Top West Wales beaches holiday cottages

Top West Wales beaches

Clare Willcocks 20 February 2023

Known for its pristine beaches, West Wales is the perfect place for a family seaside holiday. Think stretches of golden sand, studded with fascinating rock pools and backed by glorious, towering cliffs. Or welcoming towns with scenic promenades where the smell of fish and chips wafts through the air.

We’ve rounded up the best beaches in West Wales to help you make the most of your coastal adventures in this beautiful part of the country. So down your laptop and gather up your beach gear for a holiday to remember on West Wales beaches.

We have a fantastic collection of coastal cottages in West Wales for you to enjoy all these outstanding beaches or take a look at our full range of cottages in West Wales below for a memorable seaside stay.  

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Beaches in Cardigan

Beaches in Pembrokeshire

Map of West Wales Beaches

Beaches in Cardigan

Borth Beach, Clarach South, Aberystwyth, LlanrhystudBorth Beach, Clarach South, Aberystwyth and Llanrhystud South Beach

Borth Beach

At low tide, Borth Beach is long and sandy, extending for over 3 miles towards Ynyslas. The beach slopes gently into the sea, making it one of the best West Wales beaches for families. The beach at high tide is predominantly shingle, anchored by row upon row of wooden groynes.

From Borth, the Ceredigion Coast Path runs south to Clarach and Aberystwyth. Stay nearby in one of our cosy Borth cottages.


Free parking, WCs, food, slipway. Dog restrictions apply May to September, seasonal RNLI lifeguard service.

Clarach South

Clarach South is a sand and shingle beach beside a holiday village backed by cliffs. If you’re looking for beaches near Aberystwyth with coastal walks nearby, Clarach South is a good choice. Follow the nature trail connecting Clarach Bay and Aberystwyth with panoramic views across Cardigan Bay. 


Parking available next to the beach, WCs, food. Dog restrictions on a section of the beach apply May to September, seasonal RNLI Lifeguard.

Aberystwyth Beaches (North and South)

The dark, shingle beach of Aberystwyth North lies in front of the town in the middle of Cardigan Bay, with a lively promenade and a small pier. In the summer months, traditional seaside entertainment such as donkey rides, live bands and fun for kids add a splash of nostalgia to your cottage holiday in Aberystwyth. Take to the water for sports including surfing, windsurfing, sea-kayaking and sailing. Aberystwyth South Beach lies between the castle and harbour – keep your eye out for porpoises along this stretch. This quieter section is dog friendly all year round between the slipway and harbour.


Pay parking, WCs, food, shops (North). Dog restrictions apply May to September (North), seasonal RNLI lifeguard service (North).

Llanrhystud South Beach

A long, rural beach, Llanrhystud South is backed by a bank of pebbles extending from the village to Llanon, in front of which sand is exposed at low tide. It’s a popular spot for water sports and swimming. The beach is in a Special Landscape Area, a designation given to places that are unique, exceptional or distinctive to the local authority area. Walk along the coast path to the southern end to see the five historic lime kilns perched above the beach.


Free parking for 15 cars, WCs.

New Quay Harbour, Llangrannog, PenbrynNew Quay Harbour, Llangrannog and Penbryn

New Quay Harbour Beach

Harbour Beach, with its deep golden sands and secluded harbour, offers both bathing and boating facilities. The Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre is based here and there are several companies offering boat trips to the nearby bird colonies with the chance of seeing some of the many seals, bottlenose dolphins and porpoises. Water sports are popular, including dinghy sailing, yacht cruises, power boating, windsurfing and kayaking. New Quay also has two other beaches, Dolau Beach and Traeth Gwyn, both dog-friendly all year round. Take a look at our welcoming holiday cottage in New Quay for a brilliant beach break. 


Two pay and display car parks, WCs, food, shops, slipway. Dog restrictions apply May to September, seasonal RNLI lifeguard service.

