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Tenby

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Tenby (Welsh: Dinbych-y-Pysgod, "little town of fishes") is a beautiful walled town in South Wales that spills out pastel colored buildings along cliffs and around sandy bays. Tenby is one of Wales' premier tourist spots, and is located on the south Pembrokeshire coast, about 80 kilometres (50 miles) west of Swansea.

Understand

The town of Tenby dates back to the Norman conquest, and the town walls were constructed in 1093 in order to defend it from the Welsh. Due to its somewhat remote location, however, the town and its quaint cobble streets and sandy beaches remained off the tourist trail until the Victorian era. Then, with the influx of wealthy merchant families from SwanseaCardiff and further afield, Tenby was suddenly in a vogue, and the town's appeal as a picturesque spa has remained ever since. Although Tenby is one of Wales' most popular holiday destinations, it has resisted over commercialization and remains a very elegant and pleasant family holiday venue.

Cars are banned from the historic centre of the town during the summer months, which adds greatly to the appeal of the town as a place to relax and unwind.

Get in

By train

1 Tenby station is connected by local rail line to SwanseaCardiff and Pembroke Dock. During the weekends in the summer there are a limited number of direct services to and from London Paddington, though there are frequent services to connect with trains to London and elsewhere in England, from CarmarthenSwansea, or Cardiff.

By bus

Regular service from Swansea. Infrequent National Express service from London and Birmingham

By road

M4 to end (near Swansea), A48 to Carmarthen, A40 to St Clears, A477 to Kilgetty, A478 to Tenby.

Get around

The small town can be covered on foot.

See

  • Narrow cobbled streets packed with quaint shops and cafes.
  • 1 Caldey Island. A Cistercian Monastery located on an island just off Tenby's coast. At low tide, ferries leave from Tenby Castle Beach and at high tide from Tenby Harhour. Fare: £10 (£5 for children)  
  • 2 Tudor Merchant's House, Quay Hill, Tenby, SA70 7BX, ☏ +44 1834 842279, ✉ tudormerchantshouse@nationaltrust.org.uk. Open April 1 to September 30, M-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 12noon - 3PM. A 15th century town house open to the public.  
  • 3 Tenby Museum and Art Gallery, Castle Hill, SA70 7BP, ☏ +44 1834 842809. 
  • 4 North Beach. North beach looks onto Tenby's old fishing harbour and out onto Camarthen Bay. This beach provides one of the most popular backdrops for portrait pictures and is the focus of most photographers who visit Tenby, providing them with some of the most dramatic sunrises set parallel to a quaint pastel coloured harbour filled with working trawlers. Goscar Rock sits in the centre of this mile long beach providing hours of fun for young and old to sift through the rock pools, shelter from the winds and, for those who dare, a small climbing adventure (although not advised for any novice climber). 
  • 5 St Lawrence’s Church. Gumfreston's Church of St Lawrence is romantically situated in a wooded dell and dates from the late 12th century although generally of the 14th to 16th centuries. The tower was formerly detached and the church was well restored in 1869, including new roofs and church furnishings. The porch on the western side may be a remnant of an earlier church on the site, which was a “llan” (walled enclosure around a church) in era of Celtic Christianity. On the wall are the faded outlines of what was once a large and dramatic mural depicting Jesus Christ, fishing nets and other implements. This has been interpreted as a message to the congregation to avoid working on the Sabbath. Three holy wells in the churchyard attracted pilgrims in ancient times. People still visit the church to collect a little of the well water, or to pray. The revival of interest in Celtic Christianity has prompted the development of “services of light” every three months in the church, focusing on Celtic spirituality and led by lay members of the congregation. Services of stories and songs about Celtic saints are a popular feature of the Tenby Arts Festival. 
  • 6 Tenby Dinosaur Park. 
  • 7 Ritec Fen (south of Gumfreston). Ritec Valley site of special scientific interest 
  • 8 Tenby Lifeboat Station, Castle Hill, ☏ +44 1834 842197. visitor exhibition and shop Free access but donations welcome. (updated Jun 2017)

