The beautiful Gower Peninsula is the United Kingdom's first designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Located in Swansea, the peninsula is famous for its stunning coastal scenery, wide sandy beaches and medieval castles.
This article covers the rural areas of Swansea. It has been given the title 'Gower' as the Gower Peninsula constitutes the largest portion of Swansea's rural area and is the district of most interest to tourists. However, the article also includes the highland areas of Pontardulais and Mawr. On the peninsula itself, the article covers all points west of Bishopston, Pwll Du Bay, Fairwood Common and Upper Killay. Detailed information of the urban area east of this line is documented in the Swansea article.
The Gower Peninsula is about 29km long by 8km wide and, in many ways, represents a microcosm of the very best of British countryside. There are wide sandy beaches, dramatic cliffs, historic woodlands, salt marshes and open moors, all of which are interspersed with picturesque villages, country inns, castles, ancient churches and neolithic burial chambers. It is a land immersed in the mists of Celtic legends and secrets of smugglers tales. The peninsula is also home to an abundance of wildlife, with perhaps the wild Gower ponies that roam the moors being the most famous and well loved. For recreation, Oxwich is the most popular bay for swimming and boating, while Llangennith is a surfers paradise and attracts boarders from all over the UK. Rhossili is a dramatic bay, and the sunset over the headland is one of the most photographed evening scenes in Europe.
The districts of Mawr and Pontardulais are sparsely populated areas of Swansea's hinterland and offer wonderful opportunities for hillside walking and river-side recreation activities.
Historically, Gower convered an area of land under the jurisdiction of the Lords of Gower. It extended as far east as the River Tawe, and so it included what is now Swansea City Centre. This area corresponds very closely to the modern boundaries of the City and County of Swansea. However, nowadays "Gower" would be mostly understood to referring to the penisular only.
The Gower "Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty" (AONB) is an invention of post Second World War planning laws covering England and Wales, and represents a level of protection one step lower than offered by that of a "National Park".
Most of the villages and popular bays are connected by public transport. The Gower peninsula itself is served by the Gower Explorer branded bus services from the Quadrant Bus Station in Swansea city centre. The Lliw uplands to the north of the county of Swansea are served by Lliw Link branded bus services from the Quadrant Bus Station. (Note that the Quadrant bus station is a good 10-15 minute walk from Swansea railway station but there are frequent buses to the recently reurbished and newly re-opened (December 2010) Quadrant Bus Station from the bus stop outside the railway station.)
Due to strict zoning laws, the rural areas of Swansea have not succumbed to urban sprawl. However, there are a few traditional villages in the area:
Llangennith (Welsh:Llangenydd) - a quintessential British coastal village with hens clucking around the village green, a stone church, a traditional pub and sheep strolling down the road towards a magnificent surfing beach; several B&Bs. Very popular with surfers in the summer, and has a large camping area for families and youngsters alike.
Llanmadoc and Cheriton - two adjoining villages on north Gower - some lovely stone houses, a few B&Bs and a pub.
Llanrhidian - a hill-side village running down to the marshes of the Loughor Estuary - some lovely stone houses and a pub.
Oxwich - nestled in the curve of Oxwich Bay and with its thatched rooved cottages and castle, Oxwich is perhaps the Gower's most picturesque village. The village has a wonderful Saxon church, a couple of shops and a hotel.
Port Eynon - a quaint village clustered around the sandy beach of Port Eynon Bay. There are a few shops and B&Bs, a pub and youth hostel.
Reynoldston - an inland village surrounded by wild moorland with a good pub and accommodation.
Rhossili - located on a ridge offering spectacular views over Rhossili Bay and Worms Head - the village boasts a pub, cafe, shop and great National Trust gift shop.
