Less than an hour away: the best beaches near Cardiff

There’s no better place to make the most of the sunshine than on one of the many beautiful beaches in and around Cardiff.

The west coast of Wales may be famous for its award-winning beaches, but there’s also plenty to be seen on the Vale of Glamorgan coastline. With beautiful beaches within an hour’s drive of the Welsh capital, it’s easy to combine a city break with the natural beauty of the rugged coastline.

Penarth Beaches

Just a short drive from the city, Penarth Beach is easily accessible and great for a spontaneous beach trip. There, kids and adults alike will be in fossil hunting heaven – but if that doesn’t tickle your fancy, it’s also great for a Sunday afternoon stroll, with the coast being walkable from Penarth Pier up to Cardiff Barrage.

Distance from Cardiff

4-6 miles (21 minutes)

Good for

Fishing, fossil hunting

Not only does Lavernock Point offer stunning views to accompany your walk, but its high cliffs and rocky terrain are perfect for geology lovers. Once on the beach, there’s the option to go left for the Triassic beds or right for the Jurassic – it’s a minefield for fossils.

Distance from Cardiff

6.9 miles (25 minutes)

Good for

Fossil hunting, walking

Hotels in Penarth

24 Hotels
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Staycation in Penarth at the St David’s Hotel & Spa


The St. David’s Hotel and Spa is an iconic building in Cardiff Bay. The hotel offers luxuries such as a swimming pool and spa, plush rooms with sweeping views over Cardiff’s skyline and an exquisite restaurant serving up elegant but homely favourites – including a traditional roast followed by sticky toffee pudding.

As the only AA-rated 5 star hotel in Wales, and being so close to the city centre and BBC Wales, the hotel welcomes many a celebrity amongst its guests.

voco St. David's Cardiff

Cardiff , 13.8 km to Airport Cardiff
8.4 Very good (4300 reviews)
Excellent Location 8.9 / 10
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Barry Beaches

Made famous by the popular Gavin & Stacey, Barry Island is great for a day at the beach. Tourists frequent Barry Beach for its crescent of soft golden sand and lively summer entertainment, including street theatres, fun fairs and live music. There are even amusement arcades and funfairs nearby – perfect for a day out with the kids!

Distance from Cardiff

10.6 miles (34 minutes)

Good for

Sunbathing, swimming

Font-y-Gary Bay is a sheltered beach ideal for the family; not only can you explore the rock pools, salt marsh and sand dunes, but the nearby Font-y-Gary Leisure Park ensures families have a place to relax afterwards. Complete with a bar, café and beer garden, as well as childrens’ areas, the facilities offer panoramic views of the Bristol Channel – the perfect finish to your busy day.

Distance from Cardiff

13.6 miles (36 minutes)

Good for

Swimming, walking

Hotels in Barry

49 Hotels
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Staycation in Barry at the Mount Sorrel Hotel

The Mount Sorrel hotel is a hidden gem. Fluffy cream carpets, white marble bathrooms, plush bedding, chandeliers and soft lighting all give a grown-up sophistication to this hotel, located just a few minutes from the centre of Barry.

Mount Sorrel

7.1 Default (968 reviews)
Very good Service 8.4 / 10
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Llantwit Major

Nash Point is a headland and beach offering hikers stunning views of the rocky inlet between rugged cliffs. This is a great point to begin your walk to Llantwit Major, or alternatively, visitors are welcome to take a tour of Nash Point Lighthouse.

Distance from Cardiff

Distance from Cardiff: 21.2 miles (47 minutes)

Good for

Nash Point Lighthouse, hiking

Hotels in Llantwit Major

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Staycation at the The Vale Resort


The Vale Resort is a beautiful old castle hotel, featuring a deluxe spa, two championship golf courses, plus tennis and squash courts. The spa has the distinction of being the largest spa in Wales. Enjoy dinner at The Vale Grill and wash it down with a glass of bubbly in the Salamanza Champagne Bar.

The Vale Resort

Top rated
Cardiff , 11.1 km to Airport Cardiff
8.5 Excellent (1106 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 8.9 / 10
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Beaches near Bridgend

If the unspoilt surrounds of Dunraven Bay look familiar, it may be because you’ve seen it on Doctor Who or Merlin. A holder of the Green Coast Award, the beach is a favourite for lovers of water sports, with surfing and kayaking popular activities.

Distance from Cardiff:

24.7 miles (46 minutes)

Good for

Hiking, watersports, rock pooling

The fascinating geography of Ogmore-by-Sea is itself worth a visit – the wide expanse of sand and pebble beach is broken only by the River Ogmore estuary, with beach on one side and the Merthyr Mawr sand dunes on the other. The beach is popular for various water sports, but if you prefer to stay dry, the Glamorgan Coastal Path is a great alternative.

Distance from Cardiff

24.3 miles (43 minutes)

Good for

The Merthyr Mawr sand dunes, water sports, walking

Hotels in Bridgend

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Staycation at Court Colman Manor

Court Colman Manor hotel is a beautiful Gerogian mansion nestled in the valley of Gawr in Bridgend. The interiors feature a wood paneled lobby, opulent bedrooms, and Bokhara Brasserie – three time winner of the ‘Best Indian Restaurant in Wales’ at the British Curry Awards.

Court Colman Manor Hotel

8.1 Very good (302 reviews)
Excellent Location 8.5 / 10
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Porthcawl Beaches

Trecco Bay is a Blue Flag beach, boasting excellent water quality and top-notch services, with disabled access, onsite toilets as well as recreational activities onsite (crazy golf, anyone?). The sandy beach is ideal for those wanting a bit of sun, and there’s even a dedicated dog exercise area for man’s best friend.

Distance from Cardiff

28.9 miles (51 minutes)

Good for

Swimming, golf

Another of Porthcawl’s Blue Flag treasures, Rest Bay is a popular surfing haunt – on good days, more than 100 surfers can be seen in the water. But if watersports aren’t your thing, it’s also an ideal spot for swimming, sunbathing or fishing.

Distance from Cardiff

29.4 miles (51 mins)

Good for

Surfing, windsurfing, kayaking

Hotels in Porthcawl

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Staycation in Porthcawl at the Fairways Hotel

Situated on the heritage coast with one of the best views in Porthcawl, Fairways hotel is a beautiful seaside hotel which has recently undergone extensive renovation, including a brand new Orangery. Perfect for a weekend by the sea, it’s also worth sampling the hotel restaurant’s delicious Carvery lunch with a side order of panoramic sea views.

Fairways Hotel

8.1 Very good (246 reviews)
Excellent Location 8.9 / 10
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Spanning three miles, the award-winning Aberavon Beach is the perfect day out for a spot of exercise or for some classic fun in the sun. It’s popular for all sorts of water sports, attracting surfers, jetskiiers and windsurfers as well as kayakers. The two-mile-long promenade adjacent to the beach boasts picturesque views across Swansea Bay and is popular year-round with cyclists and joggers.

Distance from Cardiff

36.5 miles (52 minutes)

Good for

Water sports, cycling, jogging

Hotels in Swansea

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Staycation in Swansea at Culver House

An idyllic, seaside country hotel, Culver House contains 8 self-sufficient apartment style suites, perfect for a family getaway directly on the beach. The suites follow a Scandinavian style of minimalist wooden furniture, whilst providing all the essentials such as WiFi and plasma screen televisions.

Hotel Culver House

Swansea, 21.8 km to Liberty Stadium
8.8 Excellent (88 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.3 / 10
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