Pembrokeshire; The Perfect Guide to a Weekend!

Elegug Stacks in Pembrokeshire, Wales

Pembrokeshire is a county in Southwest Wales and rated by some as one of the best coastlines in the world.

It is easy to understand how it has gained such a rating with over 50 beaches and boasting 186 miles of magnificent and varied seashores.

With our plans and guidebook in tow, we could not wait to explore and spend a few nights in this stunning part of the UK!

So, what is there to see and do in just a short weekend?
Skomer Island to see the playful puffins!

We adore animals, so visiting Skomer Island in June was our main draw to this gorgeous location in the South of Wales. The cute puffin photographs on Instagram and various wildlife websites had been long admired, and we too wanted to experience being close to these beautiful creatures!

We booked our day tickets to visit Skomer Island on the main website, www.pembrokeshire-islands.co.uk, and due to the current restrictions at the time, they were working on a booking system where you could book tickets for a date and specific time slot. It had been an arriving and waiting process in previous years, which could very well be reintroduced as restrictions are eased. So it is worth checking this before planning your visit.

Puffins can be spotted on the island from April until August, but the prime Puffin spotting time is between mid-June and Mid July. It is at this time that the parents are busy to-ing and fro-ing with food for their chicks.

However, it is worth noting that one of the risks of placing all of your hopes and dreams on a puffin trip in Pembrokeshire is that it is not uncommon for all boats to be cancelled to the island due to adverse weather. And sadly, this happened to us, We were disappointed, but as we knew the risks beforehand, we quickly got to work exploring other options on www.visitpembrokeshire.co.uk and promptly drafted a backup plan.

Next season, we still plan to visit Skomer, so watch this space for a detailed blog of us finally meeting and greeting the puffins!

Carew Castle & Tidal Mill for exploring and cream teas!
Carew castle in Pembrokeshire

Carew Castles interesting history dates back over 2000 years and tells of kingmakers and knights. Still owned by the Carew family but leased to Pembrokeshire National Park, a day trip here will fill you with awe and intrigue at the history it beholds.

Set over a stunning location overlooking a 20-acre millpond.  The castle stands guard to the only restored tidal mill in Wales and an 11th Century Celtic cross.

We spent a couple of hours here, but you could easily spend a day exploring the various walkways and buildings. We coupled with, of course, time spent drinking tea and eating cake in the on-site tea room.

To book tickets or find out more information visit: www.pembrokeshirecoast.wales/carew-castle

Manor Wildlife park for the whole family
Manor Farm wildlife park

Since our long-awaited trip to Skomer Island was sadly cancelled due to adverse weather we were left wanting an animal fix and Manor Wildlife Park ticked all of the boxes.

Manor Wildlife Park, Wales only walking Safari Park and home to various species of animals. As avid animal lovers, we are always keen to research any animal attraction before visiting, and our draw to Manor Wildlife Park was their mission. Its mission is to protect and secure endangered species ecosystems. Their conservation-led changes to the park, their strong commitments to ethical trading and education, and their ethos that animal welfare must be their top priority.

The highlight for us had to be hand feeding the wallabies. Despite arriving slightly later and the gorgeous wallaby community seemingly feeling full or tired of the food they had been offered all morning, we managed to find one hungry taker. We loved being so close to them in their habitat, and the experience filled us with so much joy.

With a café and restaurant on-site for when you get hungry and so many animals to see, you will not get bored!

We even managed to watch a rhino have a bath in a pool from about 15 metres away! It was a close second in the highlights of the day!

Tickets need to be prebooked at present, and you can do this here: www.manorwildlifepark.co.uk

Sunset at Elegug Stacks

Elegug Stacks was the location that gave us our bird fix!

A breath-taking scene. Elegug stacks, also named Stack Rocks, are situated to the east of the Green Bridge in Wales and are two large limes stone rocks that rise majestically off the mainland.  They are home to many guillemots and razorbills who squash themselves on the rocks during Springtime as they raise their chicks in preparation for flying ‘the nest’ in June or July.

The noise is something to write about in itself. During the spring, you will struggle even to hear the waves crash for the sounds of these colonies of birds chatting and squawking as they fly around busily, tending to their chicks.

An absolutely beautiful spot for walkers, bird watchers and photographers alike, this is one place not to be missed.

Elegug Stacks, Pembrokeshire
Guillemot colony at Elegug Stacks in Pembrokeshire
St David’s Cathedral and the city of St David’s

St David was a Welsh bishop of Mynyw during the 6th century, and he is the patron of Wales. And since Steffan is a welsh man and I was keen to learn more about this famous patrons history, we decided to pay homage by visiting this famous Welsh City and its grand Cathedral.

