Tenby is one of Wales’s most popular holiday destinations, and it’s easy to see why. It’s a beautiful place with pastel-painted houses, stunning beaches, tidal harbour, ancient walls, and historic ruins. But visitors love it for far more than it’s looks.
A large part of Tenby’s appeal is that it has something for everyone, from beach bums craving a traditional seaside holiday to history hunters wanting to step back through time. Tenby is home to eclectic boutiques and independent galleries, a thriving cafe culture, craft breweries and traditional pubs, and a dining scene that runs from rustic to refined. You’ll find adventure sports, family fun parks and old-fashioned amusements. Whatever kind of holiday you’re after, you’ll find something to please you in this pretty corner of Wales.
We look into these highlights here along with some of the logistics involved in getting to Tenby. We also share the best attractions and activities to engage in once you get here. We look at the best places to eat and drink, the best trips to take, and beaches to visit. And we’ve got some tricks up our sleeves to keep the kids entertained too.
So let’s get started with everything you need to know to start planning your trip to Tenby.
- Want to know how to get to Tenby and then get around? Start here!
- Summer or winter? Here’s guidance on the best times to visit
- A little Tenby history
- Fun things to see and do in Tenby
- Days out from Tenby
- Best kept secrets in Tenby
- Where and what to eat in Tenby
- Bars and night spots in Tenby
- Celebrate cultural events and festivals Tenby-style!
- Best beaches in and around Tenby
- Cool things to do with kids so they’ll never be bored!
Getting there, away and around
Tenby’s location in the far west of Wales can make the journey seem a little daunting. But good road and rail connections with the rest of Britain mean getting there is actually not too tricky.
Of course, flying is an option, but there is no commercial airport in West Wales. The nearest airport to Tenby is Cardiff (100 miles), but you’ll generally find that Bristol Airport (140 miles) offers better, more frequent flights both international and domestic. But both airports offer car hire and are well connected to Tenby via train.
The train is an excellent way to get to Tenby, you don’t need to worry about traffic on the way down, and you won’t have the stress or expense of parking once you’re there. Tenby station is an easy walking distance from the town centre and when it’s time to leave, there are roughly eight trains a day running to Swansea (1hr 50 mins). Once there you might change trains for Cardiff (3hrs), London Paddington (5hrs), Manchester (6hrs) and the rest of the country.
National Express runs twice daily buses between Tenby and various destinations, including London Victoria (6.5 hrs), Bristol Airport (6.5hrs) and Manchester (9.5 hrs). It might take a little longer than the trains, but the fare can be a fraction of the price.
Most people arrive in Tenby by car, since it’s generally faster and more convenient than public transport. Although traffic can build up on the roads to West Wales during school holidays and bank holiday weekends, so plan your travel times accordingly.
The journey from London takes roughly 4.5 hours when the roads are clear, and it’s a motorway journey the whole way until you switch to A roads for the last 35 miles. From Bristol Airport, it takes roughly 2.5 hours, again on good roads.
If you come from the north, you can drive south through England and then cross the Severn Bridge into Wales – now toll-free. Alternatively, drive down through Mid Wales. It’s technically a shorter route, but it can take longer since the roads are narrow and windy. However, the countryside you pass through is stunning and stopping in the remote picnic spots can be a lovely way to break up the journey.
On-street parking can be tricky in Tenby, as much of it is reserved for residents. But there are plenty of car parks with reasonable prices and finding a space is not generally a problem even in summer.
The place we like best is the train station which is secure and an easy walking distance from most accommodations. One day will cost you £4 and a week £16. Alternatively, there are seven council-owned car parks where you can expect to pay £5 for 24 hours or £25 per week. Download the PayByPhone app to make paying quick, easy and cashless.
Once you arrive in Tenby, you’ll find it’s small enough to walk around easily and relatively flat. However, once you head out into the surrounding area, you will need some form of transport.
Pembrokeshire has a good network of buses servicing the villages and towns along the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path and tourist towns such as Narberth and Saundersfoot. Plus there are good train links to Carmarthen and Swansea. However, return times tend to be quite spaced out throughout the day, and services don’t run late in the evenings. Plus, public transport in the countryside just can’t cover everywhere. So, if you’re planning to do a lot of exploring, it’s a good idea to bring or hire a car.
