Wales has some of the best stretches of sand in the UK, fact. What’s more, because many of them are under the radar, they’re not packed out every time there’s a ray of sunshine unlike Brighton or Bournemouth.
With the weather picking up and lockdown lifting (hooray!), soon it's the time to head west to breathe in some salty air on Wales’ best beaches. While Wales currently have a different route out of lockdown to England, these are some key dates to keep in mind:
Travel between Wales and the rest of the UK and Ireland may be allowed from 12 April. The Welsh government website says, "it is our intention to remove the restrictions on travelling into and out of Wales on 12 April, but to continue to restrict international travel without a reasonable excuse."
Currently, those living in Wales can already travel around Wales to self-contained accommodation with your household or support bubble. There are no travel restrictions in place within Wales
Self-contained accommodation is also already open in Wales. This includes any accommodation which does not require guests to share washing facilities, toilets or kitchens. Hotels and other serviced accommodation, for example, B&Bs and hostels, which have en-suite rooms and can provide room service meals also come in to this category.
In England, the plan is for self-catered holidays to be back on the cards from 12 April. Campsites and holiday lets where indoor facilities are not shared with other households will also be allowed to reopen, and people can book into self-catering cottages - but only with their own household. Hotels and b&bs in England can open the following month on 17 May.
Best beaches in Wales
1. Whitesands Beach, St Davids
Gorgeous white sand (hence the name), Blue Flag beach overlooked by the craggy hill of Corn Llidi and rocky promontory of St Davids Head. Not only is the scenery spectacular, but Whitesands is also one of the UK’s top surfing beaches, so a great place to have a go at catching a wave. There’s a cafe for snacks or, if you want to take a picnic, head to the more sheltered south for less sand in your sandwiches.
Stay: It appears pretty remote, but Whitesands is actually walkable from St Davids (smallest UK city, fact geeks) where you can check into boutique retreat Twr y Felin Hotel, a converted windmill with contemporary art on the walls and a restaurant focused on Welsh produce.
2. Castle Beach, Tenby
Cliff-backed stretch of silky sand, much of which vanishes at high tide. It’s the seaside town’s smallest yet most Instagrammable bay, with pastel-coloured Georgian townhouses on top and a long jetty below, where boats depart for Caldey Island, home to grey seals, more beautiful bays and a monastery.
Stay: Penally Abbey’s a 30-minute stroll from Tenby and one of Wales’ best boltholes; tumbling gardens, sea views, pretty rooms and a restaurant serving a six-course menu (pack trousers with an elasticated waist).
3. Mwnt, Cardigan
What it lacks in vowels it makes up for in wildlife - dolphins are regularly spotted here. It’s pretty remote, about five miles from Cardigan town centre, but worth hunting out as the scenery is spectacular, with a conical hill to climb and golden sand and surf to play in. There are toilets and an ice cream kiosk in summer but little else, so take plenty of food and drink.
Stay: Picture-perfect cottage Min yr Afon lies close by and despite the rustic facade, has a cool modern interior. Sleeps four.
4. Pobbles Bay, Gower Peninsula
You’ll need to walk a short bit of coast path from Three Cliffs to reach this beauty, but it’s more than worth it when you set eyes on the jagged rocks, golden sand and rockpools. Totally unspoilt, there are no toilets, cafes or surf shops, just you, the endless sky and sparkling ocean.
Stay: The Gower Hotel, around three miles from Pobbles, is a bargain getaway with comfy rooms, great restaurant and cosy bar.
5. Monkstone Beach, Saundersfoot
Dramatic rocks set the scene at this wild bay which lies between Saundersfoot and Tenby. Accessed via a path from Trevayne Farm - it’s steep in places, so wear trainers - once you reach the bottom you’ll discover one of the loveliest beaches in Wales. Facilities: none. Sensational sand and sea: lots.
Stay: You can’t get closer than Trevayne Farm, which has fields with pitches for campervans and tents, or, if you want to take things indoors, a cottage to hire in nearby Saundersfoot.
6. Barafundle Bay, Pembrokeshire
Frequently topping lists of Britain’s best beaches, this honey-hued stretch of sand is well worth hunting out. It’s only accessible by foot, which adds to the allure, so you’ll have to park your car in Stackpole Quay and stroll along the Coast Path for around 1.3 stunning miles taking in the amazing views of rugged, unspoilt coastline. There are no facilities, so pack a picnic, and it’s so remote you might even have it to yourself.
Stay: Bluestone National Park Resort lies around 15 miles from Barafundle and has a variety of places to stay, from studio apartments to St David’s Lodge, which sleeps eight.
7. Marloes Sands, Pembrokeshire
Seals, porpoises and puffins can all be spotted on the Marloes Peninsula, so it’s a great place if you want a wildlife experience along with your beach break. Rock pools edge the cove and it’s a safe beach for swimming (if the water’s warm enough). There are toilets, a little cafe and car park too.
Stay: The Farmhouse at East Hook sleeps eight and is tastefully decorated with a nod to nautical including a modern farmhouse kitchen, conservatory with sea views and lounge with comfy blue sofas and books.
8. Penbryn, Ceredigion
This secluded, mile-long cove is reached via leafy lanes lined with flower-covered banks and hedgerows. Soft sand is lapped by sea that’s ideal for swimming. Backed by dramatic heathland and fields, there’s a little beach cafe tucked away for hot drinks and snacks, plus the phone signal’s weak, so it’s a little digital detox too.
Stay: Ty Henri’s a bright blue modern holiday home with two bedrooms, polished wood floors, incredible views and even a hot tub.
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