A wild beach break with loads of peaks, Llangennith surf represents some of the most reliable swells in South Wales.
An introduction to surfing in Llangennith
Llangennith Beach has the best surfing on the Gower Peninsula. Like Sennen is to Cornwall, this one is the swell magnet of South Wales. If there’s anything rising across the Atlantic, you can guarantee it will roll into this wide bay some 30 minutes’ drive from Swansea.
The result is a consistent beach break – and loads of it. A whopping five miles from one end to the other, there’s always a peak to call your own. What’s more, Llangennith is sand-bottomed so beginners don’t have to worry about cracking out the foamy for a first go.
Downsides here include an unpredictable wave that can often go overhead even when swell forecasts aren’t that big. With onshore winds there’s usually a closeout. And the paddle out has to be one of the hardest there is, so keep an eye on the period stat.
Balancing that out is the sheer beauty of Llangennith bay. A sweep of golden sand with an old shipwreck and a ghostly cottage in the middle, this is the Welsh coast at its finest. Even if you don’t come with the board in tow, you’re in for a real treat.
Llangennith surf at a glance
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This is a part of our greater guide to surfing Wales.
What will I find in this guide to Llangennith surfing?
Where is Llangennith?
Llangennith caps off the Gower Peninsula. From point to point, it measures nearly 5 miles as it runs from the little village of Rhossili in the south the mouth of the River Loughor estuary in the north. The closest city is Swansea, from where it’s around 40 minutes’ drive through beautiful countryside to the beach.
Llangennith: A spot guide
The more protected if the two spots on Llangennith Beach, Rhossili huddles under the rugged headland to the south. It takes its name from the charming village that clusters atop the cliff. Park in the church there (it’s free) and make the walk through the sheep fields to the waves. Alternatively, there’s a National Trust carpark that costs £5 per car, per day.
Rhossili tends to be the busiest spot here. That still doesn’t mean it’s crowded, only that there’s more competition for the breaks that come in under the headland. The reason? They are protected from southerly winds and shape up. nicely against the point. They are the place to be when the middle of the bay is too high.
Hazards include slight rips, jellyfish and the carcass of an old ship that’s wedged into the sand. Watch out for that when surfing in Llangennith at high tide – the whole thing can be totally submerged and cause some nasty nicks on the board.
The village that gives the whole beach its name sits on the north end of the sands. This part of the beach is dominated by a huge campground and lined with oat-clad dunes. It’s a gorgeous place to surf, with sand hills and the rugged cliffs of the headland just to the north.
The Llangennith surf spot is also a little punchier than down in Rhossili. Here, there’s little protection from the open sea. That means sets roll in unchanged from the ocean. They are also chopped up by winds to add spray and uncertainty into the mix. That’s a gift when it’s offshore, but really irritating when the direction flips S, W or N.
The Llangennith end is better for parking. You can make use of the campsite for that. In the summer, the crooks there charge a whopping £5 for access, but you can do a dawn patrol and get in before the kiosk is manned.
A month-to-month guide for surfing in Llangennith
No matter if you’re a lone wave hunter looking for wild welsh swells or a family keen to get some group lessons with the local Llangennith surf schools, knowing the seasons is important in this part of the world. For starters, it can make the difference between a thick 5/4 and a 2mm summer suit, and mean you know when’s best to catch some of the most consistent sets in South Wales.
October – April
Wetsuits at the ready, and something thick, please. 4/3, 5/3 and a good set of gloves and boots are usually needed during the Welsh winter.
The reliability of the surf on the Atlantic-facing bay means rarely a week goes by when there isn’t a wave on Llangennith. Even with winter storms, this can be cracking: On SW swells, you can find periods of 8-12 seconds and some neat sets that go right and left. But there are also total blowouts; days that will leave you with nothing but a mouthful of saltwater and uber-tired arms.
May – August
The start of the spring/summer season sees the strong storms out in the Atlantic abate just a little. That means the waves that roll into the end of Gower tend to be just a little smaller, particularly as the middle of the year approaches. What’s more, the holidays mean that the sands start to fill with groups of people attending Llangennith surf schools – the region is popular with UK staycationers – so you might find a few extra people in the water.
