eynon: Port Eynon beach boasts the fantastic Seafarer fish & chip shop, and The Ship Inn is undeniably one of the most charming pubs in the Gower, suitably fitted out with nautical paraphernalia that makes it an ideal place to slosh back plenty of grog and tell a few tall tales of thieving, conniving and skullduggery.
Where to park near Port Eynon Beach: There’s a carpark right next to Port Eynon where you can pay by the hour, which I prefer to the minimum cost of £5 like other Gower beaches. There are toilets here too, though they could do with modernising (to say the least).
Accommodation near Port Eynon: Culvor House Hotel boasts a prime waterfront location and has fantastic apartments for couples, families and small groups. Clover Cottage is a beautiful 4-bedroom property that sleeps 8. Skysea campsite is a fantastic family-friendly site for tents and caravans. Housed in the old lifeboat house, the YHA Port Eynon is a fantastic option for couples, families and groups, with double and quadruple rooms and private bathrooms.
Horton ~ Annexed with Port Eynon but Quieter & More Dog-Friendly
Horton is another Gower beach that I think of as something of a local secret. It is basically the same stretch of sand as Port Eynon, although the village of Horton itself is an entity all of its own.
I say village but it’s more of a hamlet really and there’s little here apart from a few beautiful (and rather imposing) old houses.
Many of these gabled buildings face the sea and boast beautiful ferns and pines in the gardens. I can quite easily imagine this little corner of the world being used as a filmset for an old Agatha Christie murder mystery film.
Horton beach is quieter than Port Eynon, due to its more remote location and limited facilities. In fact, other than the carpark I don’t think there are any facilities at Horton. One of the main RNLI lifeboat stations is located here, so it’s don’t be surprised if you see the boat being rushed down to the water’s edge.
I also have some great memories of surfing some really nice clean little waves at Horton when the swell was too huge to surf at Llangennith or Rhossili. Generally speaking though, the waters are pretty calm at Horton.
Dog-friendliness: You can walk your dog on Horton beach as long as you stick to the sands east from the lifeguard station east (left as you’re facing the water) towards Oxwich (and away from Port Eynon).
Where to eat & drink in Horton: Go to Port Eynon (see above!).
Where to park in Horton: Horton carpark is located mere footsteps from the beach and you can (thankfully) pay by the house.
Accommodation in Horton: Horton is walkable from Port Eynon (it’s basically the same place), so many visitors choose to stay in Port Eynon. Horton also has a few really nice holiday homes available to let, including The Side, Witsend and Swn Y Mor.
Pwlldu Bay ~ A Truly Great Escape
Something of a local legend, Pwlldu beach is one of the most difficult Gower beaches to get to, which also makes it one of the quietest and cleanest.
It’s easily up there with Three Cliffs in my estimation, most definitely one of the “top three most beautiful beaches on the Gower”. If you’re happy to hike a little way to the beach, and don’t mind not having things like chips shops and toilets, then this is a fantastic spot to spend a day.
If you were wondering, Pwlldu – pwll du – is Welsh for “Black Pool” and this interesting little nook is celebrated for its thriving wildlife, ancient woodlands, historic limestone quarries and silver lead mines.
It was also a major smuggling port and, although there’s nothing here now but a couple of old cottages, it once harboured two pubs. Apparently the smugglers would hide they illicit booze in the cellars, always leaving a couple of barrels behind to keep the landlords happy.
Sadly there are no pubs here anymore. No tacky cafes or beach shops, but that’s half the charm. Pwlldu is a beach you castaway to.
Just remember to take a hip flask with some rum and a pouch of tobacco to chew on while you dig for buried treasure.
Tip: Definitely check out my full guide to Pwlldu Bay here.
Dog-friendliness: Pwlldu Bay is one of the Gower beaches where dogs are allowed all year-round. Just remember to take some water and a bowl for them as it’s a bit of a trek to get to even on four legs.
Where to eat & drink near Pwlldu Bay: Take a picnic – plenty of shops and supermarkets in nearby village of Mumbles.
