Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Exploring Stackpole & local area, Pembrokeshire, Wales

I'm not sure how we decided on a holiday in Wales, or how we even ended up in Pembrokeshire. I wanted a cottage that fitted a certain date, not too long a drive from home, quite rural so as to get some peace with plenty of walks and nature so as to be out every day. Readitdaddy keeps saying lets go to Wales so I gave in to him (a rare occurrence!)

Barafundle Bay
We turned up at the cottage with little knowledge of the area and what to do every day, I hadn't done much research on the area which is unlike me. We needn't have worried. Stackpole has plenty of walks, from where we were staying we could walk for miles in each direction and see changing scenery. We were only a mile from 2 glorious beaches. Some of the paths had disabled access and were buggy friendly. We really did walk for miles every day.

So how to fill your time in the Pembroke/Tenby area.

Bosherton Lilly Ponds
 Exploring Stackpole with a child can be done over a few days with beach stops. The Bosherton lilly ponds walk was wonderful with a stop at Broadhaven South beach to have a picnic. It was beautifully peaceful walking round the pond, the water lillys were just coming into flower and some wonderful views from the top of the hill looking across. Broadhaven South had a lovely sandy beach, sand dunes above and clear water. We stopped for ice cream ate the tea room in Bosherton which is very popular.

Barafundle on a wet day
 We walked part of the coastal path between broadhaven and Stackpole Quay stopping at Barafundle for another play on the beach, voted one of the top 50 beaches in the world. The beach was stunning with lovely sand and clear water and is only accessible on foot. It was this wildlife walk but missing out step 7 round the lilly pond http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/article-1356404481362/  We did a lot of this walk in the rain but thankfully it stopped when we were on the beach. We really did see all sorts of wildlife along the way.

Broadhaven South
 A rainy day was saved for a trip to Pembroke Castle. It means your views from the great towers won't be so stunning (oil refinery in one direction but the rest are great). But there are a number of indoor things explaining the history of the site with replica models, how the castle would have been used, the occupants of the castle over the years, the battle during the civil war and it being the birthplace of Henry VII. It is a huge castle, it's obvious were it has been expanded over time with the crumbling remains of some areas. Charlotte loves history and enjoyed exploring this site and has since taken a book out of the library about medieval castles. We went a little dizzy going up an down towers of varying height (some were high) with tiny little steps. We looked down into the dungeon, reading the sad history of John being kept down there. A good few hours well spent. There is a mill pond walk running behind the shopping area, which is highly recommended in guide books, but sadly the weather got worse so we missed this out.

Pembroke Castle on a very wet day
 We tried to visit Manorbier castle, but was closed for a wedding that day. They do say check online before visiting, but very little network coverage in Stackpoke for us to check. We did visit the beach which was a lot of fun for rock pooling. We found a great sea anemone but no crabs that day.

Manorbier Castle
 We visited Tenby for a day on the beach. We had a walk around the town, which is like stepping back in time to an old seaside resort with lots of little cafes and fish and chip shops. We took a walk to the lifeboat house and passed the old lifeboat house on the way, which I recognised from Grand Designs. We took a look at the boat rides, there was quite a few on offer, but decided just to enjoy the beach. Its a lovely big expanse of golden sand when the tide is out and not many stones to catch feet on. Its very popular beach, and you can hire kyacks and jet skis on the beach. I wanted a kyack but nobody would join me, maybe another time.

fun on the beach at Tenby
 On a windy and damp day we went along to look at Dobby's grave (Harry Potter) on Freshwater West. Its very breezy and popular with surfers, but the day we were there was just the odd paddle boarder. It was another excellent beach again for rock pooling and this time we did find a small crab, and broke Grandads net! From Freshwater West we carried onto Angle on the recommendation of a good place to eat. At the beach car park is the recently opened Wave Crest. Contemporary surroundings and wonderful food and cakes with lovely service. We were going to go for a walk along the coastal path at Angle but the weather took a turn for the worst.

Rock pooling at Freshwater West
 Colby Woodland Gardens was our last stop of the week. A national trust place almost hidden away. It was really beautiful and excellent for kids to explore and do lots of their 50 things (we ticked 13 off on holiday, could have been a lot more). The staff were really chatty and friendly. There is a walled garden with amazing gazebo, wildflower meadows, streams to paddle in and stepping stone across, or attempt to dam the stream like us. Walks in the woods and even one down to the beach. We cheated and drove down to the beach after. Colby is perfect for a picnic with the family and a nice relaxing day.
stepping stones across the stream at Colby
Our last day was a short walk along to Barafundle and a stop in the highly recommended Stackpole Quay cafe for lunch. Excellent lunch and cake again. Just as it started to rain we came home. Left with the car saying 19c and arrived home to 29c, we wanted to turn right back round!

We had a lovely week, and would love to go back to this area. We really enjoyed the mix of walks and trips to the beach. There is plenty to do in the area for those who are really love the outdoor adventure activities and those who just love to sit on the beach. As with Wales there was the odd wet day but mostly lovely warm days and the weather didn't stop us doing anything.


  1. We really enjoyed our few days in North Wales this year. Like your family it was dad who wanted to Wales but we would definitely go back. Good to hear that you had such a great time, I've heard so many people rave about Pembrokeshire :)

  2. Finally getting round to catching up on your Wales write-ups! Looks like Stackpole was gorgeous - I did wonder when visiting the estat from your comments before you went whether you'd be staying there. Isn't Barafundle beautiful?! Could have stayed there forever. How did you find Tenby? We ran out of time... Heading back in October so be great to hear of any favourite spots we might have missed.


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