12 great things to do in Tenby, Pembrokeshire

by Jan

If you are planning a visit to Tenby and want to know all the best things to do and see, this could be the perfect guide for you.

Tenby is a popular seaside resort in Pembrokeshire, on the western side of the Carmarthen Bay in Wales.  There are plenty of things to do in Tenby for children, including its award-winning beach, so makes an ideal family holiday destination.

Tenby is a picturesque, walled town with cobbled streets, built around a harbour and is a great place for a visit with kids. We always make a visit to Tenby after walking the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path from neighbouring Saundersfoot.

Here is a guide to the best things to do in Tenby:

Hit the beach

Tenby has 4 blue-flag, golden sandy beaches and one has just been voted the Sunday Times British Beach of the Year 2019.

There are 4 lovely beaches, North and South beach, Castle beach and Harbour beach.  All offer quality sand for castle-building, lifeguards and intoxicating views out to sea and up to the colourful town.

Stroll around Tenby harbour

Tenby has an attractive harbour in a central position in Tenby.  You can stroll along the jetty looking at the moored fishing boats and crabbers.  If you look up, you can get a great view of the town.

From Tenby Harbour you can book a boat to the offshore monastic Caldey Island.  Alternatively, you could sign up for a mackerel fishing trip.

Tenby Harbour, Tenby, Wales

Take a boat to Caldey Island

Caldey Island lies 1km off the coast from Tenby and is only accessible by boat, which takes about 20 minutes.

It is one of the only holy islands in Britain.  The island is home to the Cistercian monks of Caldey who have lived there since Celtic times.  Day visitors from Tenby are welcome to visit from April to the end of October.

As well as the monastery, there is an abbey, several churches and more excitingly a chocolate factory and fudgery!

Caldey Island Opening Times

Caldey Island is open to day trippers from Sunday 11th April to Wednesday 30th September 2020.  Sailings are subject to weather.

Step across to St Catherine's Island

St Catherine's Island, Tenby, Wales

St Catherine’s Island can only be accessed from Castle beach at Tenby when the tide is low and you can walk across.  This small island is only 200m long and 60m wide and has been formed from limestone.

For many years a tiny chapel was the only building on the island.  However, in 1867 during the Napoleonic Wars, work began to build Palmerston Fort.  This was part of a series of coastal fortifications around Pembrokeshire and the UK.

Today you can tour the abandoned fortress and delve into its history with a short film and talk.

Pop in to Tenby Museum and Art Gallery

Tenby Museum  is located on Castle Hill and is free for kids.  The gallery traces the history of the town through the ages and showcases photographs and artefacts from Tenby’s history.  There is a kid’s corner and some hands-on activities for children.

Visit Tenby Castle

If you continue up Castle Hill, you will come to the last remaining tower of Tenby Castle.  The Normans built the castle in the 12th Century and now only the ruins remain.

You can start by walking under Tenby Castle’s gateway as you come up from the harbour.  From here, you can take a circular walk around the peninsular.

There are benches to stop and admire the spectacular views and ancient canons to inspect (or climb on!)

Tenby Castle, Tenby, Wales

Take a tour of Tenby Lifeboat Station

Tenby Lifeboats Stations, Tenby, Wales

Head down Castle Hill from the other side and you’ll come across Tenby’s RNLI Lifeboat station.  There has been a lifeboat station in Tenby since 1852.  However, in 2005 £6,500,000 was spent on completing a new state-of-the-art boathouse.

Today, visitors are welcome to look around this working lifeboat station and learn more about its work. 

The previous station, just a short distance away, is now a private house which featured on Grand Designs.

Be charmed by the colourful houses

Of course, the most iconic image of Tenby is the famous row of colourful Georgian houses that adorn Bridge Street.  However,  Tenby is a dream location for photographers and artists, as there’s are so many other stunning images to capture.

Tenby, Wales

Explore the historic town of Tenby

As well as being a great seaside destination, Tenby is also a significant medieval town.  Its Grade-1 listed walls date back to the 13th Century  and are some of the best-preserved city walls in Britain.

Take time to wander round the charming, narrow streets and admire the historic buildings.  Alternatively, stop at one of Tenby’s many cafes, shops, pubs and restaurants.

Discover Tudor Tenby

If you want to experience what family life in Tenby would have been like in Tudor times, visit the Tudor Merchant’s House in Quay Hill.

This museum  is furnished in the style of Tudor times and gives an insight into the life of a wealthy merchant at the turn of the 16th century.

Hit the shops

Tenby town has lots of shops, including plenty of ice-cream parlours and sweet shops. There are also quaint gift shops and beachwear stores.

Pembrokeshire Coastal Walk

If you are feeling energetic you could hike the 4.5 miles to the neighbouring village of Saundersfoot.  This is a scenic coastal path that crosses up and down through woodland and fields.

If you don’t feel up to it, you could always take the bus from the stop by Sainsbury’s.

Coastal Path, Pembrokshire, Wales

Have you been to Tenby? We’d love to hear your comments below.

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