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14 BEST Beaches in South Wales To Visit! For Walking, Surfing & Families.

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Looking for the best beach in South Wales?? Whether you’re looking for beaches close to Cardiff, sandy beaches, surfing beaches or the best family beaches in South Wales, we’ve got you covered!

I grew up between South Wales and England and spent time living in Cardiff recently so I’ve seen my fair share of beautiful beaches in South Wales stretching from Cardiff, Glamorgan, Swansea Gower and the beautiful Pembrokeshire coast.

In this Wales travel blog, you’ll find a map of the best beaches in South Wales to help you plan a trip and beaches that are great for dogs, families, surfing, sand and more with a mixture of easily accessible beaches and hidden gems in South Wales!

Best Beaches in South Wales

best beaches in South Wales
Keep reading for the best beaches in South Wales!

Best Time to Visit Beaches in South Wales

We think of the beach and think of summer, and whilst the beaches in South Wales are one of the best places to be in the UK in summer, you can go to South Wales beaches all year round!

I love a winter beach walk during winter in Wales, especially on a dry, crisp and fresh day. Just make sure you’re dressed up for cold weather and wind with plenty of layers and footwear like wellies are great for winter beach walks in Wales!

best beaches in South Wales,  Three Cliff Bay Beach Side
This was a super cold day visiting the Three Cliffs Bay Beach in South Wales!

Spring and Autumn are also lovely times to visit these nicest beaches in South Wales because you can often get nice weather this time of year and the beaches in Wales are not only great for sunbathing and being in the water. Not far from each of these beaches is the Wales Coastal Path, a path along the whole of the coast of Wales so you can easily pick up the footpath and go for a walk, or walk along the beach.

Come summer, the beaches in South Wales get very busy, especially on hot weekends so it’s best to get to them early to get parked near the beach and get a good spot!

best beaches in South Wales, broad haven beach with people in summer
A hot summers day on Broadhaven Beach in South Wales!

Best South Wales Beaches that You Must Visit

South Wales and South West Wales are full of incredible beaches, you really can’t go wrong with many of them, but these are my recommended must-visit beaches in South Wales!

1. Manorbier Beach – Pembrokeshire

Manorbier Beach quickly became my favourite beach in Pembrokeshire and best beach in South Wales after visiting recently! This beach is a favourite with the locals too!

Manorbier Beach is not a huge beach but it has a good-sized sandy area to sit with rocks surrounding it. What makes it top of the list of the best beaches in South Wales for me is the water!

When I went, lots of children and adults were surfing, body boarding and paddle boarding on the gentle waves making it a safe beach for children to swim in South Wales and one of the top beaches for surfing in South Wales.

best beaches in South Wales, Manorbier beach from the side with no people
Can you see why Manorbier is one of the best beaches in South Wales?

Manorbier Beach is great to visit even if you don’t want to enjoy the sand or water because the Wales Coastal Path runs right along it and you can walk in either direction to find more hidden beaches in South Wales!

Another positive to Manorbier Beach is the good-sized car park with toilet facilities and the cafes that are in Manorbier village nearby. Be sure to stop off at Manorbier Castle too!

best beaches in South Wales, Manorbier beach from Wales Coastal Path
I walked the Wales Coastal Path and this was my view of Manorbier Beach as I turned the corner!

2. Barafundle Bay – Pembrokeshire

Barafundle Bay is one of the best beaches in Wales! It is an award-winning beach so it has to be high on my list of the best beaches in South Wales.

I think what makes Barafundle Bay so great and so appealing is its slightly difficult location!

Getting to Barafundle Bay requires you to park at Stackpole Quay car park and then walk through 2 fields to get to the bay. Once there, there are no facilities such as toilets or a cafe.

best beaches in South Wales, Barafundle Bay Beach from top with sign
Barafundle Bay has been voted as one of the best beaches in South Wales!

Barafundle Bay is a soft sandy beach, perfect if you’re looking for the best sandy beaches in south Wales and it is a good size in length and depth, even on busy summer days!

It is good for swimming and watersports such as paddle boarding and kayaking. In high season you should be able to hire these at the beach.

Popular activities include cliff jumping from Stackpole Quay nearby and kayaking from Stackpole to Barafundle Bay meaning you can have a full adventure day out at this beautiful South Wales beach!

Related Post: How to Get to Barafundle Bay. Barafundle Bay Walk from Stackpole Quay!

best beaches in South Wales, Barafundle Bay Beach with sand
Barafundle Bay is one of the best sandy beaches in South Wales

3. Barry Island Beach – Barry

Barry Island is the most popular holiday resort and seaside town in South Wales and close to Cardiff so you know it has to have a good beach!

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 in South Wales! It’s a clean beach to visit and good for children and swimming.

best beaches in South Wales, Barry Island Beach colourful huts
Barry Island Beach is one of the best family beaches in South Wales!

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!

Barry Beach does get very busy in the summertime and any time the sun shines in Wales and because of how commercialised Barry is, it’s not to everyone’s taste. However, if you are looking for an easy South Wales beach to visit with facilities and fun around you for the kids, this is the best choice!

