The best beaches in Wales: New study finds UK's top four beaches are Welsh

Image of Barafundle Bay Beach
Wales has some of the most popular beaches in the UK, including Barafundle Bay Beach (pictured) Credit: PA Images

Wales has all four of the most highly-rated beaches in the UK, a new study has found.

Research by holiday rental company Holidu found the four isolated beaches beat others in England, Scotland and Wales to the top spot.

The research complied the top fifty beaches in the UK, as rated on Google Maps.

1. Barafundle Bay Beach, Pembrokeshire

Described as a "Jewel in the Crown" by the website, Barafundle Bay Beach in Pembrokeshire was found to be the most highly rated beach in the UK. Online it was given an overall rating of 4.9 from more than 1300 votes.

It is described as being "perfect for less confident swimmers looking for a safer environment to cool down in", with its position in a "secluded cove" meaning it has fewer waves.

"This gem is only accessible on foot which only adds to the secluded charm", adds the website.

Barafundle Bay Beach was the most popular UK beach, according to the study Credit: PA Images

2. Traeth Mwnt, Ceredigion

Traeth Mwnt in Ceredigion emerged as the second most popular beach in the UK with a rating of 4.9 out of 5 from more than 600 votes.

Just a few miles from Cardigan town centre, it is a popular beach with families and walkers - as well as for dolphin watching.

According to the National Trust: "Mwnt is one of the best places to spot dolphins in Ceredigion, often seen swimming, playing and feeding in the bay below".

However the steep cliffs make it inaccessible for wheelchairs and pushchairs.

Located on the Mid Wales Coast, Traeth Mwnt is a haven for wildlife Credit: Paul Davies

3. Three Cliffs Bay, Gower

The third most popular beach in the UK, Three Cliffs Bay in Gower was also rated 4.9, coming from almost 400 votes.

Surrounded by three limestone cliffs (the reason behind its name), it has a "spectacular shoreline of sand dunes, salt marsh and encrusted with rock pools", according to Visit Wales.

Pennard Pill stream also runs through the beach, making it a particularly photogenic part of Gower and with parking roughly 400 metres away, it is reasonably easy to access on foot.

But Visit Wales warn people to be cautious when swimming in Three Cliffs Bay given the strong tides and currents.

Three Cliffs Bay photographed from a nearby campsite Credit: PA Images

4. Marloes Sands, Pembrokeshire

Marloes Sands in Pembrokeshire came fourth, according to the findings. Again, it was given a rating of 4.9, with more than 300 people reviewing it on Google Maps.

At low tide the beach stretches for over a mile and is described as 'a geologist's dream' by Visit Pembrokeshire owing to the rock strata that split the beach into several smaller bays and rockpools.

At high tide however, the beach can completely disappear so the advice is to check tide times before visiting.

The beach gets its name from a paddler steam carrying pigs and whiskey which crashed there in 1837. You can still see shipwreck remains sticking out of the sand at low tide.

It was also used to film scenes for the 2011 film Snow White and the Huntsman, featuring Charlize Theron and Kristen Stewart.

View across Musselwick Sands, near Marloes Sands Credit: PA Images

8. Rhossili Bay Beach, Gower

Welsh beaches make up half of the top ten as well with Rhossili Bay Beach, also in Gower, positioned eighth. As with the other Welsh beaches in the top ten, it also scored a 4.9 rating, with over 150 reviews.

Described as ‘The supermodel of British beaches’ by The Independent, it was the first beach to be awarded Britain’s Best Beach by TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice two years running.

At low tide you can can to walk across the bay to Llangennith and even cross onto the Worms Head. People making the journey to Worms Head on foot however, should tell the Coastwatch Centre about their plans.

And The Times named Rhossili as ‘The UK's No.1 dog-friendly beach’.

Rhossili Bay Beach was rated as the eighth best beach in the UK Credit: Yui Mok/PA Images

Overall, Holidu concluded 'Wales takes the crown', with nineteen beaches in the top fifty - the best of all four UK nations.

Within the country, Pembrokeshire was the best performing county, being the "go-to region in Wales and the whole of the UK". The analysis continues: "This is no surprise, with the Pembrokeshire Coast being famed for its beautiful beaches, towering limestone cliffs and hilly volcanic headlands".

Traeth Porth Ceiriad in Gwynedd, Monknash Beach in the Vale of Glamorgan and Freshwater West in Pembrokeshire made up some of the best of the rest in Wales outside of the top ten.