The beautiful coastline of Pembrokeshire National Park, Wales
Pembrokeshire is a beautiful part of Wales. Located in the South of the country, with the ocean framing three sides, it's a walkers' - and water-lovers' paradise. The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park is Britain's only designated coastal national park, with stunning views all along the coast, made accessible by the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path.
There are so many great tourist attractions in Pembrokeshire, and if you enjoy being outdoors, then most of the best things to see and do in Pembrokeshire are free! Pembrokeshire is blessed with some of Britain's most beautiful beaches and there's pretty gardens, grand castles and cute little towns to visit too!
Pembrokeshire is the perfect break for couples and families who love being outdoors and with nature. If this sounds like you, then read on for my top 8 things to see and do in Pembrokeshire.
Top things to do in Pembrokeshire
1. Visit the town of Tenby
Tenby is one of Pembrokeshire’s most popular towns and it’s well worth a visit! Enclosed within the medieval town walls is a maze of shops, pubs and ice cream vendors - wandering around here is a great way to spend an hour or so. And make sure you check out the harbour - it’s small but is really picturesque with a backdrop of brightly coloured houses and beaches to either side to sit and enjoy your fish and chips on! Check this post out for my recommendations for things to do in Tenby.
Tenby harbour and Castle hill from Tenby's North beach
2. Walk the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path
The Pembrokeshire Coastal path runs for 186 miles and with most of the route on high cliff-tops, the views are incredible! All the way along the coastal path, there are beaches and coves to explore as well as wildlife to admire. There are many sections of the trail which can be completed in a couple of hours, so whatever your ability, you’ll be able to see amazing views, there are also some great shorter trails for families - See here for a list of popular trail sections. A walk along the Pembrokeshire coastal path is without a doubt one of the best things to do in Pembrokeshire!
Walking to St. Davids head from Whitesands Bay, along the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path
3. Visit St. Govan’s Chapel
St Govan’s Chapel is a small 6th century stone chapel, built into the cliffside near Bosherston in honor of Irish Monk, St Govan. Legend has it that St. Govan used this spot to hide from pirates, after the cliffs opened up to provide him with a place of refuge, closing behind him to evade the pirates and keep him safe until they were gone!
St. Govan's Chapel is one of the top sights to see along the Pembrokeshire coastal path and if you're lucky enough to go when it's not too busy, its nice to sit on the rocks in the cove in front of the chapel and look out to sea. There is a car park just above the chapel, or you can walk along the coastal path from Bosherston Lily ponds, via Broadhaven beach, which is a lovely walk.
Tip: Both the road to the car park and the coastal path passes through Castlemartin MOD firing range, so you will need to check that you can access the paths beforehand by checking their schedule here.
St Govan's Chapel
4. Visit one of Pembrokeshire's stunning beaches
Pembrokeshire has some of Wale's most beautiful beaches, and there's plenty of gorgeous beaches to choose from, all along the coastline. Barafundle Bay in the South of Pembrokeshire is known as one of the UK’s most beautiful beaches, with gorgeous soft sand, while Newgale and Whitehaven beaches are great for surfers. I would also highly recommend visiting Broadhaven beach, as this links to Bosherston Lily ponds in one direction and to St. Govan's chapel in the other direction, along the coastal path, which makes for a really great day out. Check out my blog on Pembrokeshire’s top 6 beaches.
Broadhaven beach from Bosherston Lily Ponds
5. Bosherston Lily Ponds
There are some great gardens to visit in Pembrokeshire and Bosherston Lily Ponds is one of the best. The walk around Bosherston Lily Ponds is an easy 1 mile route suitable for all levels. You can extend the walk by detouring at the halfway point, and spending some time at Broadhaven beach, or pick up the coastal path and walk to St. Govan’s Chapel. The car park at Bosherston is small, so get there early morning or late afternoon to avoid the midday crowds. There’s also a tea room in Bosherston to enjoy a drink after your walk.
