Quite distinct from other regions in Wales, South West Wales in a sun-lover’s dream.
Not only are there miles of gorgeous sand beaches, and towns like Tenby to cater to seaside stays, but geographically speaking this area is ideally-located, too. Benefiting from the Gulf Stream, the Pembrokeshire coastline is one of the warmest suntraps in the UK.
Sunny days aside, there’s also plenty to do if you want to keep active. The kids will love this immersion into nature; on the beaches, out on the waves and even indoors at Swansea Plantasia. If rain is forecast, you can spend the day doing arts and crafts, exploring the zoo or splashing around in an indoor waterpark.
Get ready to pack your bags; South West Wales is calling…!
3 must-see sights in South West Wales
1. Pembrokeshire Coast wildlife
Wildlife spotting along the Pembrokeshire Coast has to be one of Wales’s most memorable activities. Porpoises can be seen from land, whereas dolphins are best viewed out on the water and several tour operators run dedicated dolphin spotting trips each day. If you’re lucky, you’ll run into a 500-strong family (or ‘pod’)!
But for something extra special, why not take to the waves alongside these playful creatures? The Pembroshire coast offers some of the best surf for miles around. Sure, there’s no guarantee that you’ll spot dolphins, but it’s cool to know you’re sharing the water anyway.
2. Colourful Tenby
Pictures of Tenby look more like the Med than the UK! But, believe it or not, this colourful seaside town can be found tucked away on Wales’s southwest coast.
Summers here are out of this world — you can swim and relax on the soft sand, or enjoy a walk along the historic walls and up to the ruins of Tenby Castle. Everything you need for the perfect family holiday, without the need for international travel!
There’s plenty to do in the down season, too, with the Tenby Museum and Art Gallery open all year round. There’s special exhibits and events just for kids, and anyone under 16 can enter free of charge.
3. Barafundle Bay
Fun to say, and breathtaking to behold, Barafundle Bay has one of the region’s most pristine beaches. In fact, Barafundle has been accredited as a Blue Flag Beach and, in 2004, it was named as one of the top 12 beaches in the world!
Winning other accolades such as “the best beach in Britain” and “the UK’s top picnic spot”, it’s clear to see why Barafundle Bay makes our South West Wales shortlist.
But here’s the catch: while the gentle waves make Barafundle the perfect place for little waders, visitors need to access the beach via sand dunes and forest. In short, it’s not easy to get there with a pushchair. Families with very young kids are better off sticking to Tenby or Manorbier.
3 must-do family activities in South West Wales
1. Folly Farm for a fun family day out
Does your family enjoy getting up close and personal with wild animals? Do the little ones like fairgrounds and soft play? Fancy the sound of riding a land train through paddocks of llamas and alpaca? All of this, and so much more, can be experienced at Folly Farm, one of South West Wales’s best family days out.
You can easily spend an entire day enjoying the zoo — complete with lions, giraffes, rhinos and penguins — but the farmyard petting station is particularly special for little ones, who can hop in the enclosure with lambs, piglets and other young animals. Round off the day with a whizz around the waltzer or big wheel, and you’ll all be ready for an early night!
2. Explore Swansea Plantasia
The British weather can take a turn at any minute, so Swansea Plantasia is a great trick to have up your sleeve.
An “interactive, fully immersive tropical experience for all the family”, this eco-centre is Wales’s answer to Cornwall’s Eden Project. A trip around the indoor park will teach little ones about rainforest life and how important trees are for the environment.
3. Blue Lagoon Water Park
If the little ones struggle to sit still, Blue Lagoon Water Park (just a short drive from Tenby or the Pembrokeshire Coast) is a must-do all year round.
The main attraction has to be the wave pool, with six different wave patterns to keep kids guessing! There’s also rapids, flumes and a lazy river to coast along — just watch out for the massive water canons at the end!
The best time to visit South West Wales?
With such an incredible selection of beaches, South West Wales really comes into its own during the summer months. But don’t discount this part of the world other times of the year.
Compared to the rest of Wales, this region gets less rain all year round. So if you’re looking to take a family staycation in autumn, spring or winter, then South West Wales is a good bet.
What to pack for South West Wales?
If high season, sun hats and sun cream are essential — you’d be surprised how quickly you can burn! But layers, waterproofs and warmer gear are also recommended, as you never know when the weather will turn.
Getting around South West Wales
Set on the far side of Wales from England and Scotland, it takes a little longer to drive to South West Wales from mainland UK. That said, a set of wheels is still the easiest way to hop from place to place, so it’s well worth the effort.
If you fancy a day off from being behind the wheel, there’s a great network of coastal buses: the Puffin Shuttle, Poppit Rocket, and Strumble Shuttle all service Pembrokeshire and the surrounding areas.
There’s also a ferry that crosses from Pembroke Dock to Rosslare in Southern Ireland, perfect if you’re visiting from the Republic or continuing your family adventure over the sea.