Local Attractions in Gower

As part of our Green Traveller's Guide to Gower, Paul Bloomfield picks out a selection of local historical and natural attractions in this glorious Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in south Wales, from ancient castle and burial mounds to sandy beaches and wildlife reserves.

Ancient castle or perfect beach? Burial mound or wildlife reserve? From historical treasures to natural wonders, Gower is full of amazing secrets to discover, and you'll struggle to travel anywhere on the peninsula without itching to stop to explore another ruin or follow a tiny road to an enticing-looking beach.

The coastal path is the perfect way to link many of them up - from short stretches such as Langland to Caswell Bay, perfect for a family stroll, to walking the whole 38-mile shebang from Mumbles to Crofty over a few days, it's a haven for lovers of both history and the great outdoors.

Oxwich Bay and National Nature Reserve, Gower

You could pick a beach at random from the miles of glorious coastline that skirt Gower and it would be a wonderful place to paddle and stroll, but Oxwich is definitely a favourite with those who love this peninsula. The beach itself is a delight but make time to explore the nature reserve it forms part of, too - visit in spring and follow the boardwalk into the sand dunes to discover a whole world of wildflowers (rare orchids love the chalky ground here), buzzing insects and wild birds, including rare Cetti's Warblers and Sedge Warblers. first-nature.com/waleswildlife/sw-nnr-oxwich.php

Whiteford National Nature Reserve, Llanmadoc, Gower

Whiteford Burrows is an utterly peaceful place, even in the height of summer, and if you're lucky your only companions will be birds flying over the sand and wild ponies grazing amongst the sea holly. Follow footpaths from Cwm Ivy Woods and watch out for the rare fen orchids sometimes found here. You'll be tempted to stride across to tiny, lonely Whiteford Lighthouse, a cast-iron structure which is completely surrounded by sea at high tide, but check sea levels and tide times first - many a walker has gotten stuck when the sea came rushing back in surprisingly fast. nationaltrust.org.uk/whiteford-and-north-gower

Pennard Castle and Three Cliffs Bay

You can't go far on Gower without stumbling across a glorious stone castle, but the ruins of Pennard on the edge of Three Cliffs Bay are particularly rewarding to visit, if only to feel jealous that someone once called the magnificent view their own. Built in the 12th century by Henry de Beaumont, first earl of Warwick, this little fort has a tumble-down look but is all the more romantic for it. Stand in the stone archways and you can look out from the castle at the glorious golden sand and triple peaks of Three Cliffs Bay before strolling downhill to the sea. swansea.gov.uk/pennardcliffs

Weobley Castle, Llanrhidian, Gower

The very definition of a charming romantic ruin, Weobley Castle (pronounced Web-lee) sits perched on the edges of the salt marshes, looking out to sea. Once the proud seat of the De La Bere family in the 13th century, it's now half-open to the elements and is a joy to wander around. Knock on the door of the farmhouse on the edge of the castle's land and they'll sell you a ticket for £3 and leave you free to wander all over the castle and imagine you're a Welsh King or Queen. castlewales.com/weobley.html

Gower Heritage Centre, Parkmill, Gower

A quirky little place hidden a shaded valley, Gower Heritage Centre is charmingly old fashioned and definitely worth popping into. A small shop sells local wares at the entrance, whilst inside the 12th-century mill are displays of rural life, craft workshops and a cute little tearoom. There's also a small petting farm complete with chickens and sheep and, our highlight, Wales' smallest cinema, a charming little one-room affair in the courtyard. Perfect for rainy days with little ones. gowerheritagecentre.co.uk

National Trust Rhossili Visitor Centre, Gower

Right on the edge of the path to Worm's Head and the last house before the sea, the National Trust Rhossili Visitor Centre is a lovely place to pop into for information on the local area, to pick up curios in the shop, or just enjoy the view across the way to Swansea Bay. The helpful staff are the perfect people to ask for help planning walks along the coast or inland, and there are maps and leaflets aplenty to help you get the most from Gower. nationaltrust.org.uk/rhosili-and-south-gower-coast

North Wind Studio & Gallery, Pennard, Gower

You have to call first to be sure you can visit North Wind Studio, but it's worth the effort. Set in a pretty garden in sleepy Pennard, Rowan Huntley's exhibition space is a delight to wander around and her knowledge of the area is deep. Her paintings of Gower in all its glory, from stormy seas and iron skies to gentle summer scenes, are captivating after walking around the real thing, and Rowan herself is a fascinating, well-travelled person whose love of landscapes shines through in her work. visitswanseabay.com/listings/northwind-studio-gallery/

Langland Bay, Newton, Gower

A blue flag beach fronted by green and white striped beach huts. The wide sand and sheltered water make it perfect for families come summer, whilst in winter you'll often see lines of surfers and stand-up paddleboarders watching for the perfect wave. A wonderful walk that's a great introduction to the area and easy for little ones is the half-hour stroll along the clifftop coastal path over to Caswell Bay, 1.5 miles away. visitswanseabay.com/listings/langland-bay-beach/

Rhossili Bay and Worm's Head, Gower

The jewel in Gower's crown is this epic expanse of beautiful beach. Rhossili Bay sweeps round for miles before meeting the green cliffs which lead to Worm's Head, a green outcrop which becomes an island at low tide. It is so named because Viking invaders thought it resembled a serpent rising from the waters, and it's fascinated many a visitor since - Dylan Thomas loved to walk here and 'air his demons'. When the tide is right you can walk down the causeway, past inquisitive sheep and onto what feels like the edge of the world. Don't forget to look back at the bay and spot the wooden skeleton of the wreck of the HMS Helvetia, lost here in 1887. nationaltrust.org.uk/rhosili-and-south-gower-coast

Caswell Bay, Mumbles, Gower

A pretty, sheltered beach near Mumbles, Caswell is the perfect place to learn to surf. It boasts beginner-friendly sized waves, a surf school (Surf GSD) based right on the beach and a cosy cafe aptly called Surfside to warm up in afterwards (try their amazing hot chocolate). If you'd rather stay dry whilst you explore, head to the left of the beach and follow the footpath up to the cliffs for an incredible view of the beach from on high. visitswanseabay.com/listings/caswell-bay-beach/

Port Eynon Beach, Gower

The most southerly point on Gower once had a booming oyster trade and whispered rumours of smuggling surrounded the place. Now there's a peaceful, sunny beach, flanked on one side by the ruins of an old salt house and with green dunes to explore behind the sand. A row of shops sell fish and chips, bucket and spades and other seaside staples, making it a good beach to pitch up on for a lazy seaside day with a young family. visitswanseabay.com/listings/port-eynon-bay-beach/


For information on local food and drink, nearby visitor attractions and activities, see our

Green Traveller's Guide to Gower


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