Tenby (Welsh: Dinbych-y-Pysgod, "little town of fishes") is a beautiful walled town in South Wales that spills out pastel coloured buildings along cliffs and around sandy bays. Tenby is one of Wales' premier tourist spots, and is located on the south Pembrokeshire coast, about 80 km (50 miles) west of Swansea.
The town of Tenby dates back to the Norman conquest, and the town walls were constructed in 1093 in order to defend it from the Welsh. Due to its somewhat remote location, however, the town and its quaint cobble streets and sandy beaches remained off the tourist trail until the Victorian era. Then, with the influx of wealthy merchant families from Swansea, Cardiff and further afield, Tenby was suddenly in a vogue, and the town's appeal as a picturesque spa has remained ever since. Although Tenby is one of Wales' most popular holiday destinations, it has resisted over commercialization and remains a very elegant and pleasant family holiday venue. It was home to about 4,700 people in 2011.
Cars are banned from the historic centre of the town during the summer months, which adds greatly to the appeal of the town as a place to relax and unwind.
1 Tenby station is connected by local rail line to Swansea, Cardiff and Pembroke Dock. During the weekends in the summer there are a limited number of direct services from London Paddington, though there are frequent services, from Carmarthen, Swansea, or Cardiff that connect with trains from London and elsewhere in England.
M4 to end (near Swansea), A48 to Carmarthen, A40 to St Clears, A477 to Kilgetty, A478 to Tenby.
The small town can be covered on foot.
- Narrow cobbled streets packed with quaint shops and cafes.
- 1 Caldey Island. A Cistercian monastery on an island just off Tenby's coast. At low tide, ferries leave from Tenby Castle Beach and at high tide from Tenby Harhour. Fare: £10 (£5 for children)
- 2 Tudor Merchant's House, Quay Hill, Tenby, SA70 7BX, ☏ , email@example.com. Open April 1 to September 30, M-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su noon-3PM. A 15th-century town house open to the public.
- 3 Tenby Museum and Art Gallery, Castle Hill, SA70 7BP, ☏ .
- 4 North Beach. North beach looks onto Tenby's old fishing harbour and out onto Camarthen Bay. This beach provides one of the most popular backdrops for portrait pictures and is the focus of most photographers who visit Tenby, providing them with some of the most dramatic sunrises set parallel to a quaint pastel coloured harbour filled with working trawlers. Goscar Rock sits in the centre of this mile long beach providing hours of fun for young and old to sift through the rock pools, shelter from the winds and, for those who dare, a small climbing adventure (although not advised for any novice climber).
- 5 St Lawrence’s Church. Gumfreston's Church of St Lawrence is romantically situated in a wooded dell and dates from the late 12th century although generally of the 14th to 16th centuries. The tower used to be detached, and the church was well restored in 1869, including new roofs and church furnishings. The porch on the western side may be a remnant of an earlier church on the site, which was a “llan” (walled enclosure around a church) in era of Celtic Christianity. On the wall are the faded outlines of what was once a large and dramatic mural depicting Jesus Christ, fishing nets and other implements. This has been interpreted as a message to the congregation to avoid working on the Sabbath. Three holy wells in the churchyard attracted pilgrims in ancient times. People still visit the church to collect a little of the well water, or to pray. The revival of interest in Celtic Christianity has prompted the development of “services of light” every three months in the church, focusing on Celtic spirituality and led by lay members of the congregation. Services of stories and songs about Celtic saints are a popular feature of the Tenby Arts Festival.
- 6 Tenby Dinosaur Park.
- 7 [formerly dead link] Ritec Fen (south of Gumfreston). Ritec Valley site of special scientific interest.
- 8 Tenby Lifeboat Station, Castle Hill, ☏ . Visitor exhibition and shop. Free access but donations welcome.
- Walking. There are some great walking trails in and around Tenby. The coastal path (part of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park) goes through Tenby and is well signposted. Walk to Saundersfoot along the coast 4.5 mi (7.2 km) and get the bus back, or do a short circular walk at Manorbier a few miles along the coast.
- Swimming. Tenby has some beautiful beaches, which are ideal for swimming and spending a traditional family day at the sea-side.
- Take a leisurely rickshaw or horse and cart tour around the town centre.
- The Tenby Arts Festival is held in mid-September.
- 1 Tenby Cycles, The Norton, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Bikes for hire.
- 2 Heatherton World of Activities, St Florence, ☏ , email@example.com. Daily from 10AM. Dog-friendly sport and activity attraction, offering over 30 activities. Free.
- Boat trips, Harbour. Boat trips to Caldey Island or wildlife cruises to see seals and sometimes dolphins in the bay or around the island. Tickets from kiosk at top of Tenby harbour.
- 3 Manor House Wildlife Park (Anna's Welsh Zoo), St Florence, Tenby.
- Tenby Blues Festival, ☏ , info@TenbyBlues.co.uk. In November, from Friday to Sunday. Blues festival in over 15 venues all around Tenby town, with performers from all around the world.
- 4 Ritec Valley Quadbikes, Roberts Wall, Penally.
