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  • Where to visit, eat and stay in Swansea Bay

    I spent a weekend enjoying the delights of Swansea Bay and exploring the Gower Peninsula – the UK’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Beautiful, rugged coastline, historic landmarks and charming seaside villages on the South Wales coast.

    We had a packed itinerary so read on for some ideas of where you can visit, eat and stay in Swansea Bay. You can also see if I tick off anything from my 24 for 2024 list too.

    Hello Freckles Swansea Bay Rhossili
    press trip

    Where to visit in Swansea Bay

    Get yourself comfy, there’s a lot to tell you about!

    Caswell Bay

    Take a walk along the sandy beach, or even have a sea dip if you’re feeling brave. I will say, the sea didn’t feel that cold and our quick dip was a lot of fun. Caswell Bay is a great spot for beginner surf lessons too as it’s a sheltered bay.

    Just up the hill you’ll find Caswell Saunas. There’s a wooden sauna suitable for up to eight people overlooking the bay, three cold plunge barrels and cold showers. We did three rounds of plunges in the barrels, followed by heating back up in the sauna. As a runner, this sort of thing is great for recovery and it’s just great fun too! When our 55 minute session was up, we left feeling really relaxed and refreshed. Book a private session for £60 (or £15 if you’re booking on to the group session). Don’t forget your flip flops and towels. There’s a tap to refill your water bottles too.

    Hello Freckles Swansea Bay Caswell bay sea dip swimming
    Hello Freckles Swansea Bay Caswell Bay
    Hello Freckles Swansea Bay Caswell Saunas
    Hello Freckles Swansea Bay Caswell Saunas ice dip
    Hello Freckles Swansea Bay Caswell Saunas
    Hello Freckles Swansea Bay Caswell Saunas plunge pools

    Mumbles

    Mumbles is a charming little place, you can explore local galleries such as The Gower Gallery and Lovespoon Gallery. Take a walk along the sweeping bay (you could walk all the way to Swansea if you like) and maybe treat yourself to an ice cream too. There’s plenty of places to try, I’d recommend Verdi’s – see my ‘where to eat’ section below.

    pastel houses in Mumbles, south wales - Hello Freckles
    Gower gallery Mumbles - Hello Freckles
    Welsh Lovespoon gallery Mumbles - Hello Freckles
    Lovespoon gallery Mumbles - Hello Freckles

    When you’re in Mumbles make sure you visit Oystermouth Castle, a Grade I listed Norman castle built in the 12th century. Climb the stairs to the battlements for a great view across Swansea Bay and visit Alina’s Chapel too. We had a fantastic tour around Oystermouth Castle from Haydn, one of the volunteers. In the summer the grounds of the castle are home to MumblesFest, a one day event with live music and street food. Sounds great if you ask me!

    Hello Freckles Oystermouth Castle Mumbles
    Hello Freckles Oystermouth Castle Mumbles Norman ruins Wales history
    Hello Freckles Oystermouth Castle Mumbles Norman ruins
    Hello Freckles Swansea Bay Oystermouth Castle Mumbles

    Singleton Park and Swansea Botanical Gardens

    Singleton Park is on the outskirts of Swansea and worth a visit for a walk around the boating lake, hire a pedalo if you’re feeling nostalgic, have a round of mini golf or head for the real gem – Swansea Botanical Gardens. Walk through the glasshouses and marvel at the range of plants, enjoy a quiet moment on a bench overlooking all the tulips or take a walk through the rose garden. There’s so much to see and it’s free entry. Just beside Singleton Park is part of Swansea University and there’s a very picturesque bridge and small pond. When we visited there the wild garlic and bluebells were in bloom.

    Hello Freckles Singleton park mini golf
    Hello Freckles Singleton park swansea botanic gardens
    Hello Freckles Swansea Botanical Gardens glasshouse
    Hello Freckles Swansea Botanical Gardens glasshouse exotic flowers
    Hello Freckles Swansea Botanical Gardens glasshouse cacti
    Hello Freckles Swansea Botanical Gardens glasshouse tulips

    Rhossili

    Rhossili Bay has been named one of the best beaches in the world and it’s not hard to see why. The dramatic views from the cliffs across to the Worms Head and across the bay are stunning. Rhossili Bay offers 3 miles of sand and it’s popular with walkers and surfers. This is where I had my first ever surf (and getting to my knees felt like an achievement). One thing to note is access to the beach is via a steep set of steps, so any mobility issues, unfortunately this is one to admire from the cliffs and instead go along to Llangennith. That’s also your closest spot for surf hire, otherwise you’ll need to take your own gear to Rhossili.

    If you’re crossing to the Worms Head be sure to check the tide times. Report to the Coastguard Station before you head across to make sure you have enough time (and to use the binoculars to see what wildlife you can spot over there) It’s a great walk which does involve scrambling over the rocky causeway, so proper sturdy footwear is a must.

