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A local

A local's guide to West Wales

Ed Roberts 06 January 2021

West Wales is a gorgeous region of this fantastic country. It is a realm of long sandy beaches, winding coastal walks, legends, castles, famous poets, Welsh kings, history, Welsh language, vibrant colour and nature. Predominantly made up of the three counties of Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion, West Wales is a fantastic holiday destination, with attractions that include picturesque Tenby, Pembrokeshire AONB, Preseli Hills and pretty Saundersfoot just to name a few.

Aberystwyth, Ceredigion

Read our guide to the best places to visit, where to enjoy days out, cool spots to dine at, and where the loveliest beaches can be found. Why not stay at one of our self-catering holiday cottages in West Wales so that you can get to know the area like a local? We have properties, large and small, to appeal to everybody.

West Wales cottages


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Pembrokeshire

Pembrokeshire

Pembrokeshire is home to over 50 award-winning beaches, the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, around 185 miles of coastal pathways with some of the best-loved views in the world, magnificent castles and a huge selection of activities and attractions for the whole family.

Pretty seaside Tenby, Fishguard and Saundersfoot are world-renowned holiday resorts with pristine beaches, enticing coastal views, superb restaurants, cafes and family-friendly pubs. The main resorts have lovely harbours offering boat trips and fishing excursions that afford you the chance to see the fantastic coast from a different viewpoint. Holiday attractions in Pembrokeshire include Skomer Island, Neolithic stones (Pentre Ifan and Castell Henllys), the beaches of Broad Haven, Barafundle Bay, Freshwater West, Dale, and Newgale, also St David’s Cathedral, Oakwood Theme Park, Caldey Island Monastery, the Preseli Hills, Stackpole Nature Reserve, Folly Farm, Carew Castle and Tidal Mill, and Ramsey Island RSPB Reserve.

Pembrokeshire cottages


Laugharne, Carmarthenshire

Carmarthenshire

Carmarthenshire is tucked between the Brecon Beacons, the Cambrian Mountains and Carmarthen Bay with impressive gardens, ancient castles, Wales’s longest beaches, and busy market towns where you will be able to buy locally produced food and fancy goods. Holiday attractions in Carmarthenshire include the WWT Llanelli Wetland Centre, Lyn y Fan Fach, the Millennium Coastal Path, Kidwelly Castle, Dylan Thomas’ former home at Laugharne, the National Botanic Garden of Wales, Dinefwr Park, Llansteffen Castle, Pendine Sands, Plas Llanelly House, Llandeilo, Brechfa Forest, and the National Wool Museum.

Carmarthenshire cottages


Ceredigion

A county of mountains and coast, Ceredigion is home to nature reserves, high peaks, remote universities, fabled bridges, artists’ enclaves, farming communities and a rich Welsh history. West Wales’ culture capital is the hilly seaside resort of Aberystwyth, also visit Lampeter, Cardigan, New Quay, Aberaeron and Tregaron. Fun holiday attractions in Ceredigion range from natural and scenic wonders to architectural curiosities and museums. Take a day trip to Aberystwyth Arts Centre, The National Library of Wales, Sealife and Wildlife boat tours in Cardigan Bay, RSPB Ynys-hir Nature Reserve, Bwlch Nant Yr Arian, Devil’s Bridge Falls, The Vale of Rheidol Railway, the cheeses of the Teifi Valley, and Plas Nanteos.

Ceredigion cottages


The beaches

Tenby, Pembrokeshire

Best for a family day out

Discover a lovely selection of beaches most suitable for a fun day out in Tenby. This seaside resort is one of the UK’s premier destinations for those looking for a ‘bucket-and-spade’ day with the kids, shallow waters for children to splash and play, and lots of space to bask in the sun should the mood take you. Choose from Harbour Beach, Castle Beach, and Tenby North and South. Each of the beaches rolls out for miles at low tide and they are within sight of central Tenby’s copious amenities.

Facilities: Parking, WCs, deckchair hire, cafes, disabled access, slipway access, seasonal dog restrictions (spring and summer).

Barafundle Bay

Barafundle Bay, Pembrokeshire

Best for beauty

Likened to a Caribbean beach, Barafundle Bay does seem a world away from traditional British resorts like gorgeous Tenby. So, pack your togs and try this impressive alternative. There are no facilities once you’ve parked the car at Stackpole Bay (0.5 miles away). The walk up and over the cliffs is rocky, but it’s worth it for the sheer quality of the views and the wonderful beach with its endless golden sands and clear waters.

