The first area of the UK to be designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1956, there’s no question that the Gower Peninsula in Wales is a very special place.
In fact, it’s so special I dare you not to fall in love with it!
Yes, I’m happy to confirm that I certainly did on my first visit there (which was shamefully not until 2020) and there’s no question I’ll be back to discover more of this gem in summer 2021.
And talking of discovery, there’s simply no better way, in my opinion at all, to discover the Gower then to camp there.
An amazing landscape that’s rich in beautiful beaches, wild waves, crazy cliffs and wonderful walking, the Gower showcases some of Britain’s best nature o its A-Game and camping is the ideal way to get amongst it.
So here’s my ultimate guide to Gower camping to get you started, with plenty of tips on where to go, how to get there, what to do and, mostly importantly, where to camp, it’s the perfect introduction.
And don’t worry if you feel a bit scared about camping too – I’ve included a glamping section for all you guys too!
So let’s get stuck in!
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Why Go Camping in the Gower Peninsula?
In my humble opinion, camping is the only way to experience the Gower Peninsula.
One of Wales’ most beautiful spots, which juts out into the sea below Swansea, this wild and wonderful landscape is full of amazing sandy beaches, sweeping countryside and vast cliffs – it just begs you to get out in its midsts.
And camping is the ultimate way to do this!
The rural nature of this part of the UK only adds to the camping appeal here, and the sense of getting away from it all and back into nature, compounds it!
Plus, there’s also a heck of a lot of campsites in the Gower to choose from and I’ll go into my top 5 at the end of this article.
When to Go Camping in the Gower
There’s no question the best time to go camping in the Gower is between the months of June and September, when the weather is at its direst, sunniest and warmest.
Not only does this make for a more pleasant camping experience, but its the better weather at this time of year that will also allow you to enjoy more of the Gower’s beautiful landscapes too – whether that’s through hiking or hitting the beach!
That said, this being of Wales, it can rain at any time of the year, even in the height of summer, so it pays to come prepared!
Then again, I visited the Gower Peninsula in the middle of September and experienced idyllic weather that saw me swimming in the sea, so you just can’t call it!
Where to Camp in the Gower?
As I said, I’ll run through my list of the top 5 Gower campsites at the end of this article, but there’s a key thing you need to know now before moving on through this article, and that is to consider roughly where in the Gower you want to camp.
There are loosely 2 parts to the peninsula – the north and the south.
The north is nearer Swansea and tends to be a bit more mainstream, with more facilities that might suit families better.
The south tends to be a bit more rural and off the beaten track and extends down to Rhossili Bay and Worms Head.
Camping here is ideal for those who want to get away from it all, who love nature and hiking at its best.
That said, there are fewer facilities down here, so you will have to come prepared, especially with food etc.
In general terms, all the best campsites in both the “north” and “south” sections of the peninsula are along the coastal side rather than the inlet side.
Gower Services and Supplies
As a very rural area, it’s perhaps no surprise that services and supplies can be limited in the Gower Peninsula and, in general, I’d advise buying everything you’ll need for your trip in advance.
Not only is that because you may not be able to get what you want down in this remote part of the country, but also certainly because the choice will be more limited and the price will be greater.
If you do forget anything, the Mumbles is the main town in this part of Wales and has the greatest selection of supermarkets, fuel stations, hardware stores etc.
Your best option is to stop there enroute to your campsite.
If you’ve already passed the Mumbles, then most of the villages in the Gower have a pub and a small shop where you can get a drink, some food and some basic supplies, although don’t expect too much!
Scurlage is the last stop for a small shop as you near Rhossili.
Camping Gower Options
The first thing to consider when camping in the Gower is what sort of camping you to enjoy.
By this I mean you generally have the choice of the following camping options:
- Take Your Own Tent
- Use an Onsite Tent, Shepherds Hut or Yurt
- Opt for a Motorhome, Caravan or Campervan Pitch
Motorhome, Caravan or Campervan
With the last option, it’s likely you’ll be using your own motorhome or caravan, but of course the option of renting a campervan in the UK and driving it to the Gower is totally possible.
The pros of this option include the freedom to drive and explore where you like, as well as the potential to move quickly between campsites in the Gower and across Wales too.
You’ll also save on pitching / packing up time, be assured of staying dry if it rains and have a greater level of luxury and home comfort.
The cons are the cost and the hassle of driving a large vehicle, which can be especially annoying on the Gower’s twisting lanes.
Onsite Tent, Shepherds Hut or Yurt
Using an Onsite Tent, Shepherds Hut or Yurt is an option many campsites in the Gower Peninsula provide. I’ll cover this more in my next section about glamping.
Take Your Own Tent
Finally, you can opt to take your own tent and either use your own vehicle to get to the Gower or public transport.