The Cathedral, also known in Welsh as Eglwys Gadeiriol Tyddewi, is situated in St David’s. It was founded in AD 589 by St David and consecrated in 1131. Steeped in history and tales of how this epic Cathedral has withstood the test of time and war, there is much to explore and learn as you wander around these sacred grounds. Nowhere in Britain is there a more ancient Cathedral settlement.

St David's Cathedral (Welsh: Eglwys Gadeiriol Tyddewi) is situated in St David's in Pembrokeshire

For more information, visit www.stdavidscathedral.org.uk

The Cathedral was imposing, as you might expect, and you could easily spend half a day here wandering around soaking in the history and craftsmanship that has designed such a building.

St David’s in Pembrokeshire is a traditional holiday city and is worth spending some time in after exploring the Cathedral. From ice cream shops to souvenirs and friendly restaurants, St David’s has it all.

Surfing or canyoneering off the Pembrokeshire coast!

If you are feeling a little more energetic or adventurous, there are so many activities to choose from across the Pembrokeshire coastline!

From coasteering to sea kayaking and surfing! Preseli Venture guarantees an adventurous, fun-filled experience whilst visiting this stunning spot in Wales!

We had a surfing lesson booked, which we apprehensively yet excitedly awaited. However, the Welsh gods were not on our side as this too was cancelled due to adverse weather.

We were offered a Coasteering experience instead-but politely declined since I had been advised recently not to do anything too adventurous after managing to develop inflammation in my chest muscles (It always happens to me).

But we agreed to come back when we rebooked our Skomer Island trip soon.

That said, if you are looking for a reputable company in Pembrokeshire with a friendly team to boot, Preseli Adventure is your best choice.

A long-established adventure company providing sustainable adventure activities, we found them friendly, helpful, and professional and cannot wait to rebook in the distant future!

You can find them here:

www.preseliventure.co.uk

 

Check out www.visitpembrokeshire.com for more ideas of things to see & do!

Where to stay
Elm Grove Country House, Tenby, Pembrokeshire.

After much research, we decided to stay at the stylish and beautifully designed 4 star Elm Grove Country House for our weekend in Pembrokeshire. We could not have been happier with our choice.

Elm Grove Country House is family-run by the loveliest couple, Jane and Alan, whom we had the pleasure of meeting during our stay.

Award-winning and tastefully decorated, Elm Grove Country House is not only set in a perfect location for exploring the local area being extremely close to the holiday town of Tenby but is also a haven away from the hustle and bustle of the local towns.

Elm Grove, Set on 20 acres of private grounds, is situated in the picturesque village of St Florence.  You would be forgiven for thinking you had arrived onto the filming set of Bridgeton or a similar classical period drama as you make your way up the treelined sweeping driveway and approach the elegant building.

The beautiful building gives way to manicured gardens with brightly coloured flowers and spacious lawns with inviting croquet hoops.

Daisies surround wooden sun loungers, and you’ll find hidden seating areas nestled in between flowers beds. It did feel like the Secret Garden.

As we sat outside enjoying the views of the horses grazing in the fields opposite, we drank tea and ate tasty Welsh cakes bought out to us on a tray.

The whimsical bird song as they danced from one tree to the next and the quiet and peaceful atmosphere that Elm Grove so easily seems to have created and held dear was contagious.

The gardens of Country House, Tenby, Pembrokeshire.

The owners told us of some of their “guests” they had frequently visit. From woodpeckers to badgers and foxes. And how they loved being so close to the action but so far away you could easily feel as though you were in the middle of nowhere.

Elm Grove is just as delightful inside as it is out. Upon entering, you are greeted by a grand sweeping staircase, huge floral displays that smell divine, glistening Chandeliers, and intricately detailed paintings and ornaments.

Our bedroom, decorated in tasteful white and gold with dashes of navy blue, was huge, with two large bay windows overlooking the fields and swaying trees.

A sumptuous sofa decorated with cushions positioned perfectly to admire the views over a cup of tea or to watch our favourite show on the large TV.

Bedroom in Elm Grove Country House

Alan and Jane have thought of everything, providing a kettle, drinking water, a range of tea and coffee and biscuits. A fan was also provided, which was a welcome touch in the slightly humid weather.

The ensuite bathroom gave a modern feel mixed with infusions of a bygone era.

Decorated with elegant touches such as a silver-framed heart-shaped mirror and shelves, a large shower wrapped around white tiles stood tall in the corner.

The large comfortable bed was a dream to sink into after a day of adventuring around the area. Elm Grove has a shared bathing room with a large roll-top bath, beautiful mirrors, a gleaming chandelier, and large white windows that evoke instant relaxation if you fancy a bath.

