Gower's glorious coast and moors
Gower was the first place in Britain to be named an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. With cliffs and woodlands ringed by sparkling beaches, the Gower peninsula is so adored by walkers, birdwatchers, sunbathers and surfers, it’s been scooping awards ever since. Here are 10 ways to enjoy this 70-square-mile (180sq km) paradise.
Although Gower is deservedly known for its beaches, there’s plenty to do inland.
For a relatively compact area, there’s a huge variety of landscapes on Gower. The Wales Coast Path runs around the coastline, taking in the dramatic cliffs and coves of the south, and the quieter saltmarshes of the north. The Gower Way cuts for 35 miles (56km) right through the middle. Visit Swansea Bay and the National Trust have come up with lists of their own favourite walks. Our own personal favourite is anything with a pub at the end.
Rhossili regularly makes lists of the world’s best beaches, for very good reason: its three-mile (4.8km) golden sands feature towering cliffs and Worm’s Head at one end, dunes at the other, and a genuine shipwreck in between. In summer, you can watch paragliders ridge-soaring the updrafts on Rhossili Downs. For sheer natural beauty, Three Cliffs Bay is just as good: the Pennard Pill river cuts a deep cleft into the wooded hillside before emptying into a gorgeous bay, overlooked by the ruins of Pennard Castle and the eponymous three jagged cliffs. Strong currents mean that Three Cliffs isn’t ideal for swimming, and it’s a bit of a walk to reach it – but that makes it quieter, and even more special.
Acommodation and meals
We stay at the King's Head Hotel. close to the coast at Llangennith - www.kingsheadgower.co.uk
Sole occupancy rooms no single supplement.
We eat in the hotels dining room each evening - we have not allowed a cost for meals in our pricing as the choice of menu is extensive and it is best that you have a free choice of the fayre on offer. You pay for your dinner.
Lunch is taken at one of the Gower's lovely country pubs/ or is packed
A relaxed, social approach
The Gower Peninsula is a genuine secret – unbelievably quiet and still relatively undiscovered compared to other popular walking areas. There are places here where you can completely get away from civilisation which really makes for a genuine relaxing experience. From the top
You’ll see plenty of sheep quietly grazing the hills and even our own herd of wild ponies and their cute foals. Depending on the time of year, you will see glorious swathes of deep purple heather on the upland moors or the amazing golden shades of autumnal bracken on the hillsides but what you won’t see are hordes of people… this is a quiet land.
So why not come and experience a true land “that time forgot”.
We start walking at 2.30pm on Sunday afternoon, with a four mile walk around Llangennith, Lanmadoc Hill and the Wales coast path- an introduction to each other and to your leaders.
Walking then on Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday til 3.30pm
Lunch in one of the Gower's pubs or cafes, though sometimes it will be a packed lunch.
Walks are between 9 and 11 miles. Ascent and descent is likley to be around 200-250 metres.The ground is undulating, never severe climbing or descending. Much of our walking will take in cliff paths and yes - we will wander down to the beach to walk occasionally. We walk at a steady pace- we do not rush, there is much to see and photograph- we average over a 6 hour walking day about 2.25 miles per hour. We take an hour for lunch.
We start at 9.30am- sometimes with transport to the start or from the finish, and we usually finish at the hotel at around 4.30pm.
Magnificent walking in this iconic Welsh landscape- not to be missed.
A selection of walks we may do during your visit- these are examples
Walk 1 -This walk takes us to the 3 peaks of Llanmadoc Hill (186m) Ryers Down (114m) and Hardings Down (152m). We reach Llanmadoc and the village cafe. We then head down the road to Cheriton and onto the Wales Coastal path before heading up to Ryers Down. From the summit of Ryers Down we continue across open fields before our final summit Hardings Down. The final leg of the walk sees us dropping back down and into Llangennith.
Walk 2 This longer coastal walk starts in the small hamlet of Oxwich Green. We head down to the Wales coastal path and over to Port Eynon where we follow the coast path to Rhossili and then over to Llangennith via Rhossili down. A fantastic walk with amazing views all the way. Good underfoot with lots of ups and downs.
Walk 3 This walk takes us along old drovers routes to the 12c Penard castle before following the Wales coastal path to Pwlldu and along a limestone riverbed to the finish in Kittle. Again this walk is full of intrigue, folklore, pirates and smugglers tales. Most of the route is good paths but the route up Bishopston valley is rocky and very slippery when wet.
