Best beaches in Wales

Places to Go

Best beaches in Wales

With a myriad of scenes worthy of any desktop screensaver, Wales is famed for its vast and contrasting landscapes, from the towering heights of Snowdonia to the undulating countryside that houses more than its fair share of epic castles. Oh yes, this strikingly beautiful country is chock-a-block with beautiful places to visit and entrancing things to do, and that’s before you even step foot on a beach!

Punctuating the rugged coastline with swimming and picnic opportunities aplenty, the many beautiful beaches in Wales are ready to turn your holiday into a coastal celebration of sea views and sandy toes.

Pack up the body and surf boards for a swell day at one of the many great surfing beaches, or head down with nothing but your towel, a picnic basket full of goodies, and a good book for a blissfully quiet day amidst the dunes. If you need more inspiration for your beach holiday, check out our handy guide on all things beaches!

Oh yes, whether you long for white-gold sands or a pebbly cove the dog can run wild on, there’s a Welsh beach for every sea-faring soul. Here are a few of our sea-soaked favourites…


Barafundle Bay, Stackpole

The sweeping golden sands and sand dunes at Barafundle Bay in Wales

• Lifeguard cover: No

• Parking: Stackpole Quay car park, a half-mile walk away

• Accessibility: Lots of steps down the cliff

• Facilities: Café, toilets, and a pub in Stackpole Quay

One of the best beaches in Pembrokeshire – and arguably the whole of the United Kingdom – Barafundle Bay is a must-visit for good reason. Backed with rolling sand dunes and towering pine trees, this small but startlingly beautiful bay packs a visual punch indeed. A short,enjoyable walk acts as the perfect gateway to the golden sands and turquoise waters, which are great for swimming (although care should always be taken as the beach isn’t lifeguarded).

With no facilities in sight, this bogglingly beautiful beach is the poster child for fun-filled picnics. Simply pack up the bag with some comfy blankets and a whole feast’s worth of treats. We recommend checking out some of the local farm shops and stocking up on everything from Welsh cakes to craft beer – we do love cracking open a cold one on a hot summer’s day! Of course, being a wonderfully remote beach, it’s important to leave nothing but your footprints behind, so make sure to take everything with you after your lip-smacking feast.


Mwnt beach, Cardigan Bay

The pretty golden sand at Mwnt beach in Wales

• Lifeguard cover: No

• Parking: National Trust car park

• Accessibility: Steep steps down to beach

• Facilities: Refreshments kiosk and toilets

Cardigan Bay (Bae Ceredigion) is known for its coastal delights and amazing wildlife watching opportunities, with Mwnt beach at the top of our sightseeing list. The lovely little bay is run by the National Trust and features a great kiosk where you can pick up plenty of refreshments during your sun-soaked day on the coast. While sandcastles and sunbathing are always a popular pursuit here, the ocean is well-worth your attention too as seals and dolphins are frequent visitors to the bay – you can even embark on one of the nearby boat trips to see these oceanic locals up close.

Dogs are welcome on the beach between October and March, although it is asked that they be kept on a lead to help protect the livestock that call the area home. If you would like to extend your beach visit into a dog walk, a stroll up the hill the cove is named after is a must. Simply shake off the sand and head up to the brow of Foel y Mwnt, where panoramic views await – keep your eyes peeled for dolphins here, it’s the ultimate spot for wildlife watching.


Rhossili Bay, Gower

The incredible cliffs at Rhossili Bay in Wales

• Lifeguard cover: No

• Parking: National Trust car park

• Accessibility: Steep 400m walk to the beach

• Facilities: Toilets and cafés in the village

Perched happily on the stunning Gower Peninsula, this award-winning beach boasts 3 miles of sun, sand, and sea that wouldn't look out of place along the shores of New Zealand. In fact, Rhossili Bay goes by many names including ‘the supermodel of beaches’ (The Independent), ‘best spot to have a picnic’ (UK Travel Writers), and ‘UK’s no.1 dog-friendly beach’ (The Times) – if that doesn’t get this beach onto your wanderlist we don’t know what will!