Do

  • Walking. There are some great walking trails in and around Tenby. The coastal path (part of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park) goes through Tenby and is well signposted. Walk to Saundersfoot along the coast 4.5 mi (7.2 km) and get the bus back, or do a short circular walk at Manorbier a few miles along the coast.
  • Swimming. Tenby has some beautiful beaches, which are ideal for swimming and spending a traditional family day at the sea-side.
  • Take a leisurely rickshaw or horse and cart tour around the town centre.
  • The Tenby Arts Festival is held in mid-September.
  • 1 Tenby Cycles, The Norton, ☏ +44 1834 845573, ✉ info@tenbycycles.co.uk. Bikes for hire. 
  • 2 Heatherton World of Activities, St Florence, ☏ +44 1646 652000, ✉ info@heatherton.co.uk. Daily from 10:00AM. Dog-friendly sport and activity attraction, offering over 30 activities. Free. 
  • Boat trips, Harbour. Boat trips to Caldey Island or wildlife cruises to see seals and sometimes dolphins in the bay or around the island. Tickets from kiosk at top of Tenby harbour. 
  • 3 Manor House Wildlife Park (Anna's Welsh Zoo), St Florence, Tenby.  
  • Tenby Blues Festival, ☏ +44 7074 10 21 21, ✉ info@TenbyBlues.co.uk. In November, from Friday thru Sunday. Blues festival in over 15 venues all around Tenby town, with performers from all around the world. 
  • 4 Ritec Valley Quadbikes, Roberts WallPenally
  • 5 Trefloyne Manor Golf Club. 
  • 6 Tenby Golf Club, The Burrows. 

Buy

  • Tenby has many interesting shops tucked away in the alleys.
  • The Caldey Island gift shop at the top of Quay Hill has some unusual hand made gifts. Try the chocolate.
  • 1 Joys Of Tenby, 51 St George's St, SA70 7JB. (updated Oct 2020)

Eat

As a major tourist centre, Tenby is certainly not lacking in cafes and restaurants.

  • Plantagenet House, Quay Hill - in an historic stone building, good and reasonably priced meals, wood burning stove in winter.
  • 25 Cafe, 25 High Street. Simple, but freshly made meals. 
  • Fecci & Sons Ice Cream Parlour, Upper Frog Street.
  • 1 Ossie Morgan's Restaurant, Fourcroft Hotel, ☏ +44 1834 842886. Featuring local, seasonal produce, meals are freshly prepared by skilled chefs familiar with a seaside appetite. Traditional cooked breakfasts, bar lunches and evening menus. 
  • 2 The Baytree, Tudor Square, ☏ +44 1834 843516, ✉ karen@baytreetenby.co.uk. 
  • Qube Restaurant, Tudor Square, ☏ +44 1834 844565, ✉ gill@theqube-tenby.co.uk. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner all day. Local food, quality ingredients. (updated May 2018)

Drink

Pubs

There are a large number of pubs to be found in Tenby, many offering food during the day in a family friendly environment.

  • 1 The Crown Inn, Lower Frog St, SA70 7HU. (updated Oct 2020)
  • 2 Bar 10, St George's St, SA70 7JB. (updated Oct 2020)

Coffee

  • Caffe Vista, 3 Crackwell Street, SA70 7HA. Overlooking the harbour and North Beach, in a Georgian building. Great views, outstanding coffee, cakes, good breakfasts and Greek food. 
  • 25 Cafe, 25 High Street

Sleep

Tenby has a great variety of accommodation, and B&Bs are plentiful. However, advance reservations are recommended during the summer months.

