Milford Haven developed as a whaling town in the late 17th century and due to its position sitting on the shores of the largest estuary in Wales and one of the deepest natural harbours in the world, it’s history is firmly connected to the sea. Navel dockyards, passenger liners, and a fishing fleet all pepper the town’s past.
Milford Haven has a railway station and a good bus service linking to Haverfordwest and also out to Dale with the coastal bus service 315
Milford Haven’s history can be dated back to the Vikings in 854 when chieftain Hubba wintered his fleet of 23 ships in the Haven. Since then Milford has been used in many a campaigns; Richard ll used Milford haven to launch his attacks on Ireland in 1399 so too did Cromwell and his army in 1649.
The hamlet of Priory is where the remains of Pill Priory can be seen. Pill Priory was a Tironian house founded in the 12th century and believed to be a daughter house of St Dogmaels Abbey in north Pembrokeshire. Established by the Tironian order of Benedictine Monks.
It wasn’t until 1790 that Milford Haven town was conceived. The land was the property of Sir William Hamilton, but it was Charles Francis Greville who applied for an act of Parliament to enable Sir William and his heirs to make docks, construct quays, establish markets, with roads and avenues to the port, and to regulate the police.
Milford Haven was built as a grid system and includes some fine Georgian houses, particularly along Hamilton Terrace. It was hoped the port would become the preferred embarkation point for trans-Atlantic passengers, brought to Milford on the railway, but, unfortunately, that never happened.
In the 18th century, the Nantucket Quaker Whalers made it their home port for the great whaling fleets of the age and in the early part of the 20th century it was the base for a very large fishing industry. It was once possible to walk across the entire width of the docks on the decks of trawlers. These days, Milford Haven is better known for the oil and gas refineries on either side of the town.
Milford Haven docks still retain some small commercial function but most of the docks have been given over to a marina and marina village. There are also regular visits by cruise ships exploring the west of Britain and Ireland.
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path runs through Milford Haven as it skirts the edge of the Milford Haven Waterway. Highlights in the vicinity include Lindsway Bay and Sandy Haven.
Sailing is a popular pastime in Milford Haven with a marina and all its support services replacing the once massive fishing fleet.
Where there was once a commercial quayside there are now cafés, restaurants and smart shops on the Milford Waterfront with a ten pin bowling alley called Phoenix Bowland an indoor play area on the western side of the marina.
The seafaring history of Milford Haven can be seen in the local museum, housed in one of the oldest buildings in the town; the old whale oil storage building built in 1797.
Food and drink
Cafes, shops and restaurants line the Milford Waterfront. Milford Haven also has a full range of shops, pubs and supermarkets in the town above the marina.
There are a few hotels in Milford Haven along Hamilton Terrace, however, most of the tourist orientated accommodation is further west towards Dale, Marloes and Little Haven where you can find B&Bs, guesthouses, farmhouse accommodation, camp sites, touring caravan sites and self catering cottages.
Some self catering accommodation is available in Smoke House Quay, an apartment development on the water’s edge next to the marina. There’s also a bunkhouse at Herbrandston, close to the Coast Path.