The Gower Peninsula is a jewel in the Welsh crown with a wealth of natural scenery and the countries best beach, Rhossili Bay. Here’s how to see the best of the Gower Peninsula.
The Gower Peninsula mesmerises.
Stunning coastal walks to intimate beaches reveal towering rock formations on stretches of golden sand. Humble villages host the spectrum of epicurean delights boasting quirky food shacks and Michelin starred nosh. Mystic ley lines connect legendary sites with dubious tales, while Rhossili Bay Beach bewitches all who lay eyes on it.
Beginning at the point where Swansea stumbles into Mumbles, narrow single-track lanes form a twisty network of connections to sites spread along the western half of the region. With most of the accommodation options centred around Mumbles, the Gower Peninsular is not a place to explore without a car.
But if you’re equipped with a good SatNav and blessed with patience, the end of long narrow country lanes will reward with epic scenes, exhilarating adventures and perhaps the odd Welsh cake.
Here is our guide to the best things to do on the Gower Peninsular, our tips on where to stay, what to eat and how to make the most of this beautiful slice of Wales.
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IN THIS GUIDE
BEST THINGS TO DO ON THE GOWER PENINSULA
RHOSSILI BAY BEACH
THE BLUE POOL
KING ARTHUR’S STONE
THREE CLIFFS BAY
THE GOWER SEAFOOD HUT
LAZE ON MAGNIFICENT RHOSSILI BAY BEACH
Often voted one of the best beaches in the UK, the golden sweep of sand at Rhossili Bay Beach stretches for 3 glorious miles. Backed by dunes and overlooked by 200-metre-high hills and jagged sea cliffs, it is a stunningly scenic part of the Gower Peninsula.
At high tide a thin ribbon of sand reaches along the grassy banks. As the tide retreats a 400-metre swathe of sand is revealed providing one of the most idyllic beaches in the UK. Even in the height of summer, Rhossili Bay beach never seems fully packed thanks to its sheer scale.
The whole area is owned by the National Trust, so the beach is pristine, and the facilities are kept a short (but very steep) 5-minute walk away in the village of Rhossili. Here you can find toilets, a visitors’ centre, a collection of cafes, pubs, and the car park.
Lookout Café is a good option for ice cream and brunch (or both), and pizza in the afternoons. The Bay Bistro and the Worm’s Head pub both have great spots overlooking the view.
The car park is big and overflows into fields. The National Trust do a good job of opening up new spaces as required, but with increasing numbers holidaying in the UK, set off early on peak holiday days. The roads approaching Rhossili are single lane with passing places so take your time.
The cost for parking is £6 for the day or £3 for two hours. It’s free to NT members. Alternatively, hop on the 118 bus (every day but Sundays).
HIKE ACROSS TO WORM’S HEAD
The headland next to Rhossili Bay Beach is rough, rugged and beautiful. An easy 15-minute stroll to the Old Coastguard Station through flower-strewn meadows with clumps of yellow gorse, offers excellent views of Rhossili Beach and waves crashing into craggy cliffs.
From the station you stare across at Worm’s Head, a dramatic promontory reaching out of the water. At high tide the rising seas cut it off from the mainland, but as the tide retreats a slither of land allows access on foot.
Time your visit with low tide and you can walk over the causeway to Worm’s Head where a thin trail rises and falls over the rocky promontory.
The causeway is great for rock pooling and the trail over the undulating promontory is glorious with plenty of opportunities to spot birds, seals and perhaps dolphins out at sea. But give yourself time as both can be slow going with rough conditions underfoot and some scrambling required.
If you don’t fancy going out to the headland, complete the Rhossili Headland Walk (1 hour) which goes past Fall Bay – one of the best beaches on the Gower for losing the crowds.
Crossing the Causeway to Worms Head can only be completed during the 2.5 hours either side of low tide (5 hours in total). Safe crossing times for each day are posted at the Rhossili car park and at the Coastguards hut next to the causeway.
Walking to the end of Worm’s Head and back takes about 4 hours (although the final Outer Head is closed March to August to protect nesting birds). Try to cross the causeway as soon as the water clears and make sure you keep an eye on the time to get back before it’s covered again. You don’t want to be one of those people that has to be rescued!
TAKE A DIP IN THE BLUE POOL
There’s another magnificent beach just around the northern headland of Rhossili Bay called Three Chimneys. It’s completely covered at high tide, but at low tide, a lovely swathe of sheltered sand is surrounded by cliffs with an imposing natural arch at one end.
The special thing about Three Chimneys is the Blue Pool, a natural bathing spot formed out of the rock backing onto the beach. As one of the best rock pools in Britain, it’s the perfect spot to relax and watch the sun go down. There are no facilities, so you’ll need to bring your own supplies if you want to enjoy a sundowner.
But on a warm, still evening it’s perfect.
Park at Broughton Farm Car Park (free but with limited parking) and follow the signs to Blue Pool. It’s a lovely 20-minute walk along the headland but it requires a slightly tricky scramble down to the beach at the end. During summer days, Gower Crêpe Van should be set up in the car park.
