What do you give someone who already has it all? It’s a well-known phrase that has a deeper meaning; sometimes people don’t want presents or material things, they just want your time and some company. In 1956 the Gower Peninsula was awarded with the UK’s first designation as an Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), which meant it already had pretty much everything, and for the last 60 years it has lapped up the interest and consideration as relentless swarms of people have come to visit and to appreciate the unspoilt beauty inherent within it.
The Gower Peninsula projects outwards into the Bristol Channel but its charm is on land, and from Mumbles to Rhossili Bay it contains a landscape of such variety and effortless splendour, it is a miracle that it has retained both an attraction to tourists and also the same pure and well-preserved characteristics that brought such welcome recognition over 60 years ago.
All around us we see popular tourist destinations that somehow lose their original appeal, but the Gower Peninsula remains a geological treasure map; an undiscovered landscape trapped in time and ripe for exploring. Among the 70 square miles in area the Gower Peninsula provides endless limestone coastline, rocky beaches, sandy beaches, cockle beds, Bronze Age caves, farmland, grassland and salt water marshes. All of this an alluring panorama where imaginations go wild and the day never ends.
Outdoor pursuits in the Gower Peninsula
One of the most popular pursuits in the Gower Peninsula is walking, with coastal routes taking in breath-taking views out into the seas, and these waterfront walks take in some of the most eye-catching sections of the Wales Coastal Path. You can walk along the clifftops or down among the numerous beaches, which include four Blue Flag beaches, awarded for high standards. But you can also escape the coast, seek some shelter and explore the lush woodlands, or admire the hills and valleys of the dense heathlands.
Other popular outdoor pursuits in the region involve surfing, with the unique geography creating waves that provide an irresistible challenge, particularly around Llangennith. Golf is also a favourite pastime, with the sea air and sprawling greenery providing numerous picturesque golf courses, including Fairwood Park, which enjoys championship status.
You can’t escape the sense of history in the Gower Peninsula, it is all around you. There is evidence everywhere of Stone Age engravings in the rocks, Iron Age forts and Roman settlements. You can visit any of the six castles in the region, such as Pennard Castle or Weobley, and you can get kitted out and explore the excavated limestone caves to get a close up view of how the earth around us was created and how it has evolved since. There are 1200 archaeological sites in the area, every one with a story waiting to be told.
Where to stay in the Gower Peninsula
At the end of the day you need a place to stay and recharge the batteries for another adventure, and the Gower Peninsula has a rich variety of hotels, B&Bs, apartments, cottages and camping and caravan sites, which suit all tastes and budgets, as well as a wealth of country pubs and restaurants. They are nestled in the villages and small communities that make the area such a warm and welcoming place.
The Gower Peninsula is truly a quintessential example of Wales at its best; and the place that quite simply has it all. So now it just wants you to visit and enjoy some quality time.
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