Disclaimer: As an affiliate I may earn a commission on any qualifying purchase at no extra cost to you – read more.
Poppit Sands (also known as Poppit West) is a large sandy beach just outside of Cardigan. It is found at the mouth of Afon Teifi (River Teifi) as it enters the sea. The beach is 600m wide and is backed by extensive dunes which create some shelter from the breeze and provides a good habitat for wildlife.
At the west end of the beach (on your left as you look toward the ocean) there are rock pools which are good for crabbing.
The beach is great for spotting wildlife. In spring and early summer, sea birds can be seen nesting on the cliffs including razorbills, fulmars, choughs, and guillemots. You might also spot porpoises and dolphins offshore and during Autumn, seals breed near the beach so you may see them with their pups.
I recently visited Poppit Sands for myself and in this guide, I’ll share everything you need to plan your visit.
Where to Park?
There is a large car park at Poppit Sands beach with room for over 100 cars. It also has two electric car charging points and cycle racks. The car park is free for the first 30 minutes for cars and motorcycles. After that, the prices are:
Parking charges only apply from March to November, check the board for exact dates.
The car park may seem large, but this beach is very popular so when I was there at 11am on a Wednesday, it was already three-quarters full. If visiting on the weekend during peak months, make sure you arrive early.
Can You Park Overnight?
No, overnight parking for campervans is not permitted at Poppit Sands car park.
About Poppit Sands
|Managed By||Natural Resources Wales and the Pembrokeshire Coastal National Park Authority|
|Lifeguard||Yes, there are seasonal lifeguards at Poppit Sands beach between 10am to 6pm from June to September. Find out more here.|
|Blue Flag Award||Yes, Poppit Sands has a Blue Flag Award which it has held since 2000. This means it has outstanding levels of safety, cleanliness, and sustainability. Find out more here.|
|Water Quality||According to Natural Resources Wales, the water quality is the maximum 3-star rating which means it is excellent. Find out more here.|
Are There Toilets at Poppit Sands?
Yes, there are free public toilets at Poppit Sands beach near the RNLI lifeboat station. They are of moderate cleanliness and there is a separate disabled toilet.
Are Dogs Allowed On Poppit Sands Beach?
There are some dog restrictions at Poppit Sands. Between 1st May and 30th September, dogs are not allowed on the west portion of the beach, to the left of the boardwalk as you arrive. Dogs are welcome on the rest of the beach year-round, although they must be kept on a lead whilst on the boardwalk and promenade area.
Is Poppit Sands Beach Accessible?
Yes, Poppit Sands is very accessible for wheelchairs and prams, there are no steps to reach the beach and you can hire a beach wheelchair if needed. These must be pre-booked as there are a limited number for the whole county. Find out more about Pembrokeshire’s beach wheelchairs here.
There are several bins and recycling bins at the beach. Outside the café in the car park, you’ll also find litter picking equipment for anyone looking to spend some time cleaning the beach.
Outside the lifeboat station, there’s an RNLI shop selling buckets and spades, basic drinks and snacks, and RNLI souvenirs. It’s open 11am-5pm. There is also a café, more on this below.
Things To Do at Poppit Sands
1. Walk the Coastal Path
Poppit Sands beach sits at the beginning of the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path which is part of the Wales Coastal Path that runs around the entire country.
A popular walk is the Cemaes Head circular, a 5-mile walk that takes around three hours to complete. You’ll experience dramatic clifftop views and it’s great for spotting wildlife such as wild ponies, sea birds, seals, and maybe even dolphins. Find out more here.
For a longer walk, check out the Poppit Sands circular. This is an easy but long walk at 15km so it can take most of the day but will be very rewarding.
Surfing and sailing are popular at Poppit Sands because of the challenging waves. If you’re surfing, the waves here are beginner friendly but there can be a rip-tide where the estuary meets the sea.
If you’re paddleboarding or kayaking, I recommend starting further up the estuary near The Ferry Inn and making your way down to Poppit Sands.
There are some great rock pools towards the west end of the beach which are good for crabbing. If you don’t have crabbing equipment, the RNLI shop at the beach sells buckets.
4. Enjoy a Pastry from Crwst
Crwst bakery from Cardigan has recently opened its second site, taking over the café at Poppit Sands. They are a local business and pride themselves on using eco-friendly local coffee roasters.
They serve up a range of pastries, ice cream, and more. I can confirm that the cinnamon roll shown above was among the BEST I’ve had in a long time.
The price of a coffee here is around £2.70 to £3 which is a little above average but to be expected from such a location. It’s open 10am-6pm every day.
5. Go on a Dolphin Spotting Trip
Although you can sometimes spot bottlenose dolphins from the shoreline, the best way to see them is by taking a dolphin spotting excursion.
The best tour in this area is A Bay To Remember which departs Just 5 minutes away by car, slightly further up the Afon Teifi.
The tide comes in and out quickly at Poppit Sands and much of the beach disappears at high tide. It’s best to visit at or around low tide. See the latest local tide times on the Met Office website here.
Is Poppit Sands Good For Surfing?
Yes, Poppit Sands beach is good for surfing with beginner-friendly waves and a lifeguard on hand during the summer months.
Is Poppit Sands Good For Kayaking And Paddleboarding?
Yes, Poppit Sands is a popular spot for kayaking and paddleboarding, most people start from ‘The Moorings’ at St Dogmaels where there is a slipway and paddle down to Poppit Sands. You can park along the roadside for free here.
Kieren is the founder and editor-in-chief of Wales Guidebook. Originally from rural Mid-Wales, he has lived all over the country from Cardiff to Wrexham. A true Welshman, Kieren created this site to share his passion for Wales and help others discover this beautiful country.