Where to park near Pwlldu Bay: I would highly recommend checking out my dedicated guide to Pwlldu, which includes tips on where to park and maps to help you get to the beach in one piece.
Accommodation near Pwlldu Bay: Located right on Pwlldu beach itself, Ship Cottage was one of the old smuggler-frequented pubs and is now available for holiday lets – it’s got three bedrooms and sleeps 8 people. Within walking distance of Pwlldu (and many other Gower beaches), the New Gower Hotel is a gorgeous boutique Gower hotel would make an ideal base. I’d also recommend Patrick’s with Rooms in the nearby seaside village of Mumble, a great option for foodies and luxury lovers. Also located in Mumbles, within stumbling distance of Langland Bay, Langland Road B&B is a fantastic budget-friendly option within walking distance of Mumbles village and Pwlldu beach.
Brandy Cove ~ Don’t Forget Your Hip Flask
As you may well have guessed from its name, Brandy Cove was another of Gower’s most covert smuggling beaches.
Brandy Cove is just around the corner from Pwlldu, just 30 minutes or so along the Wales Coast Path. Similarly, it’s only accessible on foot, so it remains something of a local secret – even when busy Caswell Bay, just half a mile along the coast, is heaving.
I’d recommend stopping here for a little while en route to Pwlldu. Just keep in mind that there’s not a lot of beach at high tide, and you’ll need your hip flask and sandwiches handy as there’s bugger all here in terms of “facilities”. Again, that’s exactly the charm.
Dog-friendliness: Dogs are welcome at Brandy Cove all year-round, but there’s not really much space for the to run free, even at low tide.
Where to eat & drink near Brandy Cove: Either go to Caswell Bay’s little cafe or take-out hut or take a picnic – there are plenty of shops and supermarkets in nearby village of Mumbles.
Where to park near Brandy Cove: Either park at Caswell Bay and walk from there or near the post office (maps and detailed instructions in my Pwlldu post).
Accommodation near Brandy Cove: Same as Pwlldu Bay above.
Caswell Bay ~ Surfside Cafes & Family-friendly Facilities
Caswell Bay is one of the busiest and most popular beaches on the Gower. At low tide it offers plenty of space (but almost none at high tide), and there’s lots to make life easy for families.
Sip a coffee from the cafe while watching the surfers, or sign up for a lesson yourself with one of the approved local surf schools.
The waves at Caswell can get pretty big in the autumn and winter months – I’ve nearly drowned here myself – but the calm waters of summer are ideal for swimming and learning to surf.
There are also a couple of little shops/take-out huts, as well as toilets and big carpark, making Caswell Bay an obvious choice for families.
Tip: If you get to Caswell and it’s too frantic, which can happen often in the summer, just hit the Wales Coast Path and head to the right (as you’re facing the sea) and you’ll be at the secluded beaches of Brandy Cove and Pwlldu in less than an hour.
Dog-friendliness: Dogs are not allowed on Caswell Bay beach from 1 May – 30 September.
Where to eat & drink at Caswell Bay: Surfside Cafe is a decent option for coffee, sandwiches, salads and cakes. The little huts also do scones of chips and ice-cream. For anything more substantial you’ll want to head back towards Mumbles. I’d highly recommend nearby Castellamare.
Where to park at Caswell Bay: Caswell Bay carpark, right by the beach. I believe you can pay by the hour.
Accommodation at Caswell Bay: The Whiteshell Chalets are located right on next to the beach, although you could stay anywhere in or around Mumbles and Langland (see below for recommendations).
Langland Bay ~ The Legend
Langland Bay is a world unto itself, an exclusive enclave – the “Beverly Hills” of Gower. It’s where the cool kids go to surf, skate and sulk, where adults go to see and be seen.
Langland Bay is where the filthy rich reside, where the ambitious aspire to live. The golf club, the Brasserie, the tennis courts, the beautiful people and their beautiful cars… Langland is an ideal, a benevolent playground for its lucky locals and a somewhat inaccessible, envy-inducing utopia for visitors.
