Relax Along The UK Coast At This Beautiful And Secluded Beach

While it often tends to be Cornwall that hits the headlines for the best beaches in the UK, this can come at a price. Namely, crowded little lanes, over-run car parks, and sands that are swamped with tourists during the high season. This isn't any good for locals, or for visitors, which is why venturing a bit more off the beaten track can be beneficial for everyone. There can be few better places to do just that than the spectacular coastline of Wales — and few more beautiful beaches than Barafundle Bay Beach.

One of the four countries that make up the United Kingdom, Wales is known for its vibrant Celtic culture, unique language, and breathtaking natural scenery. This can range from rugged mountainous landscapes, peaking with Snowdon in the northwest, to the rolling valleys of the south, and its many lakes, rivers, and streams. Then there's that dramatic coastline — and, yes, those gorgeous, secluded beaches.

Although there are any number of these to choose from, Barafundle Bay Beach, found on the south coast of Pembrokeshire, has to rank among the most picturesque. Set in a stunning rural location, the beach can only be reached on foot. It entails a half-mile walk from the parking lot, and a bit of navigation down some fairly steep steps. So, while sadly not suitable for everyone, this beach has a wild and remote beauty that makes it more than a little bit special.

A Welsh beach with a tropical twist

Located in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Barafundle Bay Beach is often considered a highlight of the country's beaches. Surrounded by nature, this sheltered spot is surrounded by limestone cliffs, sand dunes, greenery, and wildflowers in spring and summertime. The pristine sands and turquoise water might surprise you, as they're reminiscent of more tropical destinations. 

In terms of getting to the bay, the nearest parking lot is found at Stackpole Quay (postcode: SA71 5LS) where parking costs around $7.30 for the day or $3.65 for three hours. From there, this dog-friendly beach is around half a mile along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path — or, for those coming from Broad Haven South, just under two-and-a-half miles. So, it does require a bit of planning in terms of packing for the beach and then carrying everything.

Also, once there, there are no facilities of any kind. So, it's important to remember the essentials, such as water, a hat, and sunscreen, and perhaps pack up a picnic. Fortunately, back at Stackpole Quay, there are bathrooms and a popular café, called The Boathouse. Also, in the nearby village of Stackpole, there is a much-loved pub, The Stackpole Inn, previously named by The Guardian as one of the top 10 in Pembrokeshire. So, while the beach itself is a little sequestered, the area is by no means off the grid.

The wonders of the wider area

Owned by the National Trust, an organization committed to heritage conservation, Barafundle Bay Beach is part of the wider Stackpole Estate — a Grade 1-listed historic landscape — and this is well worth exploring too. Offering several walking trails, it is also home to the wildlife haven of Bosherston Lily Ponds where otters, wildfowl, and dragonflies reside. In addition, there is a historic six-acre walled garden, managed by Pembrokeshire Mencap, with its own tea room.

It's also worth noting that there is a second stunning beach on the estate. Larger and much easier to get to, Broad Haven South is a golden sandy beach that is less secluded than Barafundle but arguably just as beautiful. While the Broad Haven South car park has a steep path that is unsuitable for wheelchairs, the car park in Bosherston leads to the beach along a one-mile boardwalk through the picturesque lily ponds. So, in terms of accessibility, this is definitely the easiest of the two options, and you can still bring your dogs.

When you also factor in some of the lovely places to stay in the area — and the National Trust has a handy list of some of the best of these — it all adds up to a very enticing proposition. So, next time you are considering a beach break in the UK, it could well be worth looking beyond the more obvious locations. Certainly, for beauty and seclusion, this stretch of the Welsh coastline is hard to beat.