Beside the sea: The best beaches in Wales
With around 750 miles of coastline and more than 150 beaches, 41 of them with the Blue Flag seal of approval, it’s easy to see why holidaymakers are willing to forgo their fortnight abroad for a Welsh staycation. From surf spots to secluded sandy bays, here’s our round up of the best beaches in Wales.
Barafundle Bay, Near Stockpile Quay, Pembrokeshire
This award-winning beach is near the top of most ‘best beach’ lists, not only in Wales but the UK and even the world. In fact, with its soft white sands and crystal clear waters it’s often likened to a Caribbean beach! Being tucked away in a relatively remote spot means there’s little in the way of facilities on the beach itself, but there’s a carpark just half a mile away so you won’t have to carry your picnic, towels and beach games too far.
Barmouth Beach, Gwynedd
If you’re looking for a proper Victorian seaside resort, you can’t do much better than Barmouth, with its donkey rides and arcade games, vintage railway and even a funfair between March and October. Situated on the west coast of north Wales, between the mountains and the mouth of the river Mawddach, the sandy beach falls within the boundaries of Snowdonia National Park and boasts stunning views all round. The old town is worth exploring too, with slate-roofed cottages, a beautiful harbour and the spectacular Barmouth Bridge, opened in 1867.
Broad Haven Beach, Pembrokeshire
Shallow, safe waters and plenty of rock pools to explore - not to mention Blue Flag and Seaside Awards in 2015 - make this sandy beach a firm favourite with families looking for a fun day out. The cliffs that surround it create a number of sheltered bays where you can set up your picnic blanket, and because it’s situated within Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, there are some excellent walks to be had nearby. Just make sure to check the tide times so you don’t get cut off by the incoming waters!
Langland Bay Beach, Gower
You’re spoilt for choice for beautiful beaches in Swansea Bay, Mumbles and the Gower Peninsula. Their variety is renowned, from the jaw-dropping vastness of Rhossili to the superlative views across Three Cliffs Bay. Langland Bay is famed for it’s row of pretty beach huts, this family friendly and fully accessible beach holds both Blue Flag and Seaside Awards, and is one of the cleanest beaches in the Gower. It’s a popular destination with surfers and other water sports fans, and walkers are well provided for too, with an attractive coastal clifftop walk around to Caswell Bay. There’s a lifeguard service on offer between May and September, a car park and toilets just 100m away, and refreshments close by, what more could you want?
Newborough Beach, Isle of Anglesey
Stretching along the edge of the 2,000 acre Newborough Forest and the sand dunes of Newborough Warren - one of the largest areas of sand dunes in the British Isles - this long sandy beach boasts breathtaking views across Caernarfon Bay to Snowdonia, which dominates the skyline. The beach itself is wild, rugged and unspoiled, and is a popular spot for kite surfers and walkers, not to mention photographers.
Rest Bay, Porthcawl
From surfing and wind surfing to kayaking and canoeing, Rest Bay offers sports lovers a wealth of opportunity to work off some of their energy, with low tide is to best time to catch the swells. Beginners are well provided for here - there are surf schools offering lessons and a lifeguard station keeping an eye on everyone’s safety - but beware of straying to close to the rocks on the east side of the beach as the tide comes in.
Tenby South & Castle Beach, Pembrokeshire
With deckchairs, ice cream vans and the picturesque town of Tenby as a backdrop, these Blue Flag beaches are perfect for a traditional day out by the seaside. Tenby South beach has a 1.5 mile stretch of sand so there’s plenty of space to stretch out and catch the sun, while the shallow sea makes for excellent paddling. Take a picnic with you, or venture into the town to try out one of the many cafes, restaurants and pubs offering excellent food all year round.