Coast,  National Parks,  Travel,  Wales

Tenby – the Perfect UK Holiday Destination

Guest Post| I have fond memories of childhood holidays in Tenby…sitting on the harbour wall eating fish and chips, making sandcastles on the beach and taking the boat over to nearby Caldey Island to explore.

I was delighted to return there last autumn for a short break and it was even lovelier than I remember. Even on rainy days, the harbour is stunning. Tenby has to be one of the prettiest seaside towns in the British Isles.

Tenby Harbour
Tenby Harbour

In many ways, Tenby is the perfect UK holiday destination. It has everything…a wide range of places to stay to suit all budgets, great beaches, interesting shops, atmospheric pubs and a good choice of restaurants. Other Tenby attractions include the impressive RNLI Lifeboat Station, the Tenby Museum and Art Gallery, and the 15th century Tudor Merchants House.

Related: Dog friendly things to do in Pembrokeshire National Park

Lots to Do, Right on Your Doorstep

A short distance from Tenby there are fantastic walking and beachcombing opportunities along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path – don’t miss Stackpole and Freshwater East. There are caves and castles to explore, and the kids will enjoy the Manor House Wildlife Park and The Dinosaur Park. There are three golf courses nearby – Tenby Golf Club is the oldest links course in Wales.

Nearby Saundersfoot, with its long sandy beach, and, a little further away, the spectacular Bosherston Lily Ponds are well worth visiting. I recommend you take a walk along the beach and coastal path from Saundersfoot to Wiseman’s Bridge, and stop in for lunch at the excellent Wiseman’s Bridge Inn.

Related: Stay in Saundersfoot Next Time You Visit Pembrokeshire

Tenby’s Beaches

Not many small coastal towns can boast three beaches, but Tenby can, and they’re all excellent. Castle Beach, over which the Napoleonic fortress of St. Catherine’s Island looms large, is the No. 1 Tenby attraction on Trip Advisor, and it’s not hard to see why.

Castle Beach and St. Catherine's Island, Tenby
Castle Beach and St. Catherine’s Island

South Beach is over a mile long and has a huge expanse of sand, especially when the tide’s out. It’s hard to imagine it ever getting too crowded. You never need to worry about access to ice creams as a 4WD ice cream van ploughs up and down South Beach all day long!

South Beach, Tenby
South Beach

North Beach is a sheltered sandy beach with lovely views of Tenby Harbour. It has an unusual feature – right in the middle of the beach there’s a rocky outcrop (known as Goskar Rock).

Small boats in Tenby Harbour
Pretty houses and hotels with great views

The Town

Tenby is a small town (population 4,696 at the last census), but it packs quite a punch, as it caters for a pretty sizeable influx of people during the tourist season. Being small in size means that it’s very walkable. The 13th century town walls give the town a special feel and you realise you’re in a place with a very long history. There’s an Instagram moment waiting for you around nearly every corner!

13th Century walls in Tenby
Tenby’s 13th century town walls

After a day on the beach or out on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, it’s a real joy, particularly on sunny evenings, to take a leisurely walk in the pretty back streets. Tenby has plenty of quirky shops and galleries to visit. There’s a fine array of local pubs and bars too and whenever you pop into one of them you’ll find the locals are a friendly and welcoming bunch.

Dining Out

Plantagenet House Restaurant

Tenby has lots of good places to eat, but during the peak tourist season it’s essential to book in advance, as many of the good restaurants are quite small.

My wife and I had a really nice dinner on the outside terrace at the Bay of Bengal. This place not only serves up great Indian food but also has a stunning view of the harbour. While we were dining, there was a lifeboat launch – whenever this happens, a loud klaxon sounds and the whole town can hear it. It’s a spectacular sight.

While we didn’t actually get to eat there, Plantaganet House, a seafood restaurant, looked very enticing. It’s at the bottom of picturesque Quay Hill. It’s not hard to imagine smugglers bringing their contraband up from the harbour past its front door in days gone by.

This post was written by Steve Shaw of Bishopsgate Copy.

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