Using your own tent is certainly the cheapest way to camp in the Gower and having your own transport will give you a lot more options when it comes to where you can go and which Gower campsites you can access.
In general (and although it’s not great for the environment) I’d really recommend having your own vehicle in the Gower, as the public transport here is very limited, and it will make camping (and bringing everything you need!) a lot easier.
When choosing your own tent, you can have a huge range of options from massive family models you can stand up in and that have multiple rooms, through to tiny 1 man tents that pack down to almost nothing and are both light and easy to transport.
Choose your tent according to the number of people camping with you, how long you’re planning to camp in the Gower, the level of luxury you need and how you’re planning to transport your tent and camping gear down to the Gower – by this I mean will you have to carry everything, or can you sling it in the car?
The cons to taking your own tent are, of course, the level of organisation required and the hassle of transporting everything, plus the potential you might get wet if there’s some heavy rain!
You’re also likely to pick one campsite and stay put if you have to pitch your own tent – the hassle of packing up takes up a lot of time if you plan to move around!
That is, unless you’re walking in the Gower, perhaps via the Welsh Coastal Path, and camping somewhere enroute each night.
In this case, you’ll be travelling very light with a ultralight tent you can easily transport along with food and water etc.
Powered or Unpowered Campsites
When it comes to either motorhome / caravan / campervan or tent camping, most campsites in the Gower Peninsula will offer either powered or unpowered sites.
Certainly if you have a vehicle with you that has a fridge, lights and other items that need electricity, you’re likely to want to get a powered site.
When you have your own tent you can choose, but an unpowered site will be cheaper and allow for a more off-grid experience!
If you need to charge your camera or phone while you are camping in the Gower, then bringing a portable power bank (see my packing list further down in this article) or 2 with you, will definitely prove a cheaper and easier option than a powered camping pitch.
If you do go for a powered site, make sure you come armed with a mains hook up adaptor lead plug that will allow you to charge regular household devices through the 16A plug commonly found on Gower campsites (these will convert the pin formation to the 13A socket needed to charge your devices.)
Glamping in the Gower
If packing everything up in the car, buying a tent and generally pitching and unpacking sounds like too much hassle, but you still want to camp in the Gower, you may consider glamping instead!
Glamping is essentially “glamourous camping” – a more boutique version of the old school, outdoor accommodation option.
Normally recreating the experience in slightly more sturdy and permanent structures, this is a great way to get a feel for the outdoors and nature without sacrificing too much comfort.
Glamping in the Gower usually involves yurts, shepherd’s huts or other basic structures that are permanently erected on campsites or farms.
You book them as you would a normal place to stay and then turn up and enjoy the facilities without having to worry about getting all the camping gear organised.
If it rains or the weather isn’t great, glamping can be a great option too as it is both affordable and offers some more permanent rain cover!
Alternatively, if you want something a bit more comfortable, check out this gorgeous bed and breakfast spot, which is situated right near some of the Gower’s most spectacular beaches. It has a host of beautiful rooms and gets rave reviews thanks to the amazing staff and stunning location.
Gower Camping Checklist
- Ground Sheet
- Camping Mattress
- Travel Pillow
- Sleeping Bag
- Camping Chairs
- Camping Table
- Camping Stove, Gas and Matches
- Pans / Plates / Cutlery / Cups / Tin & Bottle Opener
- Food Supplies
- Water Vessels
- Washing Up Liquid / Bowl / Sponges
How to Get to the Gower
There’s no doubt the best way to get to the Gower is drive.
Hiring a car from wherever you’re departing in the UK is a good option, or you can get to Swansea via bus or train and hire a car from there like I did.
Thrifty Car Hire offer some great deals and are very reputable.
Having a car to explore the beaches of the Gower Peninsula is really key, especially if you’re not keen on hiking, because public transport here is very limited.
Learn more in these top 12 tips I wrote about hiring a car in the UK on a budget.
If you do want to use public transport, there is a bus that services the Gower from Swansea.
It leaves Swansea’s main bus station regularly in the summer (well 1 every couple hours, which is regular out here!) and will take you all the way to Rhossili, stopping at most towns and villages on the way.
It costs around £5 to make this journey one way.
You can also use this bus to get back from Rhossili to towns further up the main road (A4118) in the Gower, or else you can try the “Gower Explorer” bus service in the summer months.
Packing Essentials for Your Gower Trip
#1 Walking Shoes
Can’t come to the Gower and not enjoy some walks, clifftop views and bracing sea air, so must have walking shoes!
I highly recommend these lightweight and comfortable ones from North Face, which are perfect for the job.
#2 Waterproof, Windproof Jacket
Look, as paradisical as I’ve made the Gower sound (and it is), it also is Wales!
