Dubbed the ‘staycation nation’, millions of Brits are choosing to holiday on home soil. Seven million Britains holidayed within the UK this Easter, and over 57% of holidaymakers chose to take their well-earned time off in England, Scotland, or Wales.
As a child, some of our best family holidays were in North Wales. I didn’t explore what else this beautiful part of the world had to offer until I met my Husband, a Welshman raised in Pembrokeshire – one of the world’s most stunning natural playgrounds.
If you’re reading this from outside the British Isles, Pembrokeshire is a county in south-west Wales.
Lined by a spectacular coastline, the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, covers a third of the county, and offers 186 miles of almost unbroken Pembrokeshire Coast Path – a dream destination for walkers, hikers, runners, cyclists, dog walkers, families, or those who just want to soak up the views.
Within days of arriving home from our honeymoon in Thailand and Malaysia, we headed straight to Pembrokeshire for a wedding. We strolled along Newgale beach, watching the surfers revel in the waves, and children playing in the caves – and were surprised at our mutual observation that the beach was more beautiful than any we’d seen on honeymoon.
It’s no shock that some of Pembrokeshire’s beaches have been voted the best in the world, and have been the setting for blockbuster movies, including Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 and 2, which was filmed at Freshwater West Beach.
With stunning sunsets, the people and places of Pembrokeshire welcome all. We have lived and travelled all over the world with our four children, and Pembrokeshire continues to be one of our favourite places.
Anyone in search of a staycation that rivals a holiday overseas should consider Pembrokeshire. If you live outside the UK, this beautiful area of Wales is worth building into your trip.
Here are my top picks of what to see and where to go.
Best beaches in the world
Barafundle Bay was voted one of the top beaches in the world by Passport Magazine. Alongside the beaches of Bora Bora, California and New Zealand, Barafundle is described as a ‘visual overdose of beauty.’
One of our favourite beaches is Newgale. The long, wide sandy beach stretches for almost two miles, making it ideal for long (dog friendly) walks. Children will love exploring the caves, and kite surfers and surfers will get their kicks riding the waves.
The Marloes Peninsula (also known as Marloes, or Marloes Sands) is breath-taking. A National Trust car park is half a mile from the beach. It’s well worth having a National Trust membership as there are various places to visit in the county.
Family fun galore
If you need a chocolate fix, the Wickedly Welsh chocolate factory will satisfy your craving.
The beauty of Pembrokeshire, though, is that it’s nature’s playground at its finest. We find it so much easier keeping our children occupied when we’re there because they’re happy to simply play on the beach, and throw pebbles in the water.
You won’t go hungry here. From small independent cafes, to fine dining, there’s something to suit all tastes and budgets.
We recently discovered a hidden gem just a stone’s throw from Marloes. Runwayskiln is a small coastal café serving fantastic food and coffee. I tried the cauliflower pakora – delicious.
Manillas in Neyland is popular for its selection of seriously indulgent cakes, and you can be certain of getting a proper sized slice.
The Cornerhouse Café in Little Haven offers a great selection of homemade breakfasts, lunches, cakes, and desserts. Their pizza nights are popular too. Such is the popularity of the café, a sister branch called Sand & Stone is now open in the next village, Broad Haven.
For high-end fish and chips, The Shed Bistro at Porthgain is our favourite. We often have lunch here on New Year’s Eve.
If you fancy fine dining, Coast on Coppet Hall Beach, Saundersfoot is a great place to try.
Quaint towns, and the smallest city in Great Britain
From the fun of Tenby, pretty Narbeth, beautiful harbors like Solva, and St Davids – the smallest city in the UK, there’s no shortage of places to explore. Haverfordwest is the main town of Pembrokeshire, where you’ll find well known supermarkets and shops.
Have you visited Pembrokeshire? Where’s your favourite place to go? Are you planning a visit? Do you have a question?