Just because the weather might not be playing ball doesn’t mean you have to spend your weekends curled up indoors, and I think my action-packed wellness weekend break in Pembrokeshire proves just that.

The beautiful county on the southwestern coast of Wales has activities aplenty for those looking to unwind whatever the season, with surfing lessons, yoga sessions, and some of the best gluten-free pizza I’ve ever eaten, all on offer.

Here’s how my friend, Janeece, and I spent three perfect days in Pembrokeshire, proving that the threat of a little drizzle shouldn’t put a dampener on your plans for a restorative Welsh wellness holiday.

Friday: hanging ten, harbour towns and hot tubs

We began our jam-packed three-day trip at West Angle Bay, a horseshoe cove on the southwestern tip of Wales that is a magnet for watersports enthusiasts throughout the year. We had a surfing lesson booked with Outer Reef, so slipped into our wetsuits and headed down onto the sand.

Our instructor Sam put us through our paces on the beach, giving us instructions on how to balance on the board and tips to ensure we stayed safe in the water, before letting us loose in the waves. My pop-up technique wasn’t quite picture-perfect, but the Pembrokeshire scenery was certainly snap-worthy.

two women sat on surf boards in the sea.
gluten-free starter on table.
gluten-free meal on a plate.

Charlie and her friend Janeece surfing at West Angle Bay, and enjoying food at Cliff Rest St Brides, Pembrokeshire, West Wales.

Needing to refuel after almost two hours in the surf, we headed to Tenby, a harbour town where the sea breeze wafts through a tangle of narrow laneways, all lined with quirky boutiques and ringed by a set of 13th-century stone walls. I follow a gluten-free diet, which can sometimes make eating out a challenge, but fortunately Tenby had plenty of options. We opted for The Qube Restaurant located in the town centre, which does a delicious beef burger featuring generous wads of Perl Lâs (an organic Welsh blue cheese).

Hunger pangs well and truly vanquished, we drove from Tenby to our base for the weekend, The Little Retreat, a luxury glamping site in the grounds of an old castle in the pretty village of Lawrenny. We stayed in one of the site’s gorgeous geodomes, which appear like white canvas igloos set against the lush green Pembrokeshire landscape. Each luxurious dome comes with comfortable beds, wood-burning fireplaces and private hot tubs, with the most insane sunset views – we hopped straight in!

two women, one with a drink, in a hot tub.
The Little Retreat glamping pod and hot tub viewed from above.
interior of glamping done

The Little Retreat, Pembrokeshire, West Wales

Saturday: A bracing swim, superb pizza and seeing stars

We were up early on day two, excited by the prospect of a cold water dip under the watchful eye of Wild Swim Wales, a Pembrokeshire-based organisation who run regular guided swimming sessions throughout the year.

We met some members from the team on the North Pembrokeshire Coast and hiked along the clifftops – a route that forms part of the epic Wales Coast Path – to a secluded pebbly cove that provided a serene, and safe, setting for a wild swim. We started with some breath work and then waded into the blue waters, which are protected as part of the only national park in the UK consisting primarily of a coastline. It was an exhilarating experience, made all the better by spotting a friendly seal close to the shore.

Keen to warm up, we travelled inland to Narberth, a town with a thriving high street that wins plaudits thanks to its colourful collection of independent businesses, be they antique shops or coffee spots. Our destination was one of them, Top Joe’s Pizzeria. The chef here has won awards for his pizzas in Italy, and you can tell – I was treated to the best gluten-free pizza I’ve had in the UK.

That evening, back at our geodome, we indulged in a meditative guided star-gazing session. Wales is known as a top-class dark sky destination, and staring up towards the cosmos, reclining on plush deckchairs, makes the perfect activity to wind down before a revitalising sleep.

woman eating pizza.
two gluten-free pizzas on table.

Gluten-free pizza at Top Joe's Pizza, Narberth, Pembrokeshire, West Wales

Sunday: downward dogs, a spiritual city and foraging tours 

Speaking of revitalising, we began the third and final day of our Pembrokeshire wellbeing break with another perfect breakfast spread and a yoga session run by the team at The Little Retreat.

Muscles stretched and minds at ease, we drove north to St Davids, which is the smallest city in the UK, with a population of a little under 2000. The city is associated with Wales’ patron saint, Saint David, and, as a result, has been an important pilgrimage site throughout history – during the Middle Ages, two visits to St Davids were even considered the equivalent of one pilgrimage to Rome. Today, the tiny city still has a tranquil feel to it, and we spent a large chunk of the day peacefully exploring the city’s famed cathedral and the atmospheric ruins of the medieval Bishop’s Palace.

woman sat on wall taking photos.
woman walking up steps with St Davids Cathedral in the background,
woman in Bishop's Palace ruins.

St Davids Cathedral and Bishop's Palace, St Davids, Pembrokeshire, West Wales

Our last stop for the weekend was The Really Wild Emporium in St Davids, a rustic restaurant with impressive sustainability credentials. The menu, which includes so many gluten-free options and vegan-friendly dishes, features ingredients that have been foraged from the surrounding area. Keen to see what the Welsh countryside had to offer up, we headed out on a guided hedgerow walk around St Davids with an expert guide, Julia. We were surprised how tasty different hedgerow plants could be and learnt how good some common herbs can be for our health.

A selection of ingredients stockpiled, we returned to the restaurant for dinner, which featured small plates of a range of dishes, including tempura oyster mushrooms, poached local wild fish, and some incredible locally-sourced mussels, with at least three glorious gluten-free bread rolls to soak up all the sauce. After all, every good wellbeing holiday should end on a full stomach!

woman with foraged leaves.
table with a variety of dishes.

Charlie Davies foraging with The Really Wild Emporium, St Davids, West Wales

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