The best time to visit Tenby
Tenby is a brilliant destination all year round, but the best time for your visit depends on what you’re looking for.
As the ultimate Welsh beach holiday destination, the most popular time to visit Tenby is during the summer months. July and August are the warmest months of the year with the most hours of sunshine. Average high temperatures are 18 to 19 °C, although they can climb into the mid-20s on good days.
In summer, the centre of Tenby is pedestrianised during the day. The many cafes, pubs and restaurants make the most of this by spilling outdoors, filling the pavements with tables and colourful parasols until you could mistake Tenby for somewhere in the Mediterranean. However, these summer months are also the busiest, especially with families and young children making the most of the school holidays.
If you fancy avoiding the crowds but still catching a bit of sun, May and June are excellent. Although the weather can be changeable, the temperatures should stay mild, and you’ll hopefully see more sunshine than rain. Whatever the weather, spring is a beautiful time to walk the coastal paths and see the wildflowers and sea birds out in full force.
Early September still sees some sun and warm days. Then as the summer ends, the crowds depart, and the autumn brings festivals and special events to Tenby’s calendar.
Winter might not be your first choice for a seaside holiday, but there’s something exceptional about the Welsh coastline in winter. The coastal climate keeps temperatures mild with little risk of snow or frost, and average low temperatures are 3 to 4 °C December through February.
Accommodation tends to be much cheaper, the town is quiet, the beaches are deserted, and they have a wildness about them that you don’t see in summer. The people you meet will nearly always be locals, and you can let your dogs roam free on all the beaches once the summer restrictions have lifted.
A little local history of Tenby
Tenby is far more than just a pretty place, it’s been of great significance to Wales for centuries. Its strategic position on the southwest coast and the shelter it provides with its natural harbour made it a valuable spot for early Welsh settlers. They survived primarily by fishing the fertile waters, which is where the town’s Welsh name – Dinbych y Pysgod or ‘Little Town of Fishes’ originated.
But, Tenby’s qualities also made it valuable to others, and Norman invaders came along to oust the Welsh in the early 12th century. They built Tenby Castle to protect against retaliation as they expanded the town and turned it into a prosperous seaport. The Welsh did not take this lying down and fought repeatedly to regain Tenby until the 13th century when the Normans built fortified walls to encircle and protect the town more completely.
As Tenby’s value as a port, merchant hub and military post grew, so did these walls with the additions of turrets, arrow slits and the impressive 16th century Five Arches Gate. This gate and much of the fortified walls remain today and form a huge part of the town’s character. Sadly the castle became obsolete as the walls grew and was not maintained so well. Only a keep tower remains now as an impressive backdrop to Castle Beach.
Tenby’s importance as a strategic port dwindled in the 17th century, and although its fishing industry continued to thrive, the town was not the prosperous place it once was. Luckily, a new economy soon arrived to profit the town – tourism.
In the early 19th century, a fashion for sea bathing emerged as a health cure. Wealthy Georgians and Victorians would take holidays to the coast to enjoy warmer weather, breathe clean air and take restorative dips in the sea. As a result, resort towns sprang up across the south coast of England and Wales.
A wealthy landowner in Tenby quickly saw how he could profit from this trend and set about reshaping the town to suit as a health resort. Inns were transformed into hotels befitting society’s elite, and tall Georgian houses sprang up outside the old town walls overlooking the coastline and fishing harbour. Seafront walkways and slopes to the beaches were constructed to accommodate strolling visitors, recovering invalids, and nannies pushing strollers.
A lot might have changed since then, but not everything. Those waterfront esplanades can still be strolled today, they still provide easy access to the sand for wheelchairs and buggies and, like the ancient walls, are a prominent feature of the town. Tourism – and to a lesser extent fishing – continue to be Tenby’s driving economies. And the grand Georgian houses, now painted those pretty pastel shades, are still some of the most desirable properties in town.
Fun things to do in Tenby
One of the best things about Tenby is that it’s got something for everyone. Whether you’re on a family beach vacation, a girls’ trip, a romantic break or a history hunt, you’ll find the perfect activity in this popular holiday hotspot. Here are a few of our favourite ways to spend time in Tenby.