LEARN TO SURF AT LLANGENNITH BEACH
The Gower Peninsula is one of the best places in the UK to surf. Its wide sloping sandy beaches are pounded by mighty rollers courtesy of the Atlantic Ocean. While there are many beaches from which to catch the waves, experts say (not us) that the most consistently good break is found at Llangennith.
It takes a while to paddle out, but the reward is long left and right rides all the way to the beach.
If you’re a beginner and the swell is a little too rough, head south along the sands to the more protected Rhossili Beach. For a little more adventure head north to Three Peaks. It can get busy at peak times, but the beach is so big you can almost always find your own space.
For those that already have a handle on the art of surfing, you can rent wetsuits and boards from PJ’s Surf Shop in Llangennith village. But if you don’t have a clue (like us), then you’re researching the right spot to learn. Progress Surf School run half-day and full-day lessons at either Llangennith or Caswell Bay depending on the conditions.
The best place to park if you are surfing at Llangennith is at Hill End Car Park (£5 for the day). There is a large campsite here and a beach café. After a long day on the waves, the beer at King’s Head Inn in the village is hard to beat.
TAKE A BREAK AT OXWICH BAY
To slow down your Gower Peninsular itinerary, we recommend exploring sleepy Oxwich Bay.
Oxwich village feels a bit like a world that time forgot. Thatched cottages surround an old schoolhouse and a church that’s been a place of worship since the 6th century. The 2.5-mile beach is backed by grassy dunes and the Oxwich Nature Reserve, which is teaming with local wildlife.
Perched at the end of the beach is the Oxwich Bay Hotel, with tables perfectly positioned to take in the acres of sand in front of you while you enjoy a sunset beer.
For a special treat, the Beach House Restaurant has a menu that revolves around locally sourced, seasonal Gower produce set in an old stone building in a prime position right on the sand. Unfortunately, we didn’t get time to try it on our last visit but it’s definitely on the list for next time.
The Beach House Restaurant can get very busy so book as far in advance as possible. There is parking available at Oxwich Car Park which is £5 for the day.
WALK IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF SMUGGLERS AT CULVER HOLE
The Gower Peninsula is full of hidden coves crammed into towering cliffs battered by stormy seas. During the 18th and 19th centuries, smugglers and rogues would risk life and limb to bring illicit cargo onshore via these inhospitable places.
One of the most famous is Culver Hole, wedged in a rocky ravine near Port Eynon. It’s a large cave sealed by a 60-foot stone wall, dotted with small windows and nesting boxes. The cave was originally built as an elaborate dovecote in the 14th century, but 500 years later it gained notoriety as a popular hiding place for smugglers.
Many believe a network of secret passages connecting the now ruined salt mine at Port Eynon with Culver Hole were used by both smugglers and pigeons. Today you can make the journey on the short walk from Port Eynon, where you will find the lovingly refurbished Ship Inn serving locally brewed Gower Ales.
To reach Culver Hole, park at Port Eynon car park (next to the Caravan Park) and follow the path marked on the map at the end of this article. The walk is 1 kilometre and takes about 15 minutes. You can see Culver Hole from the path, but to see it from the beach below, you’ll need to do a tricky scramble at low tide.
CHECK OUT THE VIEWS FROM KING ARTHUR’S STONE
King Arthur had a bothersome stone in his shoe, so he threw it from Carmarthenshire to Reynoldston, a distance of around 37 miles. By the time it arrived, it had morphed into the giant balancing boulder now known as King Arthur’s Stone. More remarkable is the scenic location at which it landed.
From the parking lot just east of the village of Reynoldston you are already rewarded with some of the finest views in the area. On a clear day, Devon and Exmoor can be seen to the south and the dramatic Pembrokeshire coastline to the north.
But Arthur’s Stone is just a stone’s throw from the carpark and as the highest point of the ridge, the views are even better. In keeping with the mystic vibes, there is also a Neolithic burial chamber nearby.
In town, the King Arthur Hotel is a great place to warm up on a cold day with reclaimed timber interiors and original stonework. On a nice day, the lawn is a great place to relax.
EXPLORE THE THREE CLIFFS BAY
While Rhossili Bay beach is the best for lazing about, Three Cliffs Bay is superb hiking territory. Its best seen at low tide when the wide sand beach of Pobbles Bay is exposed under the three iconic limestone cliffs. Explore the tidal pools around the base of the cliffs and walk through the sea arch.
It’s a stunning scene and one of the most popular photography locations on the Gower Peninsula.
As the tide comes in, it quickly covers the sand. Retreat up into the top of the dunes where you’ll find the 13th century Pennard Castle. It sits attractively as a ruin on the top of the hill, with the river winding through the lovely green valley below.
At all times the views across the rugged headlands with windswept dunes and half-concealed beaches are magnificent. It’s a great half-day of adventure and exploration.
Park at the National Trust Southgate Car Park and head west along the coastal path to Three Cliffs Bay. Alternatively, park at one of the 15 or so spaces at the Shepherds Café in Parkmill (£3 for the day but no parking after 7pm). Aim to visit around low tide.
