Best beaches in Wales
Wales is home to some of the most wondrous coastal landscapes you could possibly feast your eyes on. It’s the UK’s hub of dramatic scenery, with untouched wilderness extending for mile and mile inland and out to the coast.
There are literally hundreds of beaches to be explored, each with their own charm and vigour. The relatively built-up south of the country gives way to nature the further west you go, with the UK’s only coastal national park in pretty Pembrokeshire. The more rural, Welsh-speaking Northern regions give visitors the double delight of serene seaside coupled with the remarkable sight of Snowdonia in the distance. We’ve mixed the best ingredients from North and South to bring you the quintessential list of the best beaches in Wales. Get ready for pristine sand alongside peace and tranquility.
The more rural North Wales is perfect if you’re looking for a secluded seaside spot away from the crowds to relax to the sound of the waves. With its rugged landscapes and lush natural beauty, this part of the country is also ideal for an unforgettable coastal walk. Here are three beaches in North Wales that will not disappoint:
1. Harlech Beach, Gwynedd
Harlech Beach has to be one of the most stunning beach locations in the country. Its four miles of gorgeous golden sand sits before a backdrop made up of stunning views of the Snowdonia mountain range. Around a kilometre behind the beach, you’ll also find the imposing and well-kept 13th-century Harlech Castle, a World Heritage Site that is open to visitors throughout the year. If nature is your thing, then you’re going to love Harlech Beach during the summer when leatherback turtles migrate to this part of the coast to feed on jellyfish. Popular with families and dog walkers, this beach doesn’t get too busy, so is ideal for a chilled day of relaxing by the sea.
2. Abersoch Beach, Abersoch, Gwynedd
If you’re looking to get active on your seaside holiday, then Abersoch Beach is the place for you. International sailing events are held regularly at the beach, so unsurprisingly it’s quite a hub for water sports. Here, you can try your hand at windsurfing, jet skiing, dinghy sailing and more. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t just enjoy a nice chilled day at the beach at Abersoch. The water here is calm and great for a paddle with the family. There’s also a marked-off exclusion zone for swimmers to keep them safe from any boats or jet skis that might be whizzing around the area.
3. Gronant Dunes, Prestatyn, Denbighshire
Gronant Dunes is another great spot for a relaxed day at the beach. It’s a soft sandy stretch, so simply get a towel down and get comfy. The water is so clean it’s been awarded a Marine Conservation Society Recommendation, making it a great spot for a bit of a splash in the sea. The dunes that sit behind the beach have been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and are home to all kinds of wildlife. If animals are your thing, then see if you can spot some natterjack toads or lizards that call the dunes home. What’s more, Gronant Dunes Beach is just a stone’s throw away from one of our best parks.
South Wales has a great mix of seaside towns and secluded beaches. While the cities were once major industrial ports, they've now been redeveloped into thriving tourist hubs. South Wales’ coast is also home to some incredible natural beauty, with the UK’s only coastal national park in Pembrokeshire. So whether you’re looking for the buzz and lights of a seaside town like Barry, or a quiet spot to relax away from the crowd, South Wales has you covered.
1. Barafundle Bay, near Stackpole, Pembrokeshire
Barafundle Bay is something of a celebrity in the beach world, having won countless awards over recent years. And this beach does not disappoint. Pine-covered limestone cliffs flank Barafundle Bay’s broad stretch of golden sand. The generally calm water is a perfect turquoise, and has won a Blue Flag award for cleanliness (another one to add to the list), so is great for a bit of a swim.
2. Freshwater West Beach, Pembrokeshire, South Wales
Freshwater West is another South Wales beach with a claim to fame. Freshwater West beach has featured in a number of blockbuster films. It has featured in Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood, as well as Their Finest where the beach played the part of Dunkirk. While Freshwater West’s waves are loved by surfers from all around, swimmers will want to be careful as the rip currents can be quite strong.
3. Barry Island Beach, Barry
Over the last century and a half, Barry Island has developed into a buzzing seaside town. The golden sands of Whitmore Bay are backed by the famous Pleasure Park where you’ll find all manner of classic seaside entertainment, such as amusement arcades and crazy golf.