Oxwich Bay is in the small, pretty village of Oxwich on the Gower Peninsula in Wales. It is easily accessible from Swansea, which is only 13 miles away. With its own nature reserve and long golden beach, there are lots of things to do in Oxwich Bay, particularly if you like nature and the great outdoors.
Although we were already familiar with Pembrokeshire, we’d not previously been to the Gower Peninsula. A staycation after lockdown provided a great opportunity to explore and discover all the best things to do in Oxwich Bay and its surroundings.
If you are thinking of a trip to Oxwich Bay, here’s a great guide to help you plan:-
Oxwich Bay beach
One of the best things to do in Oxwich Bay is head for the beach. Oxwich Bay has 2.5 miles of golden sand and it’s not surprising that it has been twice awarded UK Beach of the Year.
Oxwich Bay has a car park directly next to the beach, which makes it a popular choice on the Gower Peninsula. However, it is worth walking along for a bit, as the stretch in front of the beach can get very busy on a warm day.
If you want a more isolated beach experience, Nocholaston Burrows is about 15 minutes’ walk from the car park. Here, you’ll get the luxury of less people, but won’t have the advantage of the beachfront facilities.
From Oxwich beach, you can see the neighbouring beaches of Tor Bay and Three Cliffs Bay. If you wait until low tide, you could walk the whole length of the beach to get there. However, you must check the Oxwich Bay tide times before you set off.
Oxwich Bay beach is dog-friendly and popular with dog walkers.
Water sports at Oxwich Bay
Oxwich Bay is a great venue for water sports. There is a wide variety of water activities, but paddle boarding and kayaking seem to be the most popular choices. However, there are plenty of options for adrenaline junkies, including jet skiing and inflatable rides. It’s easy to hire equipment from the Beach Hut by the car park.
You can also book a boat ride with Gower Coast Adventures (though they are closed until 2021).
Oxwich Castle stands on the hill looking down on Oxwich Bay. However, despite its name, it is not actually a castle, but a fortified Tudor manor house. Oxwich Castle was built around 1558 and is on the site of a former castle.
Although now in ruins, the castle was once a lavish home. It was built by the Mansel family to impress, rather than defend. A large portion of the Tudor dovecote remains and can be seen today, though the roof is missing.
We walked to Oxwich Castle from the village, by following a steep uphill road. Alternatively, you can visit if you do a detour on the Oxwich Point circular walk.
Oxwich Point Walk
This circular walk is part of the Wales Coastal Path and will take you to the headland at Oxwich Point. Here you will get spectacular views from the cliffs across the Gower coastline. The walk follows a footpath through Oxwich Wood and across several fields. There are some very steep steps and it can get muddy when wet.
We did the walk on the way down from Oxwich Castle, but you can access it from some steep steps by St Illtyd’s Church in the village.
Oxwich Bay Nature Reserve
Oxwich Bay is a National Nature Reserve. Just inland from the beach are sand dunes, lakes, and marshland, which are all accessible to the public.
This wide variety of habitat is a haven for wildlife and nature. Apparently, it is one of the only places in the UK to have both salt and freshwater marshes together and has been recognised as a Site of Specific Scientific Interest (SSSI).
We followed a circular walk around the reserve, which involved climbing lots of sand dunes and running down them too. However, there is an easier option of walking up the beach and returning via the nature reserve.
Birdwatching at Oxwich Bay
Whether you are a keen bird watcher or not, it is worth a visit to the bird hide, which is just across the road from Oxwich beach. Follow the boardwalk to the sheltered bird hide, where you can look out on the marshes and lake to see birds (and cows). We were lucky enough to see a heron on the lake and 2 swallows nesting inside the bird hide.
We enjoyed seeing the swallows, but actually think we were more excited by the adder we spotted on the boardwalk. Keep your eyes peeled!
Watch the sunrise
One morning, we dragged outselves out of bed at 5.00am to watch the sun rise over the bay. It was an awesome experience. The colours were a lovely mix of orange and the beach was far more tranquil than during the daytime. Definitely worth the early start!
The sun rises over Three Cliffs and is best seen from the right side of the beach, though you do need to clamber over the rock pools to get there.
Barbeques on the beach
At the end of the day, Oxwich Bay is a popular location to chill out with a beach barbeque. The kids loved eating sausages and kebabs on the beach. I just can’t believe I forgot the marshmallows!
We surrounded the BBQ with rocks from the beach to provide some wind shelter. Afterwards we used sea water to extinguish the fire and took everything away with us, leaving no trace.
Attractions near Oxwich Bay
Oxwich Bay is very centrally located and is a great base for making the most of all the things to do on the Gower Peninsula.
Our favourites were a trip to the seaside town of Mumbles, a walk to Worms Head at Rhossili Bay and a climb up to Culver Hole at Port Eynon. Of course, no visit to the Gower Peninsula would be complete without a visit to the stunning Three Cliffs Bay.
Essential Information for a trip to Oxwich Bay
How to get to Oxwich Bay
If you are coming from England, you can follow the M4 to Port Talbot. The postcode for the Oxwich Bay village is SA3 1LS.
If you are travelling by train, the nearest stations are Swansea or Gowerton.
Accommodation in Oxwich Bay
There are several options for accommodation near Oxwich Bay. The Oxwich Bay Hotel has a superb location on the beach front. Alternatively, there are several local holiday parks, with static caravans and camping pitches.
Oxwich also has numerous self-catering options. We stayed at Marshmallow Cottage, which we booked through AirBnB. It was a delightful bungalow, within 5 minutes’ walking distance from the beach.
Facilities in Oxwich Bay
Oxwich Bay has a fish and chip shop, which sells beach equipment, ice cream and some basic food items.
There is also a beach hut selling refreshments and public toilets.
Eating at Oxwich Bay
You can eat at the Oxwich Bay Hotel or the Michelin-starred Beach House Restaurant. Unfortunately, both were closed during our visit, because of the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.
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