SNACK AT THE GOWER SEAFOOD HUT IN MUMBLES
Mumbles is the seaside town of Swansea. It has a decent castle, some nice gardens, a pier and backs onto lovely Langland Bay. But the best reason to come here is for the Seafood Hut.
Housed in nothing more than a horse float on Mumble’s promenade, they have been frying little bits of fish since 2017. You’ll find whatever’s fresh from plaice goujons and fried whitebait to crumbed squid, as well as cold specialities like cockles and dressed crab.
For a proper sit-down meal with a knife and fork and everything, head to the Plough and Harrow at Murton. This lovely gastropub has won many awards for its great menu at very reasonable prices.
The Seafood Hut is open March to September; Tuesday to Sunday 1pm to 6pm.
MAP OF RHOSSILI BAY & THE GOWER PENINSULA
We have included our list of the best things to do in the Gower Peninsula on a map to help you find all the main attractions dotted along this rugged part of England.
To save them to your device, click on the map link which will load it in GoogleMaps and save it to “your maps.”
WHERE TO STAY ON THE GOWER PENINSULA
Mumbles is the major town on the eastern side of the peninsula, but as you head west towards Rhossili Bay, urban life is replaced with rugged, rural scenery dotted with villages.
If you prefer to have a range of options nearby, and don’t mind a 40-minute drive to the best beaches, then Mumbles could be a good option. However, if you head a little further west you’ll be in a quieter part of the Gower amongst the coastal villages and scenic hills.
Accommodation in peak season fills up fast in the Gower, particularly in the scenic section near Rhossili Bay, so book well ahead.
HOTELS, APARTMENTS & B&Bs ON THE GOWER PENINSULA
PATRICK WITH ROOMS
Relax in quirky colourful rooms in a grand old house overlooking Mumbles Bay. The lounge serves afternoon tea, and the restaurant has forged a fine reputation. The beach is right outside and it’s a short walk to the pier and seafood hut.
KING ARTHUR HOTEL
Located at the highest point on the Gower Peninsula, this traditional coaching inn is an ideal rural getaway with great views. Log fires in the winter and sweeping beer gardens in the summer make it a great year-round choice.
CULVER HOUSE HOTEL
Culver House Hotel is eight modern self-contained one- or two-bedroom apartments nestled in the sand dunes on Port Eynon Bay. The upper apartments have sea views, but all have direct access to the beach. The Ship Inn is just a stone’s throw away.
A laid-back boutique B&B in the heart of Llangennith with large comfortable beds and a hearty breakfast in a great location, Llangennith beach is 20 minutes’ walk away, the Blue Pool 40 minutes, and Rhossili Beach 1 hour. End the day at the Kings Head pub in the village just a few doors down..
CAMPING ON THE GOWER PENINSULA
HILL END CAMPSITE
This campsite is just behind the dunes of one of the finest surfing beaches in the UK. There’s a surf hire shop in the village (20-minute walk) and lessons available from the camp. There’s a small on-site shop and a bistro. It’s down a narrow road at the far end of the peninsula so it’s best if you intend on spending most of your time surfing.
THREE CLIFFS CAMPSITE
Get a pitch at the southern edge of the field and you can wake up to amazing views of Three Cliffs Bay. There are fantastic hikes right from the tent and its excellently located to explore the entire peninsula. There are Shepherds huts and yurts available as well. Everything requires a two-night minimum.
HOW TO GET AROUND THE GOWER PENINSULA
Driving is by far the easiest way to get around the Gower Peninsula. On a good day It takes 40 minutes to drive from east to west, but on busy, sunny weekends, expect this to blow out considerably. Many of the lanes are narrow with infrequent passing places, so give yourself plenty of time when driving around.
Parking is relatively easy with well-maintained parking lots near the main tourist attractions. As always, in peak season parking can fill up quickly, so arrive early on weekends and during holidays.
If you are looking to hire a car for your Northumberland trip, we recommend Auto Europe.
AUTO EUROPE UK & EU // AUTO EUROPE US
The nearest major train station is Swansea, which has good connections from London, Bristol and Cardiff.
TRAINS TO THE GOWER PENINSULA
LONDON PADDINGTON TO SWANSEA
2 hours, 37 minutes | 46 trains per day
BRISTOL PARKWAY TO SWANSEA
1 hour, 25 minutes | 44 trains per day
CARDIFF CENTRAL STATION TO SWANSEA
49 minutes | 86 trains per day
The 118 bus is the main public transport link for the Gower Peninsula. It goes from Swansea, through Parkmill (for Three Cliffs Bay), Reynoldston, Port Eynon and then Rhossili. It runs every couple of hours, but not on Sunday. The 118 bus does not pass through Mumbles.
The 119 offers a similar route going via Llethryd rather than Parkmill (but only 3 a day and none on Sundays)
Finally, the 115 connects Llangennith with Reynoldston.
In general, public transport can be fine for getting somewhere and staying there, but not advised if you want to put together day trips and explore.
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