    Hello Freckles Swansea Bay Rhossili coastline
    Hello Freckles Rhossili coastline wild ponies
    Hello Freckles Visit Swansea Bay Gower Peninsula Rhossili Bay sweeping views AONB Wales
    Surfing rhossili bay gower peninsula
    Surfing rhossili bay gower peninsula
    Hello Freckles Rhossili coastline wild ponies Worms Head Gower Peninsula
    Hello Freckles Rhossili coastline Worms Head causeway on Gower Peninsula
    Hello Freckles Rhossili coastline Worms Head Gower Peninsula

    Three Cliffs Bay / Pennard Cliffs

    Get your hiking boots ready and pack some snacks. This sandy beach on the South Gower coast features three limestone cliffs. You can park at the National Trust car park in Southgate and follow the marked coast path to Pennard Cliffs for a view across the bay. You can also see the ruins of Pennard Castle if you follow the coast path past the golf course. Be mindful of tide times if you’re planning to get down to the beach. Swimming/watersports are discouraged especially at high tide due to a strong rip current.

    Hello Freckles Pennard Cliffs Gower Peninsula
    Hello Freckles Pennard Cliffs Gower Peninsula Acai outdoorwear
    Hello Freckles Pennard Cliffs Gower Peninsula south wales

    Penllergare Valley Woods

    Penllergare Valley Woods is an absolute gem, just tucked away off the M4 near Swansea. With a newly opened visitor centre and cafe boasting floor to ceiling views across the valley, even popping in for coffee is a tranquil experience. Safe to say those who work there have some of the best views!

    This Victorian paradise features lakes, waterfalls, incredible trees and terraced gardens. The giant redwoods and the elephant tree were my favourites. We had a guided walk with one of the volunteers, Stuart who told us all about the history of Penllergare.

    Hello Freckles Visit Swansea Bay Penllergare Valley Woods elephant tree hike
    Hello Freckles Penllergare Valley Woods
    Hello Freckles Penllergare Valley Woods waterfall
    Hello Freckles Penllergare Valley Woods giant redwood

    Where to stay

    We stayed at Clyne Farm in Horseshoe Cottage. Clyne Farm is a family owned business and offers nine self catering holiday cottages, seven of these on the farm and two are tucked away in woodland. They’re all dog friendly too.

    Horseshoe Cottage was a great base for us, a short drive into Mumbles and about half an hour to Rhossili. The cottage had all the amenities we needed for the weekend and I was able to borrow a hairdryer from reception as yep – I forgot to take one. Thank you again for that! The underfloor heating in the tiled lounge area was such a treat too, I can imagine that’s a really cosy spot with a hot drink in the colder months, as it was lovely with my cuppa in mild April.

    Hello Freckles Clyne Farm centre accommodation horseshoe cottage
    Hello Freckles Clyne Farm centre accommodation horseshoe cottage
    Hello Freckles Clyne Farm centre accommodation horseshoe cottage self catering accommodation
    Hello Freckles Clyne Farm centre accommodation horseshoe cottage bedroom
    Hello Freckles Clyne Farm centre accommodation horseshoe cottage interior
    Hello Freckles Clyne Farm centre accommodation horseshoe cottage views across the bay

    Where to eat

    You’ll be spoilt for choice for places to eat in Swansea Bay.

    King Arthur Hotel

    This is a little drive away if you’re staying in Mumbles, but trust me it’s well worth it. King Arthur Hotel is a cosy pub with a restaurant area or you can sit in the bar. The bustling atmosphere in the bar was great. If you sit there make sure you see the chicken corner. We had lamb and mint skewers and tempura prawns to start then lamb rump and swordfish – not quite the dishes you’d expect from a country pub and before you panic, they serve the classics too, we just opted for something different from their specials menu. Our meals were delicious and I’d definitely go back and eat here again. I bet their Sunday Dinner is a hearty one. You can also stay here, there’s 18 guest rooms available for B&B and a one bedroom 18th century cottage.

    Hello Freckles Gower peninsula King Arthur hotel evening meal, country pub
    Hello Freckles  Gower peninsula King Arthur country pub hotel
    Hello Freckles Gower peninsula King Arthur hotel evening meal, cosy, country pub. Swordfish and lamb rump

    The View, Rhossili

    With a name like ‘the view’ you already have a certain expectation and I’m pleased to say, it really is a great view. If you can claim table 1 (well the first table on your right as you walk in) I’d say that’s the best spot, but all the tables by the window will give you a great sea view. In the summer, or if you have a warm jacket, sit outside on the terrace and just watch the waves roll in along Rhossili Bay.

    We had fish and chips which was so lightly battered and not at all greasy, and the korean chicken loaded fries – packed with flavour and lots of toppings, but not overdone. We felt suitably fuelled and ready for our Worms Head crossing after this lunch. Coffee was very good too.

    Hello Freckles Gower peninsula Rhossili The view lunch restaurant loaded fries, fish and chips
    Hello Freckles Gower peninsula Rhossili The view lunch restaurant

    The Secret Beach Bar & Kitchen

    This is the spot where Swansea Bay parkrun starts/finishes and if you’re just wanting a quick post run coffee, there’s a hatch outside. We had breakfast here and the avo toast with beetroot hummus is a winner, just order that and enjoy. Flat white was a good ‘un too.

