THINGS TO DO
Pembrokeshire offers so many diverse and beautiful beaches; you will find yourself spoilt for choice. Swallow Tree Bay, a small cove, is just a short woodland walk away, while the main beach at Saundersfoot holds the prestigious European Blue Flag award for excellent water quality and is both lifeguarded and dog free during the summer months.
With over 50 beaches to choose from, Pembrokeshire offers everything you could need in a beach. There is an excellent beach guide to be found on the Visit Pembrokeshire website. Listed below are the beaches we have hand picked as our favourites:
Monkstone – Situated just over a mile from the Park, Monkstone is a superb beach, and a firm family favourite. Accessed on foot via the coast path or down a steep but well maintained path from nearby Trevayne Farm, the lack of vehicle access means this beach is never crowded; even at the height of summer it’s not unusual to have the beach to yourself. It offers a huge area of sand at low tide, excellent rockpools and lots of driftwood for beach barbecues. Perfect for rockpooling, beach games and campfire lunches.
Swallow Tree – As local as you can get, this beach is less than 100m from the Park, accessed by a well maintained footpath. The beach itself offers a large sand beach through most of the tide, with Saundersfoot a ten minute stroll away. With plenty of rockpools and the comfort of being so close to your holiday unit, it makes for an excellent day out for the family.
The Glen Beach – Situated between the Park and Saundersfoot, the Glen is accessed either on foot or by parking within a minutes’ walk. With easy access to Saundersfoot and with plenty of beach space and rockpools, this is a fantastic beach for children. Timing it right as the tide comes in allows you a very special opportunity to have one of the coves for yourself with easy access off the beach back to the car park…simply stunning on a summer’s afternoon.
Barafundle – Although becoming more and more famous, this beach maintains its feeling of, well, ‘wowness’ – it’s always the first word you say when you see it! Access is from the National Trust car park at Stackpole Quay, a 30 minute drive away. The Quay itself is a lovely location with a superb café offering locally sourced food. Access to the beach is on foot via a half-mile walk along the Coast Path, worth every step once you arrive at the main beach; soft sand, stunning views and a gentle sloping beach combine to make this one of the best beaches in the area. Top it all off with a meal at the superb Stackpole Inn and this will be a day to live long in the memory.
PEMBROKESHIRE COSTAL PATH
Pembrokeshire is the only coastal National Park in Britain and has so much to offer its visitors. Our seaward boundary allows direct access to the 186 mile Pembrokeshire Coastal Path, heaven for anyone who enjoys dramatic coastal scenery, walking and bird watching….
Opened in 1970, the Pembrokeshire Coast Path offers superb walking with some of the most breathtaking coastal scenery in Britain…and it goes right past your house! The coast path is all that is between you and the sea on the seaward boundary, and the end point of the whole path is less than five miles away in Amroth. Although some choose to walk the whole path, most people take the more sensible option and follow one of the eleven one day walks that allow car parking at start and finish and are serviced by the coastal bus service. The scenery, flora and fauna have to be seen to be believed, and every season offers something different. Whether it is the smell of gorse flowers on a summers day, picking wild sloes as you amble along in September, watching seal pups taking their first foray into the water, or witnessing the stunning power of the sea on a windy winters day, every walk seems to offer something unique.
Ironman Wales has been proudly embraced by the County, and with the popular Long Course running in July, Pembrokeshire is fast becoming an excellent place to train, compete or spectate. We are situated on the Ironman bike course and less than three miles from Tenby, the central hub for the long course and the Ironman swim and run. One of the best days out in the calendar, we are a ten minute walk from one of the highlights of the Ironman bike course (as a spectator!) – so if you fancy a great day out, bring a cowbell and join in the fun. If you’re looking to compete we are ideally placed for you and especially for your family and supporters – two minutes’ walk to the bike course and a ten minute walk brings you to the marathon course, with a slow amble into Tenby to watch the finish. Combine all this with a pool, sauna, steam room and on-site massage therapist and whether you’re training or recovering it’s not a bad place to be.
Bike – We are on the Ironman course and with two of the family members having completed Ironman in 2014 and three entered for the 2016 event, we have a thorough knowledge of the course and are more than happy to help with planning training routes, both on the Ironman route and alternatives to help with getting to know those hills!
Swim – As well as an on-site 17m pool, we are lucky in having Saundersfoot Bay so close; as a training swim it is hugely popular as it is sheltered, very conveniently half a mile exactly from the harbour to Coppet Hall and best of all, by swimming parallel to the beach you not only have a sandy bottom beneath you, but can choose the depth of water you feel comfortable swimming in. Absolutely superb for making the transition from pool to sea. We’re also only a 5 minute drive from the Ironman swim route.
Run – The gymnasium on-site has two running machines for those very rainy days, but with the coast path and beach to train on you’ll find yourself having some incredible running experiences – having the beach to yourself at dawn is quite something.
