I feel a bit guilty for abandoning my blog for a few days. In my defence, I have been enjoying some well deserved days off after having handed in my last set of assignments for my MA. I did make an attempt to write during my break in Wales, but the connection at the cottage where I was staying wasn’t great. D’oh!
So, where was I? Well, I drove to Pembrokeshire to celebrate my dad’s 74th birthday. Sadly, some of my best friends’ parents have passed away in recent years, which made me realise that every day that I get to spend with my father is a treasure.
Pembrokeshire is home to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Its largest town, Pembroke, is a small city located in the south west of Wales. The landscape is spectacular and people are welcoming and friendly. Pembrokeshire is full of character and offers a huge range of outdoors activities: kayaking, surfing, canoeing, rafting and fishing. There is even horse riding on the beach, which I think is super cool!
You can go for walks, enjoy the relaxed lifestyle, or visit farms where you can see horses, cows, Welsh pigs, Balwen sheep, donkeys and chickens. If you like history, you can also visit Pembroke castle, which was the birth place of Henry VII in 1457, or any of the numerous other historical monuments.
If you prefer spending your time by the sea, there are a lot of seaside villages that you can drive to with coastal walks and beach sands. On our second day, we visited the port town of Fishguard, where you can take a ferry to Ireland or a boat tour to see the dolphins.
Another town that we went to was St Davids, which is located in the north west of the county. This is the smallest city in Britain (qualifying because of its cathedral!) and has some nice restaurants (Cwtch is award winning, but booking is essential), coffee shops, art galleries and craft shops.
St Davids is famous as a medieval pilgrimage destination related to the patron saint of Wales. St David’s day is on 1st March and this is always an interesting time to visit Wales! They started building the cathedral in 1181 following a declaration in 1124 by Pope Calixtus II that two pilgrimages to St. Davids were equal with one to Rome. Three equalled one to Jerusalem…
While we were in St Davids we visited the Bishop’s Palace, which is located next to the cathedral. This was built by the bishop Henry Gower in the 14th century. Its architecture is very impressive with a lot of the Gothic features still very well preserved. It only cost us £3.50 each to get in and we spent a good couple of hours looking around at the well presented information.
Afterwards, we were feeling a bit peckish so we looked for a cafe. There is a refrectory in the cathedral and plenty of places to eat as you walk into St Davids. Be aware that many stopped serving food for the afternoon after 2.30 pm though! We also ended buying lots of these delicious Welsh cakes!
If you are feeling inspired, you can try some pottery painting at The Creative Cafe. According to their website, they also have cafes in Narberth and Haverfordwest. Haverfordwest is the largest town in Pembrokeshire and its name means “ford used by fat cows”!
If you are looking for places to stay with pets, I found this website, which suggests dog friendly cottages and even walks that you can do with your furry friend. At the cottage where I was staying I made a new four-legged friend! If you already have a furry member in the family, then this website might help you find somewhere to stay with them.
During our last day the sun was glorious. I still can’t believe how lucky we were with the weather! We went for a walk along a section of the Pembrokeshire coastal park at Solva. The views from the top of the headland were stunning!
If you are considering taking a walk here, make sure you wear appropiate footwear. It was quite muddy even though the sun was shinning. There is parking in the harbour at Solva. It costs £1.00 an hour. We took food with us and enjoyed a picnic on the tables there.
I found my stay in Pembrokeshire very enjoyable. I’d recommend a visit to anyone who is interested in getting away from the hustle and bustle. Wales, I will definitely be coming back!