Mumbles, known also as ‘The Mumbles’, is the gateway to the Gower peninsula, home to the singer Bonnie Tyler and – when she’s back in her beloved Wales – Catherine Zeta Jones and family.
Where is Mumbles?
Mumbles is located right on Swansea Bay, and marks the start of the Gower Peninsula, the UK’s first designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Mumbles is the perfect launchpad to explore the beaches of the Gower, with or without a car. To do it on foot, start at beautiful Bracelet Bay, and then take the Wales Coast Path through stunning scenery to surf hotspots Rotherslade Beach and Langland Bay. From either, it’s an approximately 20-minute walk back into the village.
Is there a Mumbles castle?
Slap bang in the centre of Mumbles is Oystermouth Castle, standing high on a hill and affording some of the best views out to Swansea Bay from its wall walk. Visit and explore the castle’s fascinating history, from its 12th century origins through to ownership by Queen Alina de Breos, after her release from a spell in the Tower of London. The chapel she created was recently unveiled to visitors, thanks to a major refurbishment. The castle grounds are the perfect picnic spot; pick up goodies from nearby deli Olives & Oils. In summer the grounds play host to the annual music and food extravaganza Mumbles Fest
Things to do in Mumbles
Mumbles Pier, which opened in 1898, was designed as a Victorian pleasure pier. The pursuit of pleasure continues as its chief purpose, but with a more modern twist – Beach Hut Cafe, is a bright, airy café offering everything from full breakfasts to vegan fish and chips, an amusement arcade and games room, plus regular gigs and kids’ discos. Steps leading down from the Pier take you to a little sandy beach, which is a rockpooling haven at low tide. When the tide is low – if you check it isn’t coming in for a good while – you can walk across the beach to the two islands that give Mumbles its name. Apparently these looked (to someone!) like a pair of breasts, or ‘mamelles’ in French, hence ‘Mumbles’.
The further island is home to iconic Mumbles Lighthouse, which features in many a Mumbles postcard and Instagram post. The view of the lighthouse from Bracelet Bay is particularly pretty, and if you’re peckish you can take it all in from The Lighthouse, an eatery that’s fab for families or romantic as a date spot.
The promenade and Swansea Bay Rider Land Train
The Promenade is where much of the Mumbles fun takes place. The Prom can be enjoyed on foot, by bike – Santander cycles are available for hire – or on the Swansea Bay Rider Land Train. The 72-seater train runs between Blackpill Lido and Southend Gardens: kids can hop off for a swim at one end (the water depth reaches the average adult’s shins) and, at the other, there’s a playground, crazy golf, and the eateries of the Oyster Wharf development. Gin & Juice is guaranteed to please cocktail aficionados and wow with its sweeping rooftop views, while chilled Croeso Lounge is a family fave. Located in Southend Gardens is the award-winning Gower Seafood Hut, ideal for a takeaway plate of chilli prawns or local cockles, washed down with a beer from nearby Ty Cwrw. Since the land train is hop-on/hop-off, it’s thoroughly recommended you hop off for an ice cream at Ripples, alternatively just a short walk along the Prom from Mumbles village. Owner Dennis Dwyer makes all his ice cream super-fresh, with scoops like mango sorbet and pistachio among the best this side of Italy. The views across the bay cannot be beaten. Alternatively, there's the ever popular, and also delicious, Joe’s Ice Cream Parlour.
Eating and drinking in Mumbles
Ice creams aside, Mumbles ticks a number of foodie boxes for such a small place. Newton Road is the main street that cuts a right angle up from the Prom, and where much of the eating and shopping action happens. Relatively new here is Fat Cow, a burger restaurant with jazzy art on the walls provided by the nearby Bull Jam Gallery. Just off Newton Road is trendy little Boo’s Kitchen, perfect for veggie and plant-based brunches and lunches. Just down from Boo’s is the small but perfectly formed coffee shop Microlot, almost just a hole in the wall but with a couple of indoor and outdoor perches from which to watch the world go by. Coffee is excellent, and replicated in its big brother branch, Mumbles Coffee shop, which nestles in the arcade off Newton Road offering coffee, chai and cake to be enjoyed on cosy sofas or carried off from a takeaway hatch.
The legendary ‘Mumbles Mile’ used to be a lively pub crawl that drew in crowds from near and far to try and drink a pint in the many welcoming drinking spots that used to populate the village. While the Mumbles Mile is a thing of the past now, there are still some excellent pubs and bars. Gin & Juice and Cru 42 are popular bars, while the Pilot and the Park Inn are cosy, more traditional places to sink into a pint.
Shopping in Mumbles
Stick on Newton Road for a host of independent shops and boutiques, as well as a plethora of charity shops for lovers of pre-loved. The top of the road is home to indie bookshop Cover to Cover. Next door but one is the Oyster Gallery, for coastal-themed homewares, gifts and artwork. Over the road is newcomer Adelanté, which sells unique womenswear, fun kids’ accessories and vintage homewares and clothing. Closeout is a surfers’ and skateboarders’ paradise, with lots of eco-friendly brands and gorgeous swimwear.