And that green around isn’t green for nothing.
It’s green because it rains a lot.
A lot of the year.
So bring a good waterproof and windproof jacket no matter what time of year you’re coming, ok?
#3 Swimwear & Towel
Can’t go to all these amazing Gower Beaches I’ve mentioned and not bring swimwear.
Need swimwear. And a towel. For the swimming.
Having an excellent camera to snap the Gower in all her glory and preserve the memories, is an absolute given if you’re travelling done this way.
I love my Sony A6000, which never leaves my travel side.
I also enjoyed having a Go Pro when I was here to capture all the water action.
#5 Portable Power Bank
There’s no denying, power can be an issue down in the Gower if you’re camping.
Even if you have a powered site, remembering to charge stuff up, leaving it out overnight, or during the day, and constantly rotating electricals can be tiresome.
My solution: Come armed with 2 fully charged Anker power banks, so you can fire up your phone, camera or other devices whenever and wherever you need.
Even while you’re down at the beach!
Top 5 Gower Campsites
#1 Pitton Cross Campsite
Situated above Mewslade Bay – one of my favourite Gower beaches – Pitton Cross is an absolute gem of a campsite.
Offering powered as well as unpowered sites for caravans, motorhomes, campervans and tents, the friendly staff here make this coastal gem an absolute winner.
Taking a stroll straight out of the gate either down to the beach, or along the Welsh Coastal Path, will lead you, in a couple of hours, to Rhossili; or else, you can just enjoy the beautiful countryside setting and remote location of this spot.
The onsite shop, good amenities and children’s playground add to the appeal of this campsite, which although large, feels wonderfully personal.
And a bonus if you’re travelling by public transport – the bus from Swansea that heads to Rhossili stops right outside the main entrance – simples!
#2 Hillend Camping
But if you really want to get away from it all while you’re here in the Gower, then you’ll be hard-pushed to find a better campsite than Hillend Camping.
Situated near the magnificent village of Llangennith, this campsites lies at the other end of Rhossili Bay – the remote end known for its surfing and its sand dunes.
This is a locals’ favourite and it’s just 200 yards from the beach, so if “salty hair, don’t care” are your kinda vibes, this is the place for you!
Eddy’s café and bar is located onsite here and is famous across the Gower, but despite this, the ” no generator / no pets” policy means Hillend is always wonderfully quiet – especially as there are separate fields for families and couples!
Set over 4 acres, you can bring one of your own tents here, or rent one of the lodges or caravans on offer at this top campsite in the Gower peninsula.
In fact, Hillend was voted one of the top campsites across the whole of the UK, by The Times, so there!
#3 Three Cliffs Bay Caravan Park
Absolutely one of the best Gower beaches, Three Cliffs Bay is an unquestionable gem and just a few minutes away lies the wonderful Three Cliffs Bay Campsite.
A favourite for families and walkers alike, this modern, large and well-equipped campsite boasts luxury bathroom facilities, a shop and café, glamping tents and free wifi!
It’s dog-friendly and is also situated very near to the Welsh Coastal Path.
Campervans, caravans, motorhomes and tents are all welcome and many pitches have wonderful sea views – get in early to bag one of these!
#4 Nicholaston Farm & Campsite
Pet-friendly and with sites for motorhomes, campervans, tents and caravans, Nicholaston is perfect for those who want to hike, as the Welsh Coastal Path literally runs in front of the door!
The beautiful location of this family-owned farm, which has been hosting campers since the 1920’s, is also hard to beat with some of the Gower’s best beaches very closeby, including Oxwich Bay, Three Cliffs and Tor Bay.
Surfing, boogie boarding, stand up paddling, kite surfing & windsurfing can all be enjoyed nearby too, and the free wifi and onsite café at this campsite, along with its family-friendly feels, make it a great place for those looking to head to the Gower with kids.
Check out Nicholaston Camping here.
#5 Skysea Caravan & Camping
Located in Port Eynon, Skysea Caravan and Camping is another one of the most-loved campsites in the Gower Peninsula.
Right by the beach and beautiful village of Port Eynon, this 15 acre site is spread across 5 fields and surrounded by dramatic cliffs and coastline.
Tents, caravans and motorhomes are all allowed, with prices based on their size and the number of people.
In contrast to the other campsites on this list, sites at Skysea are not marked, which gives you the freedom to choose your own spot… as long as it’s not taken by someone else!
Modern facilities including an onsite shop and an off-license complete this family-friendly campsite, which boasts a lifeguard presence at the nearby beach.
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And there you have it, my ultimate guide to camping in the Gower, along with my list of the top 5 Gower campsites!
Have you camped in this wonderful part of the UK?
Have any tips or recommendations to share?
Please drop them into the comments box below and help spread the news among some fellow travellers…