Wales boasts more than 750 miles (over 1200 km) of coastline along its northern, western and southern shores. The capital city of Cardiff is located in south Wales, near the Bristol Channel. There are several beaches within a few miles of Cardiff that feature ideal fishing spots, strolling and lounging areas, and rock pools where children can dig for fossils.
About a mile from Cardiff, the Penarth Seafront is a popular beach and fishing spot. Once known as "The Garden by the Sea," Penarth was a resort village during the Victorian era. It still features the lengthy pier built in 1894 that spans about 200 metres (650 feet) out over the water. The beach at Penarth is more than two miles long, is surrounded by cliffs and is a popular location with fossil collectors. Visitors will also find a nearby cafe and rest rooms just steps from the beach.
St. Mary's Well Bay
Located near Lavernock, this small south Wales beach looks out over the Bristol Channel. It is enclosed by medium-sized cliffs and not recommended for swimming or surfing, as waters are fairly rough. Sailing and windsurfing are acceptable here, but only for the experienced. This beach is about three miles from Cardiff and more remote, but you will find a number of trails to walk along. Parking is available at the nearby Captains Wife's Pub.
There are several smaller beaches around the Barry area. Barry was once a separate island, but is now connected by a main causeway. Barry's beaches are fairly close to Cardiff at less than five miles away. They span for miles along the Bristol Channel waterway.
Bendricks Beach features fossilised dinosaur tracks in the rock that are easily visible. This is another popular collecting beach due to its large number of fossils. Knap Barry beach is popular with surfers due to the larger swells. The pebble beachfront here is wide, and the area offers a number of coastal trails.
Whitmore Bay is one of the more popular Barry beaches. Families enjoy coming here, as it offers softer sands for castle building. Sunbathing is also a popular pastime, since the beachfront is quite wide and lengthy.
Porthkerry Country Park
This south Wales park is about five miles from Cardiff. It features a small pebble beach called Porthkerry Beach, which is equipped with barbecue pits and a children's playground. Visitors will also find nature trails and an 18-hole pitch-and-putt golf course. Golf equipment and barbecue pits can be rented for a nominal fee. Part of the park boasts the old Celtic village of Porthkerry, which was built of stone and established around 1100AD.
Another beach close to Porthkerry, Fontygary Bay features several tide pools and rock pools containing numerous sea creatures and fossils. This small pebble beach is backed by higher sandy cliffs and has fairly calm waters.