Our first post is about a lovely place in UK, which we have explored during a longer bank holiday weekend at the recommendation of one very good friend. Although it is not so famous worldwide it exceeded our expectations and we now also further recommend it. Here our tips for places to visit in Pembrokeshire.
Why should you visit Pembrokeshire?
Pembrokeshire is a small county in south west of Wales, but has so much to offers to its visitors. Just to name a few of the interests and places to visit in Pembrokeshire:
- Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, revealing a spectacular coastline
- 39 beaches recommended by the Marine Conservation Society that have received many International Blue Flag Awards, Green Coast Awards and Seaside Awards
- Many castles and archeological sites, heritage of the very rich history of Wales and of Pembrokeshire
- Small charming fishing villages
- Rich culture and traditions
- Interesting adventures and experiences for the active travelers (for example coasteering, water sports, horse riding).
Although our longer weekend was not enough to fully explore Pembrokeshire, here are our tips and recommendations:
How to get there:
The best way to explore Pembrokeshire is by car, because there are so many places to visit in Pembrokeshire peninsula and some of the loveliest ones are remote and not really well served by public transport. It is really recommended to come by car or rent a car in the area to have the flexibility of making your own route and schedule.
If coming by car is not an option, the main towns in Pembrokeshire are served by regular bus and train services, and many villages by local bus services. If you want to come by train, Pembrokeshire is connected via the West Wales Lines to Swansea and by the main line from Swansea to Cardiff or London Paddington. From Milford Haven there are also direct trains to Manchester Piccadilly.
Where to stay:
Pembrokeshire offers plenty of options for accommodation, in its main town (Haverfordwest) or other towns such as Pembroke, Pembroke Dock, Milford Haven, Fishguard, Tenby, Saundersfoot, Narberth, Neyland and Newport. You can also find more remote options near different attractions. It depends on what you want to do/visit ın Pembrokeshire, because the distances are not very small.
We chose to stay in Pembroke Dock because we considered its location an advantage to be able to have daily trips both to the western part of the Pembrokeshire peninsula, but also to the southern part. It was also close to gas stations and supermarkets.
We were lucky to find a lovely Bed & Breakfast place (Richmond House) that had an amazing view of the bay and very helpful owners, but there are also many other options, depending on interest and budget. You can check recommendations from www.visitpembrokeshire.com.
Where to eat:
There are lots of good options for food around the county. Even if we’re talking about traditional pubs, street food or chain restaurants, all around Pembrokeshire there is always an option for every taste. We were looking for traditional pubs and restaurants and we really liked Tenby for a nice dinner close to the sea. You can also find in Tenby some really charming fish restaurants. For us it really depended on where we were and when we were getting hungry, but we always found a nice place to eat with delicious food.
Top 7 Places to visit in Pembrokeshire:
- Explore Church Doors & Skrinkle Haven
- Pembroke Castle
- The Blue Lagoon, Abereiddi
- St. David’s & St. David’s Cathedral
- Ramsey Island
1. Explore Church Doors & Skrinkle Haven
This was definitely our favorite place to visit in Pembrokeshire and it is surely a magnificent proof of nature’s power and creativity. After a very pleasant walk on paths towards the coast the panorama opens with a steep way down to reach a rocky cove guarded by cliffs and a majestic rock door created by the sea. Skrinkle Haven beach is exactly near the cove and can be access through a small passage into the rocks. Make sure you check the tide table before you go, because the tide can come and cover very quickly the beach and the passage. If you have time, not very far continuing the coast paths towards Manorbier there are other beautiful beaches and coves. Here is another tip: on low tide you can explore small marine life left behind by the sea waters. The view from the top is also worth the extra time.
In terms of facilities we found a small car park and café at Manorbier Youth Hostel, but there is another car park near Lydstep Head. On the beach there are no facilities, just nature at its best.
2. Pembroke Castle
This great medieval castle played in its glorious time a crucial role in the history of Pembrokeshire, Wales and Britain. Build on a rocky site near the Pembroke river, it had a strategic location which allowed it to have a long history and stand in front of many powerful enemies. When visiting the castle you can see the room considered to be the birth place of King Henry VII of England; the Wogan Cavern (a natural limestone cave existing under the castle, that was incorporated in the castle structure and played a key role during its history) and also the Great Map of Wales, the largest map of Wales in the world. From the castle’s towers and walls you can admire a 360 degree panorama of the area.
We recommend you to get a guided visit as there are many legends and interesting information that you would not want to miss. Parking is available near the castle in Pembroke town.
3. The Blue Lagoon, Abereiddi
The Blue Lagoon is another interesting attraction from the “places to visit in Pembrokeshire” list, where nature and industrial past blend to form a breathtaking scene. The lagoon is actually the place where the sea covers the remaining of a former slate quarry and was created by a blast of quarry’s outer wall more than a century ago.
Close to the lagoon there is the Abereiddi beach, where traces of the workers’ cottages can still be seen.
The blue color of the lagoon is a result of the minerals in the water and it is a very popular place for adventurous divers to jump from the cliffs into the deep blue water.
For those properly equipped the lagoon also was perfect for canoe and, with a short walk on the paths nearby, the surrounding cliffs offer spectacular views of the sea.
We parked at Abereiddi beach, but it is a very small basic parking and full of cars, so you need to be early of lucky to find a place. Otherwise there is the Strumble Shuttle from St. David’s or Fishguard.
4. St. David’s & St. David’s Cathedral
The city of St. David’s, in the north west of the county, is UK’s smallest city (2,000 inhabitants in 2010). Despite its very small size and population number, St. David’s was given the status of city in the 16th century due to the presence of St. David’s Cathedral. This beautiful worship place, build in the 13th century in a Romanesque & English Gothic architecture, is the resting place of Saint David.
For us this was a point of interest, not only for visiting the cathedral, but also for booking tickets to explore Ramsey Island by fast boat.
5. Ramsey Island
About 1 km off from St. David’s peninsula, the Ramsey Island offers a great opportunity to explore the wonders of nature. You can find here dramatic cliffs and caves, rare cliff birds, grey seals, dolphins and visual proofs of the geological eras.
We recommend to explore the island by booking a fast boat trip for an unforgettable experience and detailed explanations.
Situated on the southern coast of Pembrokeshire, Tenby is a lovely small seaside town that is perfect for both relaxation on its 2.5 mile long beaches, but also for exploring its medieval walls or inviting restaurants. Take a walk on the narrow streets and enjoy the variety of colors in which the buildings of Tenby are decorated.
Manorbier is another charming seaside village of the southern coast of Pembrokeshire that attracts visitors to enjoy the sandy cove, popular for water sports. There is also a majestic medieval castle that seems to guard the beauty of the landscape. As for facilities, there is a parking near the castle and close by a tea garden and a beer house.
Other activities Pembrokeshire has to offer:
- Coasteering, water sports, horse riding
- Coastal trail walks
- Exploring marine life (seals, whales, bird watching)
- Wine tasting.
So many places to visit in Pembrokeshire in just a few days, but we did our best to discover as much as we could. We’ll surely be back another time for the missed parts.