Tenby has one of the iconic views in Wales - the fishing boats by the harbour with grand Georgian pastel coloured buildings as a backdrop. The medieval town is located on the Pembrokeshire coast, the only coastal national park in Britain. It became popular as a tourist resort in the 18 and 19th century and is still popular today. There are even three beaches and one of these, Castle Beach, was named best beach in Britain in 2019 by the UK publication The Times. Visitors can explore the narrow streets and perhaps to learn a little more take a guided walk, themes include a ghost walk or discover the pirates or smugglers of the past.
Suggested places to include:
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park
Tenby is located in Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, the only coastal national park in the UK. The coast path stretches 186 miles (299 km) from St Dogmaels to Amroth. It’s perfect for walking, wildlife spotting, taking in the spectacular scenery and there’s plenty of varied attractions, historic sites and places to eat along the way. The national park’s website features 200 circular web walks including easy access, gentle strolls and half day routes. The more adventurous may prefer to walk the whole of the path and afterwards, with the ascents and descents they will have climbed the equivalent of Mt Everest (without the altitude sickness!) or perhaps simply find a favourite beach to relax and enjoy. There is also a useful fact sheet and FAQs to help plan your client’s visit.
St Davids is the smallest city in Great Britain, it’s more like a lively village than a city. There are many craft shops, galleries, cafes and restaurants to visit. In medieval times, two pilgrimages to St Davids was the equivalent to one to Rome and three was the equivalent to a pilgrimage to the Holy Land illustrating the historic importance of the city. It got its name from Saint David, the patron saint of Wales and his shrine can be found in St David’s Cathedral. The Refectory at the cathedral serves locally sourced food and drink.
Next to the cathedral is St Davids Bishop’s Palace, a ruined medieval palace with lots hideaways to explore with an exhibition where the story boards brings it to life. There is a gift shop on-site.
Oriel y Parc is the national park’s visitor centre. It also has exhibitions by local artists and The National Museum Wales. It is a good place for your clients to plan walks along the coast path. There is a gift shop selling books, prints and local crafts, a café and parking with links to the coastal bus services.
A number of companies run offshore island boat trips from St Davids such as Voyages of Discovery and Thousand Island Expeditions offering an opportunity for you clients to get close to sea life and look out for seals, porpoises, dolphins, puffins and gannets and of course great views of the coastline.
Just a 30 minute drive from Tenby is Pembroke Castle, Henry Tudor’s birthplace (the first Tudor King of England). The castle is dominated by a five storey central keep which stands at 80 feet high with great views of Pembroke from the top. Not to be missed is the Wogan’s Cavern, a subterranean cave under the castle. If your clients count the number of steps to reach the cave the number when climbing back up is never the same! One of the few remaining medieval gaols can still be seen inside the dungeon tower. It offers daily guided tours, is dog friendly and has a gift shop and café.
Carew Castle and Tidal Mill
Carew Castle overlooks a 23 acre millpond, it is architecturally diverse with a Norman fortress on one side and an impressive Elizabethan mansion on the other. Your clients will also find the only restored Tidal Mill in Wales (the mill is currently closed), an 11th century Celtic cross and a medieval bridge. There is a lovely mile-long circular walk around the site.
Nest, the tea room in the Walled Garden, is named after Princess Nest, one of the castle’s most famous residents. There is also a gift shop on-site.
Melin Tregwynt is a working mill and has been owned by the same family since 1912. Located in a wooded valley between St Davids and Fishguard, this ‘white washed’ woollen mill stocks a wide range of products made from the unique Melin Tregwynt fabric woven in the mill. Items include blankets, throws, cushions, gifts, clothing and accessories. Visitors can see the mill working Monday to Friday. The on-site café serves refreshments using local produce.
Colby Woodland Garden
Colby Woodland Garden is located in a ‘secret’ valley. It has an industrial past, but today is known for the colourful flowers throughout the year including rhododendrons camellias, azaleas, and summer hydrangeas as well as the woodland walks and wildflower meadow.
Bosherston Lakes and Stackpole Court
The Stackpole Estate has a grade 1 listed landscape and the parkland was created by The Cawdor Family that surrounded their home. Although Stackpole Court was demolished there is still plenty to explore. Bosherton Lily Ponds are a focal point to the grounds and famous for the annual display of waterlilies. These man-made ponds are supplied by an underground reservoir and are a haven for wildlife watching – look out for the otters!
Nearby is Lodge Park Woods that also has a summer house, walled garden and ice house. There are many paths and as they are mainly flat are accessible for pushchairs and wheelchairs.
Travelling inland is the little market town of Narbeth. Its high street has been named one of the best in the UK and is lined by pretty pastel coloured buildings. There are many independent shops, antique shops, galleries cafes and restaurants for your clients to visit. For the history and culture seekers, there’s Narberth Museum, Narberth Independent Bookshop and castle to visit.
Laugharne was home to the famous Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas and more recently was a big feature of the BBC drama series, Keeping Faith, starring Eve Myles. It is dominated by the picturesque Laugharne Castle ruin with stunning views of the Tâf Estuary and the Gower Peninsula in the distance. Dylan Thomas wrote much of his work, including the play ‘Under Milk Wood’ here. Visitors can see the Dylan Thomas Boathouse and writing shed which is now a museum and shop (although currently closed) and the tea room serves snacks and light lunches that overlooks the estuary. For more on Dylan Thomas see our three day itinerary exploring locations associated with the poet, In the footsteps of Dylan Thomas.
Pendine Sands, a beautiful 7 mile stretch of sandy beach overlooking Carmarthen Bay. The flat beach was made famous in the 1900s by a series of car and motorbike races, including record breaking attempts including Sir Malcolm Campbell and Welshman J G Parry-Thomas in his car named Babs.
National Botanic Garden of Wales
In Llanarthne your clients can discover the National Botanic Garden of Wales with its impressive great glasshouse, the world’s largest single span glass structure. It is set in 600 acres of 18th century parkland with exotic flowers, lakes and waterfalls. It is also home to the British Bird of Prey Centre with 20 native birds of prey, including falcons, hawks, eagles, kites and buzzards. It offers daily flying and hands-on experiences. There are a number of trails and apps available to help your clients make the most of their visit.
Aberglasney Garden is known as the ‘Garden Lost in Time’ and this historic garden is located near Llanarthne in Carmarthenshire. There are 10 acres of gardens including the Cloister Garden, Asiatic Garden, The Alpinum Garden, Upper and Lower Walled Gardens, The Pool Garden and the 18th century Yew Tunnel. Your clients are also able to visit the ground floor of the grade II listed mansion. There is also a café available on site.