Skip to Content

16 Beaches Near Cardiff To Visit. All 1 Hour From Cardiff!

This post may contain affiliate links. I will receive a small commission if you use these links.

What are the best beaches near Cardiff? And what beaches in Cardiff are there? These are common questions because of Cardiff’s location right on the ocean on the South Coast of Wales.

Although there are many beaches in South Wales, the coastal area really close to Cardiff city is a bit sparse when it comes to beaches which I found really surprising when I moved to Cardiff!

However, if you are able to drive, or take a train, from Cardiff for 30 minutes to 1 hour, you will find some amazing beaches in Wales, and a few in England!

In this Cardiff blog, I’m going to give you the closest beaches to Cardiff which include seaside towns near Cardiff, sandy beaches near Cardiff, and beaches from the dinosaur age near Cardiff!

Beaches Near Cardiff

beaches near Cardiff
Keep reading for beaches near Cardiff to visit!

Does Cardiff Have a Beach?

Yes, and no!

When searching for beaches in Cardiff, you may come across Cardiff Bay Beach however this is a temporary beach in Cardiff that is put in Cardiff Bay for the summer with sand and fairground rides and it has no water access.

It usually runs during the summer months of August and September but the best way to see whether it’s on right now in Cardiff is to do a quick google for ‘Cardiff Bay Beach’.

beaches near Cardiff, Cardiff Bay Beach
Cardiff Bay Beach looks a bit like this in summer, but under ‘normal’ circumstances, there’s sand too!

The reason I say yes, Cardiff DOES have a beach is because there is a beach that is hidden away on the Eastern side of Cardiff Bay called Splott Beach.

I have given more information on Splott Beach below however it isn’t the best beach in the area by far and many people may decide not to go completely, so let’s look at the best beaches close to Cardiff to give you more options!

In the list below, I have started with beaches in South Wales close to Cardiff, and then I have given beaches near Cardiff in England!

Related Post: View all my top things to do in Cardiff here!

beaches near Cardiff, Barry Beaches

Beaches Near Cardiff Map

I have detailed all these beaches close to Cardiff on the below map so you can use it to help plan where you want to visit!

Best Beaches Near Cardiff

Here are the best beaches near Cardiff with the distance from Cardiff for each beach:

1. Splott Beach

Distance from Cardiff City Centre: 3 miles / 10 minutes

This beach in Cardiff is known as Cardiff’s hidden beach. Mainly because not many people know about it, and because it’s location is not obvious.

It sits between the ocean and an industrial estate and whilst Splott Beach is not one of the sandy beaches in Cardiff, instead is made up of stone, brick, rubble and other items from the East Moors steelworks,

Many locals, especially those living in Splott do love this beach for walking and seeing a viewpoint of the city and steel works from, here are some things to do in Splott which gives you more information about the beach from a local!

In recent years the clearing of litter off of Splott Beach has been a focus so if you have heard bad things about the rubbish there in the past, it might be worth going now to see the change!

beaches in Cardiff, Splott Beach

2. Penarth Beach

Distance from Cardiff City Centre: 5.7 miles / 20 minutes

When looking for the nearest beach to Cardiff, Penarth is the answer! Penarth is the closest seaside town to Cardiff complete with an esplanade and pier to walk along.

The beach in Penarth is mostly pebble, however at low tide more sand can be seen by the water.

Most days you might not see as many people swimming in Penarth as you would at other beaches on this list of Cardiff beaches, however, there is a sunrise swim club called Dawn Stalkers who swim in Penarth every morning and their photos look amazing!

Penarth Seafront is only small but it is a charming one and the beach is long when the tide is out so it’s a good place for a walk.

When it comes to things to do in Penarth, Penarth Beach is good for children to play on the beach and it’s good for its seaside facilities like cafes, the pier, the pavilion on the pier, playgrounds for children and Alexandra Gardens which are just behind the beach.

Dogs are banned so it is not a dog friendly beach near Cardiff.

beaches near Cardiff, Penarth Beach
Penarth Beach is the closest beach to Cardiff!
beaches near Cardiff, Penarth Beach
The view of Penarth Beach from the pier.

