A guide to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

Coastal, The Great British Outdoors, Destinations

Posted by Ruth on 21st July 2021

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

Stretching across almost 400 square miles of land and encompassing 260 miles of meandering coastline, the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park may be one of the smallest in the country but it more than packs a punch when it comes to spectacular scenery.

One of Wales’s three national parks, Pembrokeshire National Park offers spectacular walks, breathtaking beaches, delicious food and drink, and so many great things to do too.

We’ve chosen the best Pembrokeshire activities, beaches, walks and places to eat to help you plan your next holiday discovering Wales’s south-west coast. Read on for more inspiration or click below to browse our collection of perfect Pembrokeshire cottages.

Pembrokeshire cottages


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The best walks in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

Blue Lagoon

Porthgain to Abereiddi and the Blue Lagoon

This circular walk runs anti-clockwise from Porthgain, along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, reaching the spectacular Blue Lagoon at Abereiddi halfway. This chilly pool was once an old slate quarry but is now more popular with wild swimmers. Take a walk back inland towards Porthgain, spotting a wide variety of wildlife along the way. 

  • Distance: 4 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Good to know: There are some lovely places to eat in Porthgain after your walk, including a great seafood restaurant. 

Stack Rocks

Stack Rocks and St Govan’s Head

Discover Stack Rocks, one of the most spectacular Pembrokeshire attractions, on this invigorating walk taking in the two majestic limestone pillars as well as many other geological wonders. Look out for rare butterflies and native birds such as guillemots and choughs as you wander through the wild and stark coastal landscape.

  • Distance: 3.1 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Good to know: Look out for the now-dry St Govan’s Well, which legend has it once had mystical healing powers. 

Tenby

Saundersfoot to Tenby

Two of the most popular towns in Pembrokeshire, Saundersfoot and Tenby are close enough that you can explore them both in one day! Walk along the sparkling Carmarthen Bay, stop off at one of the many Blue Flag beaches along the way, and then walk back along a picturesque woodland track. 

  • Distance: 7.5 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Good to know: If you’ve filled up on food and drink in Tenby’s many cafes and pubs and the walk back is a bit too much for you, there’s a regular bus service you can take advantage of! 

More Pembrokeshire walks


The best things to do in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

Skomer Island

Skomer Island

Less than a mile off the Pembrokeshire coast, Skomer Island is home to a whole host of creatures but it’s most famous for its puffins – at least 6,000 breeding pairs call the island home. Take the 15-minute ferry from Martin’s Haven to discover this undisturbed National Nature Reserve and its abundance of wildlife, and you’ll see why it’s one of the best places to visit in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

  • Cost: £40 per person – some discounts in August and September. Free for members of The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales.
  • Best for: Nature lovers who want to spot puffins.
  • Stay nearby: Sandy Haven Barn, St Ishmaels | sleeps 4

Carew Castle

Carew Castle

Discover the fascinating history of Carew Castle, spanning over 2,000 years and telling many stories. The iconic ruins are surrounded by a 23-acre millpond, a picturesque setting for a walk, plus you can see an 11th-century Celtic cross and walk across a medieval bridge. Kids will love the play area too. 

  • Cost: Adults - £6.50, Children - £4.50, Concessions - £.5.50, Family ticket - £17.50. Or free with an annual pass or for wheelchair users and carers.
  • Best for: A family-friendly day out.
  • Stay nearby: Carew Newton Farm Cottage, Pembroke | sleeps 6 + 1 dog

St Davids Cathedral

St Davids Cathedral

The smallest city in the UK, St Davids is well worth visiting in its own right, but St Davids Cathedral is truly special. A church has been on the site since the 6th century, and the cathedral is an iconic landmark in this charming city. Fans of art and architecture will love this place and can see a 16th-century nave ceiling, a 12th-century rose window and a medieval shrine.

  • Cost: Free but donations are welcome, as it costs £2,700 a day to maintain the cathedral!
  • Best for: A peaceful pause in a wonderful city.
  • Stay nearby: 10 Bishops Court, St David’s | sleeps 4 + 1 dog

More Pembrokeshire days out


The best beaches in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

Barafundle Bay

Barafundle Bay

Often featuring on the list of the best beaches in the world, Barafundle Bay has to be seen to be believed. Walk through pine trees and over dunes to discover this golden sandy beach with clear, turquoise water. It’s completely remote, accessed via a half-mile walk and with no facilities whatsoever, but that just strengthens its allure. 

