Wales is always a good idea. Especially if you’re anything like me and spend your weekdays in the city, surrounded by grey buildings and cramped commuters. While the North of Wales is where most seem to head for adventure, but South Wales is so much closer and offers just as spectacular scenery, which can even be reached before nightfall on a Friday.
The Gower Peninsula in South Wales is a weekend haven. It’s dramatic coastline, abundance of adventure activities, and unspoilt camping views can’t be missed. From cliff side camping to canoeing and hiking, keep reading to find out why South Wales needs to be added to your U.K. adventure bucket list!
SOUTH WALES CLIFF SIDE CAMPING
Potentially my favourite campsite of all time (which is a huge statement as I tend to live in my tent come summertime!) is located in South Wales on the Gower Peninsula. Three Cliffs Bay has the ultimate tent pitches along the cliff side, giving you utterly breath-taking sunrise and sunset views.
The campsite itself has private bathrooms that match the quality of a luxury hotel which is unheard of in the camping world and means you won’t be squatting in any bushes this weekend! A path leads you directly from the campsite, through the woodland and to the beach where, if you time the tide right, you can explore the cave under the iconic three cliffs. What’s more, when the tide is out the farther side of the beach is untouched so you get it all to yourself.
This idyllic spot at Three Cliffs Bay has been known to fill up fast over holiday weekends so make sure you bag a pitch on the cliff side as soon as possible! Warning: although views will be epic, your sleep will be rather wonky as the cliff side field is slanted. Be sure to choose a camping partner you don’t mind rolling into all night long! Now if disturbed sleep doesn’t tick your boxes, the campsite even offers glamping tents – bed included! But where’s the adventure in luxury?
CANOEING THE RIVER WYE
The Wye Valley is deemed an Area of Outstanding National Beauty so what better way to experience it then from the river itself. Follow the water round through the valley, passing through various villages ideal for a pub lunch. Keep your eyes peeled for rope swings to cool off from the summer heat.
Hiring our canoes from Wye Canoes was smooth sailing, as our only responsibility was turning up to grab our gear. We started a mile before Kerne Bridge and had the river to ourselves, until we hopped out for a pub lunch in Lydbrook, ending our day expedition in Symonds Yat.
Take your chances on the grade two rapids, hoping your canoe partner paddles right when needing too! Wye Canoes took care of absolutely everything, from transporting our vessels, to providing us with spots to stop off at and picking us up at the other end.
The southern coast of Wales features raw coastlines made for hiking. Grab your trainers or boots and head to Rhossili first, a National Trust spot in the Gower. This beach mirrors those of New Zealand in terms of ruggedness and makes for a great viewpoint to begin your hike. Follow the coastal path south-west and you will eventually reach Pen Pyrod Island, which can be accessed by foot when the tide is out. Check at the coastguard station before attempting to cross to avoid being stranded on a Welsh island! Once on Pen Pyrod, be sure to walk the full distance of the island, taking care when crossing Devil’s Bridge (aptly named!).
When you have finished exploring the island, continue back onto the coastal path until you spot the beaches. There are a series of secluded bays including Fall Bay and Mewslade Bay, which can be reached by clambering down the rocky path. It’s unlikely that anyone else is brave enough to explore these coves which makes the perfect spot for a picnic!
Depending on the length of the hike you want, you can complete this as a circular loop walking back through the sheep fields to Rhossili Beach. Or choose to follow the coastal path further along to Port Eynon and beyond.
The Pembrokeshire Coast is just north of the Gower and offers just as superb coastlines. It is possible to run the entire Pembrokeshire Coast Path from Cardigan to Armoth Castle, making 288km of a trail running holiday. But if you just want a taste of Pembrokeshire, lace up your trail trainers at St Bride’s bay and take on the steep ascents and descents of the trail.
Or opt for a more challenging 10k run, starting along the coastal path by Marloes village and finishing at Little Haven. You can choose to tackle this independently or as part of the Pembrokeshire 10k, which also hold a marathon and ultra-marathon along the trail should you want an extreme challenge.
South Wales has plenty of watersports on offer at the beaches just choose which one takes your fancy and hire your equipment. From scuba diving on the Pembrokeshire Coast, windsurfing on the Gower, sailing by Swansea, surfing in Glamorgan, to chasing the wind and kite surfing along the beaches of the south coast.
If scrambling and cliff jumping fuel your adventure spirit, coasteering in Abereiddy will be on your South Wales itinerary. Jumping into the Blue Lagoon which was once the place Red Bull hosted their Diving Championship, so if the Queen of adventure is coasteering here you can be sure it’s a hot spot.
Becoming a weekend warrior has been one of my favourite New Year’s resolutions and it still surprises me how much can be accomplished in 48 hours. Wales has so much adventure to offer that I can’t stop coming back to explore. So the next time your feet are twitching for adventure head for South Wales!
We hope that this article has inspired you to visit South Wales. If you have any questions about the destination please leave these in the comments below.
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We Are Travel Girls Senior Contributor Sarah Bryant
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