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Top 20 Things to Do in Pembrokeshire
January 9th, 2020 | By: Matthew Adams
Never been to Pembrokeshire or looking for new things to do in your favourite holiday destination? Then you are reading the right article! Below we have chosen our 20 favourite things to do in Pembrokeshire and split them into Nature, History, Attractions and Activities. Discover the magic of this stunning region of West Wales and make the most of your trip away!
#1 Pembrokeshire Coast Path
This glorious path offers 186 miles of coastal beauty with sandy beaches, dramatic cliff tops and abundant wildlife. Few people walk the whole path, but it is rated as one of the best long-distance trails on the globe! For those looking for a gentler stroll there are plenty of short routes to follow, such as the section along Pwll Deri Bay, and during the high seasons there are also shuttles from the main towns along the coast. Walking the Pembrokeshire Coast Path is an experience you will not forget in a hurry with spectacular views to be enjoyed, no matter the weather!
#2 Cenarth Falls
For a relaxing stroll head to Cenarth and check out the magical waterfalls along the River Teifi. This spectacular series of waterfalls are best explored with a relaxing stroll along the riverside. The peaceful countryside surrounding the river and the sound of the water over the falls makes for a truly refreshing experience.
#3 Pwllgwaelod Beach
If you are looking for a quaint cove to spend the day in, you will not find much better than Pwllgwaelod. Located near the village of Newport Pwllgwaelod is a small dark sand beach flanked by cliffs on two sides with views over to Fishguard Bay. This idyllic spot is also the starting point of a 3-mile route along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path around Dinas Head to another beach at Cwm-yr-Eglwys. The Head is often mistaken for an island, but it is only cut off from the mainland by a small stream and a deep valley. Pwllgwaelod is a great little beach and the walk gives you the chance to make the most of the views and spot lots of wildlife.
#4 Whitesands Beach
Whitesands is one of the country’s premier surfing beaches, making it a popular destination for those seeking the waves, especially at its northern end. The beach is a long arch of pale golden sand framed by a patchwork of fields on the craggy hills at each end. This Blue Flag beach provides all the facilities you need with toilets, parking and a café. As well as surfing, there are plenty of other activities from canoeing to bodyboarding and for a more relaxed experience head to the peaceful coves of the southern end of the beach.
#5 Freshwater West
A favourite with film studios, Freshwater West beach has been the setting for Dobby’s Shell Cottage in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, it was featured in Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood, it was a backdrop in Hollywood’s Their Finest and was used as a double for the real thing in Dunkirk. Freshwater doesn’t just look beautiful however! The beach has offers some of the best surfing in the country for experienced and expert surfers (do not surf here as a beginner)! The strong rip tides make for challenging surfing and it is a fantastic place to watch expert surfers do their thing.
#6 Pembroke Castle
A castle with a fascinating role in the country’s history, Pembroke Castle is an imposing fortress sat on a high ridge above Pembroke. The castle was first built in 1093 by Arnulf of Montgomery and completely rebuilt in stone in the 12th century by its new owner, William Marshal, the most powerful man in Richard I’s kingdom. The castle was the birthplace of the future Henry VII and saw several battles during the Civil War before being left to ruin by Oliver Cromwell. Today the castle is a great day out with its impressive keep and several activities, including guided tours, brass rubbing and discover your family history at the heraldry centre.
#7 St. David’s Cathedral
An ancient place of worship has been on this site since the 6th century and is the resting place of the patron saint of Wales, St. David. It is one of the oldest sites of Christianity in the UK and visitors can experience its intriguing history with excellent guided tours. The building was almost completely destroyed during the Civil War and the building today is a mix of architectural styles due to its ongoing restoration since the 18th century. Look out for the differences in the structure of the building, marvel at the fully restored great organ and take in the views of the countryside from the tower. Make sure to also visit the city of St. David’s!
#8 St. Catherine’s Island & Fort
Unmissable during a visit to colourful Tenby, St. Catherine’s Island is dominated by its enormous 19th century fort. This mysterious building has stood high above Tenby beach for centuries and has seen numerous uses since its construction. Originally it was built to defend against a potential French invasion in the late 19th century before alternating between a luxury private residence and military base during the First and Second World Wars. In later years it even became a zoo! The island and fort are now open to visitors seasonally and is well worth a visit.
#9 Carew Castle
Carew is a magnificent castle with a beautiful setting on a large tidal mill pond. The huge fortress was constructed in the 12th century and later converted into a high-status Tudor then Elizabethan house. It is a stunning place for a walk and a picnic with paths all around the castle. You can also visit the ancient tidal mill, which is one of the oldest in the country and has a 22-acre mill pond. Visitors can access the castle which is now managed by Cadw for most of the year. You can see where the Welsh princess, Nest, was abducted by Owain ap Cadwgan in 1109 after scaling the imposing stone walls!
#10 Castell Henllys Iron Age Village
The perfect day out for all the family, Castell Henllys is a reconstructed Iron Age fort, near Newport. With scores of activities for children, parents are left to explore the intriguing site with its reconstructed round houses complete with baking bread and an ancient wildflower garden. Throughout the year children can take part in workshops showing them how roundhouses were built, bake bread, learn how to throw a spear and much more. It is a truly immersive historic experience than will fascinate curious minds!
