What to see & do in Swansea Bay | A 2-day itinerary

A couple of weeks back we travelled down to Wales to explore the stunningly beautiful Swansea Bay. It encompasses five areas - Swansea, Mumbles, the Gower Peninsula, rural Swansea and Afan & the Vale of Neath - and is home to fantastic landscapes, beautiful beaches, heritage sites, walking trails, traditional villages, water sports and more!

Did you know that the Gower Peninsula was designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1956. It is the UK's first AONB and now 65 years later it still remains one of the most popular AONBs in the UK, drawing thousands of visitors who come here to explore its stunning scenery.

Rhossili Bay in Swansea

Ad | This trip was organised by Visit Swansea Bay, however, all views, opinions and photos are our own and remain the copyright of 'The Globe Trotter'.

We hadn't explored this part of Wales earlier and so were excited about the itinerary that Visit Swansea Bay had created for us. It included some of the best locations in the area and was the perfect introduction to Swansea Bay.


What to see and do in Swansea Bay


If you are heading down to Swansea Bay, one thing that I can assure you is that you will not get bored. There is so much to see and do. With a 2 or 3 day itinerary you can visit the highlights (like we did) or you could spend even longer and explore all the nooks and crannies of Swansea Bay for the sheer enjoyment of reconnecting with nature.

Day 1 in Swansea Bay


Since we drove down to Wales, our itinerary was scheduled based on the fact that we had a car at our disposal. But the Swansea Bay area has a comprehensive network of public transport (trains, buses) and you could use these to get to most of the attractions.

Oystermouth Castle


Perched on a hill in Mumbles, overlooking Swansea Bay, is the Oystermouth Castle.

Although the castle is currently closed to the public and is undergoing renovation work in one section, we were lucky to get a private guided tour of Oystermouth Castle with a volunteer guide. Our guide, John Wilsher, gave us a fantastic insight into the castle's history, regaling us with tales of John de Mowbray and the de Brasose family.

Oystermouth Castle

The castle is small and compact. The outer walls are intact and inside there are lots of passages, staircases, vaults and watchtowers to explore. Like I mentioned earlier, conservation and repair work is currently underway to add new visitor facilities and to improve access to a 30-foot high glass viewing platform, that offers some stunning views of the surroundings.

Views from Oystermouth Castle

The day to day running of the castle is looked after by the Friends of Oystermouth Castle, a voluntary group of people, who are doing a very good job.

If you are heading to Mumbles, add this to your itinerary as it is a lovely place to visit and explore. And if you are interested in learning more about the castle, click here.

Mumbles


When you are done exploring the castle, it is time to explore Mumbles, the beautiful fishing village and also the entrance to the Gower Peninsula.

Mumbles is a charming little village which has been drawing in visitors for years now due to its stunning natural beauty and attractions like its Victorian Pier, the Lighthouse, and Oystermouth Castle etc.

The seaside village of Mumbles

Mumbles Pier is one of the very few privately owned Piers left in the UK and has been an integral part of the village's landscape for over 100 years now. There's an Amusement Arcade where visitors can play on over 100 different machines. If games aren't your thing, you can walk along the Pier and enjoy the lovely views. There is a RNLI Lifeboat station at the head of the Pier and if you are lucky you might even get to see the lifeboat being launched as it does its training runs.

RNLI Lifeboat station at the head of the Mumbles Pier

Close to the Pier is a little sandy beach and families can spend time exploring the rock pools here.

And don't forget to sample some Welsh ice cream while you are in Mumbles. There are a number of ice cream parlours to choose from including Forte's, Joe's, Verdi's, Ripples and Castellamare.

Welsh Ice Cream in Mumbles

For the shopaholics, Mumbles has a large number of independent boutiques and shops and you can surely find some unusual and unique souvenirs here.

For those who love art/crafts, there are two galleries that you must visit when in Mumbles -  the Gower Gallery and the Lovespoon Gallery. The former hosts constantly changing exhibitions featuring work of local Welsh artists as well as those from other areas. The medium of art is varied and you will find everything from painting & prints to ceramics and sculptures.

The Lovespoon Gallery is entirely devoted to hand carved Welsh Lovespoons. Opened in 1987, the gallery boasts of hundreds of unique designs of lovespoons, all hand-carved by lovespoon artist/carvers from Wales. You can learn about the tradition of giving lovespoons, the meaning of different designs and purchase lovespoons here. 

The Lovespoon Gallery in Mumbles

Click here to learn more about Mumbles and plan your trip.


Cwm Ivy and Whiteford Beach


After exploring Mumbles, it was now time to head to Cwm Ivy and Whiteford Sands.

We drove to the village of Llanmadoc and parked at Whiteford Beach car park. You have to walk through the village until you reach a gate signed 'Cwm Ivy Wood'. It is a National Trust managed property. Once past the gate, you have to follow the track down the hill. You will reach a point where the track bifurcates into two. 

