Tenby and Penally
Tenby and Penally
Tenby is probably the most iconic seaside town in Wales, rivalling places like Mevagissey and Polperro for quaintness and charm. It was awarded a Silver award for the best UK coastal resort at the British Travel awards in 2016, as voted for by the public. Thanks!
Why not sample the delights of this award-winning town by spending 48 hours in Tenby – once you get here you’ll be hooked for life.
Tenby has excellent communications including a railway station with a two hourly service from Swansea or the ferry port at Pembroke Dock. Bus services operate all along the south coast and inland to Haverfordwest and Kilgetty.
Tenby harbour has a thriving boating and fishing community as well as the deaprture point for the Caldey island boats and also the fishing and pleasure tips.
The original town of Tenby was called Dinbych y Pysgod in Welsh or “little town of fishes”. It was established by The Normans as a fortified town. Most of the old town walls remain, enclosing the medieval town behind them. The castle that defended Tenby was built on Castle Hill but only one small keep tower remains of that. Inside the old town walls, narrow cobbled streets and medieval houses add to Tenby’s charm.
During Georgian and Victorian times, Tenby became a popular seaside resort. The promenades on both sides of the old town on the Esplanade and the Norton both contribute to the outstanding architectural look of the town.
The classic postcard view of Tenby harbour is from The Norton, a road that runs along the cliff top above North Beach. You can find several good hotels here.
The Victorian seaside development on the west side of town, outside the town walls, was fairly limited so doesn’t detract from the general ambience of the town. The imposing hotels along The Esplanade look over Tenby’s South Beach towards Caldey Island. In the neighbouring streets you can also find plenty of B&Bs, guest houses and self catering apartments.
The centre of Tenby is a maze of narrow little streets. The roads are pedestrianised during the day in summer when the bars and restaurants set up al fresco seating. There are plenty of interesting and quirky shops. Tenby was designated as a conservation area by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park in 1972.
For all action head to Battlefield LIVE! in Llanteg, 8 miles east. Think paintballing without the bruises, they use state of the art lasers!
Tenby Watersports have kayaks and motor boats for hire or you can go on a Jet Ski safari or try a range of sit-on rides like a Donut, Banana or an inflatable sofa!
Mackerel fishing trips and wildlife spotting trips can be booked at the harbour.
Marion Davies, a knowledgeable local tourist guide offers a range of ghost and guided walks. Great fun!
The National Trust owned Tudor Merchant’s House, a fascinating house that has been recreated to look like it would have been in the late 15th century. Younger visitors can dress up as medieval children to get an idea of what it was like to live 500 years ago.
Tenby Museum and Art Gallery on Castle Hill near the harbour is the oldest independent museum in Wales. A lot of their innovative exhibits are designed for children such as a Beware! Pirates! exhibit that includes dressing up as a pirate.
Regular boat trips run from Tenby harbour to Caldey Island when the tide is in. When the tide is out, the harbour is dry, so a pontoon off Castle Beach is used. Caldey Island was designated as a conservation area by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park in 1997.
Caldey Island, just offshore from Tenby South Beach is owned by monks of The Cistercian Order and has an active monastery. Attractions on the island include the 12thCentury Priory, Museum, Perfume Shop on Tea Gardens plus one of the best beaches in Pembrokeshire. There is a guesthouse and self catering accommodation on the island for retreats.
There are a number of large tourist attractions in the vicinity. Closest is The Dinosaur Park on the way to St Florence. Heatherton is a mile further away on the same road and Manor House Wildlife Park is on the opposite side of the road. In a slightly different direction, Folly Farm is about 5 miles away.
Food and Drink
You’re spoilt for choice in Tenby. You won’t find chain restaurants but what you will find is quality places to eat whatever your budget.
The South Beach bar and bistro is a new contemporary restaurant right on the beach or Top Joe’s pizzeria in Upper Frog Street, which was named the second best pizzeria in the UK by tripadvisor.
There’s plenty of choice of accommodation in Tenby from smart seafront hotels to holiday parks with a full range of facilities and entertainment. Many of them will be listed on this website.
Tenby Tourist Information Centre can advise on which is most suitable. They are located next to the multi-storey car park. There is also a Visitor Centre run by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park by Five Arches, the main gateway into the old town.
There are some quality camping sites, caravan sites and holiday parks close to Tenby, particularly at Penally and at New Hedges. Penally, on the west side, has direct access to South Beach via the golf course. Penally also has two hotels and Visit Wales 5 star self-catering. New Hedges is midway between Tenby and Saundersfoot. Search for accommodation.