  • Lifeguards: No
  • Dog-friendly: Yes, dogs are welcome all year round.
  • Other information: Check the tide times before you visit to ensure you don’t get cut off.

North Beach in Tenby

Tenby North Beach

One of the most popular Pembrokeshire beaches, Tenby’s North Beach is one of four in the town and draws families from all over the country to play on its golden sands. The sheltered bay ensures it’s warm enough for paddling even on windy days, and its proximity to the town makes it easy to lug buckets, spades and deckchairs with you.

  • Lifeguards: Daily in the summer months. 
  • Dog-friendly: Seasonal restrictions apply, but dogs are welcome in the off season between 1st October and 30th April. 
  • Other information: Look out for Goscar Rock in the middle of the beach – a famous Pembrokeshire site – but don’t be tempted to climb it.

Freshwater West

Freshwater West Beach

Owned by the National Trust, Pembrokeshire beaches don’t come much better than this. Dog-friendly, family-friendly and one of the best surfing beaches in Wales, there’s something for everyone at this huge stretch of sand. Seek out Café Mor, housed in an old boat, for some tasty local fare after a day in the water.

  • Lifeguards: Daily in the summer months.
  • Dog-friendly: Dogs are welcome all year round on the beach.
  • Other information: If you want to give back to this wonderful location, look out for regular beach cleans organised by the National Trust. Read our top 7 reasons why you should take part in a beach clean on holiday.

More great Wales beaches


The best pubs in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

Stackpole Inn

The Stackpole Inn, Bosherston

Famous for its fish, the Stackpole Inn has won many awards for its food, drink and hospitality, and has to be on your list of pubs in Pembrokeshire to visit on holiday. As well as showcasing the best local seafood, many other ingredients are sourced locally including meat, eggs, potatoes, sea herbs, dairy and even whisky! It’s a must-visit for a true taste of Wales.

  • Menu pick: Its most popular dish is its signature dish – pan-roasted Welsh lamb rump with local veg and pearl barley.
  • Are dogs allowed?: Dogs are more than welcome in the bar area of the restaurant.
  • Good to know: A few miles from both the famous Bosherston Lily Ponds and Barafundle Bay, this traditional inn makes a great lunch pitstop – just make sure you book in advance. 

Hope & Anchor, Tenby

If you’re looking for places to eat in Pembrokeshire to please a crowd, the Hope & Anchor is a great pick. As well as Welsh seafood, the menu boasts favourites such as burgers, sandwiches and tacos, and there’s a great kids’ menu too. With local ale and cider on offer, this is a brilliant pub for any occasion after a great day on the beach less than 100 metres away.

  • Menu pick: The crab and mussels in white wine sauce really show off the local seafood to the maximum. 
  • Are dogs allowed?: Yes, you can bring your dog in here after a walk on the beach.
  • Good to know: Food is served until 19:30 so make sure you get in early if you’re hungry!

The Old Sailors

The Old Sailors, Dinas Cross

Located right on the beach in Pwllgwaelod, overlooking Fishguard Bay, The Old Sailors is a charming little pub with a nautical theme. Unsurprisingly for such a coastal pub, seafood features heavily on the menu, and there’s also a wide range of pub classics including burgers, lasagne and steaks. Afterwards, walk off your feast around the picturesque Dinas Head. 

  • Menu pick: The Old Sailors is well-renowned for its fish and chips – and there’s no finer setting in which to enjoy them!
  • Are dogs allowed?: The beer garden is dog friendly, perfect for a scenic round with your hound.
  • Good to know: Take your pint out to the picnic tables in the beer garden and see if you can spot dolphins in the bay. 

The best food festivals in Wales


Map of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park


Stay with us in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

If you’ve been inspired to visit Pembrokeshire, why not take a look at our cottage collection? Stay in a stylish apartment in Tenby, a cosy cottage in Fishguard or a coastal home in Manorbier. Click the button below to find your perfect base for your next Wales adventure. 

Pembrokeshire cottages




Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.