Swansea Bay was my recent weekend getaway, and for any adventure seeker or outdoor activity lover, it without a shadow of a doubt, is a fantastic option if you don’t want to leave the country. With sweeping hills and beautiful blue seas, you can dip your toe into a variety of activities in Swansea Bay. Today I’m going to be telling you specifically about my trip exploring the Gower Peninsula and everything I squeezed into our weekend in Wales.
Where we were going
There are many places in Swansea Bay you can look to stay, to be honest, if you’re not too fussed about exploring too much or perhaps you just would prefer not to drive a lot, then you can easily find plenty to do in each location. We stayed in a place called Pitton, a stone’s throw away from Rhossili, but even though we did drive a lot on this trip, if we’d really wanted a simple retreat, we could of quite easily gone on hikes and found the other places that way. This was going to be another jam-packed getaway for myself and Nick, so as much as I was eager to explore, I was excited about doing it in the countryside rather than a hectic city. Somehow weekend breaks to big cities really drain me, so I was excited to see how doing a busy country weekend would be.
Where to say?
We drove from the mighty Midlands with a stop off in Snowdonia the night before, so the trip was quite a trek from where we’d been staying. We took our Jeep Limited Edition Compass, across the country roads to a little place called Pitton, (close to Rhossili) to ScamperHolidays in Swansea Bay. There awaited our Grand Shepherd’s Hut that looked out over vast amounts of land, and to my delight, was not too far away from the sea. The accommodation was spectacular, and as someone who loves to and only camps, (we never really do ‘glamping’ or stay anywhere other than a tent) this was a real treat. There were many huts on site painted in something from a French Chic palette, each with its own quirky style, obviously, some were bigger than others, but each had it’s very own parking space and unique name. We were going to be staying in Pearl – I was in love already! On arrival we were greeted by the campsite rangers, who looked after everyone when they arrived and were on call should we have any problems. Our ranger took us into our hut where waiting for us was a small milk, chocolate, welsh teacakes, scones, proper clotted cream, and a little prosecco to toast the occasion later. This Swansea Bay hut was clearly for a family of up to 5, but with all my kit and our hiking attire, we somehow managed to spread ourselves over the entire place! There was a gorgeous decked out veranda that led around to a BBQ and some chairs, so when it was in the summertime this would just be idyllic. Also, a very big bonus was this hut and the other near us had it’s very own portaloo! But it didn’t even look like a portaloo, it was a very cute shed, (almost looked like something your Grandma would use for potting her plants)and was a refreshing change from normal campsite toilets. Plus, this toilet was just for mine and Nick’s use. We were quite lucky with the weather but initially, it was all rain, so on went out little fire, and we snuggled as we chatted over hot drinks. It was the first time in a while I really felt relaxed, even with the rain, it somehow felt like I needed to be ‘in’ to just appreciate the simplistic of where we were.
Other people were there and some were with their dogs which were lovely, and I kept thinking how much my little Winnie would have loved this place. So many big walks we could do! However, the main thing I took away was that I could quite easily spend up to week just being around our Scamperholiday hut, enjoying some lovely walks, without doing anything else – so I knew this was going to be a good trip! Obviously you have options of hotels, but to be honest, I don’t think you can do a trip like this without having your own space. We came and go as we pleased, and we even set off from here to do some fantastic walks, on one of the days we took ourselves over to Mewslade where we got a chance to see the epic cliff top views and fly our drone!
Places to eat
This place was super cute overlooking the beautiful Rhossili Bay. It appeared to be a firm favourite with locals, and they served a fantastic breakfast range. I had a tasty bacon sandwich, which may seem a little simple, but you can easily make a bad bacon sandwich – this was definitely a good one! The best part about this colourful cafe is that it has this amazing outdoor seating area where you can look out at the bay. Very friendly staff and must visit if you’re in the area.
This little pub was what I’d describe as cosy, and clearly a favourite amongst the locals. The food was delicious, but it sort of feels like you’re having food in somebodies living room, which is no bad thing as it just expands that quaint/warm ambience. The staff were friendly too, with many locals also enjoying the food and drink.
