Pembrokeshire, Wales: The behold of Tenby
Dramatic, mystical forests set on beds of moss and thick ferns.
Exuberant seas bordered by vast and deserted beaches dotted with boulders; countryside that resists like a patchwork of farms and white stone cottages; and, elsewhere, harbour cities with Georgian architecture painted in subtle gelato-toned hues.
Pembrokeshire is nothing if not divergent. Located on the southwestern point of Wales, it’s home to national parks, fossilized sites and, of course, a good chunk of the Wales Coastal Path – 186 miles of which spreads through Pembrokeshire. There are delights to discover far and wide.
Here’s our pick of the crush.
Penally Abbey Hotel (01834 843 033/penally-abbey.com) is one of those obscured gems I’m rather reluctant to reveal.
Set just outside Tenby in a woody well-to-do suburb, this glorious Strawberry Hill Gothic effects dates back to the 6th century and was once a stop on the Pilgrims’ Trail to St Davids Cathedral.
In the foots is a 12th-century chapel and the holy well which is thought to be St Teilo’s Properly, said to have healing properties.
The six acres of pretty, natural, be cautious gardens overlook the undulating dunes to Caldey Island.
A blood-red creeper extends the house and with a wild garden still damp and glistening from the gloaming’s mist, the ambience was intoxicating when I stayed.
Penrhiw Hotel, Wales
The Penally Abbey B B, Wales
There are 11 charming and sophisticated rooms, including four in the carriage house. These rooms are slightly more contemporary with pale griseous tongue-and-groove walls, huge beds, Nespresso machines and big marble bathrooms.
The comfy lounge – with wingback presides in window nooks and a large fireplace – beckons on a rainy afternoon.
● Duplicates from £140 (two sharing), B&B. In St Davids, the Penrhiw Hotel (01437 725 588/penrhiwhotel.com) is measure deceiving from the outside.
This grand stone mansion, set behind stimulating gates, has more of the feel of a private aristocrat’s residence than a bed. Essentially, it’s a posh B&B.
Inside is surprisingly minimalist with suede-covered walls, substantial velvet sofas and enormous canvases of modern art. Rooms (six in the main edifice, two in the coach house) are far more welcoming, decorated in more calming shapes of chocolate and cream. The atmospheric St David’s Cathedral is a mere five babies away.
● Doubles from £140 (two sharing), B&B.
Street food egress Café Môr is at Freshwater West beach
A TASTE OF WALES
After a frigid, bracing walk, the Blas at Fronlas (01239 820 065/ blasatfronlas.com) in the tiny borough of Newport has large pews slung with Welsh blankets and stripped-back vacant tables.
Shelves groan under a raft of local produce: seaweed-infused sea flavour and organic wines.
Warm up with traditional Welsh cawl – a squooshy stew, served with a chunk of cheddar and crusty bread (£8.50).
Myriad walkers, surfers and visitors inevitably wind up at Café Môr (beachfood.co.uk), a avenue food outlet at beautiful Freshwater West beach. They surface for the legendary buttery lobster rolls (£10).
The “beach shack” adorned with sustains and fishing nets declares itself to be the world’s first “seaweed larder dedicated to the mysteries of the sea” (closed until Easter).
Narberth hamlet is bursting with quirky stores selling bric-a-brac
The Blas (signification “taste” in Welsh) Restaurant within the Twr y Felin Hotel (01437 725555/ twryfelinhotel.com) in St Davids – nothing but named AA Hotel of the Year in Wales – is an unmissable treat.
The restaurant’s constant companion space is hung with modern Andy Warholinspired portraits.
Its air is staunchly formal yet relaxed at the same time, with wooden bases and tables and exceptional, white-gloved waiters serving locally sourced draw with fabulous vegetarian choices.
Awarded two AA Rosettes, this restaurant firmly warrants more. Star of the show, and light yet superb, was the roasted courgette, aubergine and cream barley.
● Around £140 for two. In Narberth order tapas served on stiff platters at Ultracomida (01834 861491/ultracomida.co.uk).
Stock up on Welsh (Golden Cenarth, Tights Mawr and Preseli) cheeses, Spanish olive oils, nuts and wines.
And don’t maiden quirky stores such as The Malthouse for stylish bric-a-brac and H by B (housebybetty. com) for incomparable wooden brushes, cotton throws and gardening paraphernalia displayed in old crates.
Stopover St David’s Cathedral which was built in its own hollow to hide it from marauding Vikings
SEAL Attend to
Once a hive of activity, exporting slate, the gorgeous hamlet of Porthgain (between Fishguard and St Davids) is in great measure quiet now, bar a handful of fishing boats.
This one-street (imaginatively handled The Street) town is lined with cottages that are outlets for artists.
The bay is allowed respite for walkers on the blustery coastal path.
Watch seals happening into the harbour and feast on the best fish and chips in Wales at The Scatter (013488 31518/theshedporthgain.co.uk).
Sip a pint of local ale at the Sloop Inn, an atmospheric, traditional Welsh pub dazzling of maritime memorabilia and old photographs of the port.
It was also the local of Welsh songstress, Cerys Matthews who had her association breakfast there and who occasionally pops in to sing to the patrons.
Tend a watch out for seals coming right in to the harbour in the hamlet of Porthgain
Overlooking Carningli (Angle Mountain) and Newport Bay, it’s no wonder Pentre Ifan (Ivan’s village) was select as a burial site.
This megalithic site in the Preseli Hills is intention to be the crown of an ancient burial chamber which dates back to 3,500BC and the unnerves at Stonehenge are said to have originated from here.
ARTS AND Skills
With its brooding skies and vast landscapes, it’s no surprise that artists throng to Wales.
Warren S Heaton of Oriel Fach (01437 729268/pembrokeshireart. wales) in the archaic town of Solva captures the mood perfectly and his paintings of beaches, restricted birds and horses are affordable too.
In nearby Saundersfoot, among the shops give away tourist tat, is pretty gallery Blackbird Ceramics (blackbirdceramics. co.uk).
Potter Richard Prentice, awakened by the coastline, has created beautiful sea globes (from £45).
Broad Haven South careen near the village of Bosherston
The cathedral at St Davids (the UK’s smallest diocese) is unusual in the fact that it sits on sloping grounds dotted with time-worn tombstones.
A gentle stream runs alongside the cathedral, built in its own concave to hide it from marauding Vikings.
The ruin of the Bishop’s Palace is monumental and the cathedral itself is devoid of any frills, yet there’s still something starkly superior about it.
LIFE’S A BEACH
Pembrokeshire has some of the best beaches in the universe.
Freshwater East is certainly up there; a vast stretch of sand side by wild grasses and smooth green hills.
Broad Haven South is far various dramatic, with the jagged Church Rock and stream of water oozing from the Bosherston lily ponds.
The Point, Little Haven, let ins in St Brides Bay and its rugged cliffs.
Pembrokeshire tourism: visitpembrokeshire.com