Jutting out from the coast into the Bristwol Channel in south Wales, Gower is about 70 square miles of heaven. It is the first area in Britain to be designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and it lives up to the title. The beautiful coastline is popular with walkers and outdoor fans and there are a number of popular bays and beach areas, while the water itself attracts surfers.
There are six castles is Gower, great choices for a family outing, and since the area is relatively small it means you’ll never be far from your Gower accommodation.
- Landimore Castle – Dating back to the 15th century, this castle is now overgrown and in ruins. It’s located on what today is called Bovehill Farm, giving it another name by which it is known – Bovehill Castle.
- Oystermouth Castle – Located near the village of Mumbles on the east side of Gower, Oystermouth is a Normal stone castle. The city and county of Swansea is responsible for the maintenance of the castle, and after a period of restoration was re-opened to the public a few months ago. The highlight of the castle is Alina’s Chapel with its 14th century traceried windows that overlook Swansea Bay. There is a 30-foot high glass viewing platform and bridge that leads to the chapel.
- Oxwich Castle – Although called a castle, this is really a Tudor manor house. It dates back to the 16th century, but was expanded from its original size. It was used as a farmhouse for awhile, and fell into disrepair, but you can tell that it was once quite grand. A 6-story tower, that is likely an original, still stands as was most likely where the family and servants lived. Oxwich Castle overlook Oxwich Bay.
- Pennard Castle – Pennard is located on the south peninsula, about 7 miles from the Swansea city center. Here you’ll find the ruins of Pennard Castle, where the poet Vernon Watkins in buried. (In photo above.)
- Penrice Castle – This stone castle near Penrice is irregular in shape, with a number of towers including one as a gatehouse and one in the interior. It’s a rather crumbling mess but the nearby 18th century mansion (owned by direct descendants of the dePenrice family) is one of the top country houses in Wales. A footpath runs between the two, and a park surrounds the area.
- Weobley Castle – This fortified manor house is located near the village of Leason, overlooking the Llanrhidian Marsh and the Loughor estuary. It dates back to the 13th century.
A family vacation to Gower should definitely include some time on the beaches, but weaving a little history lesson in won’t hurt anyone!