Llangrannog Beach

The attractive village of Llangrannog, 7 miles south of New Quay, has a fine sandy beach in a sheltered cove surrounded by rugged cliffs. There are lovely coastal paths in the area - walk out to the headland for some spectacular views. At low tide, you can access hidden Cilborth Beach from the main beach, or at high tide, you can clamber down the steps from the coast path.


Pay and display parking, WCs, food, shops, slipway. Seasonal RNLI lifeguard service, dog restrictions apply May to September.

Penbryn Beach

Penbryn Beach is an unspoilt rural, long sandy beach in the care of the National Trust. Enjoy coastal walks along the cliffs and take in the panoramic seascapes. Reach the beach via a 400-metre walk along the tarmac road and a steep climb down to the beach, or via a 0.5-mile up-and-down walk through the woods (sturdy footwear recommended!). If you’re looking for quieter beaches in Ceredigion, this is a top choice.


Pay and display parking with a walk down to the beach, WCs. Dogs restrictions apply May to September.

Tresaith, Aberporth, MwntTresaith, Aberporth and Mwnt

Tresaith Beach

Sitting below the small village of Tresaith, this attractive sandy beach is located at the western end of Penbryn Beach, a couple of miles east of Aberporth. Enjoy a poke around in the rock pools and admire the waterfall tumbling down the cliffs. Stay in Tresaith and enjoy all that this lovely beach has to offer. 


Limited free car parking, WCs, food, shop and slipway. Seasonal RNLI lifeguard service, dog restrictions apply May to September. 

Aberporth Beach

The picturesque village of Aberporth overlooks two sandy beaches with rock pools at low tide. The cliff-top walks along the Ceredigion Coast Path provide some superb views; keep your eyes peeled for dolphins. The area is popular for swimming, surfing, sailing, windsurfing and fishing. Enjoy all these thrilling activities with a stay in one of our Aberporth cottages.


Pay and display parking for 50 cars, WCs, food, slipway. Seasonal RNLI lifeguard service, dog restrictions apply on the Dolwen part of the beach May to September.

Mwnt Beach

Cared for by the National Trust, the conical headland of Mwnt overlooks a delightful sheltered sandy beach. In the vicinity, short circular cliff-top walks, a medieval sailor's chapel and a wealth of history make this a beautiful destination for visitors, with wildlife sightings including bottlenose dolphins, seals and porpoises.


Pay and display parking on the cliff top, WCs, food. Dog restrictions apply May to September.

Beaches in Pembrokeshire

Poppit Sands, Newport Sands, Cwm-yr-Eglwys and GoodwickPoppit Sands, Newport Sands, Cwm-yr-Eglwys and Goodwick

Poppit Sands

Within Cardigan Bay and backed by sand dunes, Poppit Sands West is a large, sandy beach at the mouth of the Teifi. The river has a number of slipways and harbours and it’s a favoured spot for windsurfing, kayaking and surfing. Keen anglers can try their luck at catching flounder, cod and whiting in winter, or fishing for salmon and (with a licence) sea trout over the warmer months. Just south of here is the start of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.


Pay and display parking for 60-80 vehicles, WCs, food/small shops, Seasonal RNLI lifeguard service, dog restrictions apply May to September.

Newport Sands

Newport Sands is a mile-and-a-half long, wide, flat, dune-backed beach fronting this pleasant small town that was founded at the end of the 12th century. The beach has good access, with activities that include swimming and fishing, and a river estuary that attracts bird watchers. As with many of West Wales’ beaches, check the tide times before you visit to make sure there’s plenty of beach so that you don’t get cut off.


Pay and display parking for 100 vehicles, cafe, WCs, slipway. Seasonal RNLI lifeguard service, dogs are allowed.

Cwm-yr-Eglwys Beach

Cwm-yr-Eglwys is a pleasant, enclosed, sand and shingle bay, overlooked by the ruins of a 12th-century church that was destroyed in a storm. The cove is located on the east side of Dinas Head, north of Dinas Cross, and a stream and rock pools make it a lovely spot to explore with children. If you’re looking for West Wales beaches to launch a watercraft, you’ll find this one is a favourite with boating and water sports enthusiasts because of the slipway and the local boat club.


