Langland Bay

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Langland and Rotherslade Bays

Langland Bay is a popular coastal holiday resort in Gower in Glamorgan. It is a popular surfing beach which regularly meets the European Blue Flag award for quality.


Langland Bay is one of a group of beaches along the coast here, managed municipally which draw visitors from nearby Swansea. Langland Bay and Caswell Bay in particular were extremely popular in the 1950s and 60s with holiday visitors, who would arrive by coach or by public transport.

The sea front of Langland and the adjacent Rotherslade, or 'Little Langland' as it is sometimes known, were once the location for three hotels: the Langland Bay, the Ael-y-Don, and the Osborne; and three further hotels - the Brynfield Hotel, the Langland Court, and the Wittemberg - were located in the immediate hinterland. All bar one have closed over the past forty years, and have been replaced with apartments (Langland Bay, Osborne and Ael-y-don), converted to a nursing home (Brynfield), closed and subjected to arson attacks (Langland Court and, previously, the Osborne). The Wittemberg was partially demolished and re-opened in its original Victorian core as the Little Langland Hotel.

By far the most dominant building, built in the mid-nineteenth century and backing on to the Newton Cliffs, was originally known as Llan-y-Llan. Built in the Scottish Baronial style by the Crawshay family, the Merthyr Tydfil ironmasters, it was used as their summer residence. In the first part of the 20th century it later became part of the Langland Bay Hotel, and later again the Club Union Convalescent Home for coal miners. After a period of closure it has been renamed Langland Bay Manor and been converted into 27 luxury apartments.

In 1897 the French Impressionist painter Alfred Sisley made two watercolours of Langland Bay, while on honeymoon. He was staying at the Osborne Hotel, which overlooked both Langland Bay and Rotherslade Bay. Over twenty paintings resulted from his visit to Penarth and the Gower. Two of them are now in the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff.[1]

As well as the beach huts that still exist, Langland Bay was famous for its 'community' of green canvas beach tents. These were erected annually, usually between April and early September, on the stoney storm beach in front of the promenade. A local spectacle was the early September 'spring tide watch' when rough seas would occasionally cause the loss of one or two. Somewhat safer and more sheltered on the higher ground of the Langland Bay Golf Club,[2] a further two rows of tents were permitted. All succumbed to vandalism in the 1970s.

Langland Bay has always been the site of sports innovation. Every year in the early 1960s saw local teenagers becoming amongst the first in the country to take up American innovations such as skateboarding, surfing, and fibreglass canoes; which overtook their parents' use of canvas sea-going canoes.

Access and facilities

A coastal path links Langland Bay to Caswell Bay to the west and to Rotherslade, Limeslade Bay and Bracelet Bay to the east. The bay is accessible by road, and is serviced by public transport for a short period during the school summer holidays; there are also two large Pay-&-Display car-parks. Hot and cold snacks are available from two small shops, though these tend to operate limited opening times during the winter and focus on ice-creams and gifts for children. Public showers are available near the beach, and a St John's Ambulance Hut and Information Office operate at peak times.

The council operates a Surf Lifeguard service at the beach from the end of May to the beginning of September.

The beach hosts 79 Council-owned holiday beach huts, of which the newest, at the western end of the Bay, were built in the early 1960s and the rest in the 1920s. Over the years most had been gradually falling into a sorry state of repair, but in 2007 reconstruction of them all was begun. At the eastern end of the Bay are a number of privately owned beach huts within their own grounds and gated car park.

At the western end of the beach promenade is a brasserie, which opened in the summer of 2007.

Sports in Langland

  • Tennis: Six tennis courts can be hired by the public
  • Golf: Langland Bay Golf Club, a short 18-hole course
  • Surfing. At low tide, Crab Island provides one of the best shaped and most powerful right hand waves in the country, but the wave breaks onto the exposed reef; a considerable hazard

At mid-tide the reef (which is more secluded from the main swell) provides a smaller but crowded wave. At very high tide the shore-break deposits unwary surfers directly onto stones.

Several local surfers have competed on an International level.

  • Fishing

Outside links


  1. Reed, N. "Sisley on the Welsh Coast" Lilburne Press 2008 ISBN 978-1-901167-20-7
  2. Langland Bay Golf Club