- 5 Trefloyne Manor Golf Club.
- 6 Tenby Golf Club, The Burrows.
- Tenby has many interesting shops tucked away in the alleys.
- The Caldey Island gift shop at the top of Quay Hill has some unusual hand made gifts. Try the chocolate.
- 1 Joys Of Tenby, 51 St George's St, SA70 7JB.
As a major tourist centre, Tenby is certainly not lacking in cafes and restaurants.
- Plantagenet House, Quay Hill - in an historic stone building, good and reasonably priced meals, wood burning stove in winter.
- 25 Cafe, 25 High Street. Simple, but freshly made meals.
- Fecci & Sons Ice Cream Parlour, Upper Frog Street.
- 1 Ossie Morgan's Restaurant, Fourcroft Hotel, ☏ . Featuring local, seasonal produce, meals are freshly prepared by skilled chefs familiar with a seaside appetite. Traditional cooked breakfasts, bar lunches and evening menus.
- 2 The Baytree, Tudor Square, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Qube Restaurant, Tudor Square, ☏ , email@example.com. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner all day. Local food, quality ingredients.
There are a large number of pubs to be found in Tenby, many offering food during the day in a family friendly environment.
- Caffe Vista, 3 Crackwell Street, SA70 7HA. Overlooking the harbour and North Beach, in a Georgian building. Great views, outstanding coffee, cakes, good breakfasts and Greek food.
- 25 Cafe, 25 High Street.
|This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:|
Tenby has a great variety of accommodation, and B&Bs are plentiful. However, advance reservations are recommended during the summer months.
- Gumfreston Hotel, Culver Park, ☏ .
- Manorbier Youth Hostel, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. The nearest Youth Hostel is at Manorbier (6 miles/10 km).
- Osnok, 1 Southcliffe Street, ☏ .
- 1 Covert Farm Camping, Jeffreyston SA68 0RH, ☏ . Quiet campsite next to a SSSI wildlife reserve. Tent from £22.
- St Teresa's Old Convent Guesthouse, South Parade, ☏ , email@example.com. The Old Convent, built in 1896, has been renovated and transformed into a high standard guesthouse & restaurant opposite the famous five arches in Tenby. All the shops, pubs, and restaurants are within a minute's walk. £70-90 for a double room including breakfast.
- Atlantic Hotel, The Esplanade, ☏ .
- Clarence House Hotel, Esplanade, ☏ .
- Park Hotel, North Cliff, ☏ .
- Tenby House Hotel, Tudor Square, ☏ .
- 2 Castle Mead Hotel, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Castlemead is beautifully situated at the head of a small wooded valley, overlooking the sea, Norman church & castle. Set in half an acre of pleasant, mature grounds and lawns it offers a gloriously relaxing spot, in the heart of the village of Manorbier.
- 3 St Lawrence Country Guest House, Gumfreston, ☏ . A small country guest house providing bed and breakfast with stunning views across the countryside to the sea and Caldey Island. Close to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and a good base for walking, sightseeing and cycling and for those brave enough to tackle Ironman Wales Gumfreston is 10 minutes from the starting line.
- 4 Giltar Hotel, The Esplanade, ☏ , email@example.com. Based on the Esplanade overlooking South Beach. A few minutes walk from the walled town of Tenby. 60 rooms (Standard, Premier and Deluxe). Restaurant and 'The Cwtch' Bar. Small car park at rear of the hotel. £50 to £165 (including breakfast).
- 5 Fourcroft Hotel, North Beach, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. This place offers well-equipped rooms, many with lovely views over the old fishing harbour and across Carmarthen Bay. It's part of a Listed Georgian terrace, built over 175 years ago as individual summer houses. A lift runs from the first half landing and there are footpaths directly to the beach. from £120 per room per night£.
- 6 Penally Abbey, Penally SA70 7PY, ☏ . Upscale hotel in a Victorian Gothic concoction. B&B double from £170.
- Hungerford Farm Touring Caravan Park, Loveston, near Kilgetty, ☏ .
- Kiln Park Caravan Park, Marsh Road, ☏ .
- Lydstep Beach Caravan Park, ☏ .
- Whitewell Holiday Park, Lydstep Beach, ☏ .
- 7 Celtic Haven Resort & Spa (Celtic Haven Cottages), Lydstep, near Tenby (on the A4139 between Tenby and Manorbier), ☏ , email@example.com. A family-run holiday cottage resort on the picturesque Pembrokeshire cliff tops near Tenby. Many of the pretty whitewashed cottages date right back to the 12th century and onsite facilities include an Elemis spa, Waves cliff-top restaurant, a headland golf course and leisure club with an indoor pool. The Pembrokeshire Coast Path is a short stroll away and many of the cottages are pet-friendly. From £25 pp pn.
- Pembroke - Pembroke Castle, medieval Norman castle, and birthplace of King Henry VII.
- St Davids - The UK's smallest city - imposing cathedral.
- Swansea - Wales' maritime city is around 80 km from Tenby - wide range of cultural and leisure amenities.