My Welsh Wales (Hotels, Restaurants & Beaches You Should Visit in Wales)

By Adele Sharman

6 August 2022

Wales and I have a love story. Since I’ve gone on one of the most special weekend trips a few weeks ago to celebrate my mum’s birthday, here I am to tell you (and celebrate) everything about Wales. My trips to Wales when I was younger during the summer holidays were magical. I will always have a soft spot for Swansea, my mum’s family place. I spent so much time on the beach in the rain, eating egg mayo sandwiches (the sand added to the flavour). We would have days at the Leisure centre, playing on the beach, walking to the Mumbles and playing in the arcades. I even brought my children to Wales to introduce them to my favourite place. They loved it!

I also stayed at different hotels when I didn’t want to bother my family and stayed at their houses. For instance, one time I was accommodated in the VillageHotel, it was quite an average experience, but a great location since all I needed was to see my family. The Marriott Hotel didn’t differ in uniqueness, except for the location, when I visited family. Bed and Breakfasts on the seafront were quite breathtaking and had a view of Swansea Bay. What a shame that they got closed down!

There was a time when I rented a house on Mumbles road, which was a few steps from the beach. When you travel with pets (my mum has a dog), be ready to rethink your travel itinerary and search for dog-friendly places, hotels, Airbnbs, restaurants and even beaches. Not every beach is dog friendly, and some are open only during certain seasons of the year.

I did love it when we hired an international school house in the Gower, which was actually for my birthday: golf courses for the boys, walks for the dogs and the Langland Brasserie for drinks and food. It was set on amazing grounds, and we even had some bunk beds (it was my birthday, so I chose the double bed).

Each time I go to Wales, I never seem to stay in the same place, but I still like to visit my favourite places. 

On my most recent trip in July, we needed a large space for a party, so The old Vicarage in Reynoldston in the Gower was ideal. At first glance, the place was impressive, but unfortunately, after closer inspection, the place was old, dirty and tired. A quick call to the owner and he did come out the following day to give it a clean, but because it was an old building, it needed a good deep clean. 

Would I use it again? Maybe not, it was in the middle of nowhere, but it placed 18 people and accepted dogs with huge grounds, which was ideal for a BBQ endeavour. We also had a live singer and lots of games to keep everyone entertained to host a 70th Party for my mum, and it did the job perfectly.

Truth be told, driving around the country lanes and sharing the road with sheep, cows, and horses take some getting used to, that’s for sure. 

Swansea has changed over the years. The quadrant may not be as good for shopping, the city centre has changed so much – just like lots of other city centres lots of shops and eateries have closed down and moved out of town. The Leisure centre isn’t the same (I used to love the wave machine and slides), we all have to grow up one day. 

A few of my favourite places: 

Rhossili is a must-visit, ideally on a clear day to see the full extent of the bay & Worm’s Head. The beach was claimed to be one of the top beaches in the UK. Best spot to have a picnic, best for surfing and let’s not forget our fur babies, The Times nominated Rhossili as “The UK’s No.1 dog-friendly beach”. Keep in mind, that if you are crossing over to the worm’s head, please check the tide times. I am sure you don’t want to be stranded out there.

A favourite beach of mine is Whiteford Sands on the northern side of the Gower Peninsula. It may also be because my auntie has a caravan there. The beach is super clean and so peaceful, walking over the sand dunes makes you feel like you can be in Spain, not Wales. 

Whiteford Sands and Whiteford Point Lighthouse are located on the north-western tip of the Gower. It is a vast two-mile expanse of beach leading out along the edge of the Loughor Estuary. It is in Llanmadoc, which is 30 minutes from Swansea. Be ready for very narrow roads and lots of slow (ARAF) signs, sheep, cows and horses grazing. 

A wonderful walk is to park in Parkmill & walk along the Bishopston Valley to Three Cliffs Bay. The beach is beautiful, but the valley is as good. The walk is also flat and only a few miles. If you fancy a brisk walk, drive to the top of Cefn Bryn for stunning views of the whole peninsula. The promenade at Mumbles is lovely and still my favourite place looking out to Swansea bay. I still love the arcades and the big red apple. it is Swansea’s most recognisable landmark and has been granted listed building status. It was built in the 1930s, shaken to its core (mind the pun) when a car ploughed into it in 2009. It was rebuilt and repaired later. Childhood memories are the best.

The King Arthur country pub in Reynoldston is a lovely and friendly pub with a very welcoming staff and some delicious home-cooked food. The odd sheep looking at you does make you think twice before you order the “Lamb” (which is very nice). Another institution is Joe’s Ice Cream Parlour in Mumbles, a great ice cream choice. The Oyster Wharf development in Mumbles is very good: great food and amazing views over Swansea Bay. Nice outdoor seating as well. Verdi’s cafe at the Western End is a local restaurant, and I highly recommend ordering ice cream, tiramisu and soup and, of course, the pizza there. 

Beach House Restaurant in Oxwich Bay is a Michelin-starred restaurant on the beach in Oxwich. Very highly rated for lunch and dinner (but not eaten here yet). Time for me to revisit. I also like the Langland Brasserie, a great place to stop after a walk for a light refreshment or even an evening meal with wine. 

There is a useful free app available for iPhones and Android smartphones called “This is Gower”. It has lots of useful information and includes directions to beaches, places of interest etc. Please reach out to me if you want any more information on wonderful Wales. I can always ask my family for additional information to make your experience in the land of castles.

Croeso (welcome),

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