Pembrokeshire's beaches are the best in Wales – sandy, safe and relatively uncrowded, ranging from traditional seaside resorts to hidden coves well off the beaten track. And the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park protects this spectacular south-west Wales coastline, providing many areas of outstanding beauty inland.
This is a place for family holidays involving all sorts of water sports, from sailing, surfing and windsurfing to kayaking and coasteering, and there are also boat-trips to islands where you might see puffins in summer or migrating seabirds in spring and autumn. You’ll probably see dolphins, seals and even whales, too.
History has left its mark in the form of majestic castles, quirky museums and some of the best Neolithic monuments in Britain. And this is heaven for walkers, with the long-distance Pembrokeshire Coastal Path as well as public footpaths criss-crossing the countryside. Bike-riding families can choose from several off-road routes, or more experienced cyclists can try the Celtic Cycle Trail that starts at Fishguard and crosses the county on its way to Swansea.
Things to do with kids in Pembrokeshire
Go to the beach. There are traditional seaside resorts, such as Tenby and nearby Saundersfoot; family beaches with interesting villages, for instance Manorbier and St David’s; and countless sandy beaches left just as nature intended – without an ice-cream kiosk in sight. Some of the best bets are Barafundle Bay and Marloes Sands.
Sign up for courses in sailing, surfing, windsurfing and sea kayaking at several coastal centres, or go horse-riding and walking inland. Like the rest of Wales, Pembrokeshire is one big outdoor adventure playground. Newgale beach has a couple of surf schools, but there are others at Freshwater West and Whitesands Bay, with windsurfing at Dale.
Go walking in the tranquil woods of the Gwaun Valley, near Fishguard, and the mysterious Preseli Hills, where you’ll find the exposed Neolithic burial mound of Pentre Ifan and the 13 standing stones known as Beddarthur or Arthur’s Grave.
Follow the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path from Amroth, just east of Saundersfoot, round to St Dogmaels, near Poppit Sands, or see the coast by boat.
Take a trip from Martin’s Haven to Skomer Island National Nature Reserve or leave from St Justinians, near St David’s, for RSPB Cymru’s Island Nature Reserve at Ramsey Island.
Enjoy a family cycle trail at Llys Y Fran Country Park and Reservoir, about 15km north of Haverfordwest, where you can also hire bicycles, or cycle down the old railway line from the Heritage Centre at Stepaside through a wooded valley to Saundersfoot.
Have a wet weather standby. Attractions with indoor options include Oakwood Theme Park, near Narberth; Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo, near Kilgetty; Tenby Museum and Art Gallery; Pembroke Castle; Carew Castle; and St David’s Cathedral.
View across Whitesands Bay near St Davids
Wales has been a leading force in the move towards locally produced food, which you'll find in the many lovely old pubs and increasing numbers of good restaurants.
South-west Wales has a long growing season thanks to its micro-climate, created by the warm Gulf Stream current, and Pembrokeshire is one of the first places in Britain to harvest its new potatoes – the ideal partner for spring lamb from the Preseli Hills or saltmarsh lamb from the Daugleddau Estuary. Then there's Solva crab, or seabass and lobster from other fishing spots such as Abereiddy, Stackpole, Porthclais and Porthgain, where you’ll find anything from monkfish to mackerel in the catch of the day. There are salmon and brown trout in the rivers, herds of Welsh Black cattle in the fields and hand-made cheese from local farms.
There are increasing numbers of good restaurants in several Pembrokeshire towns and holiday villages, including Solva, St David's and Newport, or you could try the Druidstone Hotel near Broad Haven or St Brides in Saundersfoot.
Food festivals in Pembrokeshire include The Really Wild Food and Countryside Festival in St David’s, in August, and the Narberth Food Festival in September.
When to go to Pembrokeshire
Summer is the best time for exploring Pembrokeshire’s beaches and water sports, but if you like walking or just roaming the countryside, spring and early autumn are as delightful.
Motor-homing near St Davids
Self-catering in Pembrokeshire, as elsewhere, helps keep costs down, but this is generally an inexpensive destination great for good-value staycations.
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