This was actually my favourite place to eat because not only was the food spectacular, both in actual flavours and presentation. Lots of options here which is always good, but one thing I particularly loved was the decor of the actual venue. They appeared to have a wedding on as well, so it is clearly a popular multi-purpose venue. The staff were very friendly and genuinely interested in your day, which is always a sweet touch to good hospitality.
This hotel has been one that I’d heard of years ago, I even booked previous clients in at this hotel but never stayed! Finally, I got to visit for some lunch! We’d just had a go at some watersports at the Oxwich Bay, then had a chance to enjoy our lunch looking out over the bay. It was quite spectacular and I can certainly see why it was busy! This place obviously doubles up as hotel, but they do a very delicious Sunday menu (which is what we had a chance to try). There is indoor seating, but also a less formal outdoor seating area, so you can enjoy whichever. Personally indoors is good as you avoid the elements, but still get a chance to gaze at how beautiful the bay is, out its big windows!
What to do?
You can’t really go to any part of Wales without packing your walking boots and poles. Some of the best walks are found here, and Swansea Bay is no exception to that. We also love a walk and don’t be put off if you’re not a big hiker going out for hours at a time, or you just like a little stroll, there is a mix of the two extremes. At scamper holidays you can bring your dogs, so many people brought their dogs to their holiday, for what I can only assume, lots of dog walks! If we had thought about we would have brought our dog Winnie with us, but. We now know we can! Some big walks to consider
- Penmaem – Three cliffs bay
- Rhossili Bay
One of the best things about Swansea Bay, unlike other areas of Wales, is the fact you have a choice of activity. Obviously, can hike the vast hills, taking yourself up to some of the highest points, but you can also completely indulge yourself in sea activities. You can surf, stand up paddleboard, canoe or, jet ski, so jet ski is what we did! We took a bit of time to explore Oxwich Bay and its host water sports centre, but the lovely thing about Oxwich bay is how different it is to say, that of Rhossili Bay. You would find surfers and stand up paddle boarders riding the waves at Rhossili and it seemed to be ‘buzzing’, but Oxwich Bay was so polar opposite with a very still sea, and bizarrely a very quiet beach in comparison. However, the place was just as pretty so I can on,y assume, that depending on your activity of choice would take you to either location.
As I say we did a jet ski safari with the fantastic team at Oxwich Bay Watersports centre. These guys were super friendly from the get-go meaning the experience to start with was good, especially since I was a touch nervousness about riding a jet ski myself. We took a cruise over to worms head bay in the hope of spotting so,e seals – which luckily we did. Our instructor and guide were telling us how they see the seals regularly, so much so they have names! It was interesting not only to motor about across the sea but also learn some historical facts about the places we went by. As we went by you could see people hiking up the hills and what myself and Nick riffed to as danger sheep. Sheep that quite literally were scampering about close to the edge of the cliff. On the way back fromWormshead I took over from jet skiing, nervous to start with but soon found I was essentially flooring it. I got a little bit perplexed on how to deal with an upcoming wave, so I accidentally turned too quick and catapulted my husband off the back. Well. I laughed. I laughed a lot, obviously after checking he was fine! We just such a great experience, one I would highly recommend too.
There is a lot of history in this area of Swansea, and one that particularly springs to mind is in Mumbles, where the 12th Oystermouth Castle sits on top of its majestical hill. Oystermouth Castle was in use in the 12th century through to the mid 16th century. I think as I have got older I have become more and more appreciative and interested in history. The two ladies I’m the shop on arrival were wonderful, explaining if we needed anything or had any questions, Mr Castle, (Roger who knew the most about the castle, and Castle was not his last name) would be in soon to answer any queries. We took a map and started exploring, and to my surprise, I found it all fascinating, I couldn’t believe how much was still here, not to mention how many dining areas this castle had. Even though we thoroughly enjoyed exploring the castle, the view from the castle is something I have got to mention. When you go up to the top veranda of the castle you can see all of the Mumbles which is something I strongly suggest doing.
It did take quite a while for us to get there from the Midlands, so I wouldn’t do this for only a couple of days, it is something I would want to do over a longer stretch. If you are particularly active then you will there is plenty to do. We loved Swansea Bay as it is the perfect location for anyone who loves the outdoors! If you want to take a look at our adventure, check out my travel vlog below.