Last year, Pembrokeshire won the prestigious ‘Holiday Destination of the Year’ for 2018 in the BBC Countryfile awards. This award is one of the 100s that the county has won over the past few decades and for very good reason. Words barely do justice to the bewitching, magnificent wealth of natural beauty that Pembrokeshire has to offer. It is exhilarating whilst simultaneously calming and provides pure escapism for the thousands of people who visit each year.
If you haven’t explored the secrets in the coastal coves or along the unspoilt stretches of sand and pretty harbours, this year is the year to make the trip.
Especially, as it is now totally free to come into Wales thanks to the removal of the tolls from the Seven Bridge!
Need more convincing? Here are Penally Abbey’s top five favourite things about Pembrokeshire.
1) 50 Beautiful Beaches
The thought of lazing on the beach in the sunshine, ice cream in hand, is what many of us picture when we think of our summer holiday. In Pembrokeshire, the broad range of beaches to choose from is endless. I have never visited another country and found a beach that tops those in Pembrokeshire. The draw of the mere 51 beaches in Pembrokeshire is the crystal-clear waters, vast sand dunes and all of their unspoilt natural beauty.
Whether you’re after a white sandy beach that stretches into the distance like Freshwater West and Marloes, or a secluded, sheltered cove like Barafundle or Angle Bay, there is something for everyone. Penally Abbey is situated just 5 minutes from the seaside town of Tenby which has not one beach, but four. Find out more about the beaches in Tenby here.
Whether you are a sea swimmer, sunbather, dog walker or looking for the perfect picnic spot, you’ll find it in Pembrokeshire.
For more information on which beaches have blue flags, green coast awards and where they all are, head over to the Visit Pembrokeshire website.
2) 186 miles of Coastal Path
The Pembrokeshire Coastal Park is one of the most dramatically beautiful coastal paths in the world. It is staggeringly picturesque with a vast array of terrains for varying abilities. The path is part of the Welsh Coast path and runs from Amroth in the south to St.Dogmeals in the north. In the north of the county, the path dips in and out of tiny creeks and coves and runs through pretty villages like Solva and Porthclais harbour. In the south, it winds past the famously beautiful beach of Barafundle and along the open headland to beautiful Bosherston and Stack Rocks. No matter what mood the sea is in, the wildlife is plentiful, and the views are generous.
Guided tours of the Pembrokeshire Coast
When staying at Penally Abbey Hotel we supply guests with maps, leaflets and our own personal guides. We also work closely with the very knowledgeable and friendly Joe from the village who runs Pembrokeshire Safari Tours. If you’re looking for a guide for the day, he can pick you up from the front door and take you to his favourite spots along the coast.
Coastal Tours: Pembrokeshire Safari Tours
3) Adventure Activites
Looking for a splash of organised adventure on holiday? Pembrokeshire is bursting with fun-filled activities for the inner thrill seeker in you (…no matter how deep that thrill seeker may be buried!). The Pembrokeshire coast was rated by National Geographic as the ‘Best Place in Europe for Coasteering’ and has some of the best waves for surfing in the UK.
Below I’ve listed some of our favourite coastal activities in Pembrokeshire and the best companies to go out on an adventure with:
Coasteering is by the far one of the best ways for any adventure seeker or adrenaline junkie to spend the day. However, even if you’re fairly averse to the idea of plunging into the ocean from the coastal path, putting yourself out of your comfort zone could not be more exhilarating when you’re surrounded by such incredible natural beauty! Do something different and exciting this year…
Surfing & Paddleboarding
Embrace the great outdoors with these two surf companies!
Mention Pembrokeshire to any avid climber and you’ll see their eyes light up. It is one of the best spots for cliff climbing in the UK and attracts thousands of climbers every year.
Climb Pembroke has a wealth of experience and can take climbers with all levels of experience.
Pembrokeshire is surrounded by the ocean which means that sailing is a very popular hobby to those that both live and visit the county. Sailing courses and days can be arranged with Sealyham Activity Centre based in Haverfordwest and Pembrokeshire Cruising in Neyland.
4) Fantastic Food
The sea is at the heart of many Pembrokeshire businesses and remains the focus for many restaurants and cafes across the county. We are spoilt for choice with fabulous suppliers and at Penally Abbey Hotel, we make the most of the local produce on offer in Capel, our hotel restaurant. There are so many passionate chefs in Pembrokeshire meaning that brilliant local restaurants are in abundance! You can read our local guide to eating out in Tenby here!
Pembrokeshire is also spoilt with fabulous food events and this years’ events are listed below!
Haverfoodfest 2019 is returning to Haverfordwest on Saturday 4th May and will be bringing over 50 artisan food and drink stalls from the local and nearby area to the riverside in the centre of the town.
Pembrokeshire Street Food festival will also be returning to Tenby South Beach in June and it is always a fantastic party atmosphere, with incredible food, in one of the most picturesque locations. Keep an eye on their Facebook and website where they’ll be announcing the dates soon!
Pembrokeshire Fish Week is one of the highlights of any Pembrokeshire foodies’ year. The festival celebrates fresh local fish in a week-long celebration from Saturday 22nd– Sunday 30th June. Restaurants, cafes and pubs across the county hold all types of fish related events. Here at Penally Abbey, we’ll be throwing our own celebratory event as part of the festival, as well as serving delicious fish specials. We’ll share more soon!
Narberth Food Festival is a food festival that always ends the summer in style. It is one of the most long-standing food festivals in the county and attracts visitors from miles around – far beyond Pembrokeshire itself. It is unmissable for food lovers and is the ultimate celebration of food. It’s held in Narbeth on September 28th& 29th2019.
5) Incredible Islands
The Pembrokeshire coastline is spectacular however you chose to enjoy it but there is one particular way that trumps all others, and that is the from the islands. Looking back at the mainland whilst en route to one of the four beautiful, wildlife-filled islands is one of the best. The islands off the Pembrokeshire coast are Skomer, Grassholm, Skokholm and Ramsey. You can visit all of these islands at various times of the year with different companies. Pembrokeshire Boat Tours will take you out to Skomer, Grassholm and Skokholm and you can also go along on a Sea Safari tour of the islands.
We have also created our very own guide to our favourite of the islands, Skomer. You can read it here!
Somewhere perfect to stay...
Penally Abbey of course!!
Penally Abbey is the most beautiful place to base yourself whilst exploring Pembrokeshire. With 11 individually decorated bedrooms looking out across the sand dunes towards Carmarthen Bay. In the peaceful village of Penally just 5 minutes outside of the popular seaside holiday town of Tenby.