Wintry days call for walks that blow away the cobwebs. Alex Mears takes you through the best in Swansea Bay, Mumbles and Gower on some of the best welsh winter coastal walks.

As far as motorways go, the M4 is one of the UK’s less exciting highways. But, persevere towards its westerly end (it’s not as far as you might think!) and, what meets you there is pure drama: sweeping golden beaches, crumbling castle ruins, rolling dunes, marshland and verdant hills.

It’s a much-needed antidote to winter lethargy and is best enjoyed on foot, gulping in the westerly winds that sweep Wales’s coastline and clearing out the cobwebs.

Spanning the shoreline here you’ll find the Gower Coast Path, a 51-mile portion of the epic Wales Coast Path, which has just celebrated its tenth anniversary. Beginning in the heart of urban Swansea and taking in the iconic Gower Peninsula along the way, experienced walkers can tackle it all over the course of a few days, or for a more leisurely approach pick and choose an inspiring leg (that preferably ends in a pub!).

Swansea Promenade to Mumbles

Swansea Promenade takes you all the way to from its city centre to the nearby village of Mumbles. (Photo: ©Visit Swansea Bay)

For those not quite ready to submit to the wild beauty of Gower, the coastal walk from Swansea to Mumbles offers cityscapes alongside panoramic views of Swansea Bay. This fully accessible promenade runs from the city centre and passes several of Swansea’s landmarks including the new Arena, with its glittering gold digital skin, and the National Waterfront Museum.

It’s a decent five-mile walk and should definitely be taken at a stroll, but with a bit of pace will take around two hours from start to finish. Once in Mumbles, you can indulge in the great British tradition of eating ice cream in mid-winter, bought from one of the Welsh-Italian ice-cream parlours, before exploring the village.

Penmaen to Three Cliffs Bay

The Penmaen-Three Cliffs Bay walk has views over Pennard Castle, which is said to be haunted by a “Gwrach-y-rhibyn”, a Welsh banshee-like spirit. (Photo: ©Visit Swansea Bay)

Rumoured to provide the backdrop for Netflix’s newest series of The Witcher, head further west and take the 2.5-mile coastal walk from Penmaen to Three Cliffs Bay. This relatively easy route takes you across long stretches of sandy beach (so keep an eye on the tide), although there are some dunes and options for rock scrambling if you’re feeling adventurous. Wear waterproof shoes as there’s some stream-hopping involved, too.

The circular walk starts and finishes at Penmaen Church and takes two to three hours. From early on, you’re treated to views over the nearby bays and Penmaen Burrows. A mixture of heathland, dunes and woodland, the area is steeped in history, home to the remains of a Neolithic burial chamber, a Norman ringwork and a medieval church ruin. Legend has it there could be a village called Stedwarlango buried under foot, too. Even in bad weather, you’re unlikely to feel cheated by the views Three Cliffs Bay provides. With its triple limestone peaks, it manages to be both serene and wild.

Rhossili to Mewslade Bay

The path between Rhossili and Mewslade is the perfect lookout trail for sea birds, seals and porpoises. (Photo: ©Visit Swansea Bay)

A bigger hop along the Coast Path and you reach this walking route, which is creaking under the weight of its accolades. For starters, it was voted one of the Rambler’s Associations ‘Top Ten Coastal Walking Routes’. Unsurprising, perhaps, when you consider its Atlantic-facing starting point, Rhossili Bay, has been dubbed “the supermodel of British beaches” and is frequently recognised as one of the world’s top ten beaches.

This three-mile-long circular walk scales the western edge of the Gower Peninsula to Mewslade Bay, whose dramatic limestone cliffs make it a favourite spot for rock climbers. The walk takes you past Worm’s Head, which gets its name from the Viking word for ‘sea serpent’. This National Trust-owned promontory has become a haven for sea birds, such as kittiwakes, guillemots, and razorbills.

Leave a good three hours for this coastal walk and check the tide times if you plan to cross onto Worm’s Head. Both Rhossili and Mewslade Bay welcome dogs all year round, so this is a good walk for furry friends.

Rhossili to Penmaen

Golden hour at Worm’s Head near Rhossili. (Photo: ©Visit Swansea Bay)

For those with more stamina, start at Rhossili but, this time, take the Gower Way footpath to Penmaen. The footpath runs 35 miles in its entirety, all the way to Penlle’r Castell in upland Mawr. This southern section of the walk is rewarding but lengthy at eight miles long and will take the best of five hours. To make a day of it, stop off at the King Arthur Hotel for a cosy lunch, but the walk itself will give you plenty of opportunity to pause and take stock.

Views of South Gower including Oxwich Bay, a favourite winter spot for stand-up paddleboarding, punctuate the walk, as does the mammoth Arthur’s Stone. This 25-ton capstone marks the crown of a neolithic tomb that sits atop Cefn Bryn common towards the end of the walk. It’s legend-rich and a reminder of life here from as early as 2500 BC.

Llanrhidian to Cheriton

Another eight-miler, the walk from the village of Llanrhidian to Cheriton and back is gentle enough, although there are shorter options available. Leave 3½ hours for the full circular route, which starts inland and takes you through the countryside of north Gower to join a stretch of the coast path.

On this welsh winter coastal walk you’ll pass Weobley Castle, which dates back to the 14th century. It suffered serious damage during the uprising of Owain Glyndŵr in the early 15th century but still looks impressive perched above the wild Llwchwr estuary. The walk then crosses Llanrhidian Marsh, a National Nature Reserve that was once used as a firing range during the Second World War. Later, you’ll pass the overgrown ruins of Landimore Castle, if you can spot them!

The Gower Coast Path, a 51-mile portion of the epic Wales Coast Path. (Photo: ©Visit Swansea Bay)


  • This is a place of firsts: the Wales Coast Path is the first path to wrap around the coastal border of an entire nation and Gower was the UK’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
  • Autumn is seal pupping season, but even in winter months you can spot seals and porpoises frolicking from the Coast Path. Worm’s Head near Rhossili is a particularly good lookout.
  • The wildness of the area doesn’t just come from the nature. Smuggling was big business here in the 18th and 19th centuries, with the aptly-named Brandy Cove and Port Eynon Bay once the headquarters of infamous smuggling gangs.
  • The Gower also has a ghostly side, with a “Gwrach-y-rhibyn”, or banshee, said to reside in Pennard Castle near Three Cliffs Bay and spectral riders who have been seen galloping across Rhossili Beach.


For some R&R along the way, head to these pit stops:

  • Verdi’s Ice Cream, Mumbles – it might not warm you up but it’s a must if you’re in Mumbles.
  • Little Valley Bakery, near Parkmill – stop here for artisanal bakes on your way to Three Cliffs Bay.
  • Beach House, Oxwich Bay – for a Michelin-starred midpoint between Rhossili and Penmaen, this is beachfront dining at its best.
  • Britannia Inn, Llanmadoc – a halfway point on the Llanrhidian to Cheriton Walk, this pub provides fireside recuperation on cold days.
  • The Lookout, Rhossili Bay – a family-run cafe set in the heart of Rhossili village offering Welsh brew tea and Gower coffee.
  • King Arthur Hotel, Reynoldston – voted one of the cosiest pubs in the UK, break up the Rhossili to Penmaen walk with lunch here.

Go to for more information on walks.

Check out Julia Bradbury’s top 5 coastal walks here.