Explore the Gower peninsula

Center map



Gower or the Gower peninsula (Welsh: Gwyr or Penrhyn Gŵyr) projects westwards into the Bristol Channel and is bounded by the Loughor Estuary to the north and Swansea Bay to the east. It was designated as the United Kingdom’s first area of outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1956 and this long AONB status means that its splendid scenery has not been spoiled by over development and commercialisation. The peninsula’s interior consists mainly of farmland, common land and wooded valleys; the southern coast consists of a series of small, rocky or sandy bays, such as Langland, Caswell and Three Cliffs, and larger beaches such as Port Eynon and Oxwich Bay; the west coast is dominated by long expanses of sand found at Rhossilli bay, Broughton bay and Whitford sands; and the north coast estuary provides an extensive salt marsh and is home to the cockle-beds of Penclawdd. The Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) includes all of the peninsula west of Crofty, Three Crosses, Upper Killay, Blackpill and Bishopston. The population resides mainly in villages and small communities, though suburban development has made a number of communities in eastern Gower part of the Swansea Urban Area.

City and County of Swansea the Gower peninsula logo

Gower beaches


The Gower peninsula is ideal for the classic British beach holiday as it provides a wide variety of beaches, bays and coves in a relatively short coastline.

These are located along the east, south and west coastline and all are within a short drive from Hill House.

Distances and driving times are provided in the interactive map at the top of this page.

Some of the popular beaches have life guard patrols and dog walking restrictions during the spring and summer time.

The area is very popular with surfers and there are a number of surfing schools catering to all age groups and abilities. See our Gower Surfing Schools page for information on the various schools that operate on the peninsula coastline.

To help you get the most out of your holiday we have produced a smartphone App that gives you detailed information on all of Gower’s bays, beaches and coves. It is free to download and use and available for Android or iPhone as shown opposite.

Click on the icon to view the App in the Google Play store or iTunes App store .

Gower Coast PATH MAP

Gower provides a wide variety of scenery in a relatively small area of about 70 square miles (180 km2) that gives rise to a diverse range of habitats with widely differing flora and fauna. The area is popular with outdoor enthusiasts and there are numerous opportunities for outdoor pursuits such as surfing, fishing, sailing, walking, birdwatching, climbing, coast steering, hang gliding, paragliding, etc.
The public rights of way network is extensive, covering 431 km (268 miles) and it offers many memorable walking routes, from short family trips, taking in many of the small churches and landmarks in the area, to routes for the more experienced, with breathtaking views of the Gower Peninsula.  In fact, “glorious” Rhossili, on the westernmost point of Gower, is one of the Telegraph’s ‘Top 10 British Walks’ and The Times’s ’20 Greatest Rural British Walks’. This walk forms part of the Gower peninsula section of the Wales Coastal footpath. You can download a copy of the pamphlet that details the Gower and Swansea section of the Wales coastal footpath here or click on the adjacent image.

If you are interested in Norman churches there is a trail that lets you visit all of the fifteen Norman churches in Gower.
You can download a copy of the pamphlet that details the walk by clicking on the image of the pamphlet’s cover on the left.
On the right is our You Tube video that we compiled to illustrates the pamphlet and churches.

History of the Gower Peninsula

Wales is known to have been inhabited since at least the Upper Paleolithic period and the Gower Peninsula has been the scene of several important archaeological discoveries. There are 83 scheduled ancient monuments and ancient monument sites representing most periods in history from the Upper Palaeolithic caves through medieval castles, eighteenth century parkland and industrial monuments. It has been described as an ‘unrivaled microcosm of Wales’s historic wealth.

In 1823 Rev. William Buckland discovered a fairly complete Upper Paleolithic-era human male skeleton in one of the Paviland Caves (Goat’s hole cave) between Port Eynon and Mewslade. The find was named the Red Lady of Paviland because the fossilised bones are dyed in red ochre but later investigators determined that the skeleton was actually a male. This was the first human fossil to have been found anywhere in the world, and is still the oldest ceremonial burial to be discovered anywhere in Western Europe so far discovered. The most recent re-calibrated radiocarbon dating in 2009 indicates that the skeleton can be dated to around 33,000 Before Present (BP).

At the time of the burial the cave was probably more than 100km from the sea and Wales was still attached to the european continent. The passage of geological time has since made the cave a decidedly more scenic final resting place.

In the 1950s, Cambridge University excavating in a cave on the peninsula found 300-400 pieces of flint related to tool making, and dated it to between 12,000-14,000 BC. In 2010 an instructor from Bristol University, exploring caves in the same area, discovered a rock drawing of a red deer from the same period- which may be the oldest cave art found in Great Britain.

Arthurs Stone Cefyn Bryn Gower

Gower is also home to menhirs or standing stones from the Bronze Age. Of the nine stones, eight remain today. One of the most notable of the stones is Arthur’s stone near Cefn Bryn. Its twenty-five ton capstone was most likely a glacial erratic (a piece of rock/conglomerate carried by glacial ice some distance from the rock outcrop from which it came), which the builders dug beneath and supported with upright stones to create a burial chamber.   During the Bronze Age, people continued to use local caves as a source of shelter and for burying their dead. Bronze Age evidence, such as funeral urns, pottery and human remains have been found in Tooth Cave at Llethryd, Culver Hole (Llangennith) and Cat Hole Cave.

Iron age settlement Cilifor Llanrhidian

With the transition into the Iron Age, hill forts (timber fortifications on hill tops and coastal promontories) and earthworks began to appear. The largest example of this type of Iron Age settlement on the Gower Peninsula is Cilifor Top near Llanrhidian. Romans built Leucarum, a rectangular or trapezoidal fort at the mouth of the River Loughor in the late 1st century to house a regiment of Roman auxiliary troops but but this was abandoned after approximately 300 years.


Evidence of the Norman invasion of Wales and their influence on Gower can be seen in the many castles that they built in the peninsula. Oxwich, Oystermouth and Weobley are well preserved but the others, at Penard, Swansea, Landimore, Scurlage and Llougher (Built on the site of the Roman fort) are in poor condition and some are completely overgrown. Following the Norman invasion of Wales the commote of Gwyr passed into the hands of English-speaking Britons and its southern part soon became Anglicised. This lead to Gower being known as Little England Beyond Wales and to this day the indigenous population within the area designated as the AONB are predominantly English speaking. See our Gower Peninsula Castles page for moor information on the Norman castles located on the peninsula.
Our other explorer pages gives you detailed information on the Accommodation and facilities at Hill House, the village of Llanrhidian, and the Gower peninsula.