Related Post: Barry Island Beaches Guide! 4 BEST Beaches in Barry To Visit!

best beaches in South Wales, Barry Island Beach with people on
Barry Island Beach is huge when the tide is out!

4. Watch House Bay – Barry

If Barry is easy for you to get to in South Wales, the busy and commercialised beach of Barry Island Beach is not the only beach in the town to visit!

A much quieter beach in Barry is Watch House Bay, also known as Watch Tower Bay. As you leave the centre of Barry with all the shops, cafes and rides, this beach comes as quite a surprise as it is a beautiful, big, quiet, sandy beach!

I imagine Watch House Bay Beach gets busy in the summer time but when I went, although Barry Beach was pretty busy, this beach was deserted!

best beaches in South Wales, Watch Tower Beach in Barry with no people
Watch Tower Beach in Barry is great if you want a quieter beach in South Wales than Barry Island!

In the summer, it’s great for chilling on the sand and in the water but out of season, it’s perfect for a big walk, especially as one of the best beaches in South Wales for dogs as it would be a lovely dog walk!

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!

5. Nash Point – Glamorgan

A hugely underrated part of Wales is the Glamorgan Heritage Coast! This part of the Wales Coastal Path between Cardiff and Swansea is full of amazing beaches in South Wales and coastal walks!

Nash Point is my favourite area on the Glamorgan Heritage Coast in South Wales because its beach is so unique and unlike many other beaches in South Wales!

best beaches in South Wales, Nash Point cliffs and rocky beach
Nash Point is hugely underrated and one of the best beaches for fossils in South Wales!

It has a towering cliff edge and the rocks down at the beach are one of the best places in ways for fossil hunting in South Wales! If you have children who are into dinosaurs, this is a great family beach to visit in South Wales!

best beaches in South Wales, view approaching Nash Point cliffs
I love the walk along the coastal path to Nash Point!

6. Broad Haven South Beach – Pembrokeshire

There are a few different beaches with the name Broad Haven in Pembrokeshire so be aware of this!

This beach is the one closest to Bosherston village and it’s not on many maps making it hard to find, but the plus of that is that it’s a secret South Wales beach and of course, many locals know about it!

The best way to find this beautiful South Wales beach on the map is to look for Trefalen car park or Church Rock which is a unique free-standing rock in the ocean and can be seen from the beach.

best beaches in South Wales, Broad Haven South Beach with river
Broad Haven South Beach is one of the classic Welsh beaches in South Wales,

I stumbled upon Broad Haven South Beach whilst on a walk around Bosherston Lilly Ponds and I was so surprised and delighted by this soft sand beach with plenty of space! This is seriously one of the best places to visit in South Wales and definitely one of the best beaches!

It’s one of those beaches in Wales that is great on a sunny day, especially if you’re taking children, but it’s also good for a big winter walk with the dogs and therefore one of the best beaches in South Wales for dogs.

Related Post: Broad Haven South Beach Directions, Information & Things To Do.

best beaches in South Wales, Broad Haven South Beach with sand and sea
Broad Haven South Beach is a busy beach but hard to find!

7. Newgale Beach – Pembrokeshire

If you’re looking for the biggest beach in South Wales, Newgale Beach is at the top of this list!

Newgale Beach is almost 2 miles long and extremely wide! It is backed by a huge pebble bank that you have to walk up and over to get to the beach.

It’s a popular beach for kitesurfing and surfing and lessons can be taken at the beach making it one of the top South Wales beaches for surfing.

best beaches in South Wales, Newgate Beach from the side at 2 miles long!
Newgate Beach is huge! It’s 2 miles long, the biggest beach in South Wales!

There are toilet and cafe facilities along the beach but because it is so big it doesn’t feel like a commercial beach at all. This gives it the balance of having easy facilities but also being a beach you can feel secluded on too.

best beaches in South Wales, view of Newgate Beach with rocks, sand and water
This is one of the great beaches for walking in South Wales!

Because of its length it’s one of the best beaches for dog walking in South Wales but restrictions apply on parts of the beach during parts of the year.

8. Tenby Beaches – Pembrokeshire

Tenby is the top seaside favourite in South Wales and the most popular place for a seaside holiday in South Wales.

Tenby’s colourful town and nearby activities make it is a piopular place to visit and along with its beaches.

Tenby has 4 beachesSouth Beach, North Beach, Castle Beach and Harbour Beach meaning you can have a full beach day out in South Wales here hitting up different beaches without going too far!

best beaches in South Wales, view of Tenby beach and harbour
Tenby Harbour Beach when the tide is out. The colourful buildings make it one of the best beaches in South Wales!

‘What is the best beach in Tenby?’

This is a popular question. Castle Beach was voted the best beach in the UK in 2019 but the beaches in Tenby are all good for different reasons and different preferences.

Personally, my favourite is South Beach because it is less commercialised and a bit further away from the tourist town, followed by North Beach because of its big size and because of the view of all the colourful buildings that make up Tenby from the beach.

best beaches in South Wales, view of Tenby North Beach
This Tenby Beach can’t be missed!