Cwm Ivy Woods in North Gower

One leads to Cwm Ivy Tor and the other (through a gate) will lead you to Whiteford Sands. We continued on this path, passing Burrows Cottage and a bird hide, enjoying the serenity of the Cwm Ivy Woods. The area is rich in flora and fauna and we loved the seclusion in nature.

Continue along the path, until you reach a direction marker. At this point we crossed a stile, and then scrambled across the dunes, passing herds of sheep until we reached Whiteford Sands / Whiteford Beach. 

Crossing the dunes to reach Whiteford Beach

Whiteford Beach is a National Nature Reserve known for its distinctive salt-marsh and dune habitats. It is also the most northerly beach on Gower.

When we visited, there was only one other person on the beach - a dog walker. It was as if we had the whole beach to ourselves. If you are a beach buff or nature lover, we recommend a visit to Whiteford Beach. It's wild, it's stunning and it's so peaceful!

Whiteford Beach in North Gower


Day 2 in Swansea Bay


After a wonderful Day 1 in Swansea Bay, we were ready to begin our second day.

Rhossili Bay


After an early breakfast, we drove to Rhossili Bay which lies at the south-western end of the Gower Peninsula. National Trust (NT) owns and manages many areas on the Gower Peninsula including Rhossili Bay, Rhossili Down, Worm's Head and the coastal cliffs. There is a NT Shop & Visitor Centre on site. It is housed in a former Coastguard building and along with changing exhibitions; it also offers a wide range of souvenirs and gifts.

NT Shop & Visitor Centre in Rhossili Bay

Walks head off in both directions along the coast. So, after visiting the Visitor Centre, you can either head down to the sandy beach (a little steep descent and ascent) or take a gentler path towards Worm's Head.

Stunning views at Rhossili Bay

We walked towards Worm's Head which is the furthest westerly point on the Gower Peninsula. It is accessible on foot during a low tide. If you plan to cross the causeway, you need to check the tide times at the coast guard station at the end of the headland. 

We continued ahead on the path leading towards Fall Bay. The views were fantastic and the walk was wonderful. You can easily spend the entire day exploring the area. It is an absolute treat for those who love nature. We loved it. Rhossili Bay is spectacular and it is no wonder that it is regularly voted as one of the UK’s best beaches.

Walking to Worm's Head in Rhossili

Walking to Worm's Head in Rhossili


Oxwich Bay and Watersports


Set aside the second part of Day 2 for exploring Oxwich Bay.

Oxwich Bay is another of Gower's popular and award-winning beaches. The long stretch of sandy beach is beautiful and there are wonderful walks in both directions. One that comes recommended is the walk to Oxwich Point. Alternatively, you could simply sit at the foot of the dunes looking out to sea. It is very relaxing.

Oxwich Bay is also popular for water sports be it wind surfing, sailing, kayaking or paddle boarding. We tried out kayaking with Oxwich Watersports. 

Kayaking adventure with Oxwich Watersports

Set up in 2011, Oxwich Watersports have a qualified team of instructors and offer a range of water sports and training for all age groups and different levels of experience. We had never kayaked before and so opted for a Kayaking experience with an instructor. For their instructor led sessions, Oxwich Watersports offer the use of a kayak & paddle along with a wetsuit and a buoyancy aid. Once we were kitted out and after a brief safety information session and basic tuition, we hit the water. It was then an hour of pure fun. The kayaks were easy to manoeuvre even for a novice like me. 

Kayaking adventure with Oxwich Watersports

If you are looking for an exciting way to enjoy the open waters, then give kayaking a go. Oxwich Watersports offer other activities like coasteering, windsurfing, powerboat experience, jet skiing, wakeboarding and more.

Staying longer in Swansea Bay?


If you want to plan a longer holiday in Swansea Bay, then you could include the following in your itinerary.

  • Swansea Market: It is the largest indoor market in Wales and has been voted Britain's best large indoor market. Located in the heart of Swansea, the market has stalls selling everything from local produce to delicious food and from antiques to bespoke and unusual gifts.
  • The Three Cliffs Bay beach: It has a stunning shoreline of sand dunes, salt marsh and limestone cliffs and has pleasant walks along the coast.
  • Penllergare Valley Woods: It is a paradise for nature lovers. During your visit to Valley Woods you can explore woodlands, enjoy the beauty of lakes and waterfalls, spot wildlife and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of this location.


Where to stay in Swansea Bay


Swansea Bay offers a wide choice of self-catering cottages and apartments, bed & breakfasts, youth hostels, camping sites, luxury & boutique hotels and more. There is something to suit every style and budget.

King Arthur Hotel


During our visit to Swansea Bay we stayed at the King Arthur, a traditional country inn right in the heart of the beautiful Gower Peninsula. 

King Arthur Hotel in Reynoldston

There are 20 tastefully furnished rooms to choose from. We stayed in one of their Double rooms. It was en suite and had all amenities including TV, telephone, tea/coffee making facilities, hair dryer and complimentary toiletries.

