Carmarthenshire - Llansteffan beach, sandy beach with hill of forest on the right and ocean waves on the left
Llansteffan beach with wooded hill on the right and ocean waves breaking on the left

Carmarthenshire - Llansteffan Beach

Hunt for cockles on Llansteffan beach and explore its Norman castle

This lovely beach is situated on the western side of the Tywi / Towy Estuary and is overlooked to the west by the ruins of the Norman Llansteffan Castle. You can climb the one remaining tower to get some unique views of the beach and estuary.

An idyllic cove with plenty of space and privacy that almost feels like a private beach. The vast expanse of clean, hard sand is ideal for playing football and cricket.

Scott's Bay is ideal for swimming and bathing when the tide is out, with little to no current. The rocks below the second steps, accessible from the beach or via the headland path, are a popular spot for spinning for mackerel and sea fishing for bass and flounder late in the summer.

Be careful if you swim here though. Swimming is fun and safe once the tide has reached the flat sand but Llansteffan is a tidal estuary, and swimmers who don't pay attention to the tides will run into trouble. A current of 5 to 6 knots carries anything in its path up the river toward Carmarthen on spring tides, when the tide is at its lowest point. If in doubt, stay in your comfort zone.

Llansteffan's status as a hub for the Welsh cockling industry has fluctuated over the years in line with fluctautoing demand and supply but cockles have always been collected here. They were very scarce in the 1970s and 1980s, but over the past 15 years, there's been a regular commercial fishery on the beach.

When the tide goes out here, the water recedes almost to the horizon into Carmarthen Bay, leaving miles and miles of pure sand that you can walk on for hours. Even though it's beautiful to look at and fun to walk across, these sands will be covered in water faster than you can walk when the tide comes back in again. So make sure you're aware of the tide times for the day your there. There's usually a large information sign near the green car park telephone box that shows an up-to-date tide table.