Parking available near the beach, WCs, slipway. Dogs are allowed.

Goodwick Sands

A small, sandy beach in Fishguard Harbour from where the ferries sail to Rosslare in Ireland, Goodwick Sands is a pleasant place for a stroll along the promenade and breakwater. Seals are often spotted here, and you may even catch a glimpse of a dolphin or a basking shark if you’re lucky.


Free parking for 60 cars, WCs, food, shops, slipway. Dog restrictions apply May to September.

Abermawr, Abereiddy, Whitesands and PorthselauAbermawr, Abereiddy, Whitesands and Porthselau

Abermawr Bay Beach

Abermawr Bay Beach is a remote, sandy beach located south of Strumble Head with a pebble bank, backed by earthed cliffs. Fascinatingly, as the water pulls back at low tide, the stumps of an ancient forest are exposed, formed some 8,000 years ago when it was drowned following the melting of an ice sheet. The Pembrokeshire Coast Path runs along the beachhead and offers spectacular scenery. If you’re searching for West Wales beaches to visit in late spring, Abermawr is a lovely choice, as you can admire the bluebells in the surrounding woods before heading down to take in the rugged beauty by the sea. Take a look at our collection of coastal cottages in Pembrokeshire and experience this amazing area. 


Very limited parking on the roadside verge above the beach. Dogs are allowed.

Abereiddy Bay Beach

Pebbles and sand made of pounded grey slate form this rural beach and the same slate gives a brilliant deep blue colour to the water in the extraordinarily beautiful little harbour just to the north of the beach. The Blue Lagoon at Abereiddy is reached via a pathway and is a flooded former slate quarry where you can swim when it’s not closed for the breeding seals from mid-September. The atmospheric ruined quarry buildings can still be seen on the cliff tops and behind the car park. 


Free car parking next to the beach, WCs. Dogs are allowed.

Whitesands Bay

Whitesands Bay, as alluded to by its name, is a wide expanse of fine white sand to the north-west of St Davids, curving towards the remote and rocky St David's Head. This is one of the best surfing beaches in Wales and it is also used for windsurfing and canoeing; zoning of activities takes place when the beach is busy. Stay in St Davids and experience this breathtaking beach. 


Pay and display parking is available for 100 cars, WCs, food/shops, slipway. Seasonal RNLI lifeguard service, dog restrictions apply May to September.

Porthselau Beach

A small, straight sandy beach with rocky outcrops, Porthselau faces north-west, giving excellent views of St David's Head. Located to the north of Whitesands, the Pembrokeshire Coast Path passes above the beach. When other local West Wales beaches are busy, Porthselau offers a quieter option and the opportunity for a scenic walk.


No parking available close to the beach. Dogs are allowed.

Caerfai and NewgaleCaerfai Bay and Newgale Sands

Caerfai Bay

Caerfai Bay is a small rocky cove nestling between spectacular cliffs, located a mile south-east of St Davids. Here, you’ll find a sandy beach at low tide, accessed via a steep and winding cliff path. Swimming, sea-canoeing and sea-angling take place from the beach, but there are strong currents, so take care.


A free car park is situated above the cliffs for about 50 cars, WCs. Dogs are allowed.

Newgale Sands

Newgale Sands is a beautiful stretch of beach over 2 miles long. Facing west, this is one of Pembrokeshire’s most popular beaches for bathing when calm (although storm winds from the Atlantic can bring spectacular breakers onto the beach). It’s also favoured by those who enjoy walking, power kites, sand buggying, surfing and windsurfing. The Pembrokeshire Coast Path leads to Solva in the west or to Broad Haven in the south.


Three car parks adjacent to the beach, WCs, food, shops. Seasonal RNLI lifeguard service, dog restrictions apply May to September.