Low tide reveals a jaw-dropping expanse of sand, providing plenty of room for every type of beachgoer, whether you’re a surfer looking for a ride on the Atlantic swell or a dog walker heading out on the Gower Coast Path for an epic stomp – Worm’s Head is walker’s must! While watersports enthusiasts can often be seen frolicking around in the waves, on quieter days our aquatic friends join the action, with seals and dolphins enjoying this beautiful beach as much as the land lubbers. If you want to truly make the most of your visit to Britain’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, we recommend also checking out nearby Three Cliffs Bay, a striking combination of winding waters and rugged cliffs. It’s not one for swimming, but the photos alone will have you returning whenever you can. 


Freshwater West, nr Milton Haven

The golden sands at Freshwater West beach in Wales surrounded by trees

• Lifeguard cover: Seasonal (June to September)

• Parking: Main car park at south end of the beach

• Accessibility: Sandy slope from car park and numerous routes through the sand dunes

• Facilities: Toilets and café in the main car park

Known the world over by Harry Potter fans as one of the filming locations in the seventh film (and current location of Dobby’s grave), this magical beach is another example of why Pembrokeshire’s coast is famed for its beach holidays. The white-gold sand calls out to be moulded into a sand-strewn fort grand enough to rival any of Pembrokeshire’s own impressive castles, while sunbathers will love watching the surfers defy gravity out in the waves (strong currents mean Freshwater West is only suitable for experienced surfers).

If hunger hits while you’re sunning yourself beneath the rustling dunes, simply turn your sand-speckled feet in the direction of the famous beachside haunt Café Mor, where bountiful butties and the freshwest (sorry, we couldn’t resist) seafood await! The renowned Pembrokeshire Coast Path runs right past this uber dog-friendly beach, providing you with the ultimate pitstop surrounded by sand and sea.


Pendine Sands, Pendine

The stretching beach at Pendine Sands, backed by houses and a promenade

• Lifeguard cover: Seasonal (July to September)

• Parking: Car parks nearby, and at certain times of year you can drive and park on certain parts of the beach

• Accessibility: Easy access to the beach from car parks with beach wheelchairs available

• Facilities: Restaurants, café, and toilets

Freshwater West might be a favourite of Potterheads, but Pendine Sands is held in the hearts of many petrolheads, and for very good reason. With 7 miles of incredibly flat sand, this natural track appears to have been made for testing the speeds of bikes, cars, and even sheds! Oh yes, this beach has been used to break many land speed records, and even today it remains one of the few beaches you can drive on (only during certain times of the year, though).

Just along the coast from Tenby, which boasts its own collection of sand-studded beaches (and epic eateries), Pendine Sands is a wonderfully family-friendly beach, with lifeguards keeping watch in the summer months and reaching views over Gower and Tenby providing an incredible backdrop to your beach day – dogs are welcome too! Play in the sand, cool yourself down in the refreshing waters, or wander up to the fabulous traffic-free promenade for an ice cream or a bite to eat in the mouth-watering Asian-fusion restaurant that overlooks the sweeping sands. It’s worth noting that the beach is owned by the MOD, which means certain parts of the beach are sometimes closed to the public.  


Marloes Sands, Marloes

The sweeping coastline around Marloes Sands in Wales

• Lifeguard cover: No

• Parking: National Trust car park

• Accessibility:

• Facilities: Café and toilets near the car park, EV charging point in the car park

From the remarkable geology of the surrounding landscape to the wide-eyed seals that pop up to say hello, Marloes Sands is a mecca for naturalists. Even nearby Skomer Island is home to a puffin colony! Bring your binoculars for an ornithological day out, or take the kids on an adventure to the nearby rockpools for some mini-marine watching.

