Whenever bloggers tweet asking about where they can escape to in the UK, my response is always West Wales. I live just a stones throw away and am always road tripping down West. With a beautifully rugged coastline, tiny towns and villages filled with pretty little shops, and miles of open wide countryside to explore, it provides the perfect getaway – especially when the sun is shining!
I tweeted last week saying that I was thinking of sharing some of my favourite, most picturesque places to visit in West Wales and had an unbelievable response. Low and behold, here are the top ten places (in no particular order) that you absolutely must visit if you’re in my neck of the woods.
Undoubtedly my favourite place in the world, Tenby is a beautiful seaside town with a bustling harbour, stunning beaches and amazing places to eat and drink, best known for this iconic view of colourful town houses overlooking the sea. I have so many amazing memories of visiting here. It was one of the first places I drove to when I passed my test, I’ve been here countless times with my boyfriend and family, and it’s also where we meet our cousins and family from Canada whenever they’re in Wales. There is so much do, whether its relaxing on the beach, nosing around in the shops, or stuffing your face with delicious local produce. You can also take a boat trip across the waves to neighbouring Caldey Island, one of Britain’s holy islands, and the sunsets are pretty spectacular.
2. St David’s
My primary school was a church school and every year we would do what can only be described as a pilgrimage to the cathedral at St David’s. Buses, filled with crazy school children, would meander along the coast to the teeny tiny city, where we’d congregate in the beautiful cathedral for a special service before eating our packed lunches at the grave yard afterwards. Admittedly, it sounds pretty freaking morbid, but it’s a beautiful place and one that I still love visiting to this day.
3. St Bride’s Haven
This is my mum’s most favourite place and we visit every August around her birthday so that she can reminisce and remember all of the wonderful times she had here with her grandparents when growing up. As a young girl my mum, her sisters, and my great-grandparents, aunts and uncles, would pack up the car and head to this tiny seaside haven for their holidays. It’s a beautifully secluded patch of coastline, with a tiny beach and vast clifftops to explore. There really is nowhere more stunning when the sun is shining.
4. New Quay
West is most definitely best. The Welsh New Quay situated along Cardigan Bay is the ideal place for dolphin spotting. I remember sitting in a café with my grandparents once, and seeing a pod of bottlenose dolphins leaping through the waves. There’s always so much going on in New Quay, whether it’s a jazz festival, sailing competition or carnival, and there are loads of pretty little spots to sit and watch the world go by.
5. Skrinkle Haven
This is a tiny unspoiled bit of coastline, situated just along the clifftop from Tenby, and boy is it beautiful! Dan and I visited here for the first time last year after being totally impressed by some photographs we saw on Instagram. It’s even more breathtaking in real life; we felt like we were on an exotic island lightyears away from civilisation. The cliff on the far Eastern side of the haven is cut in two and is known as Church Doors Cove, making it the perfect place for caving, snorkelling or swimming. In the evening this is also a perfect place to stargaze after watching the sun set over the waves, as there is very little light pollution.
There’s a lot of Aberaeron that I’m yet to explore, but it boasts some fantastic restaurants overlooking a stunning harbour that winds its way through this colourful town to the beach. Dan works down there a lot, so he knows the area better than me, but we usually just sit and watch people crab fishing by the harbour (with an ice cream in hand, obvs).
7. Saundersfoot & Wiseman’s Bridge
My perfect Sunday afternoon involves driving to the little beach at Wiseman’s Bridge on the Eastern coast of Pembrokeshire with Dan and my dogs in tow. We stroll along the shoreline, through the old railway tunnels and end up in Saundersfoot, before grabbing an ice cream and sitting by the harbour watching the world go by. Saundersfoot has an array of little shops, cafés and pubs to enjoy, as well as a beautiful spa with an outdoor pool overlooking the beach.
8. Blue Lagoon, Abereiddy
This place is seriously incredible. I only discovered it last year while writing up my Masters thesis, and it is really amazing; an absolute must-visit if you’re ever in Wales. This little hamlet boasts a stunning breached quarry, the Blue Lagoon, where the water is the most beautiful turquoise and where adrenaline junkies come to catapult themselves off the cliffs into the pool below. Check out Celtic Quest Coasteering if you fancy a try yourself!
9. St Govan’s Head, Stackpole
The staggering clifftops of St. Govan’s will always have a very special place in my heart. When I was young my nan, grandad and I would come here on a Sunday for a delicious roast at St. Govan’s Inn – a traditional pub in neighbouring village Bosherston – before heading to the clifftops for a stroll above sea level, and a climb down to the adorable stone chapel that is carved into the cliffs. Yes, that’s right, there’s a tiny chapel wedged into the foot of the cliffs, which can be reached by scrambling down a set of rickety stone steps. The perfect place for keen photographers.
10. Barafundle Bay
Last, but certainly not least, is this absolute gem in the Pembrokeshire coastline. Barafundle has been voted one of the top 10 beaches in the whole world, beating the likes of Bondi and Copacabana, and I can totally see why. With golden sands and crystal blue waters, it’s no wonder it’s often compared to a Caribbean holiday hotspot.
Have you visited West Wales?
Where’s your favourite “staycation”?
Lots of love. xoxo