Pembrokeshire Coast and Penninsula Attractions
The drive from Carmarthen Bay via Pembroke to Cardigan in South Wales includes Carmarthen, according to legend the birthplace of Merlin, Manorbier Castle and the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.
The small market town of Laugharne (pop. 1,300), on the Taf estuary, is famous for its excellent cockles. Laugharne has several 18th C buildings, including the Town Hall (1746). Dylan Thomas called this sleepy nest of 400 souls "the strangest town in Wales" when he and his wife moved into the slate-roofed "Boat House" above the bay at the beginning of 1938.
Dylan Thomas' Boat House
Dylan Thomas called this sleepy nest of 400 souls "the strangest town in Wales" when he and his wife moved into the slate-roofed "Boat House" above the bay at the beginning of 1938. Thomas remained here until his early death. His house has been converted into a museum, while his grave can be found in the village cemetery. The place called "Llareggub" mentioned in Thomas' poems refers to Laugharne.
Address: Dylans Walk, Laugharne SA33 4SD, Wales
Opening hours: May 1 to Oct 31: 10am-5:30pm
Nov 1 to Apr 30: 10:30am-3:30pm
Nov 1 to Apr 30: 10:30am-3:30pm
Entrance fee in GBP: Family £9.00, Adult £3.75, Concession or reduced rate £2.95, Child £1.75, Child 6 & under FREE
Disability Access: No facilities for persons with disabilities.
Laugharne Castle dates back to medieval times but was transformed into an Elizabethan mansion and saw active service during the Civil War. It has since declined into ruin.The sea town of Laugharne and the castle's garden gazebo have been immortalized by Dylan Thomas and Richard Hughes who both wrote while staying there.
The poorly-overdeveloped seaside resort of Pendine/Pentywyn lies 6mi/10km southwest. Sir Malcolm Campbell set a world speed land record on Pendine Sands in 1924.
The coast road continues to Saundersfoot, a popular yachting center and the venue of regattas. There is also good sea angling.
The coast road from Tenby continues to the holiday resort of Manorbier (pop. 1,100), surrounded by red sandstone cliffs. The medieval castle, (1275-1325) standing alone on a hill, paints a romantic picture. This was the birthplace in 1146 of Giraldus Cambrensis, one of the most brilliant thinkers of the Middle Ages, archdeacon of Brecon, protagonist of an independent Welsh Church, adviser on Irish affairs and excellent orator. He accompanied Archbishop Baldwin of Canterbury on his tour of Wales to gain support for the Third Crusade. This journey gave rise to his best known work, the "Itinerary of Wales", in which he describes Manorbier as the most charming place in Wales.
Manorbier - Carew Castle
The impressive ruins of 13th C Carew Castle lie on one of the many hills surrounding Milford Haven. Its beautifully carved high cross is thought to date from the ninth century. The church at Carew Cheriton, with a Perpendicular tower, is a fine example of 14th C sacral architecture.
Address: Carew, Tenby SA70 8SL, Wales
Opening hours: Mar 29 to Oct 31: 10am-5pm
Nov 1 to Dec 21: 11am-3pm
Nov 1 to Dec 21: 11am-3pm
Entrance fee in GBP: Family £12.00, Adult £4.50, Concession or reduced rate £3.00
Standing at the entrance to Carew Castle is this fine example of 11th century Welsh art. The patterns in its 14ft high structure reveal a connection between Viking and Celtic influence in its design.
Milford Haven, Wales
Milford Haven (pop. 13,000) is the name both of the town and of one of the most beautiful natural harbors in Britain, the result of deep glacial erosion during the last ice age. This industrial town, formerly a naval dockyard, now has one of Europe's largest oil ports, whose importance, however, has continually declined since the discovery of the North Sea oil off the Scottish coast. Milford Haven is also a considerable fishing port, even though water pollution has affected coastal fishing. As well as the large oil-tankers, sailing ships and motor boats dominate the scene in the 20mi/32km-long, 1-2mi/1.6-3km-wide bay.
The sheltered sailing harbor of Dale, at the entrance to Milford Haven, is surrounded by beaches with fine sand: Musselwick Sands, Martin's Haven, Marloes Sand and Westdale Bay. In 1485 Henry Tudor, pretender to the throne, landed in Dale and marched through Wales to defeat Richard III in the battle of Bosworth Field. He was subsequently crowned as Henry VII.Westdale Bay, Watwick Bay, Mill Bay and Castlebeach are quiet and uncrowded bathing resorts on a small peninsula near Dale. The tidal currents here make swimming dangerous.
The holiday resort of Newgale (13mi/21km north of Dale) has a 2.4mi/3.8km-long sandy beach with views of St Bride's Bay. The romantic Roch Castle perches high on the cliffs some 1.5mi/2.4km southeast. There is heavy surf on the sea here.
Solva is a popular sailing center and a good base for touring the St David's peninsula.
Southwest of St David's Head can be seen Ramsey Island, with Woodwalton Fen and to the north Holme Fen, a nature reserve with rare flora and fauna (permit required to visit). There are remains of a Benedictine abbey on the island.
St David's Head
On the high cliffs of St David's Head, the most westerly point in Wales, are the remains of the prehistoric earthwork known as the Warriors' Dike.The adjoining land as far as Cardigan, with its rocky coasts, bleak plateaux and narrow valleys, is one of the least spoilt stretches of natural scenery in Wales. It is a thinly populated region mainly devoted to sheep farming.
St Davids, Wales
St Davids (pop. 1,930) is the smallest city in Great Britain. It is the site of an important church, St David's Cathedral, the largest church in Wales.
In Fishgard Bay are the twin towns of Goodwick and Fishguard (combined pop. 5,000). In the old part of Fishguard a huddle of small houses surrounds the beautiful harbor, called Abergwaur, from which ferries depart to Rosslare in Ireland. This setting has become famous since Dylan Thomas' "Under Milk Wood" was filmed here in 1971. The tip of the promontory is dominated by the ruins of a medieval castle. The modern part of the town offers good shopping opportunities. Those interested in Welsh handicrafts should visit the Ateliers Workshop Wales in the center (Lower Town), while walkers will find many pleasant coastal paths, with numerous fine views. The Pen Caer peninsula, to the northwest, has many prehistoric remains, Iron Age forts and chambered tombs.
This week-long festival takes place in late July and includes daily morning and evening performances. Since its inception in 1970, the festival has offered orchestral, choral, chamber and organ concerts, recitals, film screenings, visual art exhibitions and children's activities.Classical and contemporary works are presented by both new and established musicians in venues such as St David's Cathedral, the School Concert Hall and local churches.
Spirit of Youth Festival
This annual festival takes place in late October.
Newport/Trefdraeth (7mi/11km east) is a pleasant resort on the River Nevern, with the ruins of a 13th century castle. It offers good beaches, excellent fishing and a golf course.
About 3mi/5km southeast of Newport, on the edge of the Preseli Hills (Mynydd Preseli), lies Pentre Ifan, Wales's largest Stone Age dolmen.
Carn Ingli Common
Carn Ingli Common, about 1mi/1.6km to the south of Pentre Ifan, has remains of an Early Christian settlement. From this area came 33 dolerite stones which were transported to Stonehenge. In the valley on the other side of the Preseli Hills stands the Gors Fawr, a stone circle similar to that at Stonehenge.
At Nevern/Nanhyfer (2mi/3.2km east of Pentre Ifan) is St Brynach's Church, dedicated to a Celtic saint. Visitors should enter the church to see the richly carved Celtic cross, 12.5ft/3.81m tall.