Tenby - Pembrokeshire Coast Path, Southern Section.
With its maze of welcoming medieval streets and pretty harbour, wedged into a headland by golden sands, Tenby is the best known location on the Southern section of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path and is its iconic picture postcard resort. Its name in Welsh means 'Little Fort of the Fishes' which is an apt description for a majestic walled fishing town complete with a ruined fort and castle perched up high.
The Wales Coast Path trail navigates through Tenby via two of the best beaches in this part of Wales linked by the compact little harbour which still holds around 20 working fishing boats and holds a population of around 5000.
The town itself has huge historical appeal and grew in both size and status under the Normans in the 12th Century who built the headland castle as part of their defences against the Welsh though the town fell into the locals Celt's hands several times during the following 200 years.
It’s a glorious place to wander through as a break from The Pembrokeshire Coast Path, classic architecture throughout with plenty of contrasts where pastel coloured fishing cottages mix with huge Regency and Victorian Mansions. Narrow labyrinths of medieval streets melt into huge open beach fronts and golden sands all flanked by the fine promenades and Esplanades built by Victorians desperate to take in the sea air and views.
With so much to explore, Tenby makes an excellent choice for a rest day or overnight stop.
Visit the indoor market arcade, the tiny Fisherman’s Chapel and wander through Tudor Square where Henry Tudor hid in underground tunnels before fleeing to France in the War of the Roses.
Much remains of the Town Walls including the impressive five Arches Gate with its hidden lookouts, now the location of the useful Tourist Information Centre.
The 12th Century church of St Marys with its 150ft spire has a series of superb wooden roof carvings and the National Trust's Tudor Merchant House sits amongst the oldest dwellings of the town and gives a fascinating look at a wealthy family’s life from the late 15th Century.
Visitors will find period furnishings, lavish frescoes and the old medieval kitchens whilst outside is the tiny Merchants Herb and Spice Garden.
High on Castle Hill you will find a refreshing grassy open area with superb views over the chasm to St Catherine’s Island with its imposing Victorian Fort sitting just off shore.
Those walking through on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path at low tide will be able to walk along the sands beneath these two summits.
On Castle Hill, along with the ruins are the Victorian gardens, bandstand and the town's Museum and Art Gallery with worthwhile displays covering the geology, archaeology and history of the area you will be walking through as well as exhibitions in two Art Galleries.
One of the grander bits of architecture on the hill is Larston House which proudly proclaims in Greek above its doorway that “The Sea washes away the ills of Man” .
In lovely Tenby who are we to disagree.
For those who can spare a rest day a highlight of any stay is to take a half hour ferry ride out to wander the beautiful island, remote beaches and monastery at Caldey Island. CLICK HERE for more details.
Fast walkers on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path will be able to get a quick glimpse of the town whilst pausing for lunch. For those on a slower itinerary Tenby will provide a perfect overnight stop with a seeming endless array of restaurants and cafes to indulge in before heading West to wilder parts with far fewer facilities.