Bosherton Lily Ponds
6. Spend an afternoon at the Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is a former disused quarry which has now been opened up to allow the sea to flood in. To get to the Blue Lagoon, park at Abereiddy beach and take the short walk to the Blue Lagoon. It is a popular spot for coasteering and cliff diving and the Red Bull cliff diving championships are held here. This spot is popular with families as the enclosed cove has safe and calm swimming conditions.
Another suggestion for a great day out in Pembrokeshire is to park up at Porthgain and walk along the Coastal path to the Blue Lagoon. This route has some stunning views all the way and it's a great walk. To return to your car, simply retrace your steps the same way.
The Blue Lagoon at Abereiddy
7. Explore the Pembrokeshire coast from the water…
If you fancy getting off the land and out onto the water, there’s so many different activities you can take part in. Kayaking is a popular hobby with the locals and there’s several companies around Pembrokeshire offering Kayak tours. In fact Kayaking the coastline is one of the most popular activities for tourists in Pembrokeshire as it’s a great way to explore the cliffs and coves along the coast. The company I used for a morning Kayak tour in Fishguard was Kayak-King who were really great!
If Kayaking is not your thing, then there are also companies who run surf schools or coasteering tours for the more active. If you prefer something a bit more laid-back, then take a boat trip to Ramsey Island from St Davids or to Caldey Island from Tenby.
Kayaking the Fishguard coastline
8. Visit St. Davids - the UK's smallest city
Along with Tenby, St David's is one of the most popular places to visit in Pembrokeshire. St. Davids is the size of a small town, but thanks to it’s huge cathedral, it is actually classified as a city and is known as being Britain's smallest city. Built in the 12th century, St. Davids is Wales’ most iconic religious site and was a main centre of pilgrimage for the western world. Admission to go inside the cathedral is free, but donations are welcomed.
Opposite the cathedral, separated by only a small river is the ruins of the Bishops palace which you can also visit.
Away from the Cathedral, you can also walk from the city to Porthclais harbour and then along the coastal path to St. Non's chapel, before heading back to St Davids for a coffee at one of the small cafes. A perfect day out!
St Davids Cathedral
I hope this has given you some inspiration. I came back from our week here feeling so relaxed and refreshed after spending so much time outdoors and with such beautiful views. It really is a great place for a break.
How to get around in Pembrokeshire?
I would highly recommend having your own vehicle when visiting Pembrokeshire. You can get by using public buses and trains, but they only connect main towns and villages, so to really explore the area properly, it is best to have your own transport. Some of the roads can be quite narrow and winding, so a smaller car is better and if you are travelling in a camper van, then just check to make sure you have room to turn around at the end of a narrow lane!
Where's the best place to stay in Pembrokeshire?
If you have your own transport, then it doesn't matter too much where you stay in Pembrokeshire as everything is quite easy to reach within about 1 hour's drive. I stayed in a small town near Tenby called Pembroke Dock. I actually wouldn't recommend staying here as it wasn't very pretty at all, although the location was quite good as we could easily access the beaches and sights along the coastal path in the south of Pembrokeshire, as well as Tenby, but the city of St. Davids and the northern coastline was not too far away either.
I would say, plan what you would like to see first in Pembrokeshire, then choose your accommodation afterwards so that you can base yourself in the centre of your chosen activities.
What is there to do in Pembrokeshire at night?
Honestly? Not much. If you are looking for a more lively night scene, with bars and lots of restaurants to choose from, then Pembrokeshire might not be for you. Most of the smaller coastal towns in Pembrokeshire are quiet and have one or two pubs or restaurants to choose from and most of the accommodation here is self catering for that reason. This is the type of break where you spend your time outdoors, being active during the day and snuggled up cosy and warm in the evening. If you can't stand the thought of cooking in, then Tenby is a good option with several places to have a drink or two or a nice meal in the evening.
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