SUP and swim Wales

10 SUP and wild swimming adventures in Wales

Lisa Drewe, author of Paddle Boarding Wales, chooses her favourite places to SUP in Wales – all great for wild swimming, too!

Paddle boarding is a great accompaniment to swimming and every outdoor swimmer’s bucket list must include at least one of the beaches, spectacular coastline, iconic rivers or pristine mountain lakes in Wales. After a lifetime exploring Wales’ blue spaces, and months revisiting the very best paddle board routes, I have selected my favourite places where I couldn’t resist diving into the water to. Although most can be reached by foot, there are others that can only be reached by paddle board for a truly wild swim as part of these journeys.

Beautiful places to swim and paddle board in Wales

Trearddur Bay to Porth Dafarch (6km paddle return)

SUP and swim Wales

Anglesey Paddle along the wild coastline from bustling Trearddur Bay to the National Trust-owned Porth Dafarch, a west facing and generally sheltered sandy beach below rugged headlands. Don’t forget your snorkel as there is plenty of marine life to spot on your swim among the pools and reefs here. Cafes, toilets and parking can be found at either end of the paddle. A55 towards Holyhead, leave at J2 following A5153/B4545 to Trearddhur Bay.

Llyn Cwm Bychan, Snowdonia

SUP and swim Wales

Enjoy a wild paddle and swim in this hidden gem of a lake nestled high up in the little-visited corner of Eryri National Park. Llyn Cwm Bychan’s waters offer a real immersion in beautiful mountain scenery, where drystone walls and sheep are the only indicators of human intervention in this wild landscape of heather, mossy rocks, and gnarled oak trees. A sheep-mown grassy area beside the river that feeds the lake makes an idyllic camping spot. A496 from Penrhyndeudraeth towards Harlech. Turn R by Victoria Inn in Llanbedr and follownarrow lane to end.

Read our guide to the best places to swim-hike in South Wales

Llyn Mair, Snowdonia

SUP and swim Wales

An atmospheric paddle and swim on a lake surrounded by ancient oak woods in the heart of Eryri National Park. Once part of an old country estate, Llyn Mair is a place to immerse yourself in the natural world. Bright-coloured azaleas and lilies and iridescent blue damselflies bring life to the lake in spring and summer with ospreys and goshawks overhead. Plants carpet the lake’s floor, creating a sense of ‘flying’ over a rich underwater forest. There’s plenty of refreshments nearby with a café on the Ffestiniog Railway, and inn nearby too; the lovely lakeside grass area is perfect for a post-swim picnic. E on A487 from Penrhyndeudraeth; L onto B4410 to Nature Reserve car park on R.

Aberporth to Tresaith Waterfall (4.8km paddle return)

SUP and swim Wales

Ceredigion Paddle from Aberporth to Tresaith Waterfall, which cascades over the cliffs onto the beach. Leave Aberporth Beach and head east past a few small sea caves to reach Tresaith Beach. Continue a little further to reach the base of Tresaith Waterfall – a great place for a swim on higher tides. There’s an inn above Tresaith beach and plenty of refreshments at Aberporth. A487 NW of Cardigan then L at roundabout onto B4333 following signs to Aberporth.

Ceibwr Bay and Witches Cauldron (3km paddle return), Pembrokeshire

SUP and swim Wales

Explore the emerald waters in a labyrinth of sea caves and tunnels, as well as a hidden waterfall and stunning stretch of coastline. Leave from Ceibwr beach past dramatic headlands and sea stacks or walk south west from Ceibwr beach along the Wales Coast Path to find the sea arch and collapsed blowhole called Traeth Bach. One of the most impressive natural features in Pembrokeshire it is a delight to swim or paddle through its network of tunnels on the right tide (avoid during seal pupping season of July to December). S from Cardigan on A487 then B4546 to St Dogmaels then straight ahead to Molygrove (signed). Turn R at sign for Ceibwr.

