Pembrokeshire. Amongst layers of coast, countryside and breathtaking landscape you’ll find a myriad of small towns and villages. And each has its own personality, local characters and haunts for you to enjoy.
It will take too long to do each one justice, it’s best to explore them yourself. Here’s a very brief overview of the main towns and villages in Pembs.
The main town on the south coast is Tenby. A picturesque, laid-back and family friendly seaside town that’s kept its innocence. You’ve got quirky clothes and gift shops, cosy pubs and restaurants, some interesting boat trips and 3 award winning beaches all within a few minutes walk. You’ll get a sprinkling of music acts, summer events and art exhibitions through the year. And you’ll no doubt see a few hen parties, amusing to watch, no harm to them!
Nearby smaller holiday towns include Penally, Manorbier, Saundersfoot, Wisemans Bridge, Amroth. All on the coast with their own walks, activities, nice pubs and tranquility spots. Head for these areas if you want a slightly quieter holiday but still want to be near a couple of shops and places to eat.
Heading back west along the coast you’ve got Pembroke, Broad Haven, Newgale and St Davids. All picturesque towns (St Davids is officially a city) each with unique shops, restaurants, pubs, and access to breathtaking walks and calming countryside. They come with famous landmarks like Pembroke Castle and St Davids Cathedral.
Pembroke Dock has a rich maritime history and hosts the ferry to Rosslare, Ireland. It’s my local haunt and there’s a lovely new art and music inspired coffee shop just opened called Cwtch Coffee. And if you really can’t take any more outdoor pursuits the modern Torch Theatre (just across the Cleddau in Milford Haven) has many performances and the latest movies for you to enjoy.
There’s many a classic spot along the coast like Freshwater West beach. Known for its surfing and a popular spot to film in, the latest being Harry Potter (the beach is a backdrop to the shell cottage and the scene where Dobby dies in Harry’s arms). Barafundle Bay is glorious and often voted one of the best beaches in Britain and the World.
Popular for wildlife, boat trips, surfing, fishing, walking and water sports, these parts offer the ultimate get-away-from-it-all experience. You won’t be disappointed.
Haverfordwest more in-land, is a pleasant town with stunning Georgian architecture. It’s well connected for buses and trains and is the central shopping centre. Here you’ll find your high-street banks and a few staple high street stores like Next, Marks and Spencer, Debinhams etc. Along with nice antique shops, a few boutiques and cafés, some youngish-type-crowd nightclubs and the odd local music act playing. And psst there’s a chain coffee shop here…
Head into North Pembrokeshire and you delve into traditional Welsh lands. You’ll be immersed in the unique and beautiful culture, and surrounded by stunning coast and countryside. Welsh life is ever present, locals are friendly, and you’ll hear many a conversation in Welsh.
The local music scene is developing nicely around Narbeth, Newport and Fishguard. Check for what’s on as you won’t always run into music acts off the street. This year’s Aberjazz takes place in Fishguard in August. The cosy streets, friendly and relaxed vibe and the eclectic mix of music and art venues makes Fishguard the perfect town for a Jazz n Blues festival. Book up early to find accommodation close to the town. Narberth is renowned for it’s fine quality and unique local produce. They also have The Queens Hall, one of the best music and event venues in Pembrokeshire. Art galleries and foodie events frequently pop up in the town.
There are many more picturesque, small go-through towns, remote pubs, family attractions, endless fields and famous landmarks. The scenery and landscape really is stunning and the people are friendly, quirky and creative. If you just drove round all day with a picnic you would not be disappointed.
On the edges of Pembrokeshire and heading further into mid and North Wales you have, wait for it… yet more layers of landscape, with some distinctly more remote welsh towns and villages. I couldn’t miss out reviewing a couple of these.
Cardigan is beautiful, friendly and has kept many of it’s original buildings. Locals from the surrounds inhabit many independent shops with unique furniture and gifts. It’s becoming if I dare say it, a bit chic with its village, arty residents. There’s a strong farming community, with art and music events popping up throughout the year. The people are very friendly. Don’t be surprised if a farmer looking gentleman or lady gives you a nod and asks you about your day.
Aberystwyth. A beautiful seaside town with a promenade, many attractions and surrounding walks. The Vale of Rheidol Railway takes you on a picturesque journey to the famous Devils Bridge. For many it’s a staple holiday destination. Oh and if you’re intrigued by the area by watching Hinterland, don’t be dismayed, there are many cheerful and upbeat people around!
Across Pembrokeshire there are endless hidden gems of places and people alike. You may have a favourite patch, or have a distinct idea of what you want to do, but don’t be afraid to explore.
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I’d love to hear your feedback and experiences of Pembrokeshire. And if you’re from Pembrokeshire, be sure to comment to promote your local stomping ground 🙂
Head Photo is Carew Castle by Pete Norman
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