Whether you are into history, beaches and watersports, nature, culture or wonderful food, there is something for everyone in this beautiful corner of Wales.
Island View is just under two miles from St Davids, the smallest city in the UK, steeped in legends and history.
- St David’s cathedral was built in the 12th century in a valley in the centre of this tiny city, and stands on the site of a monastery founded by Saint David. It is a place of pilgrimage and still in use for worship today, and its impressive architecture makes it a must-see for any visitor to St Davids.
- Next to the cathedral is St Davids Bishops Palace, which is the remains of Saint David’s original monastery, built in the 6th century. The ruins are a magical setting for the open-air theatre performances during the St Davids Arts Festival each summer.
- For those interested in exploring other local historical sites, Capel Non is the remains of a chapel named after Saint Non, the mother of Saint David. Its beautiful clifftop location makes it an ideal place to visit while taking in some spectacular coastal scenery.
- The Oriel Parc Gallery and Visitor Centre is also a must for any history enthusiast – in addition to tourist information, a gallery of local arts and crafts and a café, there is an exhibition space dedicated to showcasing local historical finds.
- Pembrokeshire has known human settlements for over 70,000 years, and other local historical delights include Haverfordwest Castle, Pembroke Castle, Castle Carew, the Nautical Museum at Pembroke Dock, and Pentre Ifan local burial chamber.
St Davids has a thriving arts and crafts scene, and while exploring the city there are many independent shops, boutiques and galleries to enjoy browsing in:
- Basalt & Dune is a beautifully curated gift shop, filled with original local art, gifts, homewares and locally made ceramics.
- The Peepal Tree is an artisan gift shop, with crafts from around the world.
- Etcetera is a lovely boutique selling gifts, artwork and jewellery.
- Window on Wales is a very tiny chain, featuring two shops in St Davids and Solva, with both selling a sumptuous range of clothing, books, homewares, toys and crafts.
- Chapel Chocolates sells scrumptious handmade chocolates, and is an excellent place to purchase a gift or two!
- Solva Woollen Mill is on the site of the old police station in St Davids and is the sister shop to the original just outside Solva, selling their own beautiful handwoven rugs and soft furnishings, as well as other tasteful gifts.
- The Goat Street Gallery is a carefully curated collection of arts and crafts in a beautifully calming space, perfect for picking up a treat for yourself.
- Interesting Things perfectly describes what this eclectic little shop sells, and is where you will find a treasure trove of beautiful arts, crafts and small furniture items.
- The Really Wild Emporium is not only a restaurant that specialises in a locally foraged menu, but also sells its own locally handmade toiletries made from local wild and foraged ingredients.
St Davids is also a place for foodies, with lots of independent cafes and restaurants to tempt you. Here are a few of our favourites:
- St Davids Food and Wine can celebrate over forty years of providing locals and visitors alike with delicious deli food and beverages. With a cold counter for cheese, pies and cooked meats, they also make fresh sandwiches and rolls to order. There is also a good grocery selection, specialising in more unusual store cupboard ingredients, with an emphasis on local and organic.
- Grain, a pop-up style restaurant behind TYF is the place to go after a hard day’s walking or surfing to relax with a craft beer – or two! - and stonebaked pizza.
- The Bench is a favourite of regular visitors to St Davids, with a range of home-made gelato in a plethora of flavours from the expected (vanilla, chocolate, mint-choc-chip) to the more unusual (think Ferrero Rocher or Crème Egg). With vegan options and ice-cream specially made for dogs, there is something for everyone – the only problem is deciding what to choose!
- Peters Plaice – as you can probably guess, this is a fish and chip shop, with a focus on beautifully fresh fish and chips cooked to order. This means there can be a bit of a wait during busy times, but it is well worth it!
- St Davids Gin & Kitchen is a local distillery producing spirits such as St David Seaweed Welsh Dry Gin, and Seaweed Spiced Rum. There is also a restaurant serving lunch and dinner, the cosy intimacy of the venue making it an ideal choice to celebrate a special occasion.
- The Really Wild Emporium is a unique dining experience, with a seasonal menu based on locally produced or foraged ingredients, along with the option of booking your own place on a foraging course.
- Blas Restaurant at the Twr Y Felin hotel offers a contemporary dining experience inspired by the seasonality of local produce. Another perfect venue for celebrating a special occasion.
- The Bishops provides tasty pub fare, and is a good choice after a long day out with a varied menu and reasonable prices.
- A few miles down the road at Porthgain Harbour The Shed is renowned for excellent fish and chips, and is a good starting point for a short coastal walk to the stunning Blue Lagoon at Abereiddy.