Wander the winding cobblestoned streets of the old town. Explore the city walls, stop for coffee at pavement cafes and browse the many independent shops, boutiques and art galleries.
Take a boat trip from Tenby Harbour out into the bay! Go fishing or take a wildlife watching trip and keep an eye open for seabirds, seals and dolphins.
Take a trip to Caldey Island. Just 20 minutes from the mainland, Caldey is one of Britain’s holy islands, run by Cistercian monks. It’s a tranquil, peaceful place to spend the day wandering footpaths and exploring remote beaches.
Have a traditional British seaside day on one of the beautiful beaches. Build sandcastles, explore the rockpools, eat fish and chips for lunch, then have ice cream for afters. With a flake, naturally!
Get adventurous with one of the many watersports schools, adventure sport tours or activity companies in the area.
Head to the Tenby Museum and Art Gallery. Established in 1878, it’s the oldest independent museum in Wales, with collections showcasing local artists and exhibitions to delight children and adults alike. Then, keep the history lesson going with a trip back in time to the Tudor Merchant’s House to see how Tenby’s families lived in the 15th century.
Eat and drink your way through Tenby’s wonderful creations. Sample Caldey Island Chocolate – made by the monks on the holy island. Test all the flavours of the award winning Pembrokeshire Gin Company distilled just outside of Tenby. And work your way through the extensive list of independent beers available from The Tenby Brewing Company. Oh and of course, don’t leave without a souvenir stick of Tenby rock!
Get in a round of golf! Pembrokeshire is home to no less than eight golf courses, several of them within an easy drive of Tenby. And one of them, Tenby Golf Club, ranges along behind the sand dunes of South Beach and offers stunning views as you swing your clubs.
Awesome day trips from Tenby
Tenby lies in the heart of Pembrokeshire, surrounded by other beautiful coastal towns, artistic inland villages, historic sights and endless family-friendly activity and theme parks. Here are some of our favourites.
Poetry and pop culture
Take a drive to Laugharne (29.4 km), the beautiful estuary town on the south coast, where the famous Welsh poet Dylan Thomas once lived. The Dylan Thomas Boathouse is now a tearoom and museum dedicated to the poet’s life and work.
This lovely village is also home to an atmospheric castle and beautiful waterfront landscape, which featured in the filming of the British drama Keeping Faith. As a result, Laugharne now attracts almost as many thriller fans as it does poets.
Family fun days
The area surrounding Tenby is packed with family-friendly places to take the kids. You’ll find Oakwood for rollercoasters, Heatherton for a world of adrenaline activities, indoor water park Blue Lagoon perfect for rainy days, Clerkenhill Adventure Farm for animals and frisbee golf, and Folly Farm and Manor Park for wildlife experiences.
But possibly our favourite family day out from Tenby is The Dinosaur Park. You’ll find all manner of games, activities, playgrounds, soft play, rides, slides, and experiences spread out across grounds that also serves as a dinosaur safari park!
The smallest city
One hour’s drive will take you to St Davids (55.8 km), the smallest city in Britain and the site of one of the country’s oldest cathedrals. The magnificent 5th-century cathedral – founded by the patron saint of Wales St David himself – is a must-visit. But the pretty city also holds a wealth of other attractions. You’ll find beautiful views, galleries, cafes, and plenty of independent shops where you can hunt for Welsh souvenirs.
Take a hike
Tenby sits on the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path, a trail of nearly 300km which passes through some of the most spectacular scenery in the country. We’re not suggesting you tackle the whole thing in one go, but the stretch between Tenby and Saundersfoot (6.8 km) is beautiful.
It enjoys incredible seascapes and takes roughly two hours to complete leaving you plenty of time to explore Saundersfoot, a picturesque little resort town with beautiful beaches and cafes, before walking or catching the bus back to Tenby. If you fancy a longer hike, continue along the coast to Amroth (3.5 hours. 12.6km).
Land of castles
If Tenby Castle has left you a little underwhelmed, head to nearby Carew Castle (10.3 km), which will impress even the pickiest of castle enthusiasts. This 2000-year-old architecturally diverse castle is part Norman fortress, part Elizabethan manor house and sits beside a 23-acre mill pond that makes for some incredible photos.