Facilities: Parking and WCs at nearby Stackpole Bay, dogs welcome

Pembrey Beach, Carmarthenshire

Best for surfing

Where do you go when the surf’s up? Well, one of the best beaches in West Wales is Pembrey Beach at Pembrey Country Park. It’s a fair bet that when the conditions are right, you will have an awesome time riding the waves here. The outlying country park is also a brilliant place for a family day out with 500 acres of woodland and 8 miles of beaches to stroll along; non-surfing members of the family have plenty to entertain them. Other cool surfing spots in West Wales include Manorbier, Freshwater West, and Newgale.

Facilities: Parking, WCs, cafes, dog-friendly beach (with a small exclusion zone from May to September)

Poppit Sands, Pembrokeshire

Best dog-friendly beach

Our favourite beach to scamper off to with the dog is Poppit Sands on the southern banks of the River Teifi. When the tide is out, acres of rich sand reveal themselves for play. There’s lots of easy access and a pleasant café to retreat to after a bout of action on the riverbank. Close to the picture-perfect St Dogmaels, there is plenty of parking and useful facilities to make use of during your visit. The hound will love it too!

Facilities: Parking, WCs, dog friendly, cafes

Aberystwyth Beach, Ceredigion

Best town beach

Aberystwyth is Ceredigion’s largest town, and one of the most westerly large towns in the British Isles. Facing west out into Cardigan Bay and the Irish Sea beyond, there are several beaches here that you can enjoy, all within very easy reach of the town’s attractions and sights. There is a pier, promenade, bandstand, cliff railway and an endless choice of places to grab a lunchtime snack.

Facilities: Parking, WCs, dog friendly (although some areas have spring to summer restrictions), cafes, pubs


The best days out

Pembrey Country Park

Pembrey Country Park, Carmarthenshire

For an action-packed day out with the family, this country park is full of activity options to enthral the smallest to the tallest of visitors. Get the adrenaline pumping at the dry ski slope, or play a round of golf. Enjoy the toboggan runs, hire a bike, bounce about in the adventure playground, get zapped in laser tag, or take to the beach for some horse riding, swimming or surfing. There’s so much to do at Pembrey Country Park.

Skomer Island

Skomer Island, Pembrokeshire

We recommend birders and nature lovers book themselves a boat trip out to Skomer Island. Spring is a wonderful time of the year to go as the island is transformed by beautiful carpets of bluebells and sea campion. You can see the colonies of puffins, razorbills and other sea birds on the cliffs and on the wing here, it’s a real treat for all. To get here, catch a boat from Martin’s Haven.

Devil’s Bridge Falls, Ceredigion

Devil’s Bridge Falls is perhaps Ceredigion’s most famous outdoor attraction. Located in the heart of the Cambrian Mountains, the curiously named trio of stone bridges that span the waterfalls and the aptly named Punchbowl down in the Rheidol Gorge is memorable. The bridges are certainly eye-catching and from some angles, they resemble an Escher picture. There are several walking trails, some of them challenging, around the gorge. Choose good footwear, especially after wet weather, and you’ll have a brilliant trip!


The best places to eat in West Wales

Stables

Stables Restaurant, Tenby

A good hearty meal is everything after a long day out on the trail. Stables Restaurant in Tenby is a great choice if you are looking for a sit-down lunch or dinner when you are visiting Tenby. All the British standards are represented alongside a handful of Welsh delicacies. Most meals are sourced from local ingredients too! Book ahead during peak periods to avoid missing out.

Harbourmaster

The Harbourmaster, Milford Haven

Overlooking the supremely pretty Milford Haven’s marina and inlet, The Harbourmaster is a cool place for a light lunch or an evening meal and drinks. The menu is full of exceptional seafood options made from fish and shellfish landed in West Wales. The Sunday lunch here is one of the best in West Wales too, so book a table during your stay. Vegetarian options are also available.

Sosban Fach

Sosban Fach, Lampeter

Take a drive through the Cambrian mountains to the remote university town of Lampeter for a great cooked breakfast, good value food, a varied menu and friendly service. Sosban Fach has a good range of Welsh and English options including vegetarian dishes. It’s spacious with tables on both levels. Lampeter is a very pleasant town surrounded by rolling hills and pretty scenery and the drive through the area is one to be enjoyed.  


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Escape to West Wales

Explore the beautiful coastal national park and rest in one of our unique West Wales holiday cottages. With hundreds of self-catering holiday homes to choose from you’ll be sure to find your perfect match for your getaway to Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, and Ceredigion!

West Wales cottages

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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