3. Swanbridge Beach & Sully Beach

Distance from Cardiff City Centre: 8.6 miles / 25 minutes

I randomly came across Swanbridge Beach which goes into Sully Beach after visiting the children’s park in Cosmeston Lakes Country Park as afterwards, we drove to The Captains Wife pub for some lunch in Swanbridge.

The beach here is not the best beach, it’s mainly rocks and stone with a bit of sand, but it’s a nice place for children to play and to be by the ocean. There are many caravan parks in the area.

We saw people crab fishing from the rocks and there is a good view of Sully Island from the beach.

beaches near Cardiff, Swanbridge Beach

4. Barry Island Beach

Distance from Cardiff City Centre: 11 miles / 33 minutes

Barry Island is definitely the most popular holiday resort and seaside town in South Wales rivally Tenby. Also, it’s not an island bt the way!

Barry Island Beach is right in the middle of the town and right in the middle of all the action with the Pleasure Park behind it, a promenade to walk along, colourful beach huts to see and plenty of places to eat, drink and shop!

Barry Island Beach is a sandy beach making it one of the few sandy beaches near Cardiff! It’s a clean beach to visit and good for children and for swimming.

It is also known as Whitmore Bay because this is the name of the bay of water the beach is in. So if you are looking for Whitmore Beach, this is Barry Island Beach!

The beach in Barry does get very busy in the summertime though and because of how commercialised Barry is, it’s often not to everyone’s taste. However, there are a few more beaches in Barry that are quieter which I’ve detailed below!

Barry Island Beaches Guide! 4 BEST Beaches in Barry To Visit!

beaches near Cardiff, Barry Island Beach
The iconic beach huts along Barry Island Beach!
beaches near Cardiff, Barry Island Beach
For beaches near Cardiff, Barry Island beach is a good one to visit!

5. Jacksons Bay, Barry

Distance from Cardiff City Centre: 11 miles / 33 minutes

A short walk along the footpath from Barry Island Beach is Jackson’s Bay which is a small inlet of sandy beach.

It’s a small beach but it is often quieter than the main Barry Island beach if that’s what you are looking for. Barry Island Beach has a lot of commercialism around it but this beach in Barry doesn’t!

In fact, until recently, Jackson’s Bay was a hidden beach for locals to visit in Barry.

It’s another great beach near Cardiff and a great beach in Barry for children to play on and because of the gentle slope into the water, it is popular for swimming in Barry.

As advised by the Vale of Glamorgan, Jackson’s Bay is one of the few beaches in the area that are dog friendly all year round.

beaches near Cardiff, Jackson's Bay
Jacksons Bay is one of the quieter beaches near Cardiff.

6. Watch House Bay, Barry

Distance from Cardiff City Centre: 11 miles / 33 minutes

The other side of Barry Island Beach is Watch House Bay, also known as Watch Tower Bay. As you leave the centre of Barry with all the commercialism, this beach comes as quite a surprise as it is a beautiful, big, quiet, sandy beach!

It’s bigger than Whitmore Bay Beach when the tide is out I think!

Walking from Barry Beach to Watch House Bay Beach takes about 25 minutes because you have to walk around Barry Harbour along the road, it is easier to park closer to Watch House Bay, here’s my full guide to beaches in Barry with parking information for Watch House Bay.

This is a great beach in Barry to visit if you want to pop into Barry Island for some fun but you don’t want to stay on the crowded beach and instead want a quieter and more remote beach to visit!

beaches near Cardiff, Watch House Bay
This is a total gem of a beach near Barry and Cardiff!

7. Pebble Beach, Barry

Distance from Cardiff City Centre: 15 miles / 35 minutes

Pebble Beach, also known as Cold Knap Beach, is the furthest beach from Barry but it is still located within Barry!

It is a long stretch of beach however this beach is all pebble as the name suggests.

It is a quieter beach in Barry but it does still get busy on warm days and in the summer months as it is a favourite for locals to visit.

There is no lifeguard control on this beach and despite its more remote location, dogs are not allowed on the beach all year round.

beaches near Cardiff, Pebble Beach

8. Llantwit Major Beach

Distance from Cardiff City Centre: 24 miles / 46 minutes

After the beaches in Penarth and the beaches in Barry, the South Wales Coastline going West becomes the Glamorgan Heritage Coast. This is one of my favourite places in South Wales because of how nice the costal walking paths are!

