Wild About Pembrokeshire

Pembrokeshire National Park

“I could murder a beer!”

Well, unfortunately, it was some bright sparks idea to walk through the Pembrokeshire National Park for five miles from our hotel to get to the nearest town, and we were still only half way there. The sun was starting to approach the surrounding hills, closing in with a warm embrace that only good friends share, beauty begets beauty and these two spectacles of nature were very well aware of the picture their combined assets created for onlookers deep in these Welsh valleys. Alas, a cold beer would have gone down so well with this awesome scene.

Thirsty, and aware of the fact we were another hours walk to the little village of Newport, we rounded the next country lane and lo and behold, in front of us like a parcel of manna from the heavens, stood a micro-brewery! A gorgeous little farmhouse with a converted barn dedicated to the production of beer! But it was 7 o’clock on a Saturday evening…

“I’m going in!”

I absolutely in no way definitely did not shout out comments about probabilities and farmers with guns but my efforts were fruitless because as I caught up to Mr MLLH we came around the back of the house and were greeted by the owner who invited us to join them in a promotional video for his new brewery on his decking! Why not!? There stood a dozen Welsh folk, all with a craft ale in their hand and a video camera rolling in the background. Bottles were thrust upon us and we quickly became the centre of attention, we were clearly the only strangers here and everyone wanted to know our story. Cut to a couple of hours later after some hearty chat with Wales’ finest country folk and several bottles of ale in our bellies, we were offered a lift by one of our recently acquired companions into Newport for our long-awaited lamb curry!

the wildlife in the pembrokeshire country park, South Wales

You see, South Wales is awash with this kind of scene – friendly folk just doing what they’ve done for a few hundred years, impressing the sightseers with their artisan vocations and embracing the foreigners with ruddy smiles. Everywhere we went a conversation was struck, in that beautiful sing-song accent, and local crafts were explained with a passion that only heritage can bestow. Surfers stop on the narrow lanes to pass on morsels of info about breaks and swells to their fellow T1 drivers.  And little hardware stores and greengrocers service the quaint picturesque villages that dot the countryside.

But Pembrokeshire is also an area of contrasts, there is wealth to be seen in the rurals but some towns are littered with betting shops and boarded-up store fronts. You decipher from overheard conversations that a lot of youngsters flee to the city for better prospects, and those that remain struggle to eek out a living and are forced to live out their days in tracksuits and baseball caps. But, drive to a neighbouring village or town and you could be dealing with the complete opposite – thriving gift shops and cafe’s that ooze rustic sophistication and entrepreneurs with vision who are already on their way to transforming the face of Pembrokeshire and it’s people.

Pembrokeshire’s Best Bits

Apart from the fact our hotel room was pretty awesome (read *had bluetooth speakers in the ceiling*) we certainly had our fill of highlights from this little corner of South Wales.

Barafundle Bay

Once a well-kept secret by locals this gorgeous sandy beach is well worth the 1/2 mile cliff-top walk from the National Trust car park. Nowadays, being several-time-winner of the accolade ‘Best picnic spot in Britain’, you may need to engage your Germanic stealth in order to secure yourself a gingham-ed square of sand! No, honestly, I jest – it’s not that bad, nowhere in South Wales is that busy and this little bay certainly has room for everyone. If you’re going to visit one beach on your trip to Pembrokeshire then this is my favourite! It’s caught the attention of many a film location-scout and also kinda got a mention in Macbeth, ok, well the Thane of Cawdor did, the guy who owned the estate when once it was a private beach. Fascinating stuff peeps.

Barafundle Bay, Pembrokeshire. Now owned by the National Trust and listed as the best picnic spot in the UK several years running.
Barafundle Bay
The pembrokeshire coastline is a beautiful holiday spot with great beaches like freshwater west, barafundle bay, marloes and manorbier
The Beautiful Pembrokeshire Coastline

My other top 3 beaches in Pembrokeshire would be Abercastle, Freshwater West and Castle Beach, Tenby.

Pembroke Castle

What a sight to behold! If you were to imagine the perfect Medieval Castle then this would be it. I have channelled my inner-tortured-princess many a time, daydreaming on the walls of this place looking at the views. It’s a stone fortress of History, King Henry VII’s birthplace and many other British historical tit-bits. I just love the way it overshadows the little town of Pembroke with its gigantism and impresses any bystander with it’s Lego-like perfection.

