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Places to Go: Tenby, Wales

Places to Go: Tenby, Wales

Tenby is a popular seaside resort in Pembrokeshire, South Wales. Located in Carmarthen Bay, it’s right at the far end of Wales, sticking out into the Atlantic. Its Welsh name means “little town of the fishes”, which is entirely appropriate considering Tenby’s cute little harbour full of fishing boats. You can get there by train these days, or you could be adventurous and come in on a boat. It’s entirely up to you.

The town is a place of strategic importance, so it was settled very early on. It also possesses some enchanting Medieval walls, which one protected the city’s rulers against the scary Celtic locals. During Tudor times, the town gained national fame as the future King Henry the 7th would take shelter there. The town developed around the harbour, which had become crucial to the nation as a place for international fish trading. Sailors would depart from Tenby and arrive in ports as far away as Spain and Portugal. Imagine trying to do that in a fishing boat now!

It fell into disrepair after a series of poorly judged political manoeuvres, a plague outbreak, and finally a decline in trade as a result of wealthy merchants leaving the town. Happily, though, the Victorians saw its potential as a place that was good for health. Sea-bathing had become very popular amongst the middle classes, and Tenby’s sheltered beach provided the perfect spot. Hotels and lots of holiday apartments were built as a result, and tourists flocked to the town to get some fresh air.

There are lots of things to do in the town today. Many of the historic buildings that we previously heard about are still there, so you can see them. The Five Arches Gate on the city wall is particularly spectacular. You’ll also find lots of colourful houses, which really brighten the place up. Shops, restaurants and museums can be found on every corner.

Of course, Tenby’s top attraction is the beach. It always has been, and most likely always will be. The long, sandy beaches are perfect for walks, building sandcastles and swimming. The tides of Tenby are rather unique. Sometimes, they’ll reveal delicate lagoons or miniature rock pools for you to explore. But mind you don’t hurt yourself on a bad-tempered crab! You can also take boat tours to other islands in Pembrokeshire, such as Caldey island, which has a massive monastery on it.

If the tide is out far enough, you can paddle across to St. Catherine’s Island. It’s a tall, rocky island, and it has a really cool fort on it that will soon be opened to the public! This fort was built in 1867, but it didn’t see any action in the 19th Century, owing to the fact there weren’t any wars happening on home turf. It first saw action in World War 2, when the government installed anti-aircraft guns on it. Then it was a zoo, and since that closed down the island has been abandoned for almost 40 years. But if military buildings aren’t for you, then the island provides lots of nooks and crannies to explore, thanks to its odd shape.

So, if you’re looking for an interesting “staycation” spot, Tenby could be the place. The number of caravan parks around the area means it fits in with all budgets. Plus, these holiday parks can be a fun place to be in themselves.

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