Two Welsh beaches named among 'greatest in UK' - and you may not even know about one of them

Barafundle Bay in Pembrokeshire
Barafundle Bay in Pembrokeshire -Credit:Getty Images

Two Welsh beaches have been named as two of the best in the whole of the UK - and one of them is so remote you might not have even heard of it. The Telegraph has published a list of the 20 ‘greatest beaches’ across the UK. Of those 20, only two are in Wales and they are only 48 miles apart.

Par Beach on the Isles of Scilly off the Cornish coast came out on top of the pile as ‘the greatest beach in the UK’. Describing it, the national newspaper said: “You might, if you weren’t going to be a stickler for geography, describe this glorious arc of sand as Britain’s most south-westerly beach. It isn’t, because though it haunts the south flank of St Martin’s, fellow Isles of Scilly St Mary’s and St Agnes sit further out to sea, and have lovely bays of their own.

"Still, there is something wonderful about Par Beach. I tripped over it during the pandemic, in that time when we were all meant to be discovering our own country. And it did feel like a discovery, as I approached by water – and found myself staring besotted at this largely unadorned crescent, with its little jetty and handful of rowing boats. Here was the social distancing we were meant to seek in the Covid days – but during my couple of hours next to that beach, the world’s worries felt very far away.” To get the latest What's On newsletters from WalesOnline, click here.

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The two Welsh beaches named are Barafundle Bay in Pembrokeshire and Penbryn in Ceredigion. Barafundale Bay was listed in 16th place, with the Telegraph writing: “You could comb through every pebble and grain of sand on Britain’s shores and not find a lovelier beach than this great scoop of blonde sand fizzing into a sea of brilliant turquoise. There’s a reason Barafundle Bay on Pembrokeshire’s south coast always sneaks into the polls of Wales’ best beaches, but the good news is it hasn’t let fame go to its pretty head. Summer holidays and weekends aside, you’ll often get this ravishing beach to yourself, particularly if you’re an early riser. Why? Because you can only reach it on foot: up and over grassy cliffs and dunes on a half-hour walk from Stackpole Quay National Trust car park."

A beach lined with rocky grass topped cliffs
The view from Stackpole Head looking north towards Barafundle Bay -Credit:©NTPL/Joe Cornish

Penbryn was one place behind Barafundale in 17th place. The remote and unspoilt beach is nestled on the west Wales coast between better-known hotspots Llangrannog and Tresaith. Describing the beautiful gem, The Telegraph wrote: “If you’ve never heard of Penbryn, it’s most likely because locals whisper quietly about this sublime, cliff-clasped bay on the Ceredigion coast. Living in the Cambrian Mountains, Penbryn is one of my nearest beaches and its wild beauty pulls me back time and again. The magic is all in the approach: pootling along narrow country lanes that dip gently to the sea, parking at the National Trust car park, then walking in quiet wonder through a fern-flecked, waterfall-wisped beech forest until rock eventually becomes sand.

“In spring the woods are dusted with bluebells. And my, my what a beach: here rugged cliffs roll down to butterscotch sands and booming surf, where you might spot dolphins and seals early or late in the day. Go for a gaspingly cold swim, or ramble north along gorse-clad cliffs on the coast path to Traeth Bach, the castaway cove of childhood fantasies.”

Penbryn Beach in Ceredigion
Penbryn Beach in Ceredigion -Credit:Flickr/SNappa2006

The full list compiled by The Telegraph’s travel experts can be seen below:

  1. Par, Isles of Scilly

  2. Pedn Vounder, Cornwall

  3. Polzeath, Cornwall

  4. East Portlemouth, Devon

  5. Saunton Sands, Devon

  6. Seatown, Dorset

  7. Clevedon, Somerset

  8. Totland Bay, Isle of Wight

  9. Rottingdean, East Sussex

  10. St Margaret’s Bay, Kent

  11. Walberswick, Suffolk

  12. Brancaster, Norfolk

  13. Morecambe North, Lancashire

  14. Runswick Bay, North Yorkshire

  15. Cocklawburn and Cheswick, Northumberland

  16. Barafundle Bay, Pembrokeshire

  17. Penbryn, Ceredigion

  18. Elie Harbour, Fife

  19. Silver Sands of Morar, Highland

  20. Scarista Beach, Isle of Harris

Barafundle Bay has a Tripadvisor rating of five out of five based on more than 1,100 reviews. One person called it “a beautiful bay, unspoiled by commercialisation but with facilities nearby - a quite magical experience”. Penbryn Beach has a rating of 4.5 based on 122 reviews, with one visitor describing it as “a lovely sandy beach topped with the sound of waves lapping or crashing onto the shore”.

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