- The Wolfs Inn at Wolfscastle does a wonderful Sunday lunch (this is popular so booking strongly advised).
- For an al-fresco dining treat a visit to Mrs Will the Fish in Solva for a dressed crab or lobster or a seafood platter is highly recommended.
- Another one for seafood fans is Cafe Mor - a land-berthed boat-turned-cafe near Dale with a menu inspired by the local catch, with culinary highlights such as crab and lobster rolls....
No stay in Pembrokeshire is complete without a visit or two to the sea, and with over 50 beaches to choose from ranging from broad expanses of sand to sheltered rocky coves, you're spoilt for choice. Here are a few of our favourites:
- Whitesands beach - a short 10 minute walk from Island View itself, this Blue-Flag beach is a mile-long expanse of golden sands backed by dunes, and a favourite of swimmers, kayakers and surfers. With a large car park, toilets and cafe it is the perfect choice for a family day out on the beach. More adventurous family members can book surf tuition from the carpark, or enjoy a hike up nearby Carn Llidi to enjoy the spectacular panoramic view. Dog restrictions apply on the beach May-September.
- Porth Melgan is a 15 minute walk from Whitesands Beach, heading north on the coast path from the car park. The tranquility of this sandy cove is worth the walk, and often you'll have the beach to yourself.
- Porthselau is another smaller sandy beach 15 minutes walk along the coat path to the south of Whitesands.
- Caerfai is a popular beach a 20 minute walk from St Davids city centre, with sand fringed by numerous rockpools making it a paradise for exploring marine life.
- Newgale is a 2 mile long exposed sandy beach popular with surfers and kitesurfers. There are several carparks along its length, with cafe and toilet facilities. Dog restrictions apply between May-September.
- Solva and Porth Clais are picturesque local harbours which are popular to launch sailing boats from, and also great for adults and children alike to while away the hours crabbing.
- The Havens (Little Haven, Broad Haven, Nolton Haven, Druidston Haven) are a cluster of sandy coves and beaches just south of Newgale, each with their own character and well worth exploring.
- With so many beautiful beaches within a few miles of St Davids there is rarely any need to venture further afield, but we would always recommend making an exception for Barafundle Bay in South Pembrokeshire. Regularly voted one of the top beaches in the UK, this sandy bay is backed by dunes and pine trees, and boasts crystal clear turquoise waters and golden white sand. Accessed by a 10 minute walk from Stackpole Quay car park, it is also close to some rather spectacular lily ponds on the Stackpole Estate which are well worth a visit.
As well as providing the perfect opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and lose yourself in the spectacular scenery and tranquility of this beautiful area, St Davids also makes the perfect base for more adventurous pursuits.
- Pembrokeshire is famous for the islands off its coastline - Grassholm, Ramsey and Skomer. Boat trips by Falcon Boats and Thousand Island Expeditions are a great way to get close to these wonderful wildlife havens. Skomer is reknown for its 6000 strong puffin population, Grassholm is a gannet paradise, and sightings of porpoises and seals are frequent treats for those who opt for a trip round Ramsey Island.
- Thanks to being fringed by the Atlantic Ocean Pembrokeshire has a flourishing surf scene, with Whitesands being particularly popular with visiting and local surfers alike. Ma Simes Surf School has been teaching surfers of all abilities Whitesands for over 30 years, and we recommend touching base with them for lessons or equipment hire. If you are looking to buy some quality surfing equipment (or a great cup of coffee!) we also recommend Unsung Heroes in St Davids which specialises in handpicked surfing (and skating) gear from around the world.
- Coasteering - an exhilarating blend of scrambling, leaping and swimming along the coastline - was invented in Pembrokeshire by St Davids' own TYF Adventure Company in 1986. This is a great way to try something new and fun, while benefiting from the knowledge and experience of the TYF instructors.
- The TYF adventure company also offer kayaking sessions, ranging from introductory lessons to overnight kayaking trips with camping under the stars - what an incredible way to make very special memories!
- While Pembrokeshire has some spectacular walks, a bike trip can allow you to see that little bit more. Hire e-bikes from TYF, or check out Beic in St Davids to hire hybrid bikes, bike repairs, accessories or even treat yourself to a brand new custom built bike!
- If your're a golf fan what could be more special than playing an 18 hole game on the St Davids City Golf Club links overlooking Whitesands Bay and St David's Head. This local friendly club welcomes regulars and visitors alike, and has clubs for hire for a small charge.
And finally to cover all bases let's have a look at some of the great all-weather destinations Pembrokeshire has to offer.
- Folly Farm
- Dr Beynon's Bug Farm
- Ocean Lab at Fishguard
- Castell Henllys
- Oakwood Theme Park
- Hangar 5