One of the best things to do in Pembrokeshire is to visit Tenby. With its cute colourful houses, sandy beaches and plenty of shops and restaurants, it is one of Pembrokeshire’s most popular towns and is a great place for a day trip when visiting this part of Wales.
Make sure you check out the Top things to do in Pembrokeshire as well for more great things to do near Tenby!
Tenby is a great place to visit for all the family, so whether you're a family with kids or a couple looking to explore, there's something for everyone. Here’s my recommendations for 11 of the best things to do in Tenby.
11 Great things to do in Tenby, Wales
1. Admire Tenby’s colourful houses from North Beach
North Beach is located off the main road and in Tenby, and accessed by steps down to the beach. From North beach, you can look across to Tenby harbour, which is backed by rows of brightly coloured houses. There’s a small cafe on the beach, but grab fish and chips from town and take them to the beach with you - just watch out for those pesky seagulls!
2. Take a boat trip from Tenby harbour
Taking a boat trip is one of the best things to do in Tenby and there's several options to choose from. From the harbour, you can book onto boat tours around Caldey and St Margaret's Island, you can also choose a kayaking tour, or a speedboat if you fancy going a litter faster!
3. Walk the Tenby coastline - (one of the best free things to do!)
You can walk all the way around the coastline of Tenby, taking in all three of Tenby's beaches, as well as the harbour.
Starting from North beach, stroll towards Tenby's small harbour, past colourful terraced houses. From the harbour, you can take a short climb up to castle hill. Coming back down from castle hill, you will pass the small castle beach, before the path heads back inland, through Tenby town. Coming out at the other side of Tenby town, through the old town walls, you will reach the Esplanade. Walk along the Espalande with great views out to sea, before arriving at South beach for a drink. This is one of the best free things to do in Tenby.
Looking across to the harbour from Tenby's North Beach
4. Stroll around the shops in Tenby's old town walls
The main town centre of Tenby is encompassed in its old medieval town walls. Here you will find a maze of shops, bars, cafes and restaurants. There are so many small side streets and pathways to explore and you could easily spend an hour or so wandering in and around the town. The main entrance to the old town is through the Five Arches on the East side, where most of the wall remains intact. Tenby is one of the most populated towns in Pembrokeshire in terms of shops and restaurants, and in the summer months, it does get very busy, so if you want to eat at a restaurant, my advice would be to book ahead.
Five Arches entrance in Tenby's medieval town walls
5. Relax at South Beach, Tenby's largest beach
South Beach is Tenby’s largest beach and is a great soft, sandy beach. Even at high tide, there’s still plenty of beach to enjoy and the waves are calm here, making it great for families. South beach is the best beach to visit in Tenby if you are looking for more space to spread out or play ball games. Pembrokeshire has some gorgeous beaches, so if you have time, make sure to visit some of the other beautiful beaches in this area.
6. Enjoy a sunset Al fresco drink at Tenby's South Beach
Located on Tenby’s South beach is Salty’s beach bar and restaurant. Here is the best place to watch the sunset with a drink outside. If you want to dine here though, book ahead as it’s a very popular spot! (If you’re here during the day, grab an ice cream or cold drink at the South Beach Shack next door).
7. Climb up Castle Hill for great views over Tenby
Only the ruins of a small tower remain from the 13th century Castle that occupies the headland of Tenby. Surrounded by defensive canons, you can see across the town of Tenby and out to St Catherine’s Island. On a clear day, you can also see Worm’s head in Gower and St Margaret's and Caldey Islands. It's only a short walk from castle beach and is worth it for the views.
The ruins on Castle hill and the view across to St. Catherine's Island
8. Enjoy the view at Castle Beach
Castle beach is the smallest of Tenby’s three beaches, and is nestled just below Tenby Castle and Castle hill, with great views across to St Catherine’s Island. There are toilets at this beach, as well as a couple of cafes so it can get popular, particularly as it has a great view. It can get very crowded though as it is really quite small, I would recommend coming here later in the afternoon or early evening if you are looking for a quiet spot.
9. Visit the Tenby art gallery and museum
This small museum showcases work from local artists and has exhibitions featuring Pembrokeshire’s natural and maritime history. There is a small admission fee for adults to enter the museum, but the gift shop can be visited for free.
10. Take in great views from Tenby's Esplanade
The Esplanade is the road which connects the Tenby town walls with the South Beach area of the town. Located high on the clifftop, the Esplanade offers spectacular views across to St. Catherine’s Island and South beach. With benches the whole way along, it is the perfect spot to enjoy an ice cream and take in the view. This is a great place to watch the sunset in the evening.
The view over South beach from the Esplanade
11. Enjoy Tenby at night
Whether you're staying overnight in Tenby or not, it is a great place to enjoy a nice meal or a couple of drinks. Pembrokeshire does not have many towns with lots of choices for going out in the evening, so if you fancy a night out, Tenby is your best bet - although, I use the term 'night out' loosely. It's not so much fancy cocktail bars and clubs and more rustic pubs, cosy restaurants and great food. As I mentioned before, in the summer, the restaurants do get very busy, so my advice would be to book ahead.
Tenby is a great place for a day trip when you are visiting Pembrokeshire in Wales. I would particularly recommend Tenby for couples, as it's great for a bit of shopping and visiting the cafes and bars and if you are in Pembrokeshire for a few days, visiting Tenby is definitely one of the best things to do.
If you're looking for another great seaside destination in the UK, then I can recommend Christchurch in Dorset. This lovely little seaside town is perfect for a couples weekend away, with great access to Dorset's beaches and the stunning Jurassic Coastline.
How to get to Tenby?
Being one of the larger and most popular towns in Pembrokeshire, Tenby is well connected whether you have your own vehicle or are travelling by public transport.
By train - Tenby's train station is just outside of the main town centre and it is just a short walk from here to the shops and coastline.
By bus - If you are staying in one of the smaller, local towns or villages surrounding Tenby, there are several local bus services that run. You can see the various lines here.
By car - If you have your own car or vehicle, there are several car parks in and around Tenby. As you might expect, it is cheaper to park in one of the car parks on the outskirts of the main town - we used one by the train station and it was reasonably priced for a full day.
Is Tenby a good place to stay?
This really depends on what kind of break you are after. In short, yes, Tenby is a great place to stay, particularly if you prefer to eat out every night and don't want to be cooking for yourselves, as there are lots of options in Tenby. If you are staying in Tenby, there are several independent hotels on the Esplanade, which have great views out to sea.
However if you are looking for somewhere to base yourself to explore more of Pembrokeshire, then just remember that Tenby is at the Southern Eastern edge of Pembrokeshire, so you may be better to base yourself more in the middle, which makes it easier to explore the whole area.
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