Pembrokeshire cottages are never far from the water
In a county surrounded by the sea on three sides and almost torn in half by the mighty Cleddau River, Pembrokeshire cottages are never far from the water.
The Preseli’s, know fondly by locals as mountains are in fact wild rolling hills and ancient moors, criss crossed by old drovers tracks, home to wild ponies and sheep. The terrain offers excellent opportunities for walking and horse riding. The highest point at approximately 1760′ affords impressive coastal views on a clear day, all the way across the Irish Sea to the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland, Snowdonia in the north, the Brecon Beacons to the east and the Bristol Channel and West Country to the south.
The highest pub in Pembrokeshire
Quirky Tafarn Sinc in Rosebush, is the highest pub in Pembrokeshire, complete with red zinc cladding, sawdust strewn timber floors, cottage comforts, log fires, Welsh conviviality and ‘food just like Mam used to cook’.
Less than a half hour drive south brings you to Narberth, a delightful old market town full of distinctive little shops, no chains here, excellent restaurants, delis and an award winning local history museum. This is where savvy Cardiff visitors choose to shop ’til they drop.
The celebrated Pembrokeshire Coastal Path begins at Amroth where a visit to National Trust Colby Gardens and Bothy Tearoom is recommended. The tranquil woodland walk wends its way to Amroth’s sandy beach. The remains of a petrified forest can be seen on exceptional low tides.
Coastal bus service
A dedicated coastal bus service runs along the entire 870 miles of coast with many Pembrokeshire cottages close by. The choice is yours, walk, take the bus or enjoy gentle motoring along country lanes. There are no motorways or service stations here. Instead look out for waterside inns, country pubs or charming tearooms and sample delicious local produce, homemade bakes and other refreshing delights.
Saundersfoot and Tenby
Saundersfoot and Tenby are popular seaside resorts with unspoilt sandy beaches and safe bathing. Saundersfoot an overgrown waterside village and Tenby with elegant Georgian terraces and award winning gardens spilling out of Medieval town walls. The Tudor Merchant House (National Trust) is a fine example of 15th century life in the heart of town. Regular boat trips run daily during the season to visit Caldey Island home to Cistercian Monks for over 2000 years. The monks produce chocolate, perfume and short bread to sell in their little shop. The island’s pristine beaches and tranquil countryside make this a paradise in miniature.
A lovely picturesque wooded walk beside huge lily ponds teeming with wildlife leads unsuspecting walkers from the coastal village of Bosherston directly onto golden dune backed Broad Haven South Beach with Church Rock standing sentinel in the bay. This glorious beach is popular with surfers. The rugged seacliffs to the west hint at the pleasures in store for intrepid climbers.
St Govan’s Head
The limestone cliffs at St Govan’s Head on the Castlemartin Peninsula, steep and sheer, draw death defying adventurers from far and wide. They pit their wits against the wily sea birds, familiar with every crack and crevice. Choughs, clothed in priestly black with blood red legs and beaks are rare in most parts of the UK, but common here.
A steep flight of steps carved into the cliff leads down to 6th century St Govan’s Chapel clinging to the rocks below. Legend has it that the rock opened enough for St Govan to conceal himself inside a small cave saving him from cut throat pirates. In gratitude to God he built this little cell and lived there as a hermit for the rest of his life.
Harry Potter and Robin Hood
At Freshwater West follow in the footsteps of Harry Potter and Robin Hood. Both blockbusters used this magnificent beach for one of their filming locations. The Shell House looked for all the world as if it had been in the dunes forever and the battle scene in Robin Hood is enough to make your hairs stand on end.
Choose a Pembrokeshire cottage around Pembroke and rub shoulders with royalty.
The Tudor dynasty began in Pembroke Castle with the birth of Henry VII. The magnificent Norman castle on the banks of the river in the heart of town is now privately owned and open to the public. A busy schedule of exciting events is held throughout the year including open air theatre, markets, historic re-enactments and music festivals. In 2012 it made a fitting venue for the Royal wedding, broadcast live on a huge screen to the delight of those sharing in the celebrations.
The secret waterway
Further inland The Cleddau becomes the ‘secret waterway’ and probably looks now just as it did hundreds of years ago embraced by tranquil countryside and ancient woodlands. As the river meanders gently northwards it reveals more of its’ secrets. Carew Tidal Mill, a fine Celtic Cross and hospitable Carew Inn. 12th century Carew Castle, open to the public hosts splendid pageants, historic re-enactments and more. Pretty hamlets and villages welcome visitors to enjoy refreshments in riverside inns and award winning tearooms. There are gentle riverside and woodland walks, cycle tracks suitable for families, a thriving yacht station at Lawrenny and foreshores for picnics and fishing. A truly peaceful location for a Pembrokeshire cottage holiday.
South Pembrokeshire cottages are close to a number of hugely popular family attractions such as Blue Lagoon Waterpark, Folly Farm, Manor House Wildlife Park, Heatherton Sports Park and Dinosaur World.
