Arguably the prettiest part of Wales, Pembrokeshire has some gorgeous beaches and incredible sights. Pembrokeshire is an ideal place for a weekend escape. If you’re looking to relax on the beach then you could easily spend longer here but this is my 3 day Pembrokeshire itinerary if you have a bank holiday weekend to fill.
It’s one of my very favourite places. I grew up visiting the beaches around West Wales and holidaying in Tenby. I think most Welsh people will have spent a summer holiday in Tenby or nearby. There is so much more to the area than the expanses of sand though.
This itinerary could easily be reversed or switched around, depending on where you want to stay and of course depending on the weather. Here’s my ultimate guide to Pembrokeshire.
For day one, I would head to the St David’s area. Take a dip in the famous Blue Lagoon and dry off on a stroll over the cliffs to Porthgain. End the day watching the sunset over St David’s Cathedral.
Blue lagoon is a National Trust site that used to be a slate quarry. The quarry was active until 1910 when it was abandoned. It was later flooded with seawater after the connecting channel was blasted. This gave way for adventure sports to begin here such as diving, kayaking and coasteering. It was the home of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in 2012, 2013 and 2016.
Porthgain is a beautiful little village two miles along the coast from Blue Lagoon. You can walk along the clifftop to reach it, or drive around. The village has a couple of lovely art galleries, a couple of cafes and a delicious ice cream stand in the gift shop. I’d thoroughly recommend grabbing a cone and taking a walk along the coastal path. I preferred the walk on the right-hand side as you can look down onto the harbour with a view of the little white hut, as well as all of the coves in the surrounding cliffs. You can still see the ruins of the village’s industrial history in the cliff side.
It would be rude not to visit the countries smallest city, right? St David’s is a beautiful little city that was the final resting place of the patron saint of Wales. No bigger than a village, the city can easily be seen in an afternoon. If you catch a good sunset, it casts an incredible light over the cathedral and grounds which makes it look even more impressive. You could also start your day in St David’s for a hearty breakfast/lunch and then head to Blue Lagoon and finish up with sunset at Porthgain harbour.
The second day of this Pembrokeshire itinerary is nice and relaxing. All about wildlife spotting, this day can be fun for everyone. Heading a little further south from day one; follow the coast around to discover the wonderful Marloes sands after spending the morning on Skomer Island spotting the puffins.
Head out to Lockley Lodge bright and early to secure your landing tickets for Skomer Island. Only 250 visitors can step onto the island each day. On a sunny weekend the tickets can sell out very soon after the Lodge opens. You can see puffins on the island between April and July before they migrate. If you’re interested in where they migrate to, have a read of this article from a researcher at Oxford University.
Other than the puffins, there is a whole host of wildlife to see on the island. Dolphins, Harbour Porpoises, seals, a variety of birds and the Skomer Vole can all be seen on or surrounding the island. There is also an array of flora to be seen. In the spring the whole island appears a beautiful shade of blue as it’s covered in bluebells. If you don’t manage to get landing tickets to visit the island, you can still take a boat trip to see it from the sea. This is still a great way to spot the wildlife so have your camera handy!
When you return from your trip to Skomer Island, you should take a pit stop at Marloes Sands. The beach is over a mile long. It can seem otherworldly on a misty day with jagged rocks coming out from the ground. From the beach, you can see over to Skokholm Island. This is another place that you might get lucky enough to see some wildlife if you didn’t manage to on Skomer.
Fitting in the most on day three of the Pembrokeshire itinerary, it’s a sight-seeing adventure along the south coast. Starting at the Green Bridge of Wales and heading around to Tenby. If you want to take a slower pace then just choose a couple of these spots to stop at.
The Green Bridge of Wales is kind of like a mini version of Durdle Door in the south of England. I’d argue that it’s actually more impressive. The cliffs here are much more rugged and the sea is that wonderful blue/green hue that many people think can only be seen abroad.
To see the bridge, you stand on the top of the cliff and have to look over and down to it. You do need to be careful on the cliff tops as it can get quite windy. There’s a viewing platform that’s been built to get a better view over the cliff edge but this only really helps if you’re tall.
The walk along the cliff tops is lovely and it’s definitely worth heading over to the sea stacks whilst you’re there. At the right time of year you’ll be able to see hundreds of birds that live on top of the stacks. It’s really quite impressive to see them swooping around.
Once you’ve gotten over your fear of heights, head further east along the coast to St Govan’s Chapel. St Govan’s Chapel is a small ruin right in the cliff on the south along from the Green Bridge. There are many steps leading down to it, which are steep in places, so it’s not the most accessible. Once you reach the chapel ruins you can walk right through and down to the beach. We spent around an hour there and didn’t see another person the whole time. It’s best to check the tide times before visiting as I think the sea comes in quite close to the chapel.
If you’ve started the day early then you might also have time to take a walk around Bosherston Lily Ponds. To walk a loop around the ponds takes approximately 40 minutes. Depending on how much you stop for photos of the impressive lily pads. If you wanted to make an afternoon of it, just pack a picnic and explore Broad Haven beach and Mere Pool as well. There’s the opportunity to see some wildlife around the ponds, such as swans, ducks and the occasional otter!
Once you’ve had your fill of walking in nature, finish the day in Tenby. Stop off for some chips from the chip shop and ice cream from one of the parlours and make your way to the beach to get a view of St. Catherine’s Island and Caldey Island as the sun sets. If you get there in time to browse the shops then there are some great places to pick up some gifts or souvenirs.
Where to stay in Pembrokeshire
It’s easy to find accommodation on a budget within Pembrokeshire. You may need to stay further from the coast as this is easier to find in the towns of Milford Haven and Haverfordwest. Airbnb have some great options. If you haven’t signed up yet you can get £34 off your first booking using my link (and I get some money off for referring you).
If you want to make sure there’s fun for all the family, I’d recommend Bluestone Resort for a relaxing stay. They have a spa, on-site bar and restaurants, as well as an indoor swimming pool. You can read my review of staying at Bluestone here.
For something a bit different, you need to check out Apple Camping. You can stay in a private jet or a UFO. Seriously. If you need some more inspiration for unique accommodation in west Wales, take a look at these 17 amazing places to stay.
Where to eat in Pembrokeshire
There are loads of fantastic places to eat in Pembrokeshire. If you’re looking for more than just fish and chips to fill you up, head to the local inns. These are the eateries around Pembrokeshire that I love and that come highly recommended:
- The Sloop Inn, Porthgain
- Cambrian Inn, Solva
- The Canteen, Newport
- The Salt Cellar, Tenby
- Top Joe’s, Tenby
- Stackpole Inn, Stackpole
Do you think this Pembrokeshire itinerary makes for the perfect weekend in West Wales? I’d love to hear about any of your favourite places around Pembrokeshire.