Posted 27th Feb 2018
With St David's Day approaching (1st March), this seems the ideal time to take a look at some of the most picturesque beaches in Wales
Rhossili Bay, Swansea
Rhossili Bay surpassed the sandy shores of Spain, Greece and France as it became the only European beach worthy of a place on Suitcase's top 10 beaches in the world (2017). It's easy to see why - the remote beach encompasses three miles of golden sands and sits within the first designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the UK. It's also home to Worm's Head, Gower's most famous landmark, and has been dubbed 'the supermodel of British beaches'. This month, it was voted the third best beach in the UK in the TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards, where it has held a top ten position for six years running.
Barafundle Bay, Pembrokeshire
Voted one of the world's best beaches by Passport magazine in 2017 and in the top 10 UK beaches in the 2018 TripAdvisor Traveller's Choice Awards, the deep blue sea, beautiful rocky coast and smooth white sand of Barafundle Bay almost feels too good to be true. Described as a 'visual overdose of beauty', it's an immensely private beach, and is only accessible by walking. With no cafe or facilities, it offers nothing by natural beauty.
Confucius Hole and caves, Broad Haven
The spectacular swimming offered at Confucius Hole are a must for any adventure seeker. The giant, stunning crater fills up, becoming a blue lagoon with every tide, and it surrounded by smaller caves, which are ideal for exploring. Both the caves and holes have been carved out by thousands of years of erosion and are found on one of the most remarkable stretches of coast in Britain - you can also spot St Govan's Chapel hidden in the cliffs, too.
Skrinkle Haven, Manorbier
Accessible via a long flight of steps, once you reach Skrinkle Haven, you'll see why it's worth the effort. At the eastern end is Church Doors beach, with this little cove taking its name from the two high arched caves in the sandstone which resemble the doors of a church. The beach was off limits to the public until the 1980s as it was situated beneath the firing arc of the Royal Artillery Range, meaning that, although the beach has become popular for all manner of activities - including surging, coasteering and boating - it still evokes the feeling of being largely unexplored.
Blue Pool Bay, Gower
Blow Pool Bay is one of Gower's most charming beaches, and also one of the most secluded in Wales. There are no roads or lanes leading up to the beach, and this, coupled with its sheltered position at the base of u-shaped cliffs, mean only those who know about its existence will frequent its clean sands. At the southern end, the Three Chimneys rock arch where gold doubloons from an 18th century shipwreck have been found. The beach's main attraction will be the eponymous natural rock-pool, which is deep enough to jump into from the rocks above.
Porth Wen, Anglesey
Porth Wen includes unrivalled views across the Irish Sea to the North Atlantic and sits on the northern tip of the island of Anglesey. It's also a suntrap, sheltered from the wind, and its remote location ensures you're likely to only be disturbed by local fishermen. However, it's the old brickworks which make Porth Wen special - they may have closed at the outbreak of World War One, but the ruins of the Victorian chimneys and kilns offer a haunting beauty.
Whitesands Beach, Pembrokeshire
The beach is well-known for its wide expanse of pale gold sand, secluded coves, and spectacular views over land and sea. Holding prestigious Blue Flag status, the beach has a reputation for being one of the finest surging beaches in Wales. The Pembrokeshire Coast Path passes alongside the bay, offering access to the secluded bays of Porthlleuog and Porthmelgan, which can only be reached on foot, and the rugged coastal scenery of St David's Head.
Porth Iago, Aberdaron, Gwynedd
The small, picturesque bay of sand is backed by a grassy bank, sitting in a cove defined by the headlands of Dinas and Graig Ddu. The sheltered location makes it perfect for sunbathing and swimming, while watersports include sea kayaking and canoeing. The rocky headland is popular with anglers, even though many visitors come just to enjoy the Porth Iago's white sands and clear blue waters.
A gloriously secluded beach is overlooked by Mwnt's famous cliffs, making this the perfect place to spot bottle nose dolphins, basking sharks and porpoise. Managed by the National Trust (and also recognised as one of its top 'special places' in a public vote), Mwnt is situated off the beaten track, and boasts stunning views over Cardigan Bay. The tiny white church above the beach looks straight out of a story book, and will be well worth a visit.
Bracelet Bay, Mumbles
Bracelet Bay is alleged to be a favourite spot of Catherine Zeta Jones, who owns a home overlooking the Mumbles lighthouse with her husband, Michael Douglas. Features of the beach include an award-winning rocky shore, rock pools, a cave and a fossilised coral reef. It can boast Blue Flag status and a seaside award - and is said to be where you can find some of the tastiest ice cream in Wales.
Three Cliffs Bay, Swansea
The eighth best beach in the UK according to the Trip Advisor Traveller's Choice Awards (and the third Welsh beach to make the list) is Three Cliffs Bay. Taking its name from its signature three limestone cliffs, offering a wilder experience with a spectacular shoreline of sand dunes and salt marsh. It's easily one of Gower's most photographed locations, and with good reason too. The iconic summits are popular with rock climbers, while the gently sloping dunes make the ideal spot for a picnic.