#11 Folly Farm
Folly Farm is Wales’ largest independent attraction and is much more than just a farm! At Folly Farm you will find a whole zoo of exotic animals alongside your traditional cows, sheep and pigs. There are lions, rhinos, giraffes, meerkats, tarantulas, emus, camels and many more species from all over the world. There are even rare animals at this award-winning zoo, such as the Madagascan fossa, and Folly Farm is actively involved in crucial breeding programs. It is a great day out for all the family with the change to meet the giraffes at head level, pet and feed the farm animals and plenty more interactive animal experiences. If that wasn’t enough there is even a vintage funfair on site!
#12 Oakwood Theme Park
Oakwood is Wales’s largest theme park and is home to the UK’s favourite wooden rollercoaster, Megafobia. It offers a mix of activities and rides suitable for all ages, so no one is left out – there are even kennels for your dog! For the little ones there is the magical world of Neverland with Peter Pan, Tinkerbell and Captain Hook and Roald Dahland with James and the Giant Peach. While for thrill seekers there are the big rides, Megafobia, water-coaster Drenched and the many looped Speed. The park offers a fun packed family day out with special family tickets and plenty of places to rest, eat and drink.
#13 Dinosaur Park
Take an expedition into the Jurassic era at Dinosaur Park and discover triceratops, T-rex and many more gigantic species on the Jurassic Journey! Kids love coming across the dinosaurs hidden in the trees and hearing the noises of the creatures as they explore the area. You can also investigate ancient fossils and even dig them up in the Dino Dig. For more excitement you can head to one of the many rides at the park, including astra-slide, bubble boats and Wales’s only tube slide. For more sedate adventures take on the challenge of T-rex mini-golf or steer the kids to the extensive indoor soft-play area.
#14 Caldey Island
Just off the coast of Tenby in Cardigan Bay, Caldey Island is home to a Cistercian monastery, a medieval priory, a Victorian lighthouse, a secluded beach and some lovely walks. The monks on Caldey are famous for their homemade perfumes and chocolates which you can purchase at the monastery shop and in shops around Pembrokeshire. The island is a great place to visit in the summer with frequent ferries running from Tenby. You can relax on the beach, take a peaceful stroll around the small island and explore the religious history of the island. There has been a religious community on the island since the 6th century, giving the island a sense of calm and remoteness from the modern mainland.
#15 Manor Wildlife Park
Manor Wildlife Park is run by TV conservationist, Anna Ryder Richardson and her husband and is home to rare species, such as the endangered Sumatran tiger and red pandas. This unique park is innovative in creating as few boundaries as possible between visitors and the animals where possible. Children can walk through the Valley of the Apes and meet the gibbons and through the African Village and interact with pygmy goats, tortoises and many more friendly animals. There are many activities for children including an indoor play area, face painting and interactive animal experiences.
Coasteering is an exhilarating activity that was invented in St. David’s in Pembrokeshire. It is basically scrambling along a cliff and throwing yourself off it into the water below! The Pembrokeshire coast provides the perfect environment for this sort of adventure with both manageable and challenging cliffs to climb, coastal lagoons and sea caves to explore. It is best experienced with the guidance of a local expert who can ensure your fun is safe and memorable. They can take you to the best spots and ensure that you have all the equipment and preparation you need before taking the plunge!
#17 Whale and Dolphin Watching
You don’t need to travel outside of the UK to see dolphins and whales, you can find many species along the Pembrokeshire coast. Pods of bottlenose dolphins have made Cardigan Bay their permanent home and during the summer months they are joined by hundreds more. Minke, fin, sei and even blue whales have been also been spotted, but are more difficult to see as they are not as social as their dolphin cousins! The area is rich in marine life and is a site of special scientific interest with lots of conservation efforts underway to protect the unique eco-systems in the area. You can take boat tours to see these fantastic creatures from lots of places along the coast, including at Fishguard and Poppit.
Pembrokeshire is a fantastic place for surfers with many beaches offering quality waves for all levels of ability. The UK has prevailing south-westerly winds and the Pembrokeshire coast is largely fully exposed to them, creating the perfect conditions for the ideal waves for surfing. There are the expert level challenges to be found at Freshwater West and the more mixed ability waves at Whitesands Beach as well as a host of beaches suitable for beginners. There are 50 beaches in total offering surfing of some sort and plenty of surf schools providing mixed level tuition to all the family.
#19 Cycling and Mountain Biking
Cycling in Pembrokeshire offers you a great variety of scenery and terrain with trails suitable for all the family. You can pedal along the Sustrans’ Celtic Trail West or the Lon Teifi trail giving you the option of cycling along the dramatic coast or inland across hilly terrain and windy country roads. If you are looking for a bit more exciting, then why not try mountain biking across the wilderness of the Preseli Hills? Or the Stackpole Estate? There are steep descents, muddy tracks, jumps and more for the thrill seekers out there! You can hire a variety of bikes easily at many locations across Pembrokeshire from a regular road or mountain bike to e-bikes for those who want to travel a bit faster.
#20 Bushcraft Experiences
If you are looking to escape the stresses of the 21st century, then a bushcraft experience in the Pembrokeshire countryside could be exactly what you need! In the depth of the regions ancient oak woodlands you will learn how to make a fire from sticks, carve tools from wood, identify different plants and trees. Test your axe and knife skills and get back to nature with experienced guides showing you how to survive in the wild. If you opt for an overnight option, you will get to sleep under the stars and listen to the silence of the surrounding countryside as you fall asleep in the open. It is a great way to detox and learn some new skills in the company of likeminded people.
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