Head to the south coast of Wales for a beach break that delivers on seaside charm in spades. Tenby is a popular spot for a seaside stay thanks to its four sand beaches and the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path running right through it. Delve into the town's Tudor and medieval history before digging into fish and chips on the colourful Esplanade. With Caldey and St Catherine's Islands close to the shore, too, there's plenty to explore. Read on for our top things to do in Tenby.
1. Build Sandcastles at North Beach
One of Tenby's four beaches, North Beach is a popular spot for sunbathing, swimming and even water skiing. This crescent bay has a pretty frame of colourful Georgian houses in the town's harbour, making for postcard-perfect views. The beach is known for its iconic Goscar Rock, which dominates the sand, and its calm Blue Flag waters. Takes to the seas in a canoe or stay on the soft sands and sculpt a sandcastle.
2. Enjoy a Stroll on Castle Beach
The smallest of Tenby's stretches of sand, Castle Beach sits below the ruins of Tenby Castle. At low tide, you can walk out to St Catherine's Island or across to South Beach to stretch your legs in a two-mile ramble along the coastline. It's another Blue Flag beach, so bring your swimsuit for a dip in the water.
3. Try the Monk's Shortbread on Caldey Island
One of Britain's holy islands, Caldey has been home to monks for centuries. At the turn of the 20th century[LC1] , the Cistercian monks moved in and now make up almost half of the island's tiny population of 40. Visitors are welcome Monday to Saturday during the day to wander around the small island, visit the churches, take a tour of the chocolate factory and, of course, try the shortbread baked by the monks. Boats run to the island from Tenby harbour every 15 minutes, 9:30am-5pm.
4. Get a View from St Catherine's Island
When the tide is out, you can climb steps and cross bridges to St Catherine's Island. Roam around the outside of the Victorian fort, which was built as a defence against French invasion, and learn about the island's role in WW1 and WW2 [LC2] and its more recent time as a zoo. From the gun deck, you can get a great view over Carmarthen Bay and back to Tenby Harbour.
While the island tries to be open to the public every day, weather conditions can affect this, so check before you make the trip.
5. Step Back in Time at the Tudor Merchant's House
Suspected to be the oldest building in Tenby, this Grade I-listed house was once home to a harbour merchant. Now under the National Trust's care, it opens its doors to give visitors a glimpse at Tudor life in the town. Step through the shop, where the merchant would have sold goods that came into the harbour, before taking a tour of the Tudor kitchens.
6. Visit the Ruins of Tenby Castle
Once you've seen it from Castle Beach, take the walk up from the harbour to the now-ruined Tenby Castle. Built by the Normans in the 12th century, the tower at the top of Castle Hill still stands today. While you're at the top, explore the 13th century walls that encircle Tenby old town. You can follow the wall all the way to the Esplanade for fish and chips by the harbour once you've finished taking in the view.
7. Learn about Archaeology at the Tenby Museum and Art Gallery
Head to this petite museum for a dose of local history and a sweeping view over the town. The exhibitions focus on local legends of pirates and smugglers as well as the geology of the surrounding coastline. As you wander around the gallery, you'll see pieces from local artists, such as Augustus John, as well as international works.
8. Take a Trail on the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path
While the full coastal route is 186 miles long, you can enjoy a snippet of it from Tenby town. A popular undulating 5-mile (7km) walk is from Tenby to Saundersfoot. Along the way, you'll cover the cliff top that looks down on the rugged bays and castles before dipping inland to the pretty countryside and woodland. Once you've reached Saundersfoot, rest your legs and hop on a bus back to Tenby town.
Plan Your Tenby Trip
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