King Arthur Hotel in Reynoldston

Due to the Coronavirus regulations in place when we stayed, breakfast was Continental style and was delivered to our room. It was fresh and delicious.

Breakfast at King Arthur Hotel in Reynoldston

The hotel had robust arrangements to minimise the risk from COVID-19 with every member of staff wearing face masks and hand sanitiser stations put up at various locations throughout the premises. All visitors and guests were also wearing face coverings in public areas of the hotel. It was good to see all the arrangements put in place by the hotel to protect guests and staff.

Overall, we enjoyed our stay. The room was clean and spacious. The bed was comfortable and there was no noise to keep us awake. The food (both breakfast and dinner) was lovely. And the staff were friendly and welcoming.

It's a great place to stay. A stunning and peaceful location and also within easy reach of many of the top attractions.

Book your stay at the King Arthur here.


Where to eat and drink in Swansea Bay


Swansea Bay has a number of fantastic restaurants, bars, cafes and bistros all catering to different dietary requirements and serving varied cuisines.

King Arthur Pub & Restaurant in Reynoldston


King Arthur, where we stayed during our visit, has a pub & restaurant which serves delicious, home cooked food alongside a wide range of ales, gins, whiskies and other spirits. We dined here on a Friday evening and going by the number of patrons, it is safe to say that the pub & restaurant are quite popular with visitors and locals alike.

King Arthur Pub & Restaurant in Reynoldston

The food was well cooked and delicious and the service pretty quick inspite of the venue being very busy. The ambience was lovely too. A venue we would be happy to return to.

Bay Bistro & Coffee House in Rhossili Bay


Run by the husband and wife duo of Sue and Paul, Bay Bistro & Coffee House is located at the top of Rhossili cliffs, overlooking the Rhossili Downs to the right and the sweeping sand of Rhossili Bay to the left. It is just a few minutes’ walk from the National Trust car park in Rhossili Bay and is the perfect place to refuel after exploring the coast.

Bay Bistro & Coffee House has a seasonal menu that is freshly prepared in-house daily, with the ingredients sourced locally.

Bay Bistro & Coffee House in Rhossili Bay

The setting was relaxed with beautiful views and the food was fresh and healthy. We opted for a Bay veggie burger (beetroot, carrot & halloumi, red onion, beef tomato and gherkins inside a sourdough roll with burger sauce, roasted cashew pesto and fries) and a Bistro salad (heritage tomatoes, smashed feta, Chefs focaccia, baby leaves, walnuts, chilli jam and wild garlic dressing). The food was light but filling and very delicious. The Bistro salad was excellent; one of the best salads I have ever had.

Great food, fantastic location and good service! Definitely stop by for a quick bite, if you are visiting Rhossili Bay.


Langland’s Brasserie near Mumbles


Langland's Brasserie is an award-winning, beach-front restaurant just around the corner from Mumbles. The family-owned restaurant serves delicious food with their speciality being seafood. So, if you are a seafood lover, this is the place to visit. They did have a couple of options for vegetarians too and the food we ordered was delicious.

Langland’s Brasserie near Mumbles

We opted for the Soup of the day, Bruschetta with fresh tomato, olive oil, garlic & basil and Fried cauliflower wings tossed in sweet chilli & sesame seeds, Asian style salad & chips. The food was beautifully presented and delicious.

Britannia Inn in Llanmadoc


Britannia Inn is located in the heart of the village of Llanmadoc and is the perfect place to enjoy a hearty meal after exploring Cwm Ivy and Whiteford Sands. It is a well preserved late 17th century inn with the beams in the lounge of the inn being said to be from shipwrecks.

The inn has special set menus, specials board and an a la carte menu. We were pleased to see that they had a vegetarian menu as well. We ordered the Soup of the day (served with bloomer bread), Warm goats cheese tart (with roasted thyme & garlic vegetables, beetroot puree, red pepper coulis and pesto) and a North Indian inspired vegetable curry with pilau rice and naan. The food was great especially the Goats cheese tart which was excellent!

Britannia Inn in Llanmadoc

All of the venues we visited had Covid-19 procedures in place. The staff was all wearing masks, hand sanitisers were provided and markers directed guests to adhere to the social distancing measures.


Why visit Swansea Bay


Swansea Bay is a great destination for all kinds of travellers, be it solo travellers, families or couples. The scenery is stunning - glittering waters and sandy beaches, there are miles of walking trails and there are attractions & activities for all types of travellers - it is a fantastic place for a weekend break or a staycation.

For more inspiration and tips to plan your holiday, head to the Visit Swansea Bay website.

Beach in Swansea Bay

4 comments:

  1. Not been here but would love to!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dreamy places - love to see them all

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have not been to Swansea Bay but I would be open to going.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've never been but I'd love to

    ReplyDelete

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