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 still enticingly warm in autumn now’s the time to use up your leave and head west to breathe in some salty air on Wales’ best beaches.
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.
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