The Gower Peninsula is a remarkable mix of stunning landscapes and historical sites. Indeed, it was the first place in Britain to be designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Located in South Wales, the Gower parades that natural beauty through its pristine beaches, wooded countryside, remarkable dry stone walls, and dramatic coastlines.
The peninsula also contains 19 nature reserves, which offer a diverse array of landscapes like woodland, moorland, limestone grassland and Sites of Special Scientific Interest such as Deborah's Hole on the south west coast. Walkers, cyclists and nature lovers will enjoy the numerous paths, memorable vistas and impressive wildlife the peninsula has to offer.
The area's beaches are most certainly the main draw to the region for many. The wide expanse of golden beaches like Oxwich Beach, Mumbles Beach and Rhossili Bay are perfect for swimming, family games, kite flying or water sports. Many of the Gower beaches are also well known surfing spots. The beaches of Caswell, Langland, Bracelet and Port Eynon have received the Blue Flag award, which is given to beaches where there is assured high water quality. These beaches also have lifeguards on duty from June through September. Those looking for more privacy should check out the secluded coves and beaches at Brandy Cove and Pwlldu.
Though the peninsula only spans an area of 70 square miles, its history of human inhabitants is extensive and the remnants of those who have come before is evident. Experience Norman castles at Pennard and Oystermouth and the mystery of the prehistoric monument of Arthur's Stone.
Hill forts and burial chambers are also scattered around the area. Myths and legends about the Gower Peninsula confirm its lengthy and varied heritage and involve tales about smugglers, King Arthur and Sweyne Forkbeard, a Viking king. Caves like those at Culver Hill are also prolific within the Gower's limestone-laden areas. In addition to being unique and interesting attractions, the caves often contain remains that provide information about the early communities and animal species (like lions and the Arctic fox) that once lived in the area. The peninsula has also experienced a number of shipwrecks, and their stories are told in the remains still seen along the coast, such as those of the Hevetia at Rhossili Bay. The modern day communities are equally worth a visit, and highlights include the picturesque villages of Oxwich, Port Eynon, Bishopston, and Reynoldston or the larger city of Swansea. Visitors will find plenty of activities to choose from around these villages, including visiting atmospheric churches, golfing at Fairwood Park and checking out Swansea's new National Waterfront Museum.
Tourism is an important trade for the Gower, as demonstrated through the wide variety of accommodation, including self-catering cottages, bed and breakfasts, youth hostels, bunkhouses, and luxury hotels. The Gower is an easy place to travel to from much of southern England and is easily accessible by car from the cities of Bristol (85 miles) and Cardiff (45 miles).