It’s a stunning place to visit any day, but if you check out the events page, you could time your trip with a medieval mayhem event or murder mystery night. Go on a ghost walk, sunset castle tour, or catch an open-air theatre production in the beautiful gardens.
Tenby’s best kept secrets
Tenby might draw the tourists in their thousands, but sometimes you just can’t beat a little local knowledge. So here are a few hidden gems that many visitors overlook entirely…
History has it that in 1417 Henry Tudor – later King Henry VII – took shelter in Tenby before fleeing to France to avoid the current king’s army. Belle Vue House on Crackwell Street is the place where the future King of England hid before escaping through a secret passage that still leads from the house to the harbour below. You’ll recognise the house by its powder blue facade and the plaque declaring its place in history.
If your city kids can’t tell their sea snails from their starfish, take them on a rockpool safari with local saltwater experts Blackrock Safari. Learn all about the weird underwater worlds of Tenby’s beaches and maybe even do a little coastal foraging for lunch!
Shop like a local at Tenby’s historic market, open since 1290, it occupies an impressive grade two listed building. Then visit Tenby’s Country Market for locally made products, handmade souvenirs and one of a kind items. And for a fun day out, visit Carew Market and Car Boot Sale for a chance to rub shoulders with the locals as you browse for bargains and unique treasures.
Beside the harbour is an unassuming little hut called Simply Seafoods that needs to be on your Tenby to-do list. Alongside fresh and live seafood, they sell delicious crab sandwiches, meaty lobster rolls and ready to eat cups of cockles, prawns, and mussels. Join the queue of people in the know – trust us, the wait will be worth it – then sit overlooking the harbour to enjoy a fantastically simple, fresh seafood lunch.
Tenby’s dining scene
Dining in Tenby is not all sandy sandwiches and sticks of rock. This seaside town has a much more varied dining scene than you might expect. From fresh seafood to Welsh lamb to Japanese dumplings and street food, there’s something in Tenby for all tastes, and of course, excellent fish ‘n chips!
Breakfast and brunch spots
Whether you’ve had a big night out and are craving a bacon sarnie or you want to linger with friends over coffee and scrambled eggs, Tenby’s got a breakfast spot to suit.
The Dennis Cafe
Start the day right with a hearty breakfast and a great view! Located on the causeway down to Castle Beach, The Dennis Cafe has one of the best spots in town and a traditional cafe menu featuring full English breakfasts, soup, sandwiches, burgers and bacon sarnies, but it isn’t your average greasy spoon.
This family run business creates its food with care and quality ingredients, and serves it with a smile and cute, thoughtful touches like the tiny milk bottles that come with your tea. They also serve delicious coffee and good wedges of cake, and the attached ice cream parlour is a must-visit.
Keep an eye on their Facebook page for evening specials and live music nights throughout the summer. And, as a jack-of-all-trades business, they can also sell you souvenirs, rent you a wetsuit or find a beach wheelchair should you need one.
Address: Castle Sands, Tenby, SA70 7BL
Open: Monday, Wednesday & Sunday 09:00 until 20:00, Tuesday 09:00 until 17:00, Thursday 09:00 until 18:00, Friday & Saturday 09:00 until 21:00
Lunch and laid-back dining
Tenby is a laid-back beach town where excellent food is almost always served in a relaxed environment. Flip flops are expected, families are welcome, and most places will let you bring your dog in too. These are some of our favourite laid-back spots.
Salty’s Beach Bar & Restaurant
If you want a place known for its seafront location, local ingredients, and high-quality wine, Salty’s is the place for you. Located at the entrance to South Beach, this place is the hub of the area and offers glorious sea views alongside a mouthwatering menu specialising in local seafood.
Top tip: if you can’t choose between the lobster thermidor and the charred fillet steak, no problem, order Sian’s Favourite for a decadent serving of both!
If that all sounds a bit fancy, don’t worry, the ambience in this place is much more relaxed than the menu sounds. The friendly staff are well used to catering for families and sandy beach goers, and kids are more than welcome. There’s a children’s menu, light bites lunch menu, plus coffees and cake. Or just opt for wine and cocktails on the terrace with the view. The attached Salted Shack does takeaways, ice creams and picnic supplies for even more casual dining.