Nolton Haven, Druidston Haven, Broad Haven and Little HavenNolton Haven, Druidston Haven, Broad Haven and Little Haven

Nolton Haven Beach

An uncrowded sandy beach in St Brides Bay between Newgale and Broad Haven, Nolton Haven is peppered with rock pools and offers sheltered bathing, as well as fishing, surfing, horse riding and boat trips. 


National park car park, slipway. Seasonal RNLI lifeguard service, dogs are allowed. 

Druidston Haven Beach

Located between Newgale and Broad Haven, Druidston Haven Beach is a long, west-facing sandy beach with a pebble bank; it is quite secluded with steep cliffs. The dramatic rock formations and caves make it a scenic spot for a picnic, and you may see horses trotting across the sand from the nearby riding school. Beware of strong currents here.


No parking available at the beach (there is a car park to the south). Dogs are allowed.

Broad Haven Beach

At low tide, Broad Haven Beach is a vast, sandy swathe, situated on the west coast of Pembrokeshire, offering excellent views over St Brides Bay. The beach is popular with families and the village of Broad Haven has a number of facilities. Stay in Broad Haven for a wonderful seaside escape. 


Two car parks with about 200 spaces, WCs, shops. Seasonal RNLI lifeguard service, dog restrictions apply May to September.

Little Haven Beach

Just to the south of Broad Haven, at Little Haven there is a sheltered sandy beach with rock pools and a slipway for launching boats. This small fishing village has two good pubs and a restaurant. Take in the views from The Point, and you can descend the steep path onto the neighbouring beach, known as the Sheep Wash, where sea swimming is a popular pastime.


Limited parking, WCs, shops, slipway. Dogs are allowed.

St Brides Haven, Martins Haven, Marloes Sands and Dale BeachSt Brides Haven, Martins Haven, Marloes Sands and Dale Beach

St Brides Haven Beach

St Brides Haven is a shingle and pebble beach with rock pools located in a cove south-west of Broad Haven. As it faces north-west, it is sheltered from the prevailing wind. Divers will know it as one of the best beaches in West Wales for scuba diving, due to its flat, sandy bottom, kelp forest and myriad of marine life.


Limited free parking for 20 cars, WCs. Dogs are allowed.

Martin's Haven Beach

Day trips by boat to Skokholm Island are available from Martin’s Haven, and divers, too, start here to explore the Skomer Marine Nature Reserve. Ramblers will enjoy walks along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path to Musselwick Sands in one direction and Marloes Sands in the other. The beach itself is made up of a steep shingle and pebble bank, and even if you’re not partaking in a boat or diving trip, it’s a pleasant place to sit for a while to break up a walk.


National Trust car park (fee payable for non-members), WCs. Dogs are allowed.

Marloes Sands

Marloes is a large expanse of sandy beach, notable for its cliffs with strange rock formations. The beach is on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, and at high tide can be completely covered by the sea. You might recognise parts of the beach from scenes in the 2011 film, Snow White and the Huntsman. Close to Marloes Sands is Marloes Mere, a wetland and designated Site of Special Scientific Interest, where many species of birds can be seen.


Pay and display parking available for 30+ cars, WCs. Dogs are allowed.

Dale and Westdale

The village of Dale leads to St Ann’s Head and has a shingle beach with some sand at low tide. Very popular for yachting (Dale ‘Roads’ is always crowded with sailing boats), water skiing and power boating, Dale has a windsurfing centre and is a haven for water sports of all kinds. On the opposite side of St Ann’s Head is Westdale Beach, a dark, sandy beach surrounded by cliffs, popular with local surfers. Enjoy a waterside stay with one of our holiday cottages in Dale


Dale Beach - Free car parking is available for 100 cars, WCs, food and shops, slipway. Dog restrictions apply May to September.

Westdale Beach – Car park in Dale with a footpath leading to Westdale beach. Dogs are allowed.

Freshwater West, West Angle and Sandy HavenFreshwater West, West Angle and Sandy Haven

Sandy Haven Beach

Located south of Little Haven, Sandy Haven is a remote, rocky beach on an estuary with sand exposed at low tide. The beach looks out over the Milford Haven waterway, and can be crossed three hours or more on either side of high tide to cut off a longer section of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path. 


