Have you ever been to a holiday destination and it wasn’t quite what you thought? Or was just a complete let down? Or even the fact that you’ve seen it posted so much online, that when you visit for the first time it feels like you’ve already been there a million times?!
We know this feeling oh too well. Especially while travelling Asia – it’s so oversaturated online, and as beautiful as these destinations are, there’s only so many times you want to see the same God damn thing!
It feels disappointing and doesn’t quite fulfill that travel bug or desire for brand new adventure.
This is where we’re stepping in with this post today – introducing to you a stunning underdog destination which we have never actually seen on the wide web yet suprisingly! It was our first visit and we were completely blown away.
So without further ado, here is our ultimate guide to visiting Tenby and why you should check it out this summer (if the C word will allow us – just pin this post and save it for next year!).
Where and What on Earth Is Tenby? Sounds Like a Pet’s Name…
In the tiny Wales, sitting on the South Coast, within the little United Kingdom, you can find the epic, established seaside town of Tenby.
Easily accessible by car, or if you don’t drive then you can always jump on coach from Cardiff via National Express, for around £30-40 return trip.
Why It Stood Out Compared to Other Local Destinations
Every location seems to have its own little gem, but Tenby just seemed to have everything!
Stunning sandy beaches, cliffs for hiking, a lovely harbour, boat stations, castles and ruins, sea-view restaurants, boats tours, a cool island with an old fort for those into history, and even multi-coloured houses if that all wasn’t enough.
The whole place was so quaint and unique in so many ways – we were so suprised we hadn’t seen any photos online prior to our visit!
Our favourite thing just HAS to be St. Catherine’s Island and the fort. Such an amazing thing to have nestled right on the beach – it definitely fulfilled the little explorers inside of us.
Instagram Lover? Tenby Is a Photographers Dream!
Cameras at the ready… cause this place is full of amazing photo opportunities! We cant think of a better way to describe these places other than through photos, so here are our favourite shots from our trip.
Perfect For Couples – Quaint and Romantic
There’s nothing like just strolling around a brand new sparkly place hand-in-hand, at your own pace, feeling fully content with the area.
Visiting Tenby made us feel exactly this and is just one of those areas that we fell in love with instantly.
Pride, happiness and community is the buzz we get from this place – it’s not too small that there is nothing to do, but it is also not too big either. You can tell it is a close nit community, yet a very welcoming, friendly community.
The streets are cobbled, quirky and colourful, and the restaurants and pubs are unique, buzzing and each have their own personality. You are seriously spoilt for choice here and are never short of a pub garden or a candle lit dinner – so many great places to spend some quality time with your partner and feel some romantic vibes.
Amazing Things to do During Your Stay
If you are keeping an eye on the budget, there are still plenty of things you can do for free, and even strolling around the place, visiting the beach and browsing the shops is enough to keep you happy for a few days!
Free things to do:
Firstly, there are 3 beaches you can visit.
- The first and our favourite, is the main beach which is South Beach. This is the lovely sandy beach which stretches for about a mile, all the way past Kiln Holiday Park (which is where we stayed – we literally walked from our caravan, along the beach all the way into town!).
- The beach that meets the South Beach, is Castle Beach. This is the one right in the middle of down and is home to the St. Catherine’s Island fort and also where you would pick up the boat if you book a tour.
- The third Beach is North Beach, which can be found at low tide following from the harbour. This is another huge stretch of beach, but of course isn’t usually dry due to changing tides, however is home of the lovely old and new RNLI Lifeboat Stations.
Other free things to do:
- At Castle Beach you can find a little cafe, then a path leading towards the centre. Around this area on the peninsula, you can walk through and find the ruins of Tenby Castle and then also a path leading down to Tenby Harbour which is a beautiful view.
- RNLI Lifeboat Station tours are also available daily and are free of charge, where you can visit the station and witness the lifeboats while they’re out of action.
- Tenby indoor market is definitely one of those “holiday things” you just have to do – you can’t beat an indoor market!
- Fancy a guided ghost walk around town? This is a great way to truly experience the history and community of this little town. This is unfortunately something we didn’t have time to squeeze in, but seemed like such a fun (creepy), popular thing to add to your list!
- There are 6 wonderful churches dotted around this small town, but the two that stood out to us were St. Julian’s Church, which is located right by the harbour – this is a lovely place to visit and perch outside and enjoy the views. The second church, you just cannot miss it as it’s in the middle of the high street, is St. Mary’s Church. The other’s are St. Teilo’s Catholic Church, St. John’s Church, Deer Park Baptist Church and Salvation Army Church.
Things you cannot miss:
- Tenby Museum and Art Gallery can be found just above Castle Beach on the peninsula and is a lovely addition to your trip to see some permanent and temporary art galleries and exhibitions. Admission is £4.95.
- St. Catherine’s Island and Fort is something that cannot be missed. A very historic fort built back in the 1800’s, and fully armoured up during the Napoleonic Wars. It was then turned into a zoo in 1968 which lasted 10 years, before it became what it is today – an empty site filled with history. Opening times are subjective to season and weather, so you can find up to date info on their website – adult entry is £3.50, £2 for children and free for under 3’s.
- A boat tour will just top off your trip nicely! We had a fantastic puffin tour/cruise all the way over to and around Caldey Island, with a vodka and lemonade in hand of course. You can also embark on a seal safari or a sunset cruise! You can find all boat tours in the little kiosks by the harbour and start at around £14.
- Just a little more than a 6 mile drive from Tenby, you can find the stunning Manorbier Castle. We had such a lovely afternoon here exploring the steeples, corridors, ruins and climbing right to the top to lookout over the coast. You can even get married here! Adults admission is £5.50
Caldey Island boat tour
The Perfect Place to Stay
So for us, there’s nothing like a proper caravan holiday! At lot of the hotels in the town were right in the midst of everything and we usually prefer having a bit more of our own privacy and to be slightly out of the way.
Kiln Holiday Park was honestly in THE most perfect spot to get around Tenby. The park itself was lovely, well kept and had everything we needed in terms of food, takeaways, groceries, entertainment (you know, the usual holiday/caravan park stuff).
The highlight of this place? The short 8ish minute stroll directly onto the beach, where you could walk along the beach (South beach) straight into town! No need for driving if you don’t want to.
For a bit more convenience, there are plenty of other stunning 4/5 star hotels and B&B’s in town such as the Giltar Hotel, The Broadmead Boutique B&B, Clarence House Hotel, and for those looking for something familiar, there is the Premier Inn in Tenby town centre. This is where we also stayed for 1 night – it was in the perfect location, right next to the main shopping streets and a 5 minute walk down to the beach!
A Romantic Place to Eat with a Sea View
Cafe, chip shop and ice-cream parlour hopping is the highlight of any holiday. We enjoyed doing just that and also found some really lovely, diverse places to have dinner!
One place that stood out to us though, was the Bay of Bengal.
This is a traditional, two-storey Indian restaurant has been family run for 26 years and is tucked away in a small, cobbled street. Once you make your way to the back of the restaurant, the stunning panoramic sea views over the harbour become apparent and it is INCREDIBLE.
They even have an outdoor terrace for the warmer evenings and they also extend out into the street on busier summer evenings (almost like a street party!). More importantly, the food was to die for and the service was amazing – I had asked for a butter chicken dish which wasn’t actually on the menu, but the owner and chef didn’t hesitate to whip it up for me anyways (as it was so quiet)! We had a lovely chat with these guys and the whole experience was wonderful. HIGHLY recommend popping in here if you love Indian cuisine and a sea view!
Bay of Bengal
Indian not your thing? If you’re after something quirky with lovely interior and a cosy feel, the Lifeboat Tavern was such a great spot! The bar was even made from an old lifeboat and the place comes to life at night with live music blasting through the street!
Pub grub? Tenby House Hotel has a lovely traditional pub with a lovely little pub garden – this was a perfect place to stop for lunch as well – the fish finger finger burger went down a treat I’ll tell you that.