Picture perfect Tenby is an absolute must stop at destination on your Pembrokeshire road trip. This pretty seaside town with rainbow coloured houses and four sandy beaches looks like a vintage postcard, and has lots of great places to explore.
Here are our top ten best things to do in Tenby!
1. Stroll along the esplanade
Walk above the length of North Beach, a wide expanse of sand punctuated by Goskar rock. Pause on a sunny bench for views of the quaint harbour at the far end.
2. Climb Castle Hill
Follow a winding street away from the harbour, through an old arch that was once part of the castle's gateway. On the very top of the hill is a small stone tower dating from the 13th century, all that remains of Tenby Castle itself, apart from some stretches of defensive wall. There are great views over the town from up here, as well as St Mary's fort and the lifeboat station, which you can also pop into on weekdays. The old lifeboat station next door is now a house, transformed on an episode of Grand Designs!
3. Enjoy the beautiful harbour
Wander through the wooden huts selling fishing trips and outings to Caldey Island to the small traditional harbour full of bobbing boats. Backed by a row of pastel coloured houses and the tall skinny spire of St Mary's Church, the harbour is pretty as a postcard and very photogenic.
4. Wander the old streets
Travel back in time and explore the narrow streets. Tenby has some very impressive 13th century walls, especially along South Parade, adorable souvenir shops and a few blue plaques to look out for - down on the harbourside is a holiday let that Roald Dahl stayed in every Easter as a child, and just up the street opposite the Hope and Anchor pub is East Rock House where Admiral Lord Nelson once stayed.
5. Visit the Tudor Merchant's House
Run by the National Trust, the 15th Century Tudor Merchant's House is tucked away above the harbour on Quay Hill. Spread across three floors, you can visit the Merchant's shop and see the rooms where he would have lived with his family some 500 years ago, including a kitchen, dining hall and bedroom, all with replica period furniture. NB the Merchant's House is currently closed, the National Trust is hoping to reopen it by summer.
6. Take a boat to Caldey Island
Like Iona in the Hebrides and Northumberland's Lindesfarne, Caldey Island is one of Britain's holy islands and is still home to Cistercian Monks. The white walled monastery with it's red roof looks Mediterannean, and they have a shop where you can buy perfume, lavender products and chocolate hand made on the island.
7. Relax on Castle Beach
Nestled beneath the cliffs of Tenby Castle, this little golden beach appears at low tide. Directly opposite is St Catherine's Island with its impressive fort, providing some pretty epic views while you eat your ice cream!
8. Harbwr craft brewery and taproom
Tucked away on Sergeant’s Lane, one of the narrow old streets that wind above the harbour, is the award winning Harbwr craft brewery. You can book a tour of the brewery, or visit the tap room to try their delicious range of cask and bottled ales. You Can also buy bottled ale to take away!
9. North and South Beach
Tenby’s two largest beaches are a very short walk away on opposite sides of the historic centre and are wide and spacious. South Beach in particular is 1.5 miles long! It’s worth noting that in simmer months dogs are not allowed on North Beach, and both are blue flag beaches (as is Castle Beach) which means the water is fine for swimming. Take a picnic and choose one to camp out on all day. Glorious!
10. Fecci & Sons
While you’re in Tenby you have to get your fish and chips from D. Fecci and sons on Lower Frog Street. Serving local produce since 1935, this award winning family run establishment usually has long queues outside, and for good reason! They also offer gluten free options, with fish battered in ground rice and potato, cooked in a designated fryer.
Tenby is the perfect place for a nostalgic day at the seaside - roll your trousers up and go for a paddle, eat an ice cream, build a sandcastle, nose around the souvenir shops from some delightfully naff Welsh merch and buy some treats from Tenby Rock, Fudge and Sweets, the quaint little sweet shop on the corner of Church Street and St Julian's Street. It's also a great jumping off point to head north and explore more of beautiful Pembrokeshire! Marloes, gateway to seabird paradise Skomer Island, is only a 45 minute drive away, or it's an hour to historic St Davids, the UK's smallest city.