Fancy an abundance of sandy beaches, cycle tracks, historic castles, brewed ale and delicious locally-sourced food this summer? Then take a closer look at Pembrokeshire, one of the UK’s sandiest destinations.
I’m generally up for it when it comes to exploring countryside by bike and foot, so a weekend in Pembrokeshire seemed like the perfect retreat to take the new bikes out and to enjoy the iconic coastline of West Wales.
Pembrokeshire National Trail hugs the Welsh coast for 186 miles and is home to some of the most breathtaking scenery in the UK. There are plenty of reasons to visit; beaches galore, gentle countryside, towering cliffs, national parks, abundant wildlife, cycle paths and grand castles.
After a major mix up with our hotel – we drove 5 hours to the hotel we thought we’d booked on Easter weekend only to find I’d booked two weeks later, we frantically searched Booking.com and luckily came across Trefloyne Manor, an elegant Manor House in the heart of Penally. This family-run hotel is a handsome stone house surrounded by an 18-hole golf course with plenty of places to kick-back and views of the rolling Tenby hills.
Steve and I take an early evening ride to the seaside town Tenby where we wander quaint cobbled streets, sip an ale at Tenby’s brewery, Hawbwr and feast on fish and chips while we watch the sunset. Bliss! Restaurants here tend to close earlier than us Londoners are used to so it’s worth getting there early. Next time we hope to visit hotly recommended Plantagenet House and The Salt Cellar.
The next morning we kit-up and hit the coastal path from Penally to Pembroke, a route recommended by Trefloyne owner, Joan. On route, we cycle via Manobrier, visit the Castle and enjoy the coastline views from the Turrets. From here we head to Freshwater East beach, a beautiful sheltered sandy bay to the south of Lamphey, we then join the lower Lamphey road and cycle on to Pembroke where we feast like kings on good ol’home made grub at The George pub situated next to Pembroke Castle. We return via The Ridgeway, a road that offers magnificent views of the coast and countryside. It’s a 12km round route, low/mid level with some steep hills but well worth the saddle sore.
That night, we soak our weary bones in the double bath tub and enjoy a glass of bubbles from the bar. We dine on-site in Trefloyne’s bright and airy orangery restaurant where we enjoy locally sourced scallops, rump steak and corn-fed chicken, all washed down with a deliciously crisp Clef D’argent Sauvignon Blanc. One great thing about Trefloyne is the lounge room where we retire after dinner to watch a movie and cosy up on the soft leather sofas with faux throws, a romantic end to an adventurous day.
The next morning we drive the coastal path from Penally to Newgale and visit various beaches along the way; Little Haven, Broad Haven (try fish and chips at The Ocean café bar) and settle at my favourite, Newhaven beach (2 miles of sand backed by a huge pebble bank formed after a storm in 1859).
The other highlight of the weekend is our stop at The Druidstone. A million miles from city life, this stone house stands in 20 acres of wild garden on the cliff above the sandy beach of Druidstone Haven. This place is magical. We enjoy an afternoon tea and home-made scone and stroll to the viewpoint where we gaze out to St Brides Bay. Back to the real world, we head back to London and leave with this place marked in our hearts. We look forward to returning to explore the west and northern parts of Pembrokeshire.
We paid £320 for a two-night stay in Coach House 5 (it’s all that was available) at Trefloyne Manor.
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