Budget

  • Gumfreston Hotel, Culver Park, ☏ +44 1834 842871. 
  • Manorbier Youth Hostel, ☏ +44 1834 87110, ✉ manorbier@yha.org.uk. The nearest Youth Hostel is at Manorbier (6 miles). 
  • Osnok, 1 Southcliffe Street, ☏ +44 1834 843189. 
  • 1 Covert Farm Camping, Jeffreyston SA68 0RH, ☏ +44 7533 588112. Quiet campsite next to a SSSI wildlife reserve. Tent from £22. (updated Apr 2021)

Mid-range

  • St Teresa's Old Convent Guesthouse, South Parade, ☏ +44 1834 845514, ✉ info@saintteresas.co.uk. The Old Convent, built in 1896, has now been renovated and transformed into a high standard guesthouse & restaurant. Located just opposite the famous five arches in Tenby, you have all the shops, pubs, and restaurants within a minute's walk. £70-90 for a double room including breakfast. 
  • Atlantic Hotel, The Esplanade, ☏ +44 1834 842881. 
  • Clarence House Hotel, Esplanade, ☏ +44 1834 844371. 
  • Park Hotel, North Cliff, ☏ +44 1834 842480. 
  • Tenby House Hotel, Tudor Square, ☏ +44 1834 842000. 
  • 2 Castle Mead Hotel, ☏ +44 1834 871358, ✉ info@castlemeadhotel.co.uk. Castlemead is beautifully situated at the head of a small wooded valley, overlooking the sea, Norman church & castle. Set in half an acre of pleasant, mature grounds and lawns it offers a gloriously relaxing spot, in the heart of the village of Manorbier
  • 3 St Lawrence Country Guest House, Gumfreston, ☏ +44 1834 849727. A small country guest house providing bed and breakfast with stunning views across the countryside to the sea and Caldey Island. Close to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and a good base for walking, sightseeing and cycling and for those brave enough to tackle Ironman Wales Gumfreston is just 10 minutes from the starting line. 

Splurge

  • 4 Giltar Hotel, The Esplanade, ☏ +44 1834 842507, ✉ enquiries@giltar-hotel.co.uk. Based on the Esplanade overlooking South Beach. A few minutes walk from the walled town of Tenby. 60 rooms (Standard, Premier and Deluxe). Restaurant and 'The Cwtch' Bar. Small car park at rear of the hotel. £50 to £165 (including breakfast). 
  • 5 Fourcroft Hotel, North Beach, ☏ +44 1834 842886, ✉ stay@fourcroft-hotel.co.uk. This place offers well-equipped rooms, many with lovely views over the old fishing harbour and across Carmarthen Bay. It's part of a Listed Georgian terrace, built over 175 years ago as individual summer houses. A lift runs from the first half landing and there are footpaths directly to the beach. from £120 per room per night£. 
  • Penally Abbey, Penally SA70 7PY, ☏ +44 1834 843033. Upscale hotel in a Victorian Gothic concoction. B&B double from £170. (updated Jun 2020)

Self-catering

  • Hungerford Farm Touring Caravan Park, Loveston, near Kilgetty, ☏ +44 1834 891463. 
  • Kiln Park Caravan Park, Marsh Road, ☏ +44 1834 844121. 
  • Lydstep Beach Caravan Park, ☏ +44 870 4050148. 
  • Whitewell Holiday Park, Lydstep Beach, ☏ +44 1834 871569. 
  • 7 Celtic Haven Resort & Spa (Celtic Haven Cottages), Lydstep, near Tenby (on the A4139 between Tenby and Manorbier), ☏ +44 1834 870000, ✉ welcome@celtichaven.co.uk. A family-run holiday cottage resort on the picturesque Pembrokeshire cliff tops near Tenby. Many of the pretty whitewashed cottages date right back to the 12th century and onsite facilities include an Elemis spa, Waves cliff-top restaurant, a headland golf course and leisure club with an indoor pool. The Pembrokeshire Coast Path is a short stroll away and many of the cottages are pet-friendly. From £25 pp pn. 

Connect

Go next

  • Pembroke - Pembroke Castle, medieval Norman castle, and birthplace of King Henry VII.
  • St Davids - The UK's smallest city - imposing cathedral.
  • Swansea - Wales' maritime city is around 80 km from Tenby - wide range of cultural and leisure amenities.


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