Pembrokeshire is understandably popular with visitors at any time of year, and in the summer months, there is a definite buzz around the county as the school holidays get into full swing. However the beauty of this stunning county is its space – there is always a quiet cove or stretch of coast path to be found, away from the more well-trodden paths and beaches. Here are our top picks for a holiday off the beaten track;
Nestled at the bottom of Solva is the magical Prendergast Woods, known locally as ‘The Bluebell Woods’ due to the carpet of beautiful bluebells that covers the ground in spring. This wonderful walk takes you along the river, up above the valley and ends at Middle Mill, where you’ll find Solva Woollen Mill – the perfect stop for tea, cake and a bit of shopping!
The Blue Lagoon has to be included in this list, despite its popularity! It is most definitely a gem and is tucked beside Abereiddy beach, hidden until you’re right on top of it. The main reason we include it is once you’re there, it feels like you’re the first people to ever stumble upon it. The eery quiet, the still waters and sheer cliffs add to the feeling that you’re in your own world. Take a dip, or sign up for a coasteering trip to experience the lagoon at its best!
To reach this small sandy cove, park at Whitesands beach and walk a short way along the coast path. Porthmelgan is sheltered most of the time, thanks to the sheer cliffs that flank it, and can make for a perfect sunbathing spot away from the crowds at Whitesands. Remember to check the tide, as it makes the difference between golden sands and a rocky patch!
Tucked around the headland to the east of Caerfai beach is Caerbwdi, a small beach with a big history! The distinctive purple stone used to build St Davids Cathedral was mined from Caerbwdi’s cliffs, which is particularly surprising given the bay was the territory of Chieftain Boia, a Celtic heathen Druid who St David is said to have charmed into agreeing to co-exist on the peninsula. Parking can be found just off the A475, and a footpath leads down to the beach, which is sandy at low tide, and rocky on a high.
Each and every time we head to this beach, we’re the only people there. It is stunning and well worth a visit. Nestled below the coast path between Porthgain and Abereiddy (park at either), it is reached via a steep set of metal steps. On a low tide, there’s loads of room and a sunny afternoon spent here is bliss. There’s some fantastic rock pooling to be had here too!
Park at Porthclais Harbour and take the coast path west for about a mile, and you’ll reach Porthlysgi beach. As with many of these hidden coves at high tide, you’ll find a shingly beach, but at low tide golden sands greet you. Perfect for swimming, the clear shallows here are sheltered and ideal to cool off after the walk! On your way back to the car be sure to grab an ice cream from the Pothclais Kiosk.
Solva’s beaches tend to be quieter than St Davids, but if you’re looking for an uninterrupted day of swimming and picnicking, head to the Gwadn. Park in Solva Harbour’s large car park, then walk over the Gribbin and down onto the stony sun trap that is the Gwadn. At low tide, it’s possible to walk around from Solva beach. At high tide, if you’re feeling more adventurous and have some experience, then you can kayak or swim around the corner for extra pirate vibes!
Porthsele Beach, Nr Whitesands
Just south of Whitesands is Porthsele Beach. With golden sands, fantastic rock pools and several smaller inlets at low tide, this is the kind of beach that even if there are others there, you can find a spot that makes it feel like it’s all yours. Park at Whitesands and walk the mile or so on the coast path, or you can pay for parking on the field directly above. Perfect for watching the sun go down over a BBQ and an evening swim.