Where is the nearest/best Beach to Tan yr Eglwys Cottages?
This is a question from almost every guest at Tan yr Eglwys Cottages, but not simply answered with the geographical mileage! We have to quickly assess a few factors before responding with suggestions. Quick thoughts are gathered on firstly, the duration of their stay and then quick consideration to the make up of the group?
If a family with young children or toddlers, then simply sandcastles and open space may be the requirements, but parents will also appreciate a short car journey, easy parking and good facilities. Additionally, somewhere with a floor surface suitable for a buggy can also be appealing to the grandparents or indeed all with impaired mobility.
This will contrast to a young couple, their search may be for a stunning backdrop to impress their friends on social media or simply search for romantic isolation?
Be prepared to be amazed, especially if having travelled along the M4 above Port Talbot. Hiding well out of view of the industrial and built up area is an absolute gem! Aberavon Seafront has one of the longest stretches of sandy beach and overlooks the whole of Swansea Bay. There is a contemporary promenade, with easy parking and beach access. walkers and cyclists
When are the guests visiting, different Seasons have different expectations and weekends, Bank holidays and sunny days bring out the locals, so to be considered and discussed. There is an ideal beach for everyone, whatever the time of year – here are a few of our favourites, with thoughts on our selections.
the weather or Season, the promenade is used by walkers and cyclists whilst others are relaxing and people watching. There are always walkers on the beach, but in good weather families enjoy the miles of flat sand or use the many non facilities. The beach is vast and shoals very gradually to the sea, making it safer than some other beaches for young children. The vast area of sand can suggest they have complete freedom, but as there are so few people around then a watchful eye can be ever present. The sea does however provide great surfing conditions and whatever the season there are surfers to be watched. Over to the right of the beach as you face the sea are the sand dunes and eye catching views over Swansea Bay to the Mumbles. There is easy parking, often free, great simple facilities, ice cream, fish and chips, a playpark and toddler paddling pool, skatepark and adventure playground along a wide promenade are a great attraction to young families not wanting a longer drive or just want a half day beach visit. Sometimes there can be a blustery wind but it is always stunning. If a quick seaside fix is required, Aberavon is an easy option – combine with time at Margam Country Park or a cinema trip near the seafront. It is fabulous for young families, anyone with impaired mobility or simply for a short whistlestop visit.
The reputation of this award winning beach is very often familiar to our guests, if National Trust Members then you can park for free. Rhossili Beach is award winning and undeniably truly jaw dropping beauty. For that certain photo opportunity it is unique, but not for all. The journey is just 30 miles, but on the popular route via Swansea seafront and Gower country roads it easily takes an hour. However we chose to always travel via Penclawdd and through the north Gower roads which are quieter. We always stop at Penclawdd to watch the tidal estuary , call in for an ice cream or breakfast at Cariad Cafe, before continuing down to Weobley Castle ( and pick up some Gower Salt Marsh lamb from the farmshop). We will often return from Rhossili via Mumbles and call in for an ice cream or a meal. Rhossili beach is simply breath taking, but it is not the first choice for either younger children or if there is any impairment with walking or rough ground. It is a place to be adventurous, walk out towards “the Worm” and if the tide allows then further afield scramble along the rocks to the tip. Or climb down to the vast expanse of sand and aim to see the remains of the wrecked Helvetia which became stranded there in the late 1800’s. If you are still feeling energetic, climb up the hill behind Rhossili onto the Rhossili downs and enjoy further breathtaking views out to sea and over the Lougher Estuary. On a clear day with good eyesight you can see the pastel painted houses on Tenby seafront!
This is an incredibly pretty beach with the name deriving from the tall peaked rocks. These 300 million year old carboniferous limestone cliffs that protrude from the sea are a backdrop to a small sandy beach with stepping stones over the river and tidal estuary. But beware of swimming in the sea here, it is treacherous and has a rip current, many lives continue to be lost there!
There are two approaches to the Bay, neither is particularly suitable for a buggy or very small legs. National Trust Members can chose to park at Southgate village green and amble along the cliff top moorland, sometimes amidst grazing sheep or ponies, to gaze down at the spectacular rock formation that leads to the name. Deviate around to the ruins of Pennard Castle and clamber down the dunes to the beach.
Alternatively, park near Parkmill, possibly visit the Gower Heritage Centre then cross the main road over to the woodland and duly meander the paths through the deciduous woodland, walk alongside the meandering water flow, depending on the tide cross the water on the stepping stones or pass by some grazing cattle then enter the beach at sea level.
Both routes lead to a most picturesque and much photographed beach!
If you wish to combine a beach visit with a trip to Swansea Marina, or any point along the 7-8 miles that is Swansea Bay to the “village” of Mumbles at it’s far end, then it is easily achieved.
A walkway cum cycle path runs around the edge of the coast along the length of Swansea Bay, giving uninterrupted sea views. The path is not wide therefore not so relaxing with young children, great for bikes, buggies, cyclists and walkers though.
For the adventurous, travel beyond Mumbles to the small pebbled Bracelet Bay beach, with a play park, ice cream and a huge car park. From here it is possible to walk the coastal cliff top path around to Langland Bay and then onto Caswell Bay.
Both of these smaller beaches are extremely popular with visitors and locals. As council owned beaches, they have paid parking ( limited on a very sunny day), public facilities and coffee shops. The path around this stretch of coastline has lovely sea views which make it very popular throughout the year.
Oxwich, Horton and Port Eynon Beaches are a longer drive, but have ample paid for parking and generally offer longer beaches and are less crowded even on sunny days. There are facilities and a food outlet at each.
If wanting to see the sea and the Gower from a different far away angle, a great viewpoint and a flat coastal path walk can be had from Llanelli. Park near the North Dock where there is paid parking, ice cream, a good cafe, a fabulous play area and miles of flat even coastal paths and cycleway. This is a quickly changing sea scape where dangers lurk on this tidal estuary, there is some sand and pebbles, but generally not a beach for swimming but for long walks and to enjoy some sea air. Combine with a visit to Kidwelly Castle.
For a complete day trip, or again as an addition to time spent at the impressive Kidwelly Castle, there is Pembrey Country Park with simply miles of silver sand. This is one very impressive beach where with not a great deal of effort, you can believe you have the beach to yourself. Pembrey Country Park charges entry by the car and in return gives a great deal. From stunning miles of coastline, combined with dunes, forrest tracks, BBQ and grassy areas, a cafe and adventure playground to additionally for an extra fee there is a toboggan run and dry ski slope.
An hour away in West Wales is a surprising addition to our favourite beaches, certainly not the nearest, but many guests are familiar with te name ann ask about it’s proximity. Undeniably a gem of a place, it is 57 miles from the cottage and generally reached in a few minutes more than an hour. During our childhood it was the place that a school or chapel trip would aim for each Summer For decades it has been a favoured holiday destination from the Midlands, happy holidaymakers once arriving on special train services.
Tenby is an extremely picturesque town with pastel painted Victorian town houses surrounding a picture postcard harbour and offers the choice of 3 sandy beaches! It is very much a “day out at the seaside” kind of place and will serve up the ice cream, a stick of rock and a bag of chips eaten overlooking the beach at sunset experience of many a childhood.