The beach itself is a lovely sandy oasis that’s backed with dramatic cliffs made up of sandstone and volcanic rock. Despite the rugged appearance of this hidden gem, the waters are generally considered to be safe for bathing, although caution should be taken at any non-lifeguarded beach. Low tide reveals a massive sweep of sand, while high tide gobbles up the beach in its entirety so always check tide times before heading down to ensure you can enjoy a nice leisurely visit. Bookend your day at Marloes Sands with a wander through the surrounding deer park and the wetlands of Marloes Mere. Dogs are welcome on both the beach and surrounding areas, but leads are recommended due to the wildlife.


Broad Haven beach, Broad Haven

The pretty village and beach at Broad Haven in Wales

• Lifeguard cover: Seasonal (late June to early September)

• Parking: There are two main car parks in Broad Haven

• Accessibility: Slipway onto the beach at the southern end for boats and a pedestrian ramp near the lifeguard hut

• Facilities: Toilets, shops, and cafés in the village

Backed by the pretty seaside village of Broad Haven, this Blue Flag beach is a great one for families, with safe waters and plenty of amenities in the village ensuring your day wants for nothing. Lie back and soak up the sun, head into the glistening waters for a revitalising dip, or try out one of the many watersports the beach is known for, from surfing to kayaking – it’s wonderfully easy to launch thanks to the slipways and flat beach.

Lifeguards patrol throughout the summer months, making this sandy haven a great one for young swimmers. The firm sand is an ideal building material for all manner of sandy sculptures, or the little ones can turn their creative hands to the stream, where dam-building skills can be practised till their little hearts are content. Finish the day off with a visit to one of the many great pubs or eateries in the village, or linger on the beach till the sun sets for a glimpse at the night’s sky, as Broad Haven is one of the many fantastic Dark Skies spots in Wales.


Cefn Sidan beach, Pembrey

The golden sands at Cefn Sidan beach in Wales

• Lifeguard cover: Seasonal (summer months)

• Parking: Multiple car parks throughout the park

• Accessibility: Disabled access to the beach can be found at the main entrance by the beach kiosk

• Facilities: Beach wheelchair, toilets, and eateries in the park

The first beach in Wales to be awarded with a Blue Flag, and boasting a Green Flag woodland behind, this beach nestled happily in the Pembrey Country Park is a winner in every sense of the word. Shipwrecks will fascinate children and adults alike, while the rich golden sands promise hours of creative fun – you might even stumble across a sandcastle building competition or two!

With 8 miles of beach to play with, different zones cater to many beachy needs, from swimming to dog-friendly zones in the summer. The nearby walking and cycling trails are just as tempting as the beach and offer an incredible way to explore the stunning scenery, with sea views that reach across Carmarthen Bay.


Harlech beach, Porthmadog

The reaching golden sands at Harlech beach in Wales

• Lifeguard cover: No

• Parking: Car park 400m from the beach

• Accessibility: The path to the beach goes through the sand dunes, which can be steep and uneven at times

• Facilities: Shop, café, and the famous golf course at Royal St David’s Golf Club

Lying under the ancient gaze of one of the best castles in Gwynedd (and Wales for that matter) and the towering mountains of Snowdonia National Park, Harlech beach in Gwynedd certainly boasts a rather dramatic backdrop. The beach itself enjoys a peaceful setting, with sand dunes rolling behind and the possibility of leatherback turtles during the warmer months.

In the waters of the southern end, Shell Island lives up to its name as it appears to hoard the area’s shells, while the northern end of the beach provides a homely habitat for wildlife in the Morfa Harlech National Nature Reserve. When your soul has been well and truly stirred by the surrounding coastal scenes, take the short walk up to the castle and embark on a different kind of adventure through the history of one of the country’s most fascinating defences.


We have many beautiful holiday cottages in Wales, many of which enjoy incredible sea views and easy access to the breath-taking coast. Pack up the towel and flip flops for a beach holiday in Wales you’ll never forget!

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