Music, food and the last invasion of Britain
48 hours in Fishguard
Fancy some peace and tranquillity? Walks in ancient woodlands or cwtch by an open fire whilst sampling some local ale?
Perhaps a chance to open that book that’s been sitting on your bedside for six months? Pembrokeshire and the sweet coastal town of Fishguard are awaiting.
Nestled between the Preseli hills and the coast, Fishguard is the perfect bolthole for a weekend away. Start your break with a walk at Pontfaen in the Gwaun Valley or nearby Pengelli woodlands, these ancient oak woodlands are beautiful any time of the year but even more so when the leaves turn in Autumn.
Famous for its musicality, it hosts the popular Fishguard International Music Festival, a ten-day extravaganza that attracts artists from across the globe. Regular Pembrokeshire folk music nights are held at the Royal Oak on a Tuesday. Everyone is welcome to listen or join in. Fishguard also holds AberJazz, a well-attended jazz and blues festival that also hosts events year-round.
Start the morning off as you intend to go on and drop into Ffwrn (meaning oven) on the main square- a busy open bakery, they also do snacks and lunches but more importantly, the bread is to die for. After a morning of strenuous tasting, pop into the Bluestone Brewing Company or Gwaun Valley Brewery and pick up a bottle of locally brewed draught. You could drop by The Gourmet Pig on the square to grab some Welsh cheese or Pembrokeshire made crackers. Or if you don’t fancy cooking, perhaps book a table at Peppers restaurant in the centre of town and enjoy some live music after dinner.
There are lots of lovely places to eat in nearby Newport, just five minutes down the road, or you could take a trip up the coast to Porthgain and The Shed that serves seafood and fine dining on the harbour itself. You can’t get fresher than that!
Start your second day with a visit to the local shops; Seaways bookshop is always worth a rummage, and the West Wales Art Centre is full of local artworks. Before you go make sure to visit the local library which houses The Last Invasion Tapestry, depicting the last invasion of Britain in Fishguard in 1797. An incredible feat at 100 feet long the tapestry is a beautiful feat that took 4 years to complete.
For garden lovers, take a trip 3 miles east of Fishguard to Dyffryn Fernant garden. This 6-acre garden lovingly created from a wilderness by Christina and David Shand and is a joy to visit. The 3-acre landscape garden at Penlan Uchaf in the Gwaun valley is also worth exploring not only for the planting but the wonderful tea room with views across the valley. Farmer Robert Vaughen of Penlan Uchaf farm also produces the most amazing lamb and beef and you may be lucky to see some of his beautiful pedigree Longhorn cattle roaming the hillside.
In the afternoon pack a picnic and head out to Strumble Head. Although Strumble lighthouse itself isn’t open to the public, it’s set out on a small island just off the coast and is definitely worth a visit. One of the best seal and porpoise watching spots in Pembrokeshire, and in fact the UK, in the pupping season the pebbled beaches play host to lots of young pups that are easily visible from the coastal path.
A little local’s tip is to go and watch the sunset from the fort just outside Fishguard on the road to Newport. There’s a small parking area just off a sharp bend and then a track down to where the cannons and ruins of the fort still are, affording a beautiful outlook for one of our famous sunsets.
Sounds like a peaceful weekend to us.