The Glamorgan beaches are further from Cardiff and take about 45 minutes due to the smaller country lanes at the end but they are really impressive and they are popular beaches around Cardiff for families and hikers.

Llantwit Major is the closest beach to Cardiff along the Glamorgan Heritage Coast.

It is a big beach when the tide is out and although it gets busy and has facilities such as toilets and a small cafe, because of it’s remote location down a country lane, it does feel like a very wild beach!

The beach is mainly rocks and pebbles with some sand and it is towering cliffs behind it. It’s popular for crab fishing and fossil hunting and is good for swimming and surfing, especially for children.

beaches near Cardiff, Llantwit Major Beach
The closest beach to Cardiff along the Glamorgan Heritage Coast!
beaches near Cardiff, Llantwit Major Beach
Llantwit Major Beach from the Wales Coastal Path.

9. Nash Point Beach

Distance from Cardiff City Centre: 25 miles / 47 minutes

Nash Point is like another world! The cliffs are so high and tower above the rocky beach!

Like Llantwit Major Beach, it is mainly rocks but there are some sections of sand when the tide is out. It is a beach near Cardiff for walking and exploring, especially looking for fossils!

It’s one of the best beaches for fossil hunting in Wales!

This is a wild and remote beach with limited facilities. In summer there is a small cafe that is open because of the campsite and there is Nash Point Lighthouse you can walk to, but apart from that, it’s just nature!

If you are looking for a good walk. I recommend walking from Llantwit Major Beach to Nash Point and back which is about 10km in total and a beautiful walk along the Wales Coastal Path.

beaches near Cardiff, Nash Point Beach
Nash Point looks like it’s another world and it’s a huge beach near Cardiff!

10. Dunraven Bay Beach

Distance from Cardiff City Centre: 24 miles / 44 minutes

Dunraven Bay, also known as Southerndown because of the nearby village is another popular beach along the Glamorgan Heritage Coast.

The beach in the bay is not as big as Llantwit Major and Nash Point but it is still a popular surfing spot close to Cardiff and there is space on the beach to play, although the beach is mainly rocks.

This is another beach for exploring, whether it’s fossil hunting or walking along the coast to the remains of Dunraven Castle and checking out how old this heritage coast is!

For the best places for sunset near Cardiff, this is a great beach to watch the sunset from!

beaches near Cardiff, Dunraven Beach
Dunraven Beach is one of the top popular beaches near Cardiff!

11. Ogmore-By-Sea

Distance from Cardiff City Centre: 24 miles / 42 minutes

Ogmore By Sea is a popular South Wales Beach and is just less than 45 minutes from Cardiff.

It’s one of the beaches near Bridgend and is a sandy and shingle beach making it a popular beach for families to visit.

It has good facilities like parking, toilets, lifeguard patrol during summer and usually an ice cream van and other food and drink vans.

When you visit Ogmore Beach I recommend you also drive to Ogmore Castle which is on the river. There are stepping stones and this is also a good place for children to play and be in the water on hot days.

beaches near Cardiff, Ogmore by Sea
The view of Ogmore Beach from the cliffs.

12. Merthyr Mawr Beach

Distance from Cardiff City Centre: 24 miles / 44 minutes

Merthyr Mawr Beach is very close to Ogmore By Sea Beach but it is much bigger and it is a sandy beach backed by sand dunes.

It is a much-loved beach because it is clean, safe for children, good for swimming and you can walk far along the coast using the beach or sand dunes.

Nearby is Merthyr Mawr Swing Bridge which is a popular spot to visit, a good place for a walk through the fields and along the river before or after visiting the beach.

beaches near Cardiff, Merthyr Mawr
Merthyr Mawr Swing Bridge Walk near Merthyr Mawr Beach

13. Coney Beach Porthcawl

Distance from Cardiff City Centre: 27 miles / 37 minutes

Coney Beach, also known as Porthcawl Beach is a bit like Barry, it’s one of the popular seaside towns in South Wales and seaside towns near Cardiff with funfair rides at Coney Beach Pleasure Park, arcades and lots of amenities and facilities.

It has a big sandy beach and therefore makes it a great place for children to play, however like Barry Beach, some will love it for its facilities, and some will not.

