On a natural promontory of great strategic importance, beguilingly old-fashioned TENBY (Dinbych-y-Pysgod) is everything a seaside resort should be. Narrow streets wind down from the medieval centre to the harbour past miniature gardens fashioned to face the afternoon sun, and steps lead down the steeper slopes to dockside arches where fishmongers sell the morning’s catch.

First mentioned in a ninth-century bardic poem, Tenby grew under the twelfth-century Normans, who erected a castle on the headland in their attempt to colonize South Pembrokeshire and create a “Little England beyond Wales”. Three times in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries the town was ransacked by the Welsh. In response, the castle was refortified and the stout town walls – largely still intact – were built. Tenby prospered as a port between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries, and although decline followed, the arrival of the railway renewed prosperity as the town became a fashionable resort.

Today, wandering the medieval streets is one of Tenby’s delights. The town is triangle-shaped, with two sides formed by the coast meeting at Castle Hill, and the third by the remains of the 20ft-high town walls, built in the late thirteenth century and massively strengthened by Jasper Tudor in 1457. In the middle of the remaining stretch is the only town gate still standing, Five Arches, a semicircular barbican that combined practical day-to-day usage with hidden lookouts and angles acute enough to surprise invaders.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Wales features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

6 of the best road trips in the UK

6 of the best road trips in the UK

There is something about a road trip that creates an endless state of heightened excitement. It comes with a heart-in-mouth, funfair-like thrill. And no matter …

21 May 2018 • Mike MacEacheran insert_drive_file Article
Beyond Snowdon: the best alternative hikes in Wales

Beyond Snowdon: the best alternative hikes in Wales

Wales-bound hikers invariably make a beeline for Snowdon, Britain’s highest mountain outside of Scotland. But with annual visitor numbers cresting the 600,000…

25 Apr 2018 • Luke Waterson insert_drive_file Article
8 great alternative UK city breaks

8 great alternative UK city breaks

London, Edinburgh, Cardiff… These are the usual suspects when visitors are thinking about UK city breaks. But there are actually 66 other cities to be explore…

23 Apr 2018 • Greg Dickinson insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Privacy Preference Center

Necessary

Mandatory - can not be deselected. Necessary cookies help make a website usable by enabling basic functions like page navigation and access to secure areas of the website. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

PHPSESSID,aelia_cs_selected_currency,cookie_notice_accepted,RS,bp-message,bp-message-type,id,UIDR,w3tc_logged_out,__cfduid
__cfduid

Statistics

Statistic cookies help website owners to understand how visitors interact with websites by collecting and reporting information anonymously.

__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid,__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xt
__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid
__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xtc

Marketing

Marketing cookies are used to track visitors across websites. The intention is to display ads that are relevant and engaging for the individual user and thereby more valuable for publishers and third party advertisers.

__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID,__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll,c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs
__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID
__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll
c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs