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The great escape

Gower Peninsula

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A short hop west of Dylan Thomas’s “ugly, lovely” Swansea, the Gower’s spectacular coastline, Michelin-starred food and expensive properties make it “the Monaco of Wales,” says the Daily Mail.

Places of note Rhossili Bay is frequently named the best beach in Britain. Three Cliffs Bay is deservedly popular, but to escape the crowds, head to Pobbles Bay. The Visit Swansea Bay website has a list of great walking routes – salt marshes and wild ponies in the northern part of the peninsula, and rocky coves on the south coast, perfect for spotting seals, dolphins and porpoises. Mooch around fashionable Mumbles and visit the ruins of 12th-century Oystermouth Castle. The lighthouse at Whiteford Point is thought to be the last of its kind in the UK, still standing after more than 150 years: check the tide times if you’re planning to walk there.

Famous faces Catherine Zeta-Jones grew up in Mumbles and owns a home there with Michael Douglas. Singer Bonnie Tyler also has a house in Mumbles, while Joanna Page of Gavin & Stacey fame often pops in to see her parents. Drop into the yacht club and you might see Robert Pugh, who played Craster in Game of Thrones.

Weather Mild and temperate.

Places to eat The Beach House has a Michelin star and views across Oxwich Bay. The former coal store uses locally sourced ingredients and its star dish is bara brith soufflé. The King Arthur at Reynoldston is a country boozer with an interior that celebrates the Gower through maps, objects and photographs. Or have a pin at one of the many family-run pubs on the Mumbles seafront.

1 To stay

The Oxwich Bay Hotel is a former rectory on a sandy beach, with sea-view rooms, garden “pods”, dog-friendly cottages and static homes. There’s a bistro on site and you can walk to the Beach House restaurant. Doubles from £69 a night.

2 To rent

Dolphin Cottage has no TV or WiFi, but you’ll barely notice – it looks out over glorious Three Cliffs Bay. It sleeps two and has exposed beams, oak floors and a turfed roof. From £600 a week.

3 To Airbnb

This newly renovated one-bedroom barn in Reynoldston is a good base for exploring the area. There’s a private garden and the hosts will provide breakfast. From £760 for five nights.

4 To buy

This four-bedroom house in Landimore, to the north of the peninsula, has views over salt marshes and the Loughor estuary. It has an orangery and a balcony overlooking an acre of gardens and woodland. £675,000.