British Road Trips! - Pembrokeshire
It is no secret that up until 2020, international travel had been easily accessible and affordable, so much so, that many people would choose to fly overseas, rather than explore their home country. We have always been attracted to a warmer climate and cheap beers and let’s be fair, it can work out pretty expensive to travel within the UK, compared to places like Thailand or Mexico for example. Even many parts of Europe have lost their cheap getaway appeal.
That being said, due to a global pandemic, we have all been forced to return home and stay put with no one really knowing how long for. This to me seems like the perfect time to visit places in the UK that I have always wanted to but instead passed up in favour for a trip to a sunnier destination overseas. The way I see it is you can look at a thunder cloud and complain that it won’t leave or you can seek out the silver lining and learn to dance in the rain. You see every situation or event is polar, meaning both a positive and a negative result exists at the same time and the way you choose to look at the outcome, essentially is everything.
First up on my #BritishRoadTrips tour is the breathtaking west coast of Wales - Pembrokeshire.
We left home at 8 o'clock in the morning and as I opened my car door, I looked at my step-dad Rob and asked… Do I need to check my water in the car? Nah, you will be ok he said and off we went. If I am honest with you, I did find it a contradiction to what my uncle Keith keeps saying, which is "make sure you check your water before you go", but I thought, Rob knows what he is talking about, let's go! Anyway, we only made it eight miles down the road before my stop light came on and my car (she is called Blue by the way) overheated! Luckily I had some old water in a bottle stashed in the pocket of the door, so we topped it up and once the car cooled down, we set off again.
The first stop along our coastal road trip was Little Haven, a charmingly quaint fishing village in the south-east corner of St Brides Bay. The sandy beach itself is a natural cove, flanked on either side with rocks, and is dog friendly! When the tide is in, the beach is very small, but when the tide rolls out, it opens up to be a huge beach where you are able to walk around to the sandy bay at Settlands. The Pembrokeshire coastal path runs through Little Haven and offers scenic walks with panoramic views.
There is very limited parking in Little Haven and I would imagine that prior to the pandemic, in the peak of summer, finding a parking space would be a difficult task. The village has a couple of nice pubs, a shop, cafe, holiday cottages, and B&Bs and whilst there I saw a banana boat, jetski, and people windsurfing, so this place really does cater for the whole family, looking for a relaxing but fun trip!
Fun Fact: In the next bay along, Broad Haven hit the media in the 1970s due to a UFO sighting by a group of Pembrokeshire school children which remains one of the most famous cases in Wales. So if you are hoping for an Alien encounter, perhaps this is a good place to start?
Driving north for 15 minutes, along the coastline you will reach Nolton Haven, a hamlet with picturesque views of both the rolling countryside and the stunning beaches. This hamlet is popular with self-catering cottages, chalets, and caravans, more so than hotels. There is a peaceful and relaxing vibe that would suit those looking to get away from the hustle and bustle that some seaside resorts tend to attract.
Beach horse riding is in full swing here. As an animal lover, I got super excited to see this, so if riding is your thing, or maybe you have always wanted to gallop along the beach like a warrior goddess then I recommend adding a stop to Norton Haven.
Fun fact: Norton Haven was once a coal mining port and a tramway used to carry the coal from the haven, over the hills to the Trefran Cliff Colliery.
A two-mile stretch of brilliant golden sands, Newgale attracts surfers, windsurfers, kayakers, and sunbathers galore. The beach is clean and vast which makes social distancing easy to practice. With the lush green rolling hills behind you, it's safe to say you get the best of both worlds! The northern end offers a pub, cafe, and a surf shop, where you can hire a board and wetsuit and even get yourself a lesson! I have surfed in Nicaragua, Mexico, and Newquay and highly recommend having a few lessons if you have never tried it before, you will have more of a chance getting up on the board with an instructor than you would alone! It really is great fun.
The breeze can be brisk so I would recommend taking a windbreak if you plan to spend the day there, especially if you take a picnic. Sea anglers fish here for sea bass, mackerel and mullet, I personally didn’t fish there but I hear that evening makes the best time.
We followed the coastal road north until we reached the UK’s smallest city by population, St Davids. Named after the patron Saint of Wales, the peninsula offers some incredible coastal scenery. There is so much to do here, including whale and dolphin watching trips! Some places of interest include The Bishops Palace, museums, art galleries, and a St Davids Cathedral to name a few.
The narrow streets are packed with restaurants and cafes, galleries and hotels, everything you would want to have whilst away on a vacay! There is also a golf course nearby, so whatever your thing is, St Davids has the means to provide you with fun and enjoyment.
This really is a beautiful part of Wales and I personally felt a laid back vibe, much different from the loud and excited crowds you would find down in Tenby for example (by the way Tenby is a beautiful place to visit too, just a lot busier in my opinion). All in all, Pembrokeshire really is a silver lining and definitely worth a visit!