Views from the walls of Pembroke Castle, a medievil piece of architecture which is a fantastic tourist attraction for Pembrokeshire
View from the walls of Pembroke Castle

Tenby

As always, geographical location plays a massive part in the history of a place and Tenby is no exception. Since the 8th century at least, this colourful walled harbour town has had highs and lows. The scars are visible when you look closely but the victories are there too – this was once a busy international port, bringing spices and exotic fruits from far afield whilst the rest of the country remained in ignorant bliss as they tucked into their leek crudites and Welsh rarebit.  Wales needed Tenby to be great, so great it became and it still remains this way today, in my mind. Spend a day exploring the narrow cobbled streets and open walled-harbour. Visit the Tudor Merchants House for a narrative of Tenby’s old shipping culture, and don’t miss the cutest little bookshop a few doors away – crammed to the rafters and spilling out of the door. Sample the seafood in some of Pembrokeshire’s best restaurants. And, check out the Georgian seafront homes painted from a colour pallet inspired by french macaroons.

Tenby is a large port town in Pembrokeshire with so much history and a beautiful promenade of colourful houses
Tenby beachfront by Alexandrajj

I have a few more favourite little towns and villages worth a mention too – Narberth is a gorgeous little market town with a ton of gift and craft shops and sweet little coffee establishments.

Newport is a picture postcard, particularly the Parrog. The Nevern Estuary flows into the curve and deposits shallow waters, as if it knows that only small boats are more aesthetic to the discerning photographer.

The Parrog, at the end of the estuary in Newport on the edge of the Pembrokeshire National Park
The Parrog, Newport

Skomer Island

Skomer Island – the highlight of my kids’ trip to Wales this year with their dad, my youngest now sleeps with a Puffin every night! An island of wildlife that attracts a lot of attention each year as the different phases of nature put on a varying performance from month to month. Whether it be the spring landing of Puffins, the summer swimming of Dolphins or the birthing of the fluffy grey seal pups in Autumn – there is a natural display of some sort to pull at your heart strings.

Puffins on Skomer Island, Pembrokeshire

Six days a week, from April to September 30th, a 50 seater boat leaves from Martin’s Haven, 12 miles South-west of Haverford West and allows you several hours of joy, watching the wildlife that calls Skomer home. You musn’t miss this trip!

Where To Stay

I can whole heartedly recommend the Spindrift Cottage at Furzton, between Pembroke and Stackpole. It sleeps 4, plus a little one, and is in the best of locations with wonderful views. The owners are super friendly and their decor tastes are impeccable.

Furzton Cottage, situated between Stackpole and Pembroke, just on the edge of the Pembrokeshire National Park

Or if you’d rather a woodland hotel retreat then the Hotel Gellifawr is a winner.

Pembrokeshire is a must for surfers and families alike; there are opportunities galore for ramblers (hikers to my Stateside readers), art lovers, thrill seekers and chillaxers aplenty. If you’ve never been then it’s about time you did! If you have been, what are your favourite spots?

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Pembrokeshire, South Wales, is the perfect holiday spot for surfers and families alike, fantastic opportunities for ramblers, nature and art lovers, thrill seekers, foodies and those that just like to relax. Check out my highlights here...

 

 

 

11 Comments Add yours

  1. Jurga says:

    I don’t care that much for the beer, but you sold it to me with the pictures of Tendy beachfront and the puffin . Especially the puffin – what a beautiful image! We saw them in Iceland once, but never this close.

  2. Tracy says:

    Wales is somewhere I really haven’t explored – Cardif and thats about it. I think I definitely need to squeeze some trips in! The beaches look lovely.

    I really enjoy your style of writing Alex – so interesting to read.

    Beautiful photographs too – what sort of camera do you use (I am thinking of actually buying one!)

  3. The Pramshed says:

    I loved reading this. We are regular goers to Tenby and you can see my parents apartment in one of your pictures. Have you tried the Stackpole Inn at Stackpole. It’s a gorgeous pub with delicious food and pretty beer garden. Pembroke castle is one of my faves too. Hope you had a fab break. Claire x

    1. Alex says:

      No way Claire! How cool you get to go regularly. We nearly moved there 10 years ago – bought a house & everything, but it all fell through.
      I have been to that inn, it’s a great place!

  4. Jane taylor says:

    Love Wales! Love Tenby! We had a ropey caravan experience at Freshwater East…never found the west so maybe that’s where we went wrong! Off to Harlech again in May! We love it so much.

    1. Alex says:

      Really? It is lovely!

  5. Jane taylor says:

    Oops forgot my commentluv!

  6. Rachel says:

    I grew up in Pembrokeshire – in Saundersfoot and was one of those who flee to the cities for a career….that city is Nottingham 👍 I am so glad my homeland people looked after you so well and feel somewhat homesick of your picture of my favourite place Barafundle Bay.

    1. Alex says:

      Aw, really!? We love it there, and especially the people. You chose a good city though 😉 thanks for your comment!

  7. finja says:

    Omg, the pengium looks sooo cute! And what a great time it must have been. Merry Christmas to you and your family.
    xx finja | http://www.effcaa.com

    1. Alex says:

      Thank you Finja.

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