Pembrokeshire CoastSouth West Wales is a region chock full of gorgeous natural landscapes, acres of lovely countryside and outstanding beaches. The varied natural bounty of the counties of Swansea, Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Neath Port Talbot make up this natural treasure. Hosting some of the most beautiful gardens in the United Kingdom, the South West has Britain’s first Area of Outstanding Beauty in the form of the Gower Peninsular in Swansea. Overall, it’s an amazing place for family holidays, with coastlines to laze about on beach towels, nature walks that go on for miles to venture on, and an incredible landscape for memorable picnics.

The rather adorably named village of Mumbles, Swansea is a seaside surprise packed with activities. For the mermaids among us, there are choices of Gower Coast Adventure Boat Trips, kite boarding and swimming along the glorious coast. It also happens to be the gateway to the unspoilt beauty of the Gower Peninsula, where visitors can revel in the enchantment of nature while deciding whether to knock off a few rounds at the Fairwood Park golf course, where international tournaments are held regularly, visit one of the many stone castles or prehistoric remnants, or spend the day at one of the nine award-winning beaches. Britain’s only coastal national park is in the South West, further cementing its reputation as the destination for beach splendour. The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, measuring 186 miles along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path is a reserve of astounding natural geography. Miles of shining sand fight for attention with sheer cliffs, the wild Preseli Hills, coastal islands, and mysterious forests and marshes teeming with wildlife. It is a site of great scientific interest because of its fascinating geographical variations, visible in the sweeping moors, mountains, lakes and lovely valleys.

Shining like a perfectly-formed dewdrop in the middle of a field, the largest single-span glass house in the world is the centerpiece for the National Botanic Garden of Wales. A sanctuary for thousands of plants as well as rare and threatened species, the Garden is a gorgeous display of the wealth of nature, in the forms of fantastic flowers and unusual environments. True to its name as the ‘Garden of Wales’, the garden of Aberglasney is also situated in Caramarthenshire. More old-fashioned than the Botanic Garden – in fact, nearly 600 years old – Aberglasney is a classic manor-and-grounds setup. Visitors can walk through the arch of the creepy Yew Tunnel, admire the architecture of the Queen Anne portico, the beautifully restored Cloister Garden and revel in the stunning variety of flowering plants and shrubs.

The annual event itinerary in South West Wales is packed, with celebrations ranging from Fish Week in Pembrokeshire, the musical Pontardwe Folk Festival, two festivals celebrating the late, great Dylan Thomas, and the Llandeilo Festival where musicians of all genres perform. And these are only the main events, as South West Wales promises a great time for everyone.

There are numerous restaurants for the hungry, not limited to the local pubs or inns. Fusion and Turkish, Italian and Spanish food are increasingly popular in the more tourism-centred areas, and don’t surprised that some areas in sleepy South West have quite a nightlife to offer. In the villages, small shops line the cosy streets, selling everything from homemade pottery to decorative Welsh lovespoons, providing keepsakes for visitors to take home.

South West is quite a bastion of Welsh food. In Gower, the seaweed called ‘laverbread’ is cleaned and boiled, and then eaten with toast or fried in bacon fat. Acquire a taste for cockles here, steamed and eaten fresh, along with a vast array of shellfish and seafood ranging from dover, salmon, sewin, monkfish, crab, lobster and oysters. The Welsh staple of lamb is served as a meal with the national vegetable – leeks. Made into soups, stews or served as a dish by itself, this plant is virtually everywhere when it comes to ordering greens. Meals are best finished up with a serving of ice cream – preferably Joe’s famous ice cream. Serving only a heavenly vanilla ice cream, several sauces are proffered to tickle the tastebuds.

Writer:  Samantha Joseph


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