If you're looking for a jam-packed, long weekend away this summer, look no further than Pembrokeshire. It is a completely heavenly corner of Wales.
The reason it's one of my favourite British staycations is that it has the dramatic coastline and gorgeous little villages of Devon and Cornwall, but far less of the crowds.
I did the following itinerary earlier this summer over four days, but I think three is doable with a clear plan, my trip was so last minute I hadn't prepared a thing!
WHERE TO STAY
As my booking was so late, I felt lucky to stumble upon an AirBnB gem. Jude's 'Cosy, Rural, Escape' is wonderful and the photos do not do it justice. Tucked away in the countryside, on farmland in Mathry, this little one bedroom with bathroom outhouse is perfect if you're looking for a clean, well-stocked, great value place to lay your head between long days of exploring.
This is of course just one of many wonderful places to stay in Pembrokeshire. If you're booking far ahead you'll have fantastic choice, and perhaps may choose to stay closer to the coast. I came across Porthiddy Farm holiday cottages which would be an idyllic seaside option, if they have availability!
For this particular itinerary you could choose different locations on each night to reduce your amount of driving each day.
TENBY, BARAFUNDLE & FRESHWATER
As you drive in from London, Tenby is pretty much the start line of Pembrokeshire county. So it's a perfect place to begin your getaway.
Grab a coffee and almond croissant from the wonderful Loafley and head off around the town to explore. Look out for Tenby Castle and Tenby Lifeboat Station. If you're not a fan of the shops, head down onto South Beach and walk the long stretch of beach to Giltar Point.
After your morning in Tenby has drawn to a happy close, jump in the car and head off to explore the coastline nearby. Barafundle Bay is a gorgeous stop for a walk and wander on the beach. Stackpole and Bosherston Lakes are also nearby, giving you plenty of places to explore if you fancy spending the whole afternoon here.
For adventure seekers, pick up the pace and head onto Freshwater West - a huge stretch of sandy beach and a paradise for keen surfers. If water sports aren't quite your thing then a stroll along this beach is just as rewarding, snapping shots of the water-goers. Make sure you grab lunch from the wonderful Cafe Mor (AKA Cafe Sea). I had a delicious seabass sandwich, the food here never disappoints.
As the evening draws in, and i'm going to spoil you here, I have not one, but two fantastic dinner recommendations.
The first is Coast in Saundersfoot. A beautiful, modern seafood restaurant right on the shoreline of Coppet Hall Beach. Catching sunset here is a real treat. I went all out with the tasting menu. If you're feeling hungry definitely give it a go.
My second option is a little more old-fashioned, but equally as special. Plantagenet is located in the oldest building in Tenby, with some parts dating back to the 10th century. If you want a truly unique and Welsh evening, look no further than the cosy, eclectic interior and memorable gastronomy of this wonderful restaurant.
EXTRA TIP - For antiques and bric-a-brac fanatics, don't miss the beautiful little town of Narberth for an incredible array of shops and emporiums. You always leave with a jewel of some sort, at a fraction of London prices.
SOLVA, ST DAVID'S & PORTHGAIN
Saying goodbye to Tenby, head past Pembroke and Haverfordwest to the tiny little village of Solva. Ideal for your first pit-stop of the day.
For breakfast with a view head to Cafe on the Quay or if you're like me and prefer a coffee on the run, get a takeaway and wander along the estuary taking in the boats and harbour activity.
Next stop is the world famous city of St David's. Here you just cannot miss the fabulous focal point that is St David's Cathedral. If you're lucky to be there on a day when it's basking in the sun, it's a wonder to photograph and walk around to view from every angle.
Head up the steps into the town centre give yourself a leisurely mid-morning walk around town dipping in and out of the shops.
For lunch I decided to drop into St David's Food & Wine, which is the yummiest little deli. I chose a homemade sandwich and walked out to St Non's Chapel, to have a picnic lunch with the most epic of views.
Hopefully lunch has set you up for an afternoon of exercise. Head up the coast to Abereiddy, where fingers crossed you are able to get a spot in the car park (on busy days the car parks do get full quickly). Depending on your preference - either for walking or paddle-boarding / swimming - head up the side of the hill to see what the Blue Lagoon fuss is all about. A beauty spot for a dip or photographic opportunities.
If you're a walker, head up over the hill and onto Porthgain, which is about a 45 minute hike along the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path. If you're lucky, you may even spot a seal or two.
Now for your final stop of the day. Book ahead for a table inside, or order takeaway fish & chips and sit on the harbour, at The Shed. During high summer the atmosphere is great with rowers heading out for a sunset session and paddleboarders, walkers and pub-goers milling around. If you fancy a pre-dinner drink, head to the Sloop Inn.
CWM-YR-EGLWYS, NEWPORT, POPPIT & CARDIGAN
Third and final day - let's hope there's enough energy for another packed itinerary!
Head out to start the day with a mighty breakfast at Crwst in Cardigan. The menu here will have you drooling (the coffee is also top notch) and you can take home some homemade granola or Pembrokeshire sea salted caramel from their shop.
Cardigan is lovely for a little walk. Head down to the River Teifi and Cardigan Castle for a history fix. I didn't go but i've heard Pizzatipi is a must for lunch or dinner right on the river.
Next stop is the gorgeous Poppit Sands. There's another Crwst here if you fancy another coffee. It's a lovely sandy beach perfect for a swim, although be careful of the (huge) jellyfish!
If you fancy something a big more active than lounging on the beach (or the weather isn't quite playing ball) jump in the car and head onto Cwm-Yr-Eglwys. It's a tiny little village with a lovely, sheltered beach. From here you link up with the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path again and walk around the headland past Ynys Dinas, for great views of Fishguard Bay.
To round off another brilliant day in Wales, make sure you book a table in the Kitchen Garden at Llys Meddyg. The food here is divine, with all ingredients locally grown or sourced. The Kitchen Garden itself is a wonder to sit in and they've really geared up well for pandemic dining with a number of wooden huts, so you can dine outside in all weathers, either as a couple, a family or a large group celebration.
So there you have it. That's how to do Pembrokeshire in three days. It's a whirlwind, fun packed trip. You certainly won't get bored. If you go be sure to tag @the_travel_twins in your photos so we can live it vicariously through you again!