My 5 favourite places in Pembrokeshire.

Pembrokeshire is one of my favourite places on the planet. I grew up in neighbouring Carmarthenshire, and we would take day trips across the border to the Pembrokeshire Coast at every opportunity. I think these days of exploring the county’s beautiful beaches, craggy cliff tops and quirky villages are the reason why I love the outdoors and countryside so much, as I have such amazing memories of going there with my parents and grandparents.

The lockdown restrictions finally¬†started being lifted here in Wales at the start of the month. We’d been stuck within a 5 mile radius for months but last week I got to go home to stay with family and we had beautiful weather which meant a few day trips to Pembrokeshire were on the cards.

I thought I’d share with you some of my favourites within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, the only National Park in the UK to be designated primarily because of its amazing coastline, though there is so much to see and do that it’s pretty hard to narrow down. The area boasts 629km squared of stunning landscapes, walking trails, coastal villages and adventure hubs, and I thought this would also be a great first installment of my “Jessie’s Welsh Bucket List” Instagram series, as staycations are definitely on the up this year. It’s also peaceful, everyone is really friendly, there’s great food and fantastic places to stay too.

Tenby

I couldn’t start a list of my favourite places in Pembrokeshire without having Tenby at the top. This beautiful coastal town, with its colourful buildings, narrow alleyways and cobbled streets overlooking the boats bobbing in the crowded harbour, has a long history. People have lived there since the 9th century, but the Norman invasion of south Wales meant that the town grew as a major port and became known as “the little England beyond Wales”. The Welsh were reluctant to let Tenby go and would often make attacks on the town, so in the C13th town walls were erected around the stronghold in order to protect it. These are some of the best preserved medieval town walls in Britain today.

Now though, people visit for its beautiful beaches, delicious eateries, laid-back harbour and stunning scenery. You could easily spend a day musing along the winding streets and checking out the quirky shops, before lounging on the golden sands in the sunshine with some fish and chips. It’s really lovely and quaint, and also the perfect place to base yourself if you want a few days away in Pembrokeshire as there are easy road links to other destinations that are off the beaten track.

North Beach Pay & Display Carpark: SA70 8AT
Places to stay: see here

Bosherston Lily Ponds

My granddad introduced me to this little piece of heaven on earth back when I was young and it’s become one of my favourite places in the universe. The Bosherston Lily Ponds are part of the Stackpole Estate, owned and managed by the National Trust, and are part of a National Nature Reserve. The lakes are actually man made and were built by the Cawdor family between 1780 and 1860, with the water being supplied by a natural underground reservoir. They are brimming with life in the summer, with swans gliding through the bright green lily pads and herons observing from the reeds; though the area is equally as magical in the winter.

There are so many walks you can do around here, but my favourite starts at Bosherston and goes through Stackpole Quay, Barafundle Bay and Broadhaven South before ending up back at the Lily Ponds’ carpark. It’s about 6 miles and all signposted, showing off different landscapes including freshwater lakes, sand dunes and clifftops overlooking the blue waters. This National Trust map here provides all the information you need for this walk and is pretty simple and easy to follow. Be sure to take your camera with you as there are so many opportunities for amazing photos!

Parking at Bosherston: SA71 5DN (Note – there are only 80 spaces so get there early)
Places to stay: see here

St David’s

I went to a Church in Wales primary school and every year we would make the “pilgrimage” to St David’s Cathedral. Based in the UK’s smallest city, there has been a church on this site since the C6th, when St David built a monastery there. The magnificent building that you can see today is the culmination of centuries of changes and modifications. It is built from local stone and it welcomes over 300,000 visitors a year from all over Wales and the world, of all faiths and backgrounds. You can head inside to take in the amazing design and architecture, or relax on the grounds and take in the views. It’s a really special place and I love visiting.

The city of St David’s and the surrounding Peninsula are definitely worth a visit too. It may be home to just 1,600 residents, but there are various shops, cafes and eateries, ice cream parlours and pubs to visit along the high street. We always enjoy walking around the streets and looking at the arty window displays, treating ourselves to an ice cream or an oggy (a Welsh pasty!) as we look around. There are options to get involved in adventure activities in the Peninsula, such as coasteering, or to go on boat trips to neighbouring Ramsey Island, which is an RSPB reserve. Currently most activities are on hold because of the coronavirus, but well worth thinking about for when restrictions (hopefully) ease further in the future.

Parking at Oriel y Parc: SA62 6QT (it’s a short walk down through the High Street to the Cathedral)
Places to stay: see here

Barafundle Bay

One of the Pembrokeshire Coast’s best-kept secrets, Barafundle Bay is so quiet and serene with breathtaking views of the turquoise sea and sandy shores. It has been voted many times as one of the best beaches, not only in the UK, but in the world and it is easy to see why. Barafundle is owned and managed by the National Trust¬†and is only accessible on foot. Park at Stackpole Quay carpark and walk half a mile along the rocky clifftops to reach this secluded haven. It’s the perfect picnic spot and often pretty quiet too, so you might even have the place to yourselves! Further along the coastline, you can also reach the beautiful Broadhaven South beach and quirky St Govan’s Chapel, a magical hermitage built into the cliff face by the sea.

Parking at Stackpole Quay: SA71 5LS (OS grid reference SR 990 957)
Places to stay: see here

Solva

This is a really recent discovery of mine, as we always used to bypass this little village on route to St David’s. Solva is a bustling village with a range of cafes and arty shops, based at the head of an inlet that was carved out as a meltwater valley during the last Ice Age. I had visited the harbour before, but had never set foot on the clifftops over looking it until last week, when we decided to walk the approx. 5 miles along the coastal path to St David’s with stunning views of the peninsula and beyond. It’s a lovely walk and we barely saw any people along the trail. Solva Harbour is the perfect place to sit and watch the world go by or to get yourself out onto the water via canoe, kayak or paddle board. There are also some lovely B&B’s if you wanted to stay in the area.

Parking at Solva Harbour: SA62 6XJ
Places to stay: see here

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It’s worth noting that the majority of these car parks listed are pay and display with coins only, so be sure to have some spare change with you. At the time of writing, things are slowly starting to open up in Wales, but we’re still not allowed to eat or drink in cafes/pubs/restaurants indoors until August 3rd (provided it is safe to do so), so it’s worth taking a picnic and/or snacks with you as we’ve found a few places are yet to open, even for outdoor eating and drinking.

Nevertheless, I hope I’ve inspired you to visit some of my favourite places! I’m sure people reading will have thought I’ve left out some beautiful hidden gems on this list, but my advice is to go and take a drive and see where you end up. The National Park is insanely beautiful and there’s so much to see or do, it’s really hard to narrow it all down. But if you do visit, please remember to keep your distance, to stay safe and to take your litter home with you.

What are your favourite places in Pembrokeshire? Have you ever visited the area?

Lots of love. xoxo

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2 Comments

  1. July 22, 2020 / 6:04 pm

    Miss Pembrokshire so much, totally second all of these recommendations

    • jessieann48
      Author
      July 27, 2020 / 8:52 pm

      Thank you lovely! xx

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