In summer Coney Beach Porthcawl gets very busy, not only with locals but with holiday makers in the nearby holiday parks.

beaches near Cardiff, Coney Beach Porthcawl
My niece playing with Coney Beach Pleasure Park behind.
beaches near Cardiff, Coney Beach Porthcawl
Coney Beach is a beautiful sandy beach!

14. Porthcawl Rest Bay Beach

Distance from Cardiff City Centre: 29 miles / 40 minutes

For a beach in Porthcawl that is quieter and less commercialised than Coney Beach, you can head to Porthcawl Rest Bay Beach.

Although it is still a popular beach near Cardiff and still gets busy at times!

Rest Bay is one of the most consistent beaches for surfing in this area and Porthcawl Surf is a good place to go for lessons.

It is a large sandy beach with rocks along the edge. It’s a great place to go on a costal walk from as you can walk all the way along the other Porthcawl Beaches or to Sker Beach below.

15. Sker Beach

Distance from Cardiff City Centre: 28 miles / 40 minutes

Sker Beach is within Kenfig National Nature Reserve and if you want a beach that you have to walk to and a beach close to Cardiff that feels wild and like a hidden gem, this is a great place to go!

It takes about 15-30 minutes to walk from Kenfig National Nature Reserve parking through the sand dunes to Sker Beach, also known as Kenfig Beach and depending on which route you take, it involves walking up and down dunes.

It can also be accessed from Porthcawl Rest Bay Beach by foot.

Sker Beach is a huge stretch of beach and great for walking along all year round and for dog walking as dogs are allowed on the beach all year round.

There are no nearby facilities as this is not a commercial beach, which is what makes it so appealing to many!

beaches near Cardiff, Sker Beach, Kenfig National Park
Endless sand at Sker Beach
beaches near Cardiff, Sker Beach, Kenfig National Park

16. Aberavon Beach

Distance from Cardiff City Centre: 36 miles / 51 minutes

This is one of the surprising beaches near Cardiff I think! It is located on the edge of Port Talbot with views of the power station but it’s actually a nice, long sandy beach! In fact, it is one of Wales longest beaches at 3 miles when the tide is out!

It’s one of the beaches near Cardiff that is great to visit in all weather from a hot summers day to a cold winter beach walk.

It’s an enjoyable beach to walk along, you can walk along the sandy beach or along the promenade at the top and it’s popular for watersports like surfing and windsurfing when there are waves and paddle boarding and kayaking when the water is flat.

There are cafes along the beach and play areas for children making it a family fun beach near to Cardiff to visit!

beaches near Cardiff, Aberavon Beach
Aberavon Beach in Port Talbot is a great beach for families near Cardiff!

Cardiff Beaches FAQ:

Answers to frequently asked questions about beaches near Cardiff:

Are there good beaches near Cardiff?

Yes, the best beaches near Cardiff are in Barry, Porthcawl and along the Glamorgan Coastline which are all about 30-40 minutes by car from Cardiff.

Are there any beaches in Cardiff?

Yes. Splott Beach is a beach located in Cardiff, slightly East to Cardiff Bay. This isn’t the best beach in the area and it’s not highly visited but it is a beach in Cardiff.

Penarth beach is a beach very close to Cardiff.

What is the closest beach to Cardiff?

Penarth Beach is the closest beach to Cardiff with good facilities, sand and the ability to swim in the sea.

What is the nearest seaside to Cardiff?

Penarth is the nearest seaside to Cardiff. Penarth is a popular seatown and is only 15-20 minutes from Cardiff City Centre.

How far is Cardiff from the Beach?

It’s about 15-20 minutes from Cardiff to the beach in Penarth.

What is the best Sandy Beach near Cardiff?

The best sandy beach near Cardiff is one of the beaches in Barry which is 30 minutes away from Cardiff. All other closer beaches to Cardiff have rocks.

What are the best dog friendly beaches near Cardiff?

Splott Beach in Cardiff is a good place to walk dogs. Penarth Beach is a dog friendly beach near Cardiff out of summer.

I hope this helps you find beaches near Cardiff to visit!

Keira Ball

Monday 23rd of August 2021

My bucket list just got way longer. Thanks