**Parkdean Resorts invited us to explore places to visit in south Wales for their Coastal Adventures campaign. We’re working with them to help promote the beauty of Britain’s coastline.**
Sometimes, you find the best adventures close to home. I remember school trips to Pendine Sands, in Carmarthenshire, south Wales, where we would find razor shells, winkles and clams. Barnacles would prickle our bare feet as we clambered over rocks. And we’d come home with the smell of salty air in our wind-swept hair. Pendine Sands is an easy beach for young children to navigate. And on a hot, sunny day, this stretch of Carmarthenshire coastline is difficult to beat.
Whether you’re interested in active sports, history, wildlife or just a dip in the sea, there are plenty of places to visit in south Wales. Here are some destinations we’ve discovered.
Places to visit in south Wales: Amroth
Of all the things to do in Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire, playing in the sea has to come pretty close to top of the list. And so, when we set off in the morning, our first port of call was Amroth Beach. At half a mile long, it’s one of the smaller beaches in the area. It’s a good place for straightforward, uncomplicated splashing in the waves.
Amroth Beach address: Amroth, Pembrokeshire Wales SA67 8NG
To reach the beach we followed a narrow, twisty road, down past the turning for Colby Woodland Garden, a National Trust property. The morning sunshine glistened on the waves, and we joined the other families jumping around in the sea under the watchful gaze of two lifeguards.
Beyond an ice cream van and the glorious sea, Amroth doesn’t have other amenities. So after an hour of laughter in the waves we said goodbye to the Blue Flag Beach and headed to Pendine, home of Parkdean Resorts’ Pendine Sands Holiday Park.
Things to do in Wales: eat fish and chips at Pendine Sands
Four miles down the road from Amroth, across the county border in Carmarthenshire, Pendine Beach is flat, with eight miles of fine sand. Cars are allowed on part of it, and land speed records were made here in the 1920s. Visitors can see Babs, one of these record-breaking cars, at the Museum of Speed. People who prefer their thrills to be non-motorised can try their hand at land yachting, kite buggying, power kiting, kayaking or horse-riding.
To get a good view of Pendine, we climbed 241 steps up to the All Wales Coastal Path, which runs along the cliffs. Phew! The views were extraordinary. We could see across to the Gower Peninsula, and although the beach was busy close to the shops and cafes, from our vantage point we could see just how spacious it really was, with much quieter sections around the edges.
Time to climb back down, and eat some well-earned fish and chips.
Doesn’t fish and chips always tastes better with a sea view? After we’d eaten the deliciously fresh fish and the fluffy chips, my son and I climbed back up some of the steps. He’d spotted a route to some rock pools, and wanted to check them out.
After squeezing along a path so narrow that the hedge tickled both my arms, we made it down to the rock pools. Although we hadn’t brought a net, we enjoyed ourselves, slipping and sliding our way across the briny, seaweed-covered boulders.
My son spotted a couple of shallow caves and, after giving him a talk about how you must never go inside caves when the tide’s coming in, we poked our noses into the gloom.
Is Pendine Sands dog friendly? This is a question a couple of people have asked me. The answer is yes. Between 1 May & 30 September, dogs are banned from part of the beach, but there is access at either end of the beach. The rest of the year, they’re allowed on all of it.
Where is Pendine Sands?
Pendine Sands is on the edge of Carmarthen Bay, en route to Tenby in Pembrokeshire. The address is Carmarthenshire, South Wales, SA33 4NZ. Pendine can be accessed via the A477, which leads off the westbound A40.
Things to do in south Wales: go on a literary pilgrimage to Laugharne
The next stop on our Coastal Adventure was Laugharne. The town’s most famous inhabitant was the poet Dylan Thomas, and it has a different vibe to Pendine. We parked away from the town’s main car park, and the first thing we saw was a cluster of arty-looking people, drinking wine and ale outside Browns, the historic pub where Dylan Thomas spent most of his evenings.
Laugharne is pretty, tranquil, and beautiful. A walk along a path to Dylan Thomas’s boathouse, where he lived with his wife Caitlin and their children, takes you past the splendid Taf Estuary.
If you stay a while, it’s possible to spot otters and seals. We didn’t see any, but we did catch a couple of pretty little fishing boats, still in use by locals.
We wandered along past the Dylan Thomas shed. Inside, you could still see his papers and notebooks, all higgledy-piggledy as they would have been when he wrote there. Further along, the Dylan Thomas Boathouse included a small exhibition, which cost £10 for our family of four. If you just wanted to admire the view, you could sit on the terrace instead, where a café sells ice cream, cakes and tea.
We walked back along the shoreline, past Laugharne Castle.
Dyland Thomas Boathouse in Laugharne address: Dylan Thomas Boathouse, Dylan’s Walk, Laugharne, Carmarthenshire, SA33 4SD
Places to visit in south Wales: Llansteffan
Our final stop for the day was Llansteffan. Llansteffan Castle is a well-preserved Norman fortress, which overlooks the estuary. It played a key role in Welsh history, with Owain Glyndwr briefly residing there. Its staircases and turrets make a good setting for a game of capture the castle – following the lead of Glyndwr, in the 15th Century.
We’ve visited Llansteffan Castle before, so this time, we took the bikes, and pedalled along to Llansteffan Beach, past stone cottages that overlooked the estuary, with colourful bunting strewn outside.
In the warm early evening, Llansteffan was busy with elderly locals, out for a stroll and a catch-up with their friends. Around the beachside play area there was a cosy buzz.
It wouldn’t be a day on the south Wales coast without sampling some ice cream. Mario’s is a brand that you see in lots of places in Wales. It was a tough choice to pick a flavour at Llansteffan, but in the end we tried sticky toffee pudding, vanilla, and mint choc chip.
At the end of the day, we sat by the beach at Llansteffan, eating our ice creams as the sun lowered in the sky, and a little blue train chugged along to the station on the other side of the Towy Estuary. It had been a splendid day of Coastal Adventures.
Which places to visit in south Wales would you recommend?
This post was in partnership with Parkdean Resorts. All views are my own.
You can read about more places to visit in Wales, and things to do in Pembrokeshire in this feature.
You might also be interested to read my post on Kidwelly Castle, in Carmarthenshire. It’s another great place to visit, close to Pendine Sands.
You can find more information on the Visit Wales website.
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