As well as being in a superb position for training, on the big day we are in an ideal location for family and friends to support you. After an early trip to watch the quite stunning spectacle of the swim start, you’ll have plenty of time to come back for breakfast, before setting out to watch the cyclists as they near the end of loop one. Walk to Wisemans Bridge to sit in the pub beer garden and watch one of the fastest parts of the route, then wander back to St Brides hill to experience the atmosphere close up as the athletes hit the shortest but sharpest hill on the route…it’s not called heartbreak hill for nothing! Then there’s plenty of time for lunch before watching the cyclists come back past on their second lap. After that, a walk up the hill to New Hedges will bring you to the running route, where you can cheer your by-now-quite-tired dearest and support them as they pass on each of the four running laps as you make your way into Tenby for the finish. It’s an incredible day to experience whether you’re competing or watching, and we’re more than happy to help with planning and explaining road closures and where to go.
Once the day is over, you may want to make use of the swimming pool, sauna and steam room to help with your recovery over the following days, in addition to this our on-site beautician is also an excellent masseuse and available for booking.
Pembrokeshire offers something for everyone, and quite a few pleasant surprises….once you know the county, you will find all manner of activities and locations tucked away, often well away from the tourist trail. With a combined family presence in Pembrokeshire of over 300 years and three generations, we’ve established some favourite things to do over the years. Here we’ve listed some of our very favourite locations and activities for everyone from retired couples to large families:
‘The Glen Beach BBQ’ – nestled between the site and Saundersfoot, the Glen is a busy and popular beach. With lots of sand and more rockpools than your children can get round in a day, it’s a fantastic place for kids. However, if you time the tide correctly then you can have a very special experience. In mid summer with a high tide of about 7 o’clock, you’ll find that by 4 most holidaymakers are heading home, and the Western part of the beach is cut off by the tide…and that’s exactly the place to be. Access is simple from the nearby car park, but you will almost always find yourselves with your own private beach, plenty of afternoon sun remaining and a perfect location to have a barbecue. Sitting in the early evening sun, relaxing and listening to the gentle lapping of the waves on the beach make for a truly memorable experience.
‘The Monkstone day trip’ – There is a local maxim that you have to earn a good beach, and Monkstone is the perfect example of this. There is no vehicle access, and hiking in involves a little bit of effort with a ten minute walk and a steep path, which serves to put a great number of people off. For those willing to make this effort, Monkstone rewards you with one of the best beaches in the area. Never crowded, the beach has a wild feel about it that children will love, and with a huge expanse of sand during most of the tide and what we would term ‘proper’ rockpools, there is nothing better than packing a ball, a net, some kindling and a frying pan and making the trek. With the day spent playing games on the beach and foraging, and the early evening cooking your finds using some of the plentiful driftwood, you will often find yourselves with a huge expanse of beach all to yourself and not an ice cream van in sight….if you want to feel connected to nature, this is the way to do it!
Ultracomida – Narberth is fast becoming the cultural capital of Pembrokeshire, with a fantastic selection of shops and cafe’s. Nestled in the high street is Ultracomida, a Spanish delicatessen. With genuine imported meats and cheeses together with the best of the local produce it is a superb place to buy food. The best part of the shop however is hidden at the back, a small tapas restaurant where they cook and serve the produce on sale. Welcoming to children and following the tradition of seating mixed parties around large tables it is a fantastic place to eat and meet people. The food is superb and the atmosphere incredibly relaxed….for a long, lazy lunch you’ll find it very hard to beat.
Quayside Tearoom, Lawrenny – Situated on the Daugleddau estuary a 25 minute drive away, the Quayside tearoom is an unobtrusive building on the edge of the water in one of the most serene spots in the county. Worth a visit just to sit and absorb the tranquility of what is known historically as ‘the secret waterway’, your experience will be immensely enhanced by a visit to what is consistently one of the best places to eat in the area. Having twice won the best cafe/tearoom in Wales, Quayside prides itself in offering the very best local produce superbly cooked; with six or seven blackboard specials on offer every day using local seasonal produce, it offers some of the best Pembrokeshire food in one of the best locations.
Skomer, Ramsey and St Davids – Based in St Davids, the smallest city in the UK and well worth a day trip in its own right, the thousand islands expedition offers a fantastic way to see the marine wildlife in Pembrokeshire up close. Operating in the RSPB nature reserves of Skomer and Ramsey islands, and in some of the most dramatic scenery on offer, you have the choice of either a 500hp jet boat trip or a more sedate fishing boat trip; either way this trip will showcase the scenery and wildlife of the area. Additionally, the Dale Princess operates from Martins Haven and runs trips to Skomer Island, allowing you to land and see the incredible flora and bird life – half the worlds population of Manx Shearwater live on the island, together with the largest puffin colony in Southern UK. It is also possible to stay overnight on the island, and although this is limited to 16 people it offers a truly unique experience.