The Jewel In The Crown of Pembrokeshire

Traveller Tales: Laura

This post is the first of a series of blog posts where people who have visited Tenby, share their thoughts, sentiments and tales during their stay. This is Laura’s story.

I was especially excited to take my family to west Wales. In all of my wanderings through the country, heading west from Cardiff always resulted in the best ventures and stories, as well as healthy doses of nature and unexpected colors, all folded nicely into a package that made me want to drop out of society and buy an old farm with views of the sea.

I insisted a trek this way would be worth our while. The giant wild land in West Wales is such a drastic change from our marshy, lowcountry life. We don’t have mountains back home. The biggest hill we have in Charleston is a man-made bridge between two busy towns.

Tenby was a town I had never visited. My mom researched many little spots along the Pembrokeshire coast and set her sights on Tenby after seeing photos of the colorful buildings and learning that there was a friendly cat living in one of the hotels. “His name is Mowie!” she told me, as though that was reason enough. We loaded up and took two trains west from Cardiff Central.

While we rode, I bragged more about Pembrokeshire as a whole. “Wait ‘til you see the colors and feel the perfect summer weather!”

I bit my tongue when we first pulled into Tenby to find a grey, rainy scene. I was certain the combination of cold and wet mixed with the confusion we felt towards the British plumbing systems would send my dainty family members straight into the hotel room until our departure time.

But instead our hearty little group bundled up and set out early each day and we walked and shopped and stopped for hot tea. The rain gave us a chill and our winter clothes were a giveaway that made locals chuckle and ask us about life back home.

Everyone we spoke to was kind and quick to laugh. We befriended our cab driver, Thomas, who had my perpetually unimpressed sister crying with laughter. He drove us from the train station to The Park Hotel. Even in the rain, this hotel was beautiful. Everyone we encountered here was lovely but we especially loved the quirky, old building and its high ceilings and old architectural details. My aunt loved our hotel room, my sister loved wandering the grounds and my Mom really loved Mowie.

The hotel sits on a hill opposite the boat harbor and takes you on a pretty walk along the coast on the way down into town. We climbed up and out to the end of Castle Hill where we got some great views and took pictures of the flowers growing on the mountainside. We knew from photos that Tenby would be colorful but every turn had unexpected color bursts. I’ve never seen so many flower boxes in one town.

Sprinkled into our Tenby trek were stops at stores full of nautical knick-knacks, wool sweaters, and craftsman goods. We bought local honey, marveled at the landscape, had a wonderful seafood dinner at a charming local spot, and stopped in a few different cozy pubs.

If we’d had more time in Tenby we’d have hiked the coastal path to Saundersfoot and spent a few hours on the beach, but the weather gave us a reason to move slowly, somewhat lazily, and just enjoy each other’s running commentary, stopping for ice cream as a mid-day indulgence.

We have bright memories of our days in Tenby, an unexpected gem on the Pembrokeshire coast.

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