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RECOMMENDATION: A guide to your perfect staycation in Pembrokeshire

 

By Sara Hardy– 5th November 2020

RECOMMENDATION | Billy Bob’s Parlour & Diner – The Yorkshire Dales 142

As we approached the Severn Bridge late on a Friday night, eating our picnics in the back of the car, the excitement would start to build. Often it would be dark or the skies would be grey, but the thrill of trying to ‘stay up late’ for the journey to Wales is still so vivid. My brother and I spent a huge part of our childhood in Pembrokeshire where my grandparents lived, travelling over the border after school on a Friday or for school holidays. I loved it through child’s eyes as much as I do now (although I no longer find staying up late a thrill!) so if you are considering a UK break, I am delighted to guide you through the perfect Pembrokeshire staycation.

Pembrokeshire, sometimes referred to as Little England (due to the prominence of the English language rather than its location) is home to an unspoilt area of rugged coastline with soft sandy beaches, protected by its coastal national park status. Pembrokeshire has a rich history dating back to the Norman times which can be experienced first hand.

Tenby

The medieval town of Tenby is an incredibly picturesque seaside town with winding cobbled streets within it’s walls. Blue Flag sandy beaches hug it’s rugged cliffs making it a great place for little ones. When you’re not busy admiring the view from the towns privileged vantage point, you can walk to the life boat station which was built in 2005. It makes for a fascinating visit; you can learn about the incredible work done by the RNLI and its volunteers, together with stories of their most dramatic rescues. You can get right up close to the boat making it a very hands-on experience that will be appreciated by all ages. You will also be able to walk past the original life boat station which was converted into a private residence and featured on channel 4’s Grand Designs.

After a relaxing walk along the beach, pop in for a coffee at South Beach which is a relatively new beach bar with a super modern exterior. When the tide is right, you can take a small boat to Caldey island. The island is a beauty spot with admirable wildlife, beautiful fauna and incredible views. It is home to only forty residents including a group of Cistercian monks who live in the monastery there.

Manobier

If your children enjoy stories about knights and castles, I highly recommend a visit to Manobier castle. You can cross over the moat and walk under the portcullis to enter the castle. The Norman castle still has its turrets which resemble those from a fairy tale. For a small entrance fee, you will be able to explore the castle’s narrow corridors and secret passages, a must for children!

Manobier also has its own beach with ample (payable) parking. It is a pebble beach and the tide can be strong there which is great for body boarders. However, little ones can enjoy a paddle in the large tributary that flows past the car park to the sea, or investigate the residents of the rock pools.

Nearby Carew Castle is another prestigious castle that is well worth a visit. When you’re there, I recommend a visit the tiny quay at Cresswell which is only a few minutes away. There is a small pub (a very traditional drinkers pub that is not particularly child friendly, but fine to sit outside and soak up the atmosphere). It’s a great spot for SUP, people like to moor their boats there and stop for a drink. Locals also like to fish here. If you time it right, you might catch one of the atmospheric barbecues, duck racing or even a classic car meet.

Saundersfoot

Saundersfoot is a bustling seaside town and home to a harbour and long sandy beach, often popular with kite surfers. The recently renovated harbour area now offers a specific area for crabbing which is always great fun for little ones, you can also stop off at the ice cream shop as you head back towards the beach. From the town, you can walk all the way along the beach towards Coppet Hall (or down The Strand and through a tunnel for a buggy friendly option) where you will find a small cafe and a very smart restaurant, Coast, which is great if you’re craving some high-end seafood fare. You can do a buggy friendly walk from there to Wisemans Bridge as the footpath wraps around the cliffs, just above the beach.

I would recommend the very short drive to Colby Woodland Gardens (National Trust) (it is walkable but uphill and the road can be quite busy in summer months). The walk takes you beside the stream which is great for paddling in, there are lots of trees to climb on the way through too. When you reach the gardens, children will love clambering through the secret gate in the wall towards the landscaped gardens. There are all sorts of interesting art pieces to look and it’s a great place to stop a for cup of tea and a piece of cake.

Stackpole, Bosherston Lily Ponds & Broadhaven beach

Stackpole is an estate comprising of beautiful beaches and wooded hillsides. There is a fabulous walk that takes you from the picturesque Stackpole Quay towards Bosherston Lily ponds where you will might catch a glimpse of its resident otters and water birds. Broadhaven beach and pristine Baraffundle bay both offer beautifully soft sand making them a very popular spot to relax in the sunshine. (The dunes at Broadhaven are great fun to play in!) You can also enjoy some SUP here.

If fortune smiles your way you could see dolphins, seals, puffins, shearwater birds on any of the stunning coastal walks in the area.

Narbeth

Twinned with Ludlow in the Costwolds, and sharing many similarities, Narbeth is a pretty market town with a bustling high street packed with individual shops and cafes. It’s a lovely place for a stroll and you’re almost guaranteed to find something unique in one it’s independent shops.

St Davids

Located in the heart of the Pembrokeshire Coast national park, St Davids is well known for being Britain’s smallest city, home to under two thousand residents. St Davids is also known for its impressive coastal walks and views from which you might catch a glimpse of the resident seals or sea birds. Little ones will love stopping for fish and chips or an ice cream in the City’s very traditional shops. If you have older children, you can even enjoy a day out on a rib whale or dolphin watching. It’s a must!

 

Where to stay

There is a huge range of accommodation on offer in Pembrokeshire depending on what best suits your needs. There are many camping and caravan parks, holiday cottages and luxury hotels, but here are my personal favourites.

Trefloyne Manor is a family run 15th century manor house that offers luxury facilities, warm hospitality, beautiful views and treatment rooms. They do an excellent Sunday Roast but you’ll need to book! Just a short drive from Tenby, you will be well located to visit all of my favourite places.

The St Brides Hotel and Spa perches on the hillside looking over Saundersfoot beach and undeniably has the best views in town. Its impressive location provides the backdrop as you walk through the hotel. The bar, restaurant, lounge and spa all look out with uninterrupted views of the sea. The decor is sophisticated yet relaxed; it’s hard to resist a cocktail on the terrace on a summer’s day. The spa with its outdoor hydrotherapy pool and couples treatment room is a must.

The Grove Hotel in Narbeth is great for families looking for a luxury countryside retreat. It offers a selection of rooms, family friendly facilities such as games and trails, not to mention childcare options.Being surrounded by raw natural beauty, getting close to nature, visiting historic castles, paddle boarding, coasteering, sea kayaking, kite surfing, rock pooling, crabbing (the list really is endless!) should keep you fairly busy. However, there are many other family attractions in Pembrokeshire such as Folly Farm, Manor Wildlife Park, Oakwood, The Dinosaur Park and Bluestone so I can guarantee you will never be bored!

Enjoy!
Sara x
 
 
 
 

RECOMMENDATION

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