15 Apr A Weekend Away in Swansea, Mumbles and Gower, Wales
‘Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore’ I shouted through the window of my car as my friend Elle emerged from the Kings Head with directions to our guesthouse. Forgetting we were in rural Wales, I had relied on Google Maps for most of the journey from Manchester but my 3G coverage no longer stretched as far as the little village of Llangennith.
This was the getaway I had been longing for- time away from the city, where things move at a much slower pace. Due to Friday afternoon traffic the motorway journey took a little longer than expected so we headed straight to the pub for a bite to eat before checking into our B&B. Of course the Welsh speciality is lamb, so I had the lamb shank, followed by a selection of Welsh cheeses.
It was late at night by the time we arrived at Tallizmand guesthouse in Llandmadoc but our host David did his utmost to make us feel at home. We had tea and cake in the cosy guest lounge, while flicking through brochures and magazines for ideas on local coastal walks.
The B&B is has been awarded 4-stars and it’s incredibly comfortable- we felt right at home. Our bedroom was tastefully furnished and nice and warm, while the bathroom was huge, with an electric shower.
In the morning we were served fresh smoked salmon with brown bread and helped ourselves to fresh fruit and cereals from the dresser. A great way to start the day, especially with the classical music in the background!
With the unspoilt village of Llandmadoc as our base, we spent Saturday and Sunday morning driving around Gower, discovering some of the sights that the Gower peninsula and Swansea have to offer. The scenery is breathtaking and it’s pleasant enough just pottering around in the car admiring the views from the window.
There are so many beaches and bays along the Gower Peninsula but we decided to visit Oxwich Bay because it’s easily accessible by car with a car park right next to the beach. There were quite a few people walking their dogs and beachcombing- we didn’t stay too long but it was nice to get out and breathe some salty sea air!
Mumbles is a cute little seaside town with colourful houses, restaurants, boutiques and galleries. We took a walk along the sea front towards the Victorian pier, had a browse of the homeware in Oyster Gallery then stopped for a drink in town at Cafe Valance, where people were watching the rugby. I know nothing about rugby but I gathered from the oohs and ahhs that this was quite a big match for Wales. Mumbles is also home to a world class ice cream shop- Joe’s– with a history dating as far back as 1898.
Dinner At the Grape & Olive
In the evening we drove to Swansea city centre, where we dined at the Grape & Olive– a restaurant at the top of the Meridian Tower, which mainly houses residential apartments next to the marina.
The restaurant has incredible panoramic views of the marina, Swansea Bay and Mumbles and we were seated in a booth facing the window. While the restaurant is quite a casual affair for a rooftop restaurant (my jeans and sweater didn’t make me look underdressed), the food was tasty- I had the seared scallops with minted pea puree and chorizo crumb to start, while Elle had the pigeon breast, roasted hazelnut and beetroot salad to start. For main I had the rack of lamb with Dijon mustard herb crust and she had the fillet steak. This was all washed down with a bottle of house red and finished with a selection of Welsh cheeses.
We spent our Sunday morning having lunch at the Worm’s Head Hotel, which is strategically perched on the cliff overlooking Rhossili Bay. This 3-mile stretch of sand was voted Britain’s Best Beach by TripAdvisors Travellers’ Choice and has been praised by numerous travel writers. It was a rather brisk, chilly March day so we didn’t venture down but we did stand and watch the surfers riding the wild Atlantic swells from the balcony of the restaurant! At lunch I tried two Welsh specialities that I’d never had before- Welsh Rarebit and Welsh cake. The rarebit tasted like a posh cheese on toast, while the Welsh cake was kind of like a raw, doughier scone.
After lunch we took a walk out to Worm’s Head and spent most of our time trying to chase the sheep for a photo, but as soon as we got close they would run away again! It was good to get some fresh air before we commenced the drive back up the country.
If I go back to Gower I’ll definitely try to go in summer when the weather’s a bit warmer and I can appreciate the beaches a bit more! I also have my sights set on a few more activities- namely dinner at Fairy Hill and pony trekking as I absolutely love riding horses! On this trip we were supposed to go kayaking at 360 watersports but due to arriving so late the night before we were exhausted. Located in Swansea Bay, they have a number of watersports on offer including Stand Up Paddle boarding with inflatable paddle board, and Kite surfing- great for the summer months. I’d also like to do the walk to the stunning Three Cliffs Bay to snap some photos. Next time!
I was a guest of Visit Swansea Bay on this weekend away. All opinions expressed in the article are my own. You can find out all about the various things to do in Gower, Mumbles and Swansea by visiting their website http://www.visitswanseabay.com/
Have you been to the Gower peninsula? If so, what are your favourite spots? Leave your comments below!