Tenby | A Hidden Gem of a Seaside Resort in Pembrokeshire
Britain has a rich tradition of seaside towns which is largely seen as dating back to the Victorian era but have you ever considered exploring the delights of one of Britain’s oldest seaside resorts in September? Well, if you’re in Pembrokeshire in South West Wales, look no further than Tenby. Clearly an all year round destination that’s been around since the 13th Century, it plays host to a range of beautiful coastline/beaches and plenty of activities to entertain kids and adults alike… A real hidden gem to match others like Holkham in Norfolkor Robin Hoods Bay or Staithes in North Yorkshire.
Even a visit out of season is a treat to your senses… a waft of salty air on the climb up to the viewpoint overlooking St George’s fort or the smell of fresh fish’n’chips beside the harbour as you watch the boats slip out to places like the nearby Caldey Island or to watch the seals…
British seaside resorts seem to have a special place in our hearts…. the scene of many happy childhood memories and a place to escape for grown-ups and kids alike. Pure pleasure in the most idyllic of settings……and Tenby’s panoramic harbour, sheltered town beach and thriving town centre are three good reasons to add Tenby to your list of ‘;must see’ places in Pembrokeshire…… so good is the view that you can even take a peek at one of ‘Grand Design’s‘ most iconic homes in the old RNLI station (see above)
Tenby may not have a pier or those pretty multi-coloured beach huts like Southwold (East Anglia) but you’ll hear plenty of whoops of glee from the children on the beach as you stand overlooking the glorious Pembrokeshire coastline that stretches into the distance….
Parking at the easily accessibly ‘Five Arches’ carpark, you can be in Tenby town centre within minutes… and overlooking the panoramic views of the bays within 10 minutes. But don’t miss Tenby’s town walls which are well worth a walk too… Impressive Grade I-listed medieval defensive structures that stretch around the town of Tenby with only the quirky semi-circular Five Arches Gate still surviving (see pictures at bottom of article)
If you head to the working harbour, you’ll see just why Tenby’s Welsh name is Dinbych-y-Pysgod (Little Fortress of the Fish)…a place to easily spend a lazy hour or two watching boats being launched or landed….. Someone once told us, Pembrokeshire has more award winning beaches than skyscrapers… but we reckon the same might apply to the number of beautiful coastal harbourside towns/villages (like Solva or Porthgain)
Arriving just after 11am… it didn’t take long for tummies to start rumbling but if you head towards the sea front via St Julian’s St, you’ll discover a great little place called ‘The Lighthouse Kitchen‘
Costing a reasonable £31 for a family of 4, you’ll find a great range of sandwiches/light bites like the ‘Cockles & laver bread, toasted lighthouse loaf, smoked bacon, fried egg’ that reminded us of the Seashore Foraging earlier this week.
Like our enjoyable jaunt around Pembroke / Pembroke Castle, we also grabbed the chance to ‘test’ ourselves with another Treasure Trail….. full of tricky clues, outstanding views and plenty of puzzles to test the adults/kids alike…
Using an iPad to show the treasure trail, it’s proved a useful addition to our ‘road schooling‘ and one both girls are happy to continue… especially given the variety of puzzles that need solving (like counting the window panes above, before adding the numbers into the decoding cipher to finally get the answer..)
After completing the treasure hunt, it’s easy to see why people will head for Tenby to enjoy Caldey Island or Tenby’s three sandy beaches, whilst others might be drawn to the historical sites like St Mary’s Church on Upper Frog Street or Tenby’s impressive RNLI Lifeboat station.
Including some on Tenby’s most historic sites…. the ‘murder mystery themed’ Tenby Treasure Trail takes a good 2hrs to complete. For those families reading this who can see the merit of making a town visit that little more interesting (see our Trogir, Croatia post for an example), this’ll take you past the fine Victorian houses painted in sugared almond colours and the Tudor Merchant House or Fisherman’s Church….
But for us, Tenby would be the perfect place to return and enjoy more of the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path… It’s easy to find more at the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Centre (close to the Five Arches) and we’d recommend heading out northwards to Saundersfoot. A 3hr walk with fabulous views of Saundersfoot Bay from the headland at Monkstone Point (find more on the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path walks here)