A hidden attraction: Llansteffan?

By | Category: Travel destinations
llansteffan beach

the beach at Llansteffan

Tourist authorities like to tell people about lesser known tourist attractions. It means they can switch tourists from busier areas and try to redistribute tourism spending. Persuading you and I that there is paradise ( OK, I exaggerate) if we just travel somewhere else gives them media space that they might not always get just by mentioning the same old things time and time again.

Take the beach in the Carmarthenshire village of Llansteffan for example.

The road to it is narrow and you need to know what there is to see to entice you away from the main beach destinations. If you travel by train from Swansea to west Wales, you can see the imposing ruins of Llansteffan Castle perched on top of a hill across the estuary from the railway line. You can’t see what the beach is like because of the width of the estuary. You are more likely to be watching the sea and wading birds or remark about the number of mobile and holiday homes along the line.

View from llansteffan castle

one of the views from the castle down to the beach and estuary below

If you go into Llansteffan you might think that it is a reasonably, pretty little village but only if you go take a turning to the beach will you see what you might call a hidden beach. A large car park abuts the beach and, on the land side there are toilets and a café cum shop. The sand is wide and long and safe enough when the tide is in. (At low tide swimming is not advised as the tide comes in quickly and at a rate of knots so even strong swimmers could get into difficulties)

Years ago, Llansteffan had the same attraction for South Walians as Tenby or Pendine had. Today the appeal is from a smaller geographic area or from those who are aware of the qualities of the beach. There aren’t that many hotels (it was primarily a day-trip destination) but there are holiday lodges, caravan parks and holiday lets in the village and nearby.

Llansteffan castle ruins

part of the remains of the castle

Today the beach hasn’t changed just the numbers who come and the people who know about it. It isn’t even the only beach. Walk along it and you’ll come to Scott’s Bay which is even quieter than Llansteffan is. If you want lots of things to do, continue on to Tenby or somewhere like that. If you feel fit, and I do mean fit, walk to the castle (free to enter; no shop and no toilets there) to see fantastic views over the estuary but that is about all there is to do unless you like walking, sea fishing for flounder or using Lansteffan as a base.

If you are looking for a picturesque location, and a long safe and sandy beach then Llansteffan fits the bill. Today it could be described as hidden. Eighty years ago it was better known. The beach hasn’t changed and probably neither has the village. It’s just the number of people that know about it that has.

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