10 Reasons to Visit Pembrokeshire as a Family
As someone who loved going to Pembrokeshire with her family, alone as an adult and now with my own son, I wanted to share my 10 reasons to visit Pembrokeshire as a Family. Whilst these are also great for solo visitors, they’re all appropriate for people with kids from babies to teenagers!
Tenby is one of my favourite towns in the UK, I’ve been going there on holiday since I was a teenager. It’s a picturesque harbour town with a set of medieval walls containing shops and restaurants galore. Massive stretches of sandy beaches and sparkling blue water reach out both north and south. It has B&Bs, boutique apartments and even a brand new Premier Inn for the budget traveler which we stayed in last visit. If you don’t fancy a beach destination, it has a ruined castle, a museum and art gallery and a Tutor Merchant’s House. Boat trips head out from the harbour throughout the day and it’s within easy reach of the entire of Pembrokeshire and indeed, West Wales, so makes an excellent base. It’s the type of town that I firmly believe once you go there once – you’ll want to go back.
Here are a couple of photos I took in Tenby in 2018:
The Pembrokeshire Coastal Path
The Pembrokeshire Coastal winds around the coastline through the Pembrokeshire National Park, covering 186 miles from Amroth to St Dogmaels. Along it, you’ll get an unbeatable view of pristine Welsh coastline covering cliffs, coves, beaches and estuaries. Whilst much of it is rough and rugged, there are disabled and buggy-friendly sections which have been resurfaced, whilst cyclists can follow several cycling trails making it accessible to all in some form. Choosing which section to walk can be done from the information on the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park website which shares 200 different walks, so you’re bound to find one that suits your pace and family
Blue Flag Beaches in Pembrokeshire
Pembrokeshire has a record-breaking number of Blue Flag beaches with eleven in a small area, including three in Tenby itself. Wherever you are staying in Pembrokeshire there is going to be an amazing beach nearby. With sweeping coastlines and rugged cliffs topped with the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path, most of these beaches will be accessible for families to visit and many have good facilities such as car parking, toilets and somewhere to grab a bite to eat.
Folly Farm, near Tenby
We visited Folly Farm in 2018 with three generations of the family and had an amazing time! Folly Farm is a combination zoo, farm park and adventure park. It has exotic animals to visit, farm animals to get up close and personal with, soft play, indoor and outdoor adventure play, rides, go-carts and more, all just ten minutes outside Tenby. It’s apparently been voted the tenth best zoo in the WORLD on Tripadvisor, so it really is a must-visit for the whole family. Check the website for more details.
Manor Wildlife Park
Manor Wildlife Park is a large zoo near St. Florence, famously bought by TV presenter Anna Ryder in 2008. It’s the star of the BBC documentary Wild Welsh Zoo which aired in 2009 and contains many species of endangered animals and a walking safari. From rhinos to red pandas there’s a whole host of animals to get up close and personal with, whilst it also has excellent children’s facilities with a giant boundy castle, indoor play area and lovely cafe food that doesn’t break the bank. It’s pushchair friendly as well, so an ideal day out for little ones.
Castles of Pembrokeshire
Wales is famous for its castles and Pembrokeshire has some good ones. I would personally recommend Pembroke Castle and Manorbier Castle, both easily accessible with tons of history. Manorbier Castle is set on the very south coast, west of Tenby and is a Norman baronial castle, directly overlooking the beach with amazing views from the towers. Pembroke Castle is the birthplace of Henry VII and has a massive amount of history behind it. It’s located in the pretty town of Pembroke where there are plenty of shops and eateries.
But you don’t have to stop with just two castles. There’s also Carew Castle, Cilgerran Castle, Llawhaden Castle and Picton Castle, whilst history lovers will also enjoy St Davids Bishops Palace, Lamphey Bishops Palace and the Tudor Merchant’s House in Tenby. There is no shortage of historical sites to visit, and whilst young children may not be super interested in the history, there’s usually plenty of space to run around in as well!
We love going on boat trips and there are a couple on offer from Tenby. It’s a fantastic area for seeing wildlife, with the possibility of seeing seals, puffins and dozens of other impressive species. There are specific wildlife sighting cruises, or relaxing island cruises and even sunset cruises to see the coast line as the sun sets around you. Caldey Island has regular ferry trips taking tourists over to it, where you can see an active monastery and shop their hand-made gifts in the gift shop. There are also more energetic RIB cruises, as well as lots of fishing opportunities. In short, something for everyone straight out of Tenby harbour.
From St David’s you can visit four small islands and go on dedicated dolphin and whale watching trips as well – one of the best places to see dolphins in the UK!
Oakwood Theme Park
Oakwood Theme Park is Wales’ biggest family adventure park. It has a variety of rides to go on including four large adrenaline inducing rollercoaster rides. It’s a much smaller park overall than the big theme parks in England, but does have a wide range of rides that are suitable for all ages and definitely worth a visit for a family in the area. The only downside is that it’s closed in the winter so make sure you check the website for opening times and special events before traveling. Children under three go free, which is handy for a family with little ones who might not want to go on many rides.
Heatherton World of Activities
Heatherton World of Activities is an adventure park that has a massive array of different activities grouped together to be easily accessible. Entry is completely free and then you pay per activity that you use, or buy bundles of credits to spend. This works out good value as it means you only pay for what you want. With activities suitable for toddlers (such as indoor soft play) and the family (bumper boats, adventure golf, archery, water zorbing, jumping pillows, race cars and tons more) as well as adrenaline activities suitable for teenagers and adults (shooting, painballing, tree tops and zip lines) there is bound to be something for everyone. It’s just a few minutes outside Tenby and open all year and a big bonus for some, it’s dog-friendly too so you don’t have to leave your furry pal at home. There’s even a dog agility course!
My advice is that there’s so much to do it’s worth checking out the website in advance and planning the day to make the best use of time and credits!
St David’s is a tiny cathedral city with a population of just 1800 people, located on the very west tip of Pembrokeshire, with amazing coastline in all directions. I’ve added this onto my top 10 list of reasons to visit Pembrokeshire because I think that despite it’s small size, it has a lot to offer. It has a 12th century condition tucked away behind the River Alun, which is open to visitors daily, with history and a treasury as well as a fantastic little restaurant called The Refectory which sells local sourced, home-cooked food. Then next door it has The Bishops Palace, a gothic ruin that’s well worth a visit.
From the harvour you can visit the islands of Ramsey, Grassholm, Skomer and Skokholm by boat – rugged pieces of paradise, and you can see puffins, gannets, porpoises, dolphins and even whales! The town itself is filled with history and there are many local shops, cafes and eateries. No visit to Pembrokeshire is complete without some time spent in St Davids.
I hope that these 10 reasons to visit Pembrokeshire have encouraged you to bring your family down to West Wales and start exploring. It’s somewhere my family and I return to frequently and I’m sure you will fall in love with the area. If you’re looking for a central place to stay that’s guaranteed to be very child friendly, consider Bluestone National Park Resort and find out why my family loved our last stay there. It’s definitely going to be our base for our next trip!