    Hello Freckles Gower peninsula The Secret beach bar and kitchen, avocado toast, coffee

    Verdi’s

    Verdi’s is a family run cafe, restaurant and ice cream parlour in Mumbles. I imagine it’s bustling in the summer and the outdoor seating will be a premium. The menu features a selection of Italian classics and some hearty sandwiches and focaccia too. We went for two of the pasta specials – a prawn spaghetti and spicy sausage and four cheese penne. Both were delicious and we somehow left room for sundaes. Y’know it’s an ice cream parlour, would’ve been rude not to sample them. Really nice sundaes and so much choice. It’s a lovely spot, but just to note – Verdi’s don’t take table reservations, so be prepared for a wait if you visit, especially in the summer months.

    Hello Freckles mumbles Verdis italian lunch, fresh pasta
    Hello Freckles Visit Swansea Bay mumbles Verdis italian lunch, fresh pasta, sausage and tomato
    Hello Freckles Visit Swansea Bay mumbles Verdis italian lunch, fresh pasta, prawn linguine
    Hello Freckles mumbles Verdis italian dessert ice cream sundae with cherry
    Hello Freckles mumbles Verdis italian dessert ice cream sundae with salted caramel

    The Oyster House

    A boutique hotel with a roof terrace and restaurant serving fresh and seasonal ingredients. We had smoked mackerel and horseradish pâté and salt and pepper squid to start, followed by steak and sea bass. We then browsed the desserts menu and picked chocolate brownie and ice cream and raspberry and frangipane tart.

    Hello Freckles Mumbles oyster house bar, restaurant and hotel
    Hello Freckles mumbles oyster house main dishes, sea bass and steak
    Hello Freckles mumbles oyster house desserts, raspberry fragipane and chocolate brownie

    Parc Le Breos

    Set in the grounds of a Norman deer park, Parc Le Breos is an impressive country house where you can enjoy a meal or book an overnight stay. We had Sunday lunch here and after a very busy morning, arrived suitably hungry! Parc Le Breos grow their own herbs, fruit and vegetables which are featured in the dishes on their menu.

    We started with garlic mushrooms and soup of the day (tomato and basil) then both had the roast beef which was served slightly pink. A big yorkshire pud is a necessity on Sunday lunch and if you’re a big fan, you can pay extra for another and more roasties too. You get a selection of vegetables brought on a side dish and they don’t skimp on the amount of carrots or green beans; we even had cauliflower cheese. We just about had time for dessert too, both picking the sticky toffee pudding which was delicious. A three course Sunday lunch here would cost £33pp which is pretty reasonable too.

    Hello Freckles Visit Swansea Bay Gower Peninsula Parc Le Breos country house, sunday lunch
    Hello Freckles Gower Peninsula Parc Le Breos country house, sunday lunch, yorkshire pudding and roast beef
    Hello Freckles Gower Peninsula Parc Le Breos country house
    Hello Freckles Visit Swansea Bay Gower Peninsula Parc Le Breos country house, sticky toffee pudding dessert

    The best sticky toffee pud!

    My top tips

    • Make sure you have change for the parking machines, or download the MiPermit app in advance. You may struggle with mobile reception in more rural areas so worth having a few coins. (Caswell Bay car park for example)
    • If you’re planning the crossing to the Worms Head, make sure you have plenty of time. The causeway is accessible 2.5 hours either side of low tide, so that’s a 5 hour window. Don’t get caught out, it’s better to go back another day if conditions aren’t favourable.
    • On that note – pack a waterproof. Even in the summer there can be showers and if you’re out on a hike, there may be nowhere to shelter from a downpour.
    • Plan your route in advance where you can. A lot of the Gower Peninsula is accessed along smaller country roads, avoid doubling back on yourself and make an itinerary where you can stop along at villages on the way.
    • Watch a sunset over the Gower coast. We unfortunately had cloudy evenings which meant we didn’t get a showstopper of a display, but being on the West you’ve got a chance to see the sun setting over the horizon and that’s pretty special. Similarly, if you get lucky with a clear night it’s worth looking up to see if you can spot some stars. Port Eynon is considered to be a dark sky gem.
    • Book Caswell Saunas in advance, you can’t just turn up on the day and trust me, it’s worth a visit!
    • Share any of your tips or recommendations in the comments too.
    As outlined at the top, my visit to Swansea Bay was a press visit. All photos are my own. It was well worth the 6+ hour drive from home and we'll be going back!
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    4 Comments

  • Reply SunderlandSURFER June 11, 2024 at 10:22 am

    The food looks amazing! Was this an adventure weekend?

    • Reply tasha June 12, 2024 at 3:35 pm

      Yes, I guess it was considering the amount of hiking, running and outdoorsy activities. It’s a great place for an adventure weekend – especially if you’d like to surf, or do any watersports.

  • Reply Arwen Hilton June 11, 2024 at 6:28 pm

    So glad you enjoyed Mumbles and Gower, I live here and it’s fab and we really appreciate you visiting the gallery, it’s great to get recommended thank you.

    • Reply tasha June 12, 2024 at 3:36 pm

      Oh what a great place to live! You’re so welcome, the gallery had so many great pieces, it’s always good to recommend local spots to visit.

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