Rhossili Bay and Worm's Head. Famous for is breathtaking view at sunset, and the vista is widely considered to be one of Europe's most spectacular coastal scenes. An excellent National Trust gift shop marks the beginning of the cliff top path, while the picturesque village of Rhossili provides an ideal setting for enjoying cream teas in the summer or for relaxing and taking a contemplative stroll at any time of the year. In addition, the conditions at Rhossili are excellent for handgliding and surfing; historians may also be interested to note that there is evidence of a stone-age settlement here. Visitors may also note a distinct lack of trees. The last real tree was at Ash Tree Farm, though this disappeared sometime during the early 70's. The fierce westerly gales and trees are not a good match. The nearest trees to Rhossili are are Middleton, the village just prior to Rhossili.
Three Cliffs Bay. A great place to take a stroll through woods and watch the wild ponies galloping on the beach. The ruins of Pennard Castle guard the area from a hill to the left (when facing the sea). Note, however that the strong undercurrent at this bay make it unsuitable for swimming. The beach is entered from a path across from Shepard's village store and cafe.
Oxwich Bay. Overlooked by Penrice castle, the pristine waters of the bay are surrounded by extensive dunes and woodlands and protected by a small Saxon church on the headland. Oxwich was named the most beautiful beach in the UK and one of the most beautiful in the world by Travel Magazine in 2007 .
Gower Heritage Centre, Parkmill. Tel:+44 1792 371-206 - a rural life museum based around a working water mill. The museum also boasts one of the world's smallest cinemas - La Charrette - a 23 seat former railway carriage. There is also a gift shop and cafe on site.
Pony Trekking at Parc-le-Breos House, Penmaen. Tel:+44 1792 371-636 
Rhossili and Borfa Activity Centres, Middleton, Rhossili. Tel:+44 1792 401-548 - offers domitory accommodation in Port Eynon and training in the following activities: abseiling, caving, climbing, coasteering, cycling and mountain-biking, kayaking and trekking.
Mountain Boarding at brd Mountain Boarding Centre, Weobley Castle, Llanrhidian, Swansea, SA3 1HB. Tel:+44 7856 152-540  Offers lessons for beginners and improvers. Discounts available for group bookings. The boarding centre is open for prior bookings only.
A less well known destination in Swansea is the Lliw Uplands which contains some of the best mountain scenery in Wales:
City Centre - Llangyfelach - Felindre - Garnswllt - Ammanford
From the city centre, head towards the road junction at Dyfatty lights. Take the second left turning onto Llangyfelach road (B4489) which will take you to the M4 Motorway (Junction 46). Head straight accross the roundabouts on Junction 46. This will take you into the rural area of the Lliw Uplands. From here, much of the road consists of a narrow country lane. Follow this lane though the village of Felindre then on over Mynydd-y-Bettws with stunning views of the Lliw Lalley. The road takes you past Penlle'r Castell - the highest point in Swansea. It then descends into the farming village of Garnswllt and continues to Ammanford.
The excellent National Trust store  in Rhossili has a good selection of handicrafts and gifts, many with local flavor.
Fruit and vegetables from the peninsula's arable farms.
Local Produce Gower Wildflower and Local Produce Centre , Blackhills Lane, Fairwood Common, opposite Swansea Airport. Sells an assortment of produce from local farms such as Gower wild flowers and Gower salt-marsh lamb.
PJ's Surf Shop. Surfwear, boards and accessories to buy plus surf rental available. Located in the centre of Llangennith next to the churchedit
The King's Head, Llangennith, ☎ +44(). Good range of bar meals, including several decent vegetarian options. Good quality versions of typical pub food e.g. curry, pies, lasagne. As the only pub in Llangennith it is often quite busy with a good atmosphere. Friendly staffedit
Sea Garden Chinese Restaurant and Bar, Gowerton Road, Penclawdd, Swansea, SA4 3RB, ☎ +44 (1792) 872886, . An authentic Chinese restaurant with wonderful views of the salt marshes of the Loughor Estuaryedit
Coalhouse, Oxwich sea front, ☎ +44 (1792) 390-965, . A nineteen century coalhouse converted into a modern restaurant - excellent food using locally grown produce - uninhibited views over Oxwich Bayedit
Fairyhill Hotel and Restaurant, Reynoldston, ☎ +44 (1792) 390-139, . An award winning restaurant serving dishes cooked with local produceedit
Langland's Brasserie, Brynfield Road, Langland., ☎ +44 (1792) 363-699 (email@example.com), . A fine modern British restaurant located with a fantastic view overlooking Langland Bayedit
Nicholaston Farm Caravan & Camping, Nicholaston Farm, Penmaen. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel:+44 1792 371-209 . Great sea views and access to beaches via pleasant 10 minute walk through woods and dunes. Cafe and shop on site.