On a lovely summer evening, when the dominant swell direction comes S-SW, you’ll find a veritable paradise. Sculpted waves with big periods of 11 seconds or so can go left or right then. There’s also usually loads of whitewash to help any beginners get their feet.
Surf shops in Llangennith
PJ’s Surf Shop
There’s only one surf shop in Llangennith itself. Find it in the town of the same name, just opposite the King’s Head Inn. It’s a locally owned affair, with all the gear. From winter suits to rash vests, you’ll find the whole shebang, along with wax, accessories, leashes and boards.
Run by a local Swansea surf pioneer, Guts Surfboards sits closer to Caswell Beach – another of the popular breaks around Swansea. But you can make a pitstop here on your way to the end of the Gower. They do cheap rentals, have a good rack of second-hand boards at reasonable prices, and are also super friendly.
Where to eat in Llangennith
Kings Head Inn ($)
A traditional Welsh pub that does hearty meals and frothy beer, the Kings Head Inn sits in the middle of Llangennith village. It’s not directly next to the surf. It’s actually by the village green. The location is extra special in summer, when you can sit out and watch village life roll on.
The Bay Bistro ($-$$)
A modern take on a traditional Welsh tearoom, Bay Bistro sits up on the Rhossili headland. It’s right by where you’ll park the car to get to the more sheltered end of the Llangennith surf bay, so is the perfect post-water pitstop. The menu has hearty soups, seafood, and salads, along with a multicultural array of tagines and tabbouleh mezze.
Worms Head Hotel ($$)
The beer garden at the Worms Head Hotel is one of the best in the whole of the Gower – and that’s saying something! The bar also served pub grub. On a sunny day, you’ll want to be sure to wait for an outdoor table. From there, you can look down the cliffs to the surfers on the waves right below.
Step-by-step guide to planning your Llangennith surf trip right now
Step one: Book flights to the Llangennith surf…Lately, we like Omio for searching flights. It’s a nice interface and has lots of airline options. We also use Skyscanner because that sometimes offers deals that even beat going direct to the carrier!
Step two: Book your surf camp Book Surf Camps is the numero uno online booking platform for fully-fledged surf-stay packages on the internet right now. Then there’s Booking.com. That has consistently unbeatable rates for hotels and a nifty map feature that lets you check EXACTLY how close your hotel is to a surf break.
Step three: Get insuranceThis is kinda’ important. Not just for surf trips but for any trips. SafetyWing is great for nomad travelers. They offer rolling contracts that cover amateur surfing.
Step four (optional): Rent a car If you’re surf camping then you might not need wheels. If you’re not then we’ll just say this: We’ve never been on a surf trip that wasn’t improved by having our own car. Use RentalCars – they’re the best.
Step five: Enjoy!
Things to do when you’re not surfing in Llangennith
Llangennith surf might be the reason most people come with their board in tow. But this part of South Wales also boasts amazing walking, with some seriously gorgeous coastal routes to get stuck into.
Walk Worms Head
Worms Head is a defining feature of the Gower Peninsula. It looks like a headland but is actually a tidal island. You can walk across the rock pools so long as it’s the right time of the day (a lifeguard station has a timetable at the trailhead). The hike is a stunning one, over craggy saltwater pools to a rugged mountain that rises out of the Atlantic Ocean. Keep watch for seals.
Walk the Rhossili downs
Another great walk around Llangennith is the one that starts at the Rhossili carpark and weaves up onto the coastal mountain that backs the beach. It can take you high above the Gower, for sweeping views across the sea and the countryside on both sides. The trail will actually take you the full five miles to the northern end of the beach, where dune landscapes and rare birds are the name of the game.
How to get to Llangennith
Llangennith is a 40-minute drive down the length of the Gower from Swansea. Be sure to choose which side of the beach you’re wanting to surf before departing. There’s a different road to both. For Rhossili, you’ll need the South Gower Road (A4118). For Llangennith and the more exposed and punchy breaks, veer onto the B4271 at Killay and take the North Gower Road.
This Ultimate Guide to Llangennith Surf is always being updated and changed. If you think we’ve missed something or gotten something wrong, we’d sure love you to get in touch. You can use email or just drop a message in the comments below.