Solva is a delightful little village on the south side of St Davids Peninsula. The village is split into two separate areas, Upper Solva and Lower Solva.
Lower Solva occupies the narrow river valley at the end of Solva Harbour. There are three pubs, two cafés, two restaurants, artists' galleries and several interesting shops in this tiny area!
There is some parking next to the harbour but this can get busy in the height of summer. A short walk along The Gribbin provides one of the most fabulous views in the whole of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Only really rivalled by the view from the other side of the harbour!
The nearest train station is in Haverfordwest.
There is a good regular bus service to St Davids and Haverfordwest or the Puffin Shuttle, coastal bus service will also take you to St Davids and link up all the accessible stops on the coast to the south right round to Milford Haven. It’s a great service for anyone walking the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.
What's in Solva?
Solva Sailboats are based at the quay. They are RYA accredited training instructors for both sailboats and powerboats.
Raul Speek, a flamboyant Cuban artist, has a gallery on the main street. There are regular workshop sessions, Salsa dancing and music events.
Solva Woolen Mill is a mile upstream from the main village. It’s the oldest continually working woolen mill in Pembrokeshire and produces some very distinctive fabrics including flat woven carpets and rugs, which have been used to furnish Prince Charles house in Carmarthenshire. The original water wheel has been restored recently and is now turning again. There’s a shop and cafe on the site.
Window on Wales on the main street is a fantastic shop selling many Welsh arts, crafts and clothing. It was established in 1978 by David Grey’s parents.
Food & Drink
The Harbour Inn is located next to the car park in Lower Solva with great views of the harbour. Inside, there's one cosy bar with a log fire in winter plus a larger bar suitable for families. There's plenty of seating outside the front of the pub which, being south west facing, can be a real sun trap. There's a small beer garden too. Food is served at lunchtimes and evenings including a carvery Sunday lunch. Welsh real ales are served straight from the cask.
The Cambrian Inn is a beautiful 16th Century inn full of character and charm and is one of the oldest pub/restaurants in Pembrokeshire. It's situated in Lower Solva and was renovated in 2011 to provide a smart contemporary atmosphere.
The Ship Inn is a family-run pub on the main street in lower Solva offering bags of character and a welcoming ambience enhanced by traditional features such as the open fires and exposed beams. There's also a riverside garden at the back of the pub.
Lavender Cafe is located in a conservatory at the side of Raul Speek’s Gallery. It has locally sourced affordable fresh food. Crab sandwiches, paninis, home made soups and cakes plus daily specials and a full licence. Dog friendly and families most welcome.
A stroll along the harbour to Trinity Quay brings you to Solva Boat Club Cafe where you can enjoy hot and cold drinks, freshly made rolls, homemade cakes and ice cream to eat in or take away. It’s a beautiful location overlooking the harbour and open to non members.
Thirty Five Main Street is a bright meeting place for coffee, lunch and afternoon teas or try the fourteen different flavours of ice-cream. It’s located next to the Harbour Inn alongside the river.
The Royal George in Upper Solva provide food and they benefit from fantastic views over the harbour.
There’s a shop in Upper Solva and Solva Sea Foods where you can buy fresh dressed crab.
The Cambrian Inn have some very stylish rooms. The Ship Inn also have en-suite rooms and there are a number of B&B’s in Solva including Felingog, Caleb’s Cottage, Pen y Banc and Aelwed B&B to mention a few.
There’s a great choice of self catering cottages in and around Solva. There is a self catering agency based near the village.
The nearest campsites are just outside Solva at Nine Wells to the north and Mount Farm to the south.
The History of Solva
The steep sided valley that Solva occupies is a great example of a meltwater valley created by torrents of water coming off the retreating icesheets from the last ice age. The flooded valley then became a perfect sheltered harbour.
There’s a Neolithic chambered tomb at St Elvis Farm to the south and an Iron Age promontory fort at the end of The Gribbin above the harbour. There are a series of restored lime kilns on the edge of the harbour.
During the 19th century, there were 30 registered trading ships in Solva.
Solva was designated as a conservation area by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park in 1997.