Pitton Cross Caravan & Camping Park, Pitton Cross, Rhossili. Tel:+44 1792 390-593. E-mail:email@example.com . Located near the village of Rhossili.
Port Eynon Youth Hostel, Old Lifeboat House, Port Eynon. Tel:0870 770 5998. Fax no:+44 1792 391-623. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org  - located next to sandy beach.
Gower Bunkhouse, Borfa House, Port Eynon. Tel:+44 1792 401-548. Fax:+44 1792 403-750. E-mail: email@example.com  - located near beach - pre-booked groups only. Open: Fri-Sat nights and school vacation times.
Rhossili Bunkhouse, Rhossili Activity Centre, Middleton, Rhossili. Tel:+44 1792 401-548 Fax: +44 1792 403-750. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org  - located in rural setting - pre-booked groups only. Open: Fri-Sat nights and school vacation times.
Gower Holiday Village, Scurlage, Nr. Port Eynon, Gower, Swansea. SA3 1AY (follow the A4118 from Swansea city centre into the heart of Gower), ☎ +44 1792 390431 (email@example.com, fax: +44 1792 390644), . Offers a number of bungalows - ideal for family self catering holidays. Includes an indoor heated swimming pool.edit
Gower Edge Self Catering, Killan Road, Dunvant, Swansea. SA2 7TH (follow the signs for Three Crosses from Dunvant Square), ☎ +44 1608 674467 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Spacious detatched property which sleeps 8 in comfort. Children and pets welcome. Short breaks available out of season.£390-£874. edit
Home from Home, 101 Newton Road, Mumbles, Swansea SA3 4BN, ☎ +44 (1792) 360624 (email@example.com, fax: +44 (1792) 361626), . They offer a range of holiday cottages and apartments in Mumbles, Gower, Swansea Marina and other areas of south west Wales.edit
Culver House, Port Eynon. Tel:+44 1792 390-755. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org . A twelve room guest house located right at the edge of the dunes.
Parc-le-Breos House, Penmaen. Tel:+44 1792 371-636 . A converted 19th century farm house in own grounds.
Oxwich Bay Hotel, Oxwich. Tel:+44 1792 390-329. E-mail:email@example.com . A modern hotel in a fantastic location, but with rather shabby decor and facilities.
Britannia Inn, Llanmadoc. Tel:+44 1792 386-624. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. . A lovely traditional inn near the North Gower Coast. The inn mostly functions as a pub-cum-restaurant, but it also has a few cozy and pleasantly furnished rooms. A wonderful place to relax and enjoy country hospitality.
Bryngwyn Holiday Home, Llanrhidian. Tel:+44 1792 391223. E-mail: email@example.com. . Very well renovated holiday home offering self catering in Llanrhidian village. Sleeps six to eight.
Fairyhill, Fairyhill. Tel:+44 1792 390-139 . A converted country mansion in own grounds. Need car/taxi. Great for walks and contemplation.
Oldwalls Resort. Llanrhidian. Tel:+44 1792 391-468. Fax:+44 1792 391-468. . An exclusive resort on the North Gower Coast, offering full recreational facilities, heli-pad, wooded areas and gardens. The resort is within walking distance of beaches and villages. The high security walls make it the perfect place for celebrities and others who want to avoid the public eye.
The area dialling code for Gower is the same as Swansea - 01792. From overseas, dial +44 1792 XXX-XXX
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