Walk 4- This walk starts from Bracelet bay and follows the Wales coastal to Langland bay, Caswell bay, Brandy cove and finally into Pwlldu bay. From here we head north up Bishopston valley to the finish in Kittle. This is a walk full of intrigue and folklore with tales of pirates and smugglers. The coastal path is good but Bishopston valley is an old limestone river bed so very rocky and slippery when wet.
Walk 5 -This is a spectacular coastal walk along the best parts of the Wales coastal path. We set off from Port Eynon to Rhossili and then to Llangennith over Rhossili down. A great coastal path with numerous ups and downs and endless views.
What you get on a Secret Hills break
- Hotel bed and breakfast– en suite four night.
- Lunch- four days except first day on Monday
- Sole Occupancy- no single supplement
- Personal service
- Expert guiding- friendly, local guides that know the area superbly well.
- Transport to walks start and finish as needed.
- No single supplemen
- A social, relaxed approach
What's not included
On this holiday we have not included evening dinner- the hotel has an extensive menu of variuos cusines- and we feel it is better that you choose your own meals- whether you go three course or just one- that is a personal choice.
Walk in a secret land of superb scenery, coastal beauty
- Good paths, excellent hill country, superb sea scapes
- 360 degree views of lovely coastal secenery second to none
- Traditional Welsh hospitalty
- Local, knowledgeable walk leaders
-No single supplement
- Our relaxed social approach
-Full joining details prior to your holiday
- Our administration support from the point of booking to you joining the holiday
Great reasons to join us
Great reasons to join us
There are other walking holiday companies that cover the Gower peninsula but we believe we offer the best value for many reasons….
We are a small friendly company
We have a loyal customer base who return again and again (so we must be doing something right) – read our testimonials page on the website
We offer a lot of flexibility – you can stay extra nights which we are happy to organise for you. We are also very flexible on the walks we provide, adapting to suit walkers and weather conditions
Our walk leading is second to none. Unlike some other large Walking Companies, we use LOCAL leaders who live in the area and who love their surroundings. They have expert knowledge of everything you need to know to make an area come alive.
You are safe in our hands – our guides are experts, fully qualified in first aid. Also, because of their local knowledge of the hills, they can respond to any situation that might for example demand cutting short a route. They don’t need to consult maps – they know the hills intimately.
Our leaders are all easy-going, genuinely sociable people who want to ensure that you have the best time you can with the rest of the group. They make the weekend fun by engaging with all members of a group, and ensuring that everyone feels part of the group experience.
We give great value for money. Because we recognise that lots of walkers holiday on their own, we have negotiated no single supplement deals with all our hotels to ensure the best possible deal.
We always use good hotels. Our hotel in Llangennith is set in lovely surroundings with fabulous views and the standard is really good. It is a walkers hotel so it caters for all your needs.
We have smaller groups than some of the larger walking companies, because we believe the social experience is much better in a smaller group. People can talk to everyone, especially at dinner where you can all sit on one table in a small group. Our numbers vary from holiday to holiday but an average group size would be 8-12.
Sandy Baker Gower Coast August 2021.
So enjoyed the holiday. Just watched Welsh weatherman walking and brought it all back. Very good walking. Simon and Nina made a good team with all their experience and excellent hosts. Will hopefully be booking another trip with you. Thank you all for your hard work in organising everything. Best sandwiches and chips in Rhossili. Would recommend. All good wishes, Sandy Baker.
Barbara Meads Gower Coast August 2021.
Holiday was great. Leaders walks and room were all very good. I use secret hills one or two times a year. Thank you Barbara
Jacki Szedzielorz - Gower Coast August 2021. Simon and Nina were excellent leaders and we learned a lot from Simon's stories, some of them true and some made up! We were a great group of people and had a lot of fun.
I obtained the details of your company through the quarterly Ramblers magazine…easy to book and the departure information was good. The Gower hotel was superb and so was the food at the Kings Head pub.
I have already recommended your company to my other walking/rambling friends.
Mary McHugh Gower’s Coast August 2021.
Guided walking - Simon and Nina were fantastic. They got the balance right throughout. They were thoroughly knowledgeable re walks which were varied and breathtaking. Hotel - Fantastic. Staff were welcoming, helpful, accommodating. They all went out of their way to do their very best for their guests. Excellent customer service. Food was abundant. Keep up the good work - the personal touches work!
Elaine Evans - Gower’s Coast, August 2021.
Guided walking was excellent and both Simon and Nina were superb Guides. Very informative, pleasant and helpful Leaders.
Marion O’Brien - Gower’s Coast August 2021
Excellent as always. Simon and Nina were fab. Good pace not slow. I absolutely loved the Gower, and the walks were a great mix of different terrain, even if inland we still got great views of the coast-fabulous, highly recommended. Hotel rooms very nice, spacious, food very good, very generous portions. The staff were all really friendly.