Llangwm village on the western side of the river was once a thriving herring fishing community, now it is frequented by pleasure boating enthusiasts. Its slipway at Black Tar can be used at any state of the tide for launching dinghies, canoes and small boats.
The Haven Waterway
From the Jolly Sailor at Burton where the pub lawns run down to the water’s edge, all the way to Dale, the river takes on another important role. Indeed Nelson the great man himself pronounced it to be the second best natural harbour he had ever seen. The Pembrokeshire Coast Path is quite different here from the wilder stretches but no less fascinating. Commercial shipping and pleasure craft share this busy ‘haven waterway’ with never a dull moment and something to see at any time of day or night.
Dale is a mecca for watersports enthusiasts with its wide sheltered bay ideal for sailing dinghies, wind surfers and safe moorings. It has a second beach too at West Dale with golden sands backed by seacliffs and a perfect sun trap. The Griffin Inn with good pub food and fine dining at the Moorings Restaurant cater for all tastes.
The Dale Princess takes visitors from Martin’s Haven to visit Skomer Island, another world. Witness comical puffins and shy manx sheerwaters in their thousands. See guillemots, razorbills and short eared owls at close quarters. Watch seals fishing or snoozing around the coastline. Picnic amongst a carpet of bluebells with rabbits for company. The West Wales Wildlife Trust cares for Skomer and its sister island Skokholm surrounded by some of the richest waters for wildlife off the British Isles.
St Brides Bay
Around the headland, beautiful Marloes Beach (National Trust) is reached on foot across field and coast path and down a flight of steps. The effort to get there is amply rewarded by a wonderful sweep of golden sands backed by seacliffs and breathtaking geology. From here St Brides Bay sweeps around the west coast nipping in at more unspoilt sandy coves and beaches, Little Haven, Broad Haven, Druidston Haven and Nolton Haven where you can ride across the beach from Nolton Stables. Stunning, storm pebble backed Newgale, where Atlantic rollers invite enthusiastic surfers to ride the crest of a wave along has 2 miles of golden sands to enjoy.
Solva, a picturesque coastal village on the St Davids Peninsula has a fiord like estuary protecting colourful boats on safe moorings and a little sandy foreshore. The quayside is an excellent location for crabbing and eating ice-cream. The village has a number of restaurants, pubs, cafes, shops and galleries to explore. Solva Woollen Mill, the oldest working woollen mill in Wales, patronised by Prince Charles, specialises in flat weave carpets, rugs and runners. Visitors are welcome to watch the looms at work and enjoy refreshments in the teashop or browse the mill shop.
St Davids the smallest city in Britain
St Davids,a village city with magnificent St Davids Cathedral and ruined Bishops Palace at its heart has been a place of pilgrimage for centuries. Surrounded by a huddle of pretty shops, galleries, pubs, restaurants and tearooms it remains as popular as ever. Whitesands Bay just over a mile away is a stunning sandy beach overlooked by Carn Llidi an ancient outcrop of rock with majestic views.
The rugged north coast is dotted with pretty coves, tiny villages and wonderful coast walks. Tregwynt Woollen Mill at Castlemorris produces traditional woollen blankets as well as contemporary designs for contemporary homes. Browse their shop full of stylish soft furnishings, clothes and gifts. Their products can also be found in fashionable London and New York stores.
Historic Porthgain is well worth a visit. There is a fascinating industrial heritage sprawled along the coast to be explored before eating fresh locally caught fish in award winning Shed Fish and Chip Bistro on the harbour or good pub food in the ancient Sloop Inn overlooking the village green. There are two excellent galleries to browse.
Day trip to Ireland
Fishguard harbour town has a ferry terminal. Take a day trip to Ireland. The ferry goes to Rosslaire from where buses leave for Waterford. You will have enough time for a great days shopping, a visit to the local museum and meal before returning on the night boat.
Medieval Newport, Pembs
Newport a small picturesque medieval town squeezed between the coast, Carn Ingli (Angel Mountain) and the mystical Gwaun Valley has a Norman Castle and church. The ancient streets and pathways lead directly to the Nevern Estuary on Newport Bay teeming with wildlife. Newport Parrog and Newport Beach, both with golden sands and stunning views are separated by the estuary and spanned by medieval stepping stones. Popular with families and boating enthusiasts.
Two for the price of one
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path concludes at St Dogmaels a pretty village overlooking the Teifi River, a natural boundary between Pembrokeshire and Cardiganshire. Pembrokeshire cottages in this area have the benefit of exploring two counties for the price of one. Y Felin Watermill and mill pond lie in picturesque surroundings adjacent to the 12th century Abbey of St Dogmaels. The mill produces traditional stoneground flour which is used to bake the cakes on sale in the Coach House Visitor Centre opposite.
A natural playground
There is so much to discover in this beautiful county, a natural playground with attractions, activities and events to suit all interests and ages. Pembrokeshire cottages are available beside the sea, overlooking rivers and estuaries and in tranquil countryside.