Limited parking on the western side but there is parking above the beach on the eastern side of the estuary near Herbrandston; it is possible to walk across the estuary but if you are cut off by the tide, there is a 4-mile walk back! Parking as above, dogs are allowed. Seaside Award.

West Angle Bay

A small, sheltered sand and rock beach a mile or so from the village of Angle, West Angle Bay is located to the west of Pembroke at the entrance to the Milford Haven waterway. Activities include swimming, walking and rock pooling. Watch as big tankers and the Pembrokeshire-Rosslare ferry sail past. 


Local amenities in the village of Angle; free parking, WCs, food, slipway. Dogs allowed. 

Freshwater West

A sandy beach, backed by dunes and surrounding headland, Freshwater West is popular with water sports enthusiasts and fishermen. Partly managed by the National Trust, to the rear of the beach is a unique structure of sand dunes and reed beds, which are home to choughs and other birds. 


Free parking, WCs. Seasonal RNLI lifeguard service, dogs are allowed.

Broad Haven South Beach, Barafundle Bay, Freshwater East and Manorbier BayBroad Haven South Beach, Barafundle Bay, Freshwater East and Manorbier Bay

Broad Haven South Beach

Broad Haven South is a large, sandy, rural beach surrounded by a rugged coastline, with access via the National Trust car park. Alternatively, the beach can be accessed from the Stackpole Centre or from the Bosherston Lakes car park. The beach is wonderfully picturesque, with interesting cliffs, small caves at low tide and a stream. Stay in Bosherston and enjoy all this along with a lovely local pub that serves up a wonderfully warm welcome along with amazing food. 


National Trust car park (fee payable for non-members), WCs. Dogs are allowed.

Barafundle Bay Beach

The Bay is situated south of Pembroke and the beach is in the care of the National Trust with access via a short walk from Stackpole Quay. Golden sands backed by sand dunes and ringed by trees make up one of Pembrokeshire's most stunning beaches and the isolation and clear blue sea add to its beauty.


Parking at Stackpole Quay, WCs, food. Dogs allowed.

Freshwater East Beach

This sandy beach is in a bay south-east of Pembroke and is backed by dunes in front of the village of Freshwater East. The coastal path leads to Stackpole Quay to the west and Swan Lake Bay and Manorbier Bay to the east. There’s plenty of space at low tide for a good kick about, or for throwing a ball for your pup as this is one of West Wales’ all-year-round dog-friendly beaches.


Pay and display parking, WCs, food, shops, slipway. Dogs are allowed.

Manorbier Bay Beach and Swan Lake Bay

A small, picturesque sand and rock beach surrounded by cliffs and dunes, Manorbier Bay Beach is arguably one of the most beautiful beaches in Wales. It is close to the pretty village and the castle and is extremely popular with bathers and surfers. If you only fancy getting your toes wet, take some time to explore the rock pools at low tide. To the west of Manorbier is Swan Lake Bay. Backed by low cliffs, it is an isolated beach where sand flats are exposed at low tide – a designated SSSI.


Manorbier Bay Beach - Pay and display car park for 160 vehicles, WCs, shops. Dogs are allowed.

Swan Lake Bay - No parking available near the beach. Dogs allowed.

Lydstep Haven, Priory Bay, Penally Beach and TenbyLydstep Haven, Priory Bay, Penally Beach and Tenby

Lydstep Haven Beach

Lydstep Haven, south-west of Tenby, is a very pretty beach consisting of sand and pebbles, backed by spectacular wooded cliffs at either end. At the north end of the beach, there is a small sandy area exposed at low tide. Access to the beach is via the caravan park, or on foot from the National Trust car park on Lydstep Head.


Pay and display parking for 40 cars, WCs, food, slipway. Dog restrictions apply May to September.