I spent a great deal of time here as a child, thanks to the fact that my dad always used to rent one of the iconic green huts for the summer. I’d sit for hours watching the world going by, occasionally stumbling my way barefoot over the hot concrete to the toilets, an excuse I’d use to go see the skateboarders and surfers who used to hang out by the lifeguard hut. But I never felt part of Langland or that I had any sense of ownership over it. I was, and remain, always on the outside looking in.
But whether you’re in with the Langland gang or not, the beach itself is serenely beautiful. And it’s great for families too, with little beach shops, places to eat/drink, a convenient carpark and toilets.
Just be warned that Langland is one of the most maddeningly busy beaches on the Gower during the summer.
Dog-friendliness: Dogs are not allowed on Langland Bay beach from 1 May – 30 September.
Where to eat & drink at Langland Bay: Surfside Cafe (the little blue building) is a casual spot right on the beach – perfect for coffee and cake/sandwiches if you can get a table on the terrace. Langland Brasserie is a beautiful place for a coffee/beer/wine and lunch/dinner. It’s an immensely popular spot so if you’re lucky enough get a table, whether inside or on the terrace, go for it! If you can’t get a table at either, follow the promenade around the headland (left as you’re facing the sea) to the little bay of Rotherslade, where there’s another small Surfside Cafe.
Where to park at Langland Bay: There’s a carpark right by the beach and I believe you can pay by the hour.
Accommodation near Langland Bay: Langland Bay Manor is an impressive period property overlooking the beach – gorgeous apartments to hire if you can get one. Langland Cove Guesthouse is a beautiful boutique property situated within stumbling distance of Langland Bay. The village of Mumbles is also within walking distance (or 2 mins in the car) so you may want to consider Patrick’s with Rooms, The Carlton Hotel, Tides Reach Guesthouse and Langland Road B&B. Some lovely holiday houses/flats available in Mumbles too, including the 4-bed No.10 and 2-bed flat on Woodville Road.
Bracelet Bay ~ A Blustery Beauty Come Rain or Shine
Bracelet Bay is a rocky affair with barely enough sand to stretch out on in your bikini. But what really makes it special is the views it offers of the iconic Mumbles Lighthouse, which has been guiding vessels into Swansea Bay since 1794.
It’s one of those places you want to head to no matter what the weather’s like. You pop into Castellamare for pizza and wine/beer, or you grab an ice-cream from the historic Forte’s Ice Cream (or the fabled Joe’s Ice Cream in Mumbles) and park up in the carpark overlooking the bay and lighthouse.
Bracelet Bay is en route as you head to or from Mumbles and Langland and Caswell, so I would recommend trying to stop here for quick couple of scoops at sunset.
Bracelet Bay is a must for all visitors who want an authentic Mumbles experience.
Dog-friendliness: Dogs are not allowed on Bracelet Bay beach from 1 May – 30 September, not that it’s the most dog-friendly beach on the Gower anyway, as it’s a bit rocky/pebbly.
Where to park near Bracelet Bay: The pay-and-display carpark next to Castellamare. Often when I go here with my ice cream from Forte’s or Joe’s – or chips from Johnnie’s – I just park up and stay in the car without buying a ticket. Just saying.
Accommodation near Bracelet Bay: Mumbles is within walking distance of Bracelet Bay (or 2 mins in the car) so you may want to consider Patrick’s with Rooms, The Carlton Hotel, Tides Reach Guesthouse and Langland Road B&B. Some lovely holiday houses/flats available in Mumbles too, including the 4-bed No.10 and 2-bed flat on Woodville Road.
Make it Happen
How to get around the Gower peninsula: There is the “Gower Explorer” bus service in the summer, although ideally you’ll want your own set of wheels to explore the Gower properly.
Where to stay on the Gower peninsula: I’d suggest either staying in or near one of the villages of norther Gower (i.e. Llangennith and Rhossili) or in the village of Mumbles (which is south Gower).
Here are some links to help you find: