If you are looking to get away from the city and immerse yourself into nature, a weekend in Pembrokeshire is exactly what you are looking for. Located in south-west Wales, Pembrokeshire is undeniably one of the most scenic coastal areas in the United Kingdom.
Once an industrial hub mostly based on slate quarrying and coal mining, nowadays Pembrokeshire has become one of the main outdoors travel destinations in the country. Explore some of the most fascinating spots in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park through this 3-day itinerary. I will take you to stunning beaches, rugged coastline, and cheerful seaside fishing villages.
A WEEKEND IN PEMBROKESHIRE
FIRST STOP: PORTHGAIN
The first stop for this weekend in Pembrokeshire is Porthgain, a tiny fishing village on the north coast of the St Davids peninsula. Porthgain was once a commercial harbour used to ship slate, brick and granite taken here from the nearby quarries. Mining stopped in the 1930s, and nowadays the small hamlet is a popular touristic spot thanks to its gorgeous coastline and cultural heritage.
From Porthgain it possible to go on a coastal walk heading either east or west. In case that you have limited time, I would recommend heading west to explore the fascinating old quarry that made Porthgain so crucial in the past, and enjoy the natural caves pictured below.
SECOND STOP: BLUE LAGOON
Drive just 10 minutes down the coast until you reach Abereiddy Beach. Once you have left your vehicle in the vast parking, take the path at the right of the beach, and in a few minutes you will reach the Blue Lagoon.
The Blue Lagoon used to be the main slate quarry of the St Brides Slate Company. The slate extracted here was transported to Porthgain, from where it would then be shipped out worldwide.
When the quarry was abandoned in 1910, the channel connecting the quarry to the sea was blasted and the quarry was flooded, turning it into the wonderful turquoise blue gem we see today. Nowadays, the Blue Lagoon is a popular travel destination, and home to the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series.
THIRD STOP: ST. DAVIS
When you have finished enjoying Abereiddy, drive west for 15 minutes to the smallest city in Britain: St. Davids.
Named after the patron saint of Wales, St. Davids is the smallest city in the United Kingdom, with a population of only 1,600 people. The status of city was awarded only in 1995, although the roots of St. Davids go back to the fifth century.
The main attraction in St Davids is the beautiful Cathedral, which dates back to the 12th century. The one we see today is the last of a series of cathedrals built here, though. Being so close to the sea, St. Davids was commonly attacked by Viking raids, which repeatedly destroyed the cathedrals once built on this site and other ancient structures.
FIRST STOP: FRESHWATER WEST
Just one hour away from St. Davids lies one of the most famous and stunning beaches of the whole country: Freshwater West. The south-westerly facing beach is a surfers’ paradise, but because of the strong rip currents occurring at this beach, it is recommended for experienced surfers. In case you are not into surfing, this place is still definitely worth a visit, with its incredible sand dunes and the super-wide sandy beach.
The raw beauty of Freshwater West attracted film productions through the years. In fact, the beach was featured in Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood and more recently in Dunkirk and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (SPOILER AHEAD). In fact, it is here that Dobby the Elf dies in the final chapter of the series. Today a lovely pyramid of stones with messages for the beloved elf can still be found, as fans from all over the world come here to pay their respects.
SECOND STOP: GREEN BRIDGE OF WALES
Drive south for less than 25 minutes – and through an army tank range – to my favourite spot in Pembrokeshire: the Stacks and Green Bridge of Wales. These incredible rock formations are – in my opinion – the most breath-taking spot in the whole peninsula. The rock arch is basically a wilder, more fascinating version of the notorious Durdle Door in Dorset. On the nearby Stacks formation, it is also possible to spot huge colonies of sea birds, such as guillemots and razorbills.
FIRST STOP: CAREW CASTLE
In the final day of your weekend in Pembrokeshire, the first stop is the incredible Carew Castle. Located in a stunning location overlooking a Millpond, Carew Castle is one of the most architecturally diverse in the country: from the west a Norman fortress, yet from the north a splendid Elizabethan mansion.
The site upon which Carew Castle was built has been highly strategic since the Iron Age, but it is during the Civil War that Carew Castle gained importance. During this period, the castle was first fortified by the Royalists, only to change hands three times during the war. Later Carew Castle eventually fell into demise and later abandonment, only to be restored in the 20th century.
Adult tickets are only £6.50 (concession £5.50, children £4.50) and you can buy your tickets here:
SECOND STOP: TENBY
Only a quick 15-minute drive east of Carew Castle lies what is probably the most famous spot in the entire area: Tenby. This petite fishing village is probably main touristic hub in Pembrokeshire, and it is easy to understand why. The colourful houses surrounding the harbour are simply stunning, and the city centre is packed with bars, restaurants and small independent shops, just a few steps away from the beautiful sandy harbour beach (occasionally home to the local walrus!).
I fell in love with Pembrokeshire when I first visited it, and I hope this article will make you want to go and explore this wild, stunning part of Wales. If you love nature, can’t stand noisy crowds and enjoy peace and being active, a weekend Pembrokeshire is the perfect adventure for your next trip.
Make sure you also check out my recommended travel itinerary for Hampshire HERE.
Let me know what your favourite spots in Pembrokeshire are in the comment section below!