Priory Bay, Caldey Island

Priory Bay has a long sand and pebble beach with a small jetty where boats from the mainland arrive from Tenby. The island is home to Cistercian monks and has a small village as well as a monastery. Soft, golden sand and safe-swimming water make Priory Bay one of the loveliest West Wales beaches for families.


WCs, shops. Dogs must be kept on a lead.

Penally Beach

Penally is a large sandy beach that runs from Giltar Point to Tenby and is backed by dunes. This is one of Pembrokeshire’s lesser-visited beaches, making it a beautiful, serene place for a stroll, during which you can admire the views of Caldey Island and St. Margaret’s Island. 


Parking for 50 cars, WCs. Dogs are allowed.

Tenby (South Beach, Castle Beach and North Beach)

The pretty little coastal town of Tenby is blessed with a collection of beautiful beaches. South Beach is a long sandy beach backed by dunes and becomes less crowded the further you walk. At low tide, the northern end joins up with Castle Beach which is situated between Castle Hill and the East Cliff; at low tide, you can walk out to St. Catherine's Island. The small, sandy North Beach has a promenade and is backed by cliffs and the town. It is one of the area's most popular beaches, dominated by Goscar Rock and the medieval town wall. We have a fantastic collection of holiday cottages in Tenby, perfect for a seaside stay. 


About 200 pay and display parking spaces near South Beach, WCs and all the facilities of the town close by. Seasonal RNLI lifeguard service. Dog restrictions apply May to September on Tenby South and Castle Beach and no dogs allowed May to September on Tenby North Beach.

Amroth, Saundersfoot and MonkstoneAmroth, Saundersfoot and Monkstone

Waterwynch Bay

At high tide, the beach at Waterwynch Bay (located south-east of New Hedges) shrinks back to the pebbles. At low tide, it opens into a large beach with lovely sandy bays to left and right. It’s a scenic spot, with towering cliffs, and out to sea, you can gaze at Caldey Island and further to Lundy. It’s not one of the most popular beaches in Pembrokeshire, but that makes it a good choice for those wanting a little more peace and quiet than can be found on Tenby’s beaches, particularly if you’re looking for dog-friendly beaches in West Wales.


Parking is very limited; dogs are allowed.

Monkstone Beach

Monkstone Beach is a small stretch of fine golden sand to the north of Tenby. It is studded with occasional rocks and a pebble bank, and is backed by steep cliffs (which can be unstable and should not be climbed). Access is via a path with over 150 steps, but the challenge to get down (and up) is rewarded with tranquillity and views.


Parking is a half-mile walk (and those steps) from the beach; dogs are allowed.

Saundersfoot and Wisemans Bridge

Saundersfoot is a very popular sandy beach situated in front of the village with a small, scenic harbour. Its shallow water makes it a pleasant spot for swimming. Walks in the area include one to Wiseman’s Bridge through a cliff tunnel – here, you’ll find a small hamlet with a welcoming pub overlooking a rocky beach.


Saundersfoot – Pay and display parking for 100+ cars, WCs, food, shops, slipway. Seasonal RNLI lifeguard service, dog restrictions apply May to September.

Wisemans Bridge – Free parking above the beach but limited space, WCs, food. Dogs are allowed.


Amroth boasts a large, sandy beach backed by cliffs, a promenade and the village. At half a mile long, there’s plenty of space for fun and games, and the beach is a favoured destination for swimming, windsurfing, jet skiing and fishing. The start or end of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, this area is ideal for walkers looking to enjoy a coastal break in Amroth


Free parking for 60 cars, WCs, food, shops, slipway. Seasonal RNLI lifeguard service, dog restrictions apply May to September.

Map of West Wales Beaches

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Enjoy a West Wales beach holiday

Pack your buckets and spades and head off to the coast for a fabulous holiday on West Wales’ beaches. From the sandy coves of Pembrokeshire, to the delightful stretches along Cardigan Bay, there’s so much to explore. Base yourselves in one of our West Wales holiday cottages, and you’ll be perfectly positioned for stretching your legs on the coast path, and dipping your toes in the surf!

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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