In the middle of June, Adam and I embarked on a weekend away to Swansea Bay. Being from Birmingham, we don’t see the sea much so when Visit Swansea Bay got in touch and asked us if we’d like to spend a weekend exploring the Welsh coast, how could we say no?
Of course, we did pick the only weekend in June where it rained and it did scupper our plans somewhat (we couldn’t take part in the water sports – the wind and waves were too high!). But we made the most of it and had a lovely 48 hours in Swansea Bay.
Where to Stay
We stayed at The Rickyard B&B which is part of the Croft Acre Cottages in Port Eynon. It was the ideal base in which to explore the Gower Peninsula and a stone’s throw away from a quaint little pub called The Ship Inn where we ate our first night.
We had a double room with an ensuite which was cosy and quiet. Breakfast was served each morning in the dining room – egg on toast for me and a cooked breakfast for Adam.
What to Do in Swansea Bay
We started our weekend going for a coastal walk along Rhossili Bay. While there are many different walks to partake in, we chose the gentle walk towards Worm’s Head and towards the Coastwatch House where you can actually cross the causeway if the tide is out. We aimlessness wandered across the clifftops, watching plenty of people catch the surf below. Watersports certainly seemed popular.
From Rhossili, we headed over to Mumbles. I’m going to say it now, Mumbles is probably my favourite seaside town that I’ve ever visited. It was full of character!
Sitting majestically on a hill in Mumbles, Oystermouth Castle has stunning views of Swansea Bay. The weather had picked up by the point and we could see right across the bay as the castle offers panoramic views of Mumbles. I’m a bit of a sucker for history and took great pleasure climbing the old staircases, ducking down through tiny doorways to get into hidden vaults and learning more about the different expansions the castle had over the 13th century, You can pick up a map from the ticket office and take your time wandering around the eerily derelict castle that has loving been restored in parts, to allow future generations to learn about it’s enriched history.
It wouldn’t be a proper seaside town without a pier and Mumbles has one down the south of the coastline. Originally built in the 1800’s, Mumbles Pier is currently going through a redevelopment but you can see the brand new RLNI station at the end of it. The front of the pier still has much to offer with an amusement arcade (everybody’s favourite part right?) and a selection of restaurants and an ice cream window (essential!) We took some time to play on the 2p machines and I of course, whooped Adam at the basketball game!
Exploring Mumbles Galleries
When we mentioned we were heading to Mumbles, lots of my readers got in touch to let me know we absolutely had to go to The Lovespoon Gallery; a gallery with the largest collection of lovespoons designed by the best carvers in Wales. The designs were fantastic and it was fun to learn about the history of these cute spoons and how they were given to women by men as a sign of wanting to get married. There’s also the Gower Gallery which is full of paintings, sculptures and prints all inspired by the beautiful Gower coastline.
Where to Eat in Swansea Bay
We ate some really good food during our time in Swansea Bay.
The Ship Inn, Port Eynon
As mentioned, The Ship Inn was a stone throw from our B&B. We ate there on our first night and after a long, long (long) time on the motorway, it was just what we needed. The perfect pub grub! I had a really good fish and chips (the chips in Swansea Bay – regardless of where you buy them- all seem to taste like chip shop chips!) and Adam went for a chicken and vegetable pie with mash potato and veg on the side. In Adam’s words, ‘It was bloody marvellous’ and he also enjoyed sampling the local Gower Ales – notably Golden Gower. Dessert consisted of huge pieces of banoffee pie and cheesecake and we were incredibly full after. The food was reasonably priced and the dining room was busy with locals (always a good sign!)
Verdi’s Cafe, Mumbles
Located right on the seafront in Mumbles, Verdi’s is a family run cafe, ice cream parlour and a restaurant serving up authentic Italian food and light bites. We stopped here for lunch while in Mumbles. The most extraordinary thing was the view – we could see right out across the bay. The food was pretty good too. I had a huge portion of spaghetti carbonara (and I mean HUGE!) while Adam went for something lighter in the form of a brie and grape toasted sandwich with crisps and a salad. We took great pleasure sitting there, eating our food and watching the tide go out allowing dogs to run up and down the seafront collecting their balls and happily bringing them back to their owners. The restaurant had a consistent trade but there were plenty of tables, inside and out, for whoever decided to stop by.
Joe’s Ice Cream Parlor, Mumbles
So the number one recommended thing to do while in Mumbles was to stop by Joe’s Ice Cream Parlor – literally everybody who knows this area and knows me was like ‘you need to try it!’ So we did. Located just off the seafront, they have a window at the front where you can pick up a quick ice cream or you can head on inside and eat in. We were only there for ice cream and boy, you guys were not wrong! While Adam is partial to a tub, I love a cone (more risk – you have to eat it all before it melts all over you!) and I ended up going for two scoops – strawberry sorbet and chocolate swirl. It was bloody fantastic. Joe’s must be popular around these parts – you can buy the tubs to take away with you and when we stopped by The Greyhound Inn later that day, they also stocked Joe’s to use with all their puddings.
The Greyhound Inn
Our final stop on the culinary tour of the Gower was The Greyhound Inn, a family run pub and restaurant. Adam desperately wanted to watch some World Cup and I just wanted to rest my feet (19,000 steps around Mumbles). The Greyhound Inn was cosy and welcoming with a dining room and a bar area where you can order the full menu. We got there earlier than our expected seating time but they were happy to let us sit in the bar and not move when it came to ordering food. It was a great spot to watch the football with a few TV’s and a good selection of ales (for Adam!) Foodwise, Adam went for lamb chops (when in Wales) and I opted for a pretty impressive looking burger. while the burger wasn’t quite to my liking, Adam’s lamb was tender and tasty. Pudding was chocolate cake and custard and waffles and ice cream and I did enjoy those more than my main. We spent most of our Saturday night in there just watching the world go by.
So that is my mini guide to a weekend in Swansea Bay. It was so lovely to visit somewhere new and explore a bit. Visiting Rhossili has certainly made me think we need to get that national trust membership sorted as it will give us a great opportunity to see some more of the UK’s most spectacular views.
Have you ever been to Swansea Bay? Did we miss out any must do’s?
*Accommodation, meals and access to Oystermouth Castle provided by Visit Swansea Bay. All experiences and opinions my own.