Tenby is an adorable seaside town on the Pembrokeshire coast in southwest Wales. It has something special for everyone: historic castles, golden beaches, a maze of narrow streets, pastel colored buildings, quirky shops selling locally-produced items, water sports, boat trips, a variety of restaurants/bars, two breweries and the friendliest people around! You’ll be spoiled for choice when visiting.
Below are my Tenby recommendations...
Tenby is not a big area (only 622 square miles). It's acessible by foot and quite easy to get your bearings. Despite it's small size, it has four beaches:
Harbor Beach: A small beach located in the harbor, as you might have guessed. It's ideal for families. It’s a great spot to take photos.
North Beach: Found on the North side of the town is North Beach, which is recognizeable by Goskar rock in the middle. This is perfect for those who prefer their beaches wide (depending on the tide), with great views. Enjoy a day relaxing on the sand or take part in activities such as paddle boarding, body boarding, canoeing, sailing and/or waterskiing.
Castle Beach: To the South you'll find Castle Beach, named Sunday Times Beach of the Year in 2019. It's small, but perfectly formed. Plus, there's ice cream within easy reach!
South Beach: The biggest and often busiest beach is South Beach; a good place to run around, catch rays and/or enjoy an adult beverage.
FOOD AND DRINK:
There are a plethora of of restaurants, cafes and pubs to refuel at, after a long day of sandcastle building. Be sure to book way in advance as Tenby can get quite busy, particularly in the summer months.
If you fancy Italian, Florentino's is a great option. Despite some poor reviews on Tripadvisor, I thought the staff was lovely and I really enjoyed the Coccolli Prosciutto Stracchino, Linguine alli Astice and Ravioli Con Butter e Salvia.
The Baytree has a warm and welcoming atmosphere and some delicious seafood!
The Fat Seagull is actually a cafe and a restaurant, side-by-side. I enjoyed a bottle of prosecco in the restuarant one evening and also stopped by the cafe, before leaving Tenby, to grab a baguette for the journey back to London.
I love the vibe at Caffe Vista, serving up fresh Cypriat dishes. Go for great service and unobstructed views of North Beach from the terrace!
I wasn't able to get bookings at the following places, so I can't speak from experience, but the following fine dining establishments were recommended to me: The Stables, St Bride's Hotel and Penally Abbey and are probably worth a visit.
Caldey Island: Just 20-minutes away by boat, you'll find this holy Island, owned and run by a community of Cistercian monks. It’s open to the public on summer weekdays & Saturdays. Regular boat trips set off from Tenby Harbour or Castle Beach, dependent upon the tide. Tickets can be purchased (for £14 return) at the kiosk in the harbor. You'll get dropped off at Priory Beach, a beautiful place for a dip in the sea and the starting point for exploring the island. Caldey a remote oasis of tranquillity and calm where you can stroll around (there are no cars), relax on the beach or watch seabirds. I searched high and low for puffins/pufflings, but had no successful sightings.
St. Catherine's Island is located at the foot of Castle Beach. Open times are dependent upon the weather, daylight and tidal conditions (all of which you should check before heading out). Entry is £5 for adults/£2.50 for kids. There are steep steps and a rope bridge, so wear appropriate footwear.
I'm not sure if it was because people were limited to staycations as a result of COVID, or if it was a seasonality issue that exists each summer, but finding accommodation was a difficult task. Even several months in advance, most Airbnbs, hotels, guest houses and B&B's were already booked up. In the end, I stayed at the Atlantic Hotel on the Esplanade. It was absolutely fine for my needs. The location was central, the staff very nice and it was clean/comfortable.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO:
There's a railway Station right in the heart of Tenby - with regular services from Cardiff Central and Swansea.
Between 11am and 5:30pm the center of Tenby is pedestrian only. No cars are allowed.
Shops and bars close really early. Most shops shut around 5/5:30pm and last call at some pubs is as early as 8pm. I think there are a few places that close at 11pm or 12am though, if you search hard enough.
A car is not necessary, but is nice if you want to explore nearby areas.
Bring comfy shoes for long walks./hikes.