Wales // South Wales //

Mid- and northern Pembrokeshire

The most westerly point of Wales is one of the country’s most enchanting. The chief town of the region, Haverfordwest, is rather soulless, but it’s useful as a jumping-off point for the stunning St Bride’s Bay. The coast here is broken into rocky outcrops, islands and broad, sweeping beaches curving between two headlands that sit like giant crab pincers facing out into the warm Gulf Stream. The southernmost headland winds around every conceivable angle, offering calm, east-facing sands at Dale and sunny expanses of south-facing beach at Marloes. At Martin’s Haven, boats depart for the offshore islands of Skomer, Skokholm and Grassholm. To the north, there’s spectacularly lacerated coast around St Davids peninsula, with towering cliffs interrupted only by occasional strips of sand. The tiny cathedral city of St Davids is most definitely a highlight: rooks and crows circle above the impressive ruins of the huge Bishop’s Palace, sitting beneath the delicate bulk of the cathedral, the most impressive in Wales.

The north-facing coast that forms the very southern tip of Cardigan Bay is wild, rugged and breathtakingly beautiful. It’s also noticeably less commercialized and far more Welsh than the touristy shores of south and mid-Pembrokeshire. From the crags and cairns above St David’s Head, the coast path perches precariously on the cliffs where only the thousands of seabirds have access. Hidden coves and secluded beaches slice into the rocky headlands, which are at their most magnificent around Strumble Head, where a picturesque lighthouse flashes its warning from a tiny islet. From here, there’s only wilderness to detain you en route to the charming town of Newport – unless you’re heading for Fishguard and the ferries to Ireland.