Tenby is the perfect South Wales family beach day out and holiday destination if you want to keep the kids busy and entertained whilst having beautiful beach and coastal views and with 4 beaches to choose from.

best beaches in South Wales, Tenby beach will colourful buildings
Tenby Castle Beach has been voted as the best beach in Tenby to visit!

9. Rhossili Bay – Swansea Gower

The Swansea Gower feels like an Island off of the coast of Swansea and South Wales but it is actually joined to the mainland making it easy to visit from the M4.

Rhossili Bay has to be in my list of best beaches in South Wales because this beach has been voted as one of the best beaches in Wales before and it’s not hard to see why.

Rhossili Bay beach is huge! It’s a great beach to walk along and in summer it gets busy with people enjoying the sand and water.

best beaches in South Wales, view of Rhosili Bay Beach from the coastal path above
View of Rhosili Bay, voted one of the best beaches in South Wales many times!

You don’t have to be on the beach to enjoy this beach though, it’s also one of the best places to visit in South Wales because of the coastal walk down to Worms Head that it offers with incredible views looking back at the beach.

10. Three Cliffs Bay – Swansea Gower

Another one of the best beaches in Swansea Gower and best beaches in South Wales is Three Cliffs Bay which offers you a wild beach experience with sand dunes, a salt marsh and limestone cliffs, plus an amazing sand beach.

Another one of the top beaches in South Wales for dog walks and to visit all year round.

best beaches in South Wales, Three Cliffs Bay Beach with no people and cliffs
Three Cliffs Bay Beach is huge and great for dog walking!

Children will love this beach as they can explore the caves and run up the hills on top of the cliffs.

Related Post: How To Visit Three Cliffs Bay & Three Cliffs Bay Walks!

11. Sker Beach – Porthcawl

Sker Beach is within Kenfig National Nature Reserve and if you want a beach that you have to walk to and a beach in South Wales 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.

best beaches in South Wales, Sker Beach with blue sky in winter
Sker Beach takes some walking to get to but is worth it all year round! This was taken on 1st Jan!

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!

12. Chuch Door Cove Beach – Pembrokeshire

Now for a hidden beach in South Wales and a unique place to visit in South Wales.

The Pembrokeshire coast is full of unique rock formations and Church Door Cove is one of them, named after the huge gap in the cliff that looks like a door.

The beach is pretty small and rocky but you don’t come here to lie on the sand, you come to explore the rocks and see this unique structure!

best beaches in South Wales, Church Door Cove with Church Door Rock
This is one of the unique and hidden beaches in South Wales!

If you want a challenge, you can walk to Church Door Cove from Manorbier Beach which is an amazing 45-minute walk along the coast followed by some steep steps down to the beach and I recommend this coastal walk in Pembrokeshire!

Whilst you’re here you can also check out more nearby beaches like Shrinkle Haven Beach which is another one of the best pembrokeshire beaches.

Related Post: How To Get To Church Door Cove & Skrinkle Haven Beach.

13. Saundersfoot – Pembrokeshire

Saundersfoot is an all-time favourite and one of the best places to visit in South Wales for its harbour, shops, cafes and restaurants, luckily it has a beautiful golden sand beach too!

The beach has many blue flag areas making it a good and safe beach for swimming, especially for children and it is a dog-friendly beach in South Wales.

Saundersfoot is on my list of best beaches in South Wales because of its easy access. Although not really close to Swansea and Cardiff, it is one of the closest beaches in Pembrokeshire to Swansea & Cardiff.

best beaches in South Wales, Saundersfoot Beach with tide out and town to the side
Saundersfoot Beach is one of the all round best beaches in South Wales!

I love Saundersfoot Beach for its facilities as the town is right by the beach but you can also walk along the beach to find quiet spots and it has a nice seaside charm to it.

Saundersfoot Beach is just down the road from Tenby so be sure to visit here when looking for things to do near Tenby.

Related Post: 13 Top Things To Do in Saundersfoot & Near Saundersfoot

best beaches in South Wales, Saundersfoot Beach and Harbour with the tide out
Saundersfoot Beach and Harbour with the tide out,

14. Freshwater East Beach – Pembrokeshire

Freshwater East Beach, not to be confused with Freshwater West Beach (this is not the Harry Potter beach where Dobby died!) is a bit of a remote beach, mainly because it isn’t found on many maps and hence of one of my top beaches in South Wales.

Freshwater East is a village with a lovely sandy beach surrounded by fields and makes a perfect family-friendly beach in Pembrokeshire.

best beaches in South Wales, footpath to Freshwater East Beach
Freshwater East Beach is one of the best family beaches in South Wales because of its ease of access!

There are no facilities at this beach which helps make it that bit quieter, however it is one of the easy South Wales beaches to get to as the car park is close to the beach.

It’s on the same stretch of coast as Tenby, Barafundle Bay and Manorbier Beach so it’s another one of the best beaches near Tenby to visit!

best beaches in South Wales, Freshwater East Beach with sand and grass banks
Freshwater East Beach is backed by grass banks, one of the nicest beaches in South Wales!

I hope this list of the best beaches in South Wales has helped you!