But after lots of recent visits the Gower has become one of my favourite places in the UK. It only stretches for 19 miles but the coastline is wild and windswept and the beaches are completely unspoiled. Incidentally, I love The Independent’s description of Rhossili Bay as “the supermodel of British beaches.” I’m not in the least surprised that it scooped Britain’s Best Beach award earlier this year.
To add to all that, the Gower has now got a top-notch restaurant too. I’ve always loved the Porthminster Café at St Ives in Cornwall so it was fantastic to find a brilliant beachside restaurant at the Gower’s pretty Oxwich Bay. The Coalhouse was used to store coal in the 19th century but it has now been converted into a stylish brasserie (designed by Susie Atkinson, of Babington House fame) with wonderful food, friendly staff and a blissful terrace overlooking the waves.
I visited with my son last week after The Times named it as one of the 20 best restaurants by the sea.
We’d booked in advance and hoped to sit outside. But on the day we were defeated by the vagaries of the British weather. In fact the rain was so torrential that we retreated into the warm, whitewashed restaurant and watched the storm from inside. There was plenty to see – a few intrepid sailors and wakeboarders were undaunted by the weather and were clearly having the time of their lives.
My son chose grilled Mediterranean vegetables with buffalo mozzarella and a Coalhouse club sandwich while I went for chilled pea and lettuce soup and a falafel burger with cucumber and yoghurt dressing. Everything was served to perfection and I can’t wait to go back…