Porthgain is a small coastal hamlet on the north coast of St Davids Peninsula.
Once a small commercial harbour used for exporting stone from the nearby quarry, Porthgain is now a very popular tourist centre thanks to a great pub, a super cafe restaurant and excellent art galleries. Add to this the superb location in the heart of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and Porthgain has a winning combination.
The harbour was used as a location for the filming of the comedy ‘Their Finest’ starring Gemma Arterton, Bill Nighy and Sam Claflin and due for release in April 2017. Discover more of Pembrokeshire’s film locations.
Porthgain is the perfect location to visit if you’re enjoying a short break in St Davids being only 7 miles outside the city.
The Strumble Shuttle Coastal Bus Service connects Porthgain with St Davids and Fishguard and all the accessible stops on the coast in between. The timetable is designed with walkers in mind with a morning drop-off run and an afternoon pick-up run.
Porthgain means ‘Chisel Port’ in English with the chisel representing the quarrying that once took place here.
From around 1850 slate, then brick, and then granite were shipped from the harbour. The crushed granite road stone was dispensed from the massive brick built hoppers, built at the beginning of the twentieth century, directly into small ships alongside Porthgain harbour.
These and earlier slate quarrying related structures including the lime kiln, harbour and pilots house can still be seen. Slate was also quarried at Abereiddi and transported along the tram road to Porthgain for export. Mining finally stopped here in the 1930s.
Porthgain is the perfect place for launching kayaks to explore this section of the coast but you will need to bring your own with you.
Walking is the main activity. Heading west on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path is one of the best walks in Pembrokeshire to Abereiddi Beach and back. There are all sorts to explore from the old quarry above Porthgain to the Blue Lagoon at Abereiddi. There’s a wonderful beach at Traeth Llyfn too with an interesting steel staircase down onto the beach.
The Harbour Lights Gallery has a fantastic choice of original artworks and prints from contemporary artists.
The Alun Davies Gallery can be found in one of the rows of cottages on the edge of the village. The row of cottages is called Y Stryd or The Street. These cottages were once quarry workers cottages and are good examples of ‘Crog lofts’. The loft was a partial upper floor where the residents slept & not dissimilar to modern mezzanine loft apartments but with far more character!
Food & Drink
The Sloop Inn in Porthgain predates the quarrying as it dates from 1743. It’s one of the most iconic pubs in Pembrokeshire and with good cause. Inside the pub is quaint and historic, while the seating area around the front door is an idyllic sun trap. The Sloop serves food at lunchtime and evenings. A speciality is fresh crab, which is landed daily at Porthgain harbour, only two hundred yards away. There are no ‘food miles’ involved here!
Even closer to the harbour is The Shed. The Shed was once the machine shop for the engines that operated the brickworks in Porthgain. The Shed has won numerous awards in recent years including the AA Wales Seafood Restaurant of the year in 2006, AA Rosettes every year since 2005 and was also a Wales True Taste regional gold winner in 2007. The Shed is open at lunchtimes and evenings and has scaled back its menu in recent times to serve teas, coffees, cakes, fish and chips and daily specials.
Live or cooked lobster is available from the house next door to The Sloop.
There’s plenty of accommodation available in the area. Nearest hotels would be in St Davids or Fishguard but there are plenty of B&Bs, guesthouses and farmhouse B&Bs nearer to Porthgain such as Crug Glas, Ty Llwyd, Yr Hafan and Ynys Barry.
There are lots of campsites or touring caravan sites close to Porthgain plus one or two holiday parks in St Davids or Fishguard where you can rent a self-catering static caravan or chalet.
There are plenty of self-catering cottages in this part of Pembrokeshire including some in Porthgain itself. The Old School House hostel at Trefin and the Youth Hostel at Pwll Deri are nearby.