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Until the COVID-19 pandemic hit, exploring more of my own country was forever at the bottom of my bucket list. While I always knew the UK had a lot to offer, travelling abroad always won out, largely due to cheaper deals, better weather, or just the allure of exotic far-away destinations. But then came the dreaded virus and suddenly jumping on a plane was near enough impossible. It wasn’t until a friend suggested we spend 3 days in Pembrokeshire, South Wales, that this beautiful area even registered on my wish list. Of course, I’d heard of Pembrokeshire but I’d never given it any real consideration as a place I might like to visit.
Now, having spent 3 wonderful days on the Pembrokeshire coast, I can vouch for this stunning part of Wales and it’s beautiful beaches, untouched coastline and quaint towns. If you’re looking to spend a weekend in Pembrokeshire or simply planning a getaway in the UK and need some inspiration, read on for my 3-day Pembrokeshire itinerary.
How to spend 3 days in Pembrokeshire
There’s so many things to do in Pembrokeshire that you could easily spend a whole week there, but if you’re short on time, here’s my 3-day itinerary for Pembrokeshire, South Wales.
We were fortunate enough to enjoy fantastic late-summer weather while in Pembrokeshire, so this itinerary is reliant on dry weather to allow you to get outdoors! Of course, if the weather is wet, you can always through on some waterproofs and brave the elements anyway!
Freshwater East to Stackpole Quay
This itinerary assumes you’ll be checking in to your accommodation early to make the most of your first day in Pembrokeshire. Depending on where you’re staying, my recommendation would be to head straight for the beautiful and untouched Freshwater East Beach to enjoy an amble along the rugged coast path and a swim in the sea.
You can pick up the Pembrokeshire Coast Path in both directions from Freshwater East Beach, but I’d highly recommend the walk between Freshwater East and Stackpole Quay, where you’ll find a lovely National Trust cafe, The Boathouse Tearoom, serving light lunches, snacks and hot drinks. The walk from Freshwater East to Stackpole Quay is approximately 3 miles each way, so allow at least 3-4 hours to complete this walk (depending on your pace and including a refuel stop at the cafe). The views along the coastline are dramatic and absolutely beautiful!
Freshwater East Beach doesn’t offer much in the way of amenities but delivers hundred-fold when it comes to untouched nature and serenity. There is a small pub, The Freshwater Inn, a short drive from the beach that I can recommend, but if you’re not planning to walk to the cafe at Stackpole Quay make sure to bring a picnic lunch with you.
Stackpole Quay, Barafundle Bay and Bosherston Lily Ponds Wildlife Walk
On day two of our three days in Pembrokeshire, we walked from Stackpole Quay to Barafundle Bay and the Bosherston Lily Ponds. If you’re looking for a relatively easy amble along untouched coastline, some of the UK’s most beautiful beaches and gorgeous scenery, this walk is for you. As I recall, the walk is relatively flat and suitable for all ages and abilities and comes in at approximately 6 miles.
Start at Stackpole Quay and venture onward to the stunningly beautiful Barafundle Bay, around Stackpole Head and on to Broad Haven, before heading inland to enjoy a ramble around the pretty Bosherston Lakes Fish Ponds. I was blown away by the beauty of the beaches on this walk – totally unspoiled, absolutely beautiful golden sands and the best thing of all? You can only reach them by foot, which means these places remain protected and cut off.
As well as The Boathouse Tearoom in Stackpole Quay, there’s a nice little cafe, The Olde World Cafe in Bosherston, just a short walk from the lakes, where we enjoyed a coffee.
To really enjoy this walk, allow 4-5 hours, with refreshment stops along the way and plenty of opportunities to stop and enjoy the scenery. Parking is available at the National Trust car park at Stackpole Quay.
If you find yourself with time to spare on day two, take a drive along the coast to Freshwater West, another beautifully unspoiled beach with expensive golden sands and dunes. Again, expect little in the way of amenities, although there are public toilets available and a catering van called Cafe Mor, selling food and drinks from spring to autumn. The beach here is gorgeous and surprisingly quiet, seeing as it’s one of the most popular spots in Pembrokeshire. With so little in the way of amenities, you really get the feeling that you’ve stepped away from the rat race and stumbled upon something special.
Freshwater West claims to have some of the best waves in the county due to its south-westerly facing beach, so it’s a great spot to watch experienced surfers tackle the waves. A word of caution though: due to strong rip currents, it’s advised only strong swimmers surf here.
A jaunt to Wales wouldn’t be complete without a trip to a Welsh castle, and history-lovers will definitely enjoy a visit to Pembroke Castle – an impressive medieval castle with a tumultuous and enthralling past.
You’ll enjoy sweeping views from the battlements, interesting exhibitions detailing the castle’s history, residents and heritage, as well as being able to picnic in the grounds or enjoy a bite to eat from the on-site cafe (closed in winter).
Tickets must be booked in advance due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but this can easily be done online. Admission for adults is only £7.00 and well-worth the cost.
Finish your 3-day Pembrokeshire itinerary with a trip to the famous seaside town of Tenby. While Tenby is quite over-run with tourists these days, it’s still worth a visit to see the chocolate box pastel-coloured Victorian houses that surround the harbour, as well as many quaint shops and glorious beaches – including Castle Beach, North Beach and South Beach.
If you’re feeling extra energetic, enjoy the 4.5 mile coastal walk from Tenby to Saundersfoot.
As I said at the start of this article, there’s so much to see and do in Pembrokeshire that a 3-day itinerary really doesn’t even scratch the surface. However, it’s a good way to dip your toes in the water and get a feel for what Pembrokeshire is all about before you plan your next trip to South Wales!