After a restful night sleep, you can look forward to a delicious breakfast of your choice in the light and airy dining room.

The service was always with a smile, and we felt totally at home whilst receiving the most impeccable care during our stay.

As well as a freshly cooked breakfast provided during your stay, Elm Grove can also offer dinner, which you can book before arrival.

We loved our stay at Elm Grove.

A peaceful haven yet perfectly positioned to explore this beautiful part of the UK.

Extremely close to Tenby and within a reasonable driving distance to all of the attractions Pembrokeshire offers.

You can book with this stunning hotel and find out more here: www.elmgrovecountryhouse.co.uk

Elm Grove Country House, Tenby, Pembrokeshire.

A lovely couple owns Elm Grove Country House and we had the pleasure of meeting Jane and Alan whilst staying with them it was so interesting hearing more about the property and the area. It is easy to see how so many people fall in love with both the beautiful Country House and friendly hospitality provided by both of them. 

We asked Jane and Alan to say a bit about themselves to add to this blog so you can get to know your future hosts a little bit more!

Meet the owners!

 

 

Tell us a little about you and the family?

My husband Alan and I run Elm Grove – I grew up here and it’s been in my family since 1957 when my grandparents bought it. We have 2 rescue basset hounds and 4 horses (2 of which are rescues) on the property – though the dogs, Ozzy & Hugo, aren’t allowed in the main house (there would be hair literally everywhere).

Alan has a fine art degree and has a studio on-site – guests will see some of his work on display in some of the rooms. He’s exhibited around the country and spends his spare time (when he’s not doing DIY) making beautiful new pieces.

How long have you lived in the area and what made you decide to manage a hotel?

I have lived at Elm Grove for over 40 years, and I absolutely love Pembrokeshire.

My nan decided in the late 50’s she wanted to run a B&B, so they bought Elm Grove (she obviously didn’t want to start small) and ran it with my grandad and mum until they retired. My mum then ran it for over 30 years, and we took over nearly 15 years ago after living in Cardiff for 10 years after university and working in the banking & retail sector. Pembrokeshire and Elm Grove were always calling to me – and it seemed like the perfect time to return. We’ve honestly never looked back.

Can you tell us any history about Elm Grove?

Elm Grove was a boarding school for evacuee girls during the war – for many years after our family bought it, we would get those same girls, now grown up, come and stay – one even wrote a book about her experiences during the war – and until recently lived locally.

The self-catering mews cottages at the back of the main house used to be the stables and storage for the coach & horses. The census from the late 1800s and early 1900s makes very interesting reading. We have tried to ensure as many original features have been kept as possible – from the teak floorboards in the hall (from ships broken up in the local dockyards) to the wonderful cornicing. We still have the old servant bells hanging in the back hall – with the bell pulls still visible in the dining rooms and lounge, though now long since disconnected.

What is your favourite part about running Elm Grove?  

The best part, and sometimes the most challenging part, about running Elm Grove is that no two days are the same. You never get bored – and we’ve learnt so much since running this beautiful old house. From fixing toilets and showers to meeting wonderful guests from all over the world. It’s fantastic to be able to share our passion for the county with our guests – highlighting the best places to visit depending on the time of year.

What are you top 3 things that your guests should do in the area that you would recommend?

  • Visit Caldey Island – its fabulous priory beach is often deserted in the height of summer when the other beaches in the county are full – it’s a perfect escape from the crowds. The walk around the island allows visitors to spot different wildlife from red squirrels in the woods to seals playing in the sea – there is also fabulous chocolate for sale. The monastery is still active but isn’t open to the public. It’s only 20 minutes by boat from Tenby harbour (doesn’t run on Sundays or Easter). Open from April – end of October.
  • Marloes – this epic beach is a fabulous way to feel like you’re at the far ends of the earth when you’re actually on part of the Pembrokeshire coast path. The scenery on the drive there is just as beautiful. It’s also close to the harbour from which people can book a crossing to visit Skomer Island (see thousands of puffins and swaths of bluebells and campions during May & June) – pre-booking well ahead via their website is essential to visit the island. In the autumn you can see seals and their pups in the coves around Marloes – they can be viewed from a safe distance at the top of the cliffs around the deer park.
  • Walk the coast path – whether it’s from Tenby to Saundersfoot, from Stackpole to Fresh West or around the stunning St Davids Penninsula – you can’t come to this part of the world without experiencing the views and scenery along the path. We’re just 3 miles from Tenby/Manorbier/Saundersfoot – so the path isn’t far away.

 

 

Are you planning to twin your trip to Pembrokeshire with Snowdonia National Park?

If so CLICK HERE to read all about the perfect place to stay when you are visiting North Wales 

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