Parrog to Cwym yr Eglwys (9km paddle return), Pembrokeshire

SUP and swim Wales

From lovely Parrog along superb costline with plenty of secluded swim spots to Cwym yr Eglwys for an idyllic swim. Leave from Parrog beach and head west past Cat Rock for great views of the whale-backed Ynys Dinas headland and a chance of spotting dolphins. Pass two deep inlets and secluded beaches of Aber Rhigian and Aber Fforest, then the heavily indented promontory of Trwyn Isaac and its delightful hidden sand beaches to reach Cwym yr Eglwys, a superb beach for a swim. E from Fishguard on A487 to Newport; turn L to Parrog (signed).

Cilgerran River (9km paddle one way), Pembrokeshire

SUP and swim Wales

A tidal paddle from Cilgerran to Poppit Sands (or vice versa) and a chance to swim/walk through one of the only tidal gorges in Wales. Leave from a grassy picnic area at Cilgerran and swim or paddle between wooded banks with glimpses of the ruins of 12th-century Cilgerran Castle through the tree canopy high above. Continue through the steep-sided Teifi Gorge to the Wildlife Centre with cafe. The paddle board route then passes Cardigan to end in the River Teifi’s estuary at Poppit Sands. S on A487 from Cardigan to Pen-y-bryn then L to Cilgerran; then L after village shop to river.

Stackpole Quay to Barafundle Bay (2.6km paddle return), Pembrokeshire

SUP and swim Wales

Paddle or swim between two Pembrokeshire favourites to find sea caves and a stunning beach. Launch from Stackpole Quay and head right at the base of the cliffs to reach Lort’s Caves, whose vaulted ceiling and pillars echo the sounds of the incoming waves. Continuing south to explore a deep narrow cleft in the cliffs, and kelp beds that are stacked with marine life. The beautiful stretch of dune-backed Barafundle Beach opens ahead where it is well worth swimming or paddling to its southern end to explore an amazing series of sea arches known as the Lattice Windows that form Griffith Lorts Hole. SW from Pembroke on B4319, through St Petrox, then L to Stackpole following National Trust signs to the Quay.

Broad Haven South, Pembrokeshire

SUP and swim Wales

Paddle or swim alongside a wide sand beach backed by lily ponds and dramatic cliffs to explore sea stacks, two hidden coves, and a large blue crater behind a keyhole entrance through the cliff. Launch from the beach and head to the distinctive Church Rock, continue right to explore the island known as Star Rock, then on to find the two secluded beaches cut deep into the cliffs. Alternatively, paddle or swim left around Saddle Point to find the small entrance to the cave that appears at mid-tide to swim in the amazing blue crater. SW from Pembroke on B4319, through St Petrox, then L (signed) to Bosherton. Follow National Trust signs to Broad Haven.

Caswell Bay to Pwlldu Bay (4km paddle return), Gower

SUP and swim Wales

Leave buzzing but beautiful Caswell Beach to explore the bay’s rocky shelves and secluded coves. Launch from the golden sands of Caswell beneath tree-topped cliffs interspersed with exclusive properties and paddle or swim west to Brandy Cove. Continue on to the more remote Pwlldu beach. Nestled in woods, this sheltered shingle bay sits at the bottom of Bishopston Valley with access only via a footpath or from the water and makes for a perfect swim. N along A4067 from Mumbles turn L onto B4593 then L at Murton and follow signs to Caswell.

‘Paddle Boarding Wales Cymru: 100 places to SUP, Canoe & Kayak’ by Lisa Drewe is published by Wild Things Publishing. Outdoor Swimmer readers can receive 20% discount and free P&P with code OSMag24 at

Like the sound of these SUP adventures? Read our review of the best paddle boards.

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Outdoor Swimmer is the magazine for outdoor swimmers by outdoor swimmers. We write about fabulous wild swimming locations, amazing swim challenges, swim training advice and swimming gear reviews.