Jenni Griffiths, Gower Coast August 2021.
As a first time solo traveller, I was really impressed with the set up. I had a lovely time. The guides were excellent, the walks were varied and the hotel was very comfortable with excellent food and hospitality.
How to get to the Gower Peninsula
How to get to Swansea and the Gower Peninsula
The Gower Peninsula is easily accessible. The closest city is Swansea, on the east side of the peninsula, which has a train, bus station and a ferry port. The peninsula itself has its own small airport (Swansea Airport), suitable for privately arranged flights. From the city of Swansea you will find it easy to reach Gower using local public transport or by car.
Travelers from overseas can also fly to Cardiff Airport and then travel by train, direct to Swansea station from Cardiff Central. The train journey will take approximately 50-60 minutes and a single ticket will cost from£8.20(uk) - standard return from £14.10(uk).
By Car: The M4 runs directly to Swansea (exit at junction 42). If you are traveling from England on the M4, you will need to pay to cross the toll bridge over the River Severn from England into Wales only, which costs £6.20(uk) for cars and £12.40(uk) for vans/small lorries (up to 17 seats).
By Coach: Express coaches run direct to Swansea from Central London, Gatwick & Heathrow Airports; West & South Yorkshire; the West Midlands; Bristol Airport and Cardiff.
There is an extensive local bus network serving the whole Swansea Bay area. For Gower Explorer and First Cymru buses serving Gower, see below.
National Bus & Coach Enquiry Line: 0870 6082608 www.traveline.org.uk
By Train: Frequent trains run direct to Swansea from London, Bristol, Manchester and Cardiff; and there are good connections from the West Midlands; North East, South & South West England. For travellers' arriving by air, there are good rail/air links to Swansea from London Gatwick & Heathrow; Bristol and Cardiff International Airports.
Use the frequent local buses between the rail and bus stations for Gower bus departures (see below)
National Rail Enquiries: 08457 48 49 50
Swansea to Gower, an 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty'
Gower has its very own quality bus network; take the Gower Explorer to get to Llangennith, Oxwich, Port Eynon and Rhossili; or First Cymru to get to Oystermouth, Mumbles, Bishopston and Pennard.
Traveline Cymru: 0870 608 2 608
Excellent information is available from the Swansea Bay Sustainable Travel and Tourism Partnership (BAYTRANS) promoting sustainable travel opportunities for local people and visitors alike in order to access the countryside of Gower and the Valleys of Neath Port Talbot. baytrans.org.uk
- Your easy guide to bus services to and from Swansea, Gower and Mumbles. [PDF guide]
- Gower Coast and Countryside without a car. [PDF guide]
Freedom of Wales Flexi Pass
The Freedom of Wales Flexi Pass offers unlimited travel on all train and most bus services in Wales, plus discounted admission to many of Wales' tourist attractions and accommodation at Youth Hostels. Freedom of South Wales Flexi Rover tickets are also available; these passes are valid on all Gower bus services.
The Gower Peninsula area
The wonderful and varied landscape of the Gower Peninsula (Welsh: Penrhyn Gwyr) was the first place in Britain to be designated as an 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty' (AONB) by the Countryside Agency on behalf of the UK government, and is one of only five within Wales. 2016 saw the Gower Peninsula celebrating its 60th year as an AONB, an accolade that has truly stood the test of time.
Not surprisingly, such an enclosed Gower Peninsula surrounded by the Bristol Sea and Atlantic Ocean, has become a haven for some of the richest wildlife and varied habitats in Wales and the rest of the UK.
Scattering the landscape in Gower are historic reminders of past 'Gowerians', from castles, medieval churches, iron age fortifications, and prehistoric standing stones. All this against an awe-inspiring, natural backdrop of hills, valleys, beaches, clifftops, commons, woodland, dunes, marshes and caves.
With its vast populated history, stretching back as far as Lower Paleolithic times (250,000 BC), long-established stories, whether they be folklore, legend or fact, are plentiful and furnish the rich and delightful tapestry of the Gower Peninsula.
The Gower Peninsula is a sacred place, imbued with myth and ancient mysticism. Its landscape contains a plethora of holy wells, standing stones, megalithic burial tombs and ritual cairns. Embroidered onto this hugely evocative series of archaeological monuments are a fascinating tapestry of folklore, ghost stories and faery tales. These enrich and bring the Gower Peninsula to life as much as any other of the region's attractions or amenities.