Tap & Tân
These guys might seem like new kids on the block in Tenby, but that’s only in name. In truth Tap & Tân is a collaboration between The Tenby Brewing Co. and street food legends Feast Pembrokeshire. Once known as SandBar, these guys are renowned for their chilled vibe and eclectic menu of street food items.
These days they’re all about flame grilling and smoking, so it’s the place to be for barbecue lovers. If that sounds like only the meat-eaters will enjoy it, think again. They will barbecue anything, including delicious vegetarian and flavourful vegan options. You can eat in or take away, and there’s no need to book ahead.
Alongside the food, you’ll find a bar packed with local craft brews, Welsh spirits and cocktails made with fresh local ingredients. Chuck in some DJ sets and live music nights, and this hot spot is the hippest place to be in Tenby!
Address: The Mews, Upper Frog Street, Tenby SA70 7JD
Open: Tuesday 17.30 until 21:00, Wednesday & Thursday 12:00 until 22:00, Friday & Saturday 12:00 until 23:00, Sunday 12:00 until 22:00
Call 01834 844068 to book a table at Tap & Tân
Sometimes all you want in life is a good pizza, and luckily Top Joes is here to provide just that! Family-friendly and unpretentious, this pizza parlour uses excellent ingredients and authentic Italian methods to create beautiful wood-fired pizzas from scratch. It caters to everyone from the pickiest of little eaters to discerning foodies who should try the Inferno with wild boar salami, ricotta and fresh chilli. Deliziosa!
Top Joes also offers delicious authentic pasta dishes, beautiful cannolis and some of the best ice cream in town. Dine-in or take away.
Harbwr Tap & Kitchen
Formerly The Buccaneer Inn, this cheerful pub is now run by Tenby’s own brewery company Harbwr. Enjoy their excellent beer alongside the delicious meals, although its often in the meals too. Try the Harbwr beer-battered cod or Welsh steak and Harbwr ale pie to enjoy the whole experience!
Try to visit on a Sunday for their incredible Sunday roasts. But prepare yourself for a tough choice. Will you go for Welsh beef or leg of Welsh lamb? Or local pork belly? Ooh, it’s tricky! But don’t worry, there are tasty veggie options too.
This is the perfect place to stop for wholesome pub grub in good portion sizes at a reasonable price. Family-friendly and super laid back, we love this place for its cheerful ambience, welcoming staff and wonderful beer garden – the sunniest in Tenby!
Address: St Julian’s Street, Tenby SA70 7AS
Open: Monday to Sunday 11:00 until 23:00
Call 01834 842273 to book a table at Harbwr Tap & Kitchen
These restaurants are just as welcoming and friendly as our lunch list, but they’re also known for their excellent chefs and quality menus. So, they’re a good choice for when you fancy something a little more special.
This sophisticated spot regularly tops the lists for best dining experience in Tenby, and a lot of that is down to the staff. The team at award-winning Qube know their food and wine and understand the importance of excellent service and attention to detail.
The menu is all about local, seasonal fare, and you’ll find traditional Welsh meals and plenty of seafood landed in nearby Tenby Harbour. The menu and specials boards change regularly as ingredients come in and out of season. They also throw themed dining nights and host live music and entertainment. They’re well known for their delicious crab and lobster dishes and authentic Welsh Cawl, which is best enjoyed during the winter in front of their log fire. Book ahead to dine al fresco on their outdoor tables in summer.
This old coach inn is an atmospheric place from the moment you arrive. Enter through the old stone walls for which Tenby is famous, and you’ll find yourself inside a building steeped in history, character and charm. But don’t let the old world vibes throw you, those old walls contain a thoroughly modern restaurant with a cosmopolitan menu that caters for all comers.
Like many Tenby restaurants, the focus is on locally sourced seasonal ingredients, and so the menu changes as the year goes on. But the prevailing ethos of Stables is ‘simple food, beautifully prepared’, and you’ll find they provide that no matter what the time of year. This reliable excellence makes this restaurant a favourite with locals and visitors alike.
If it’s available, try the Pembrokeshire lobster or the Welsh venison with blackberry reduction. Simply delicious!
The Blue Ball
Award-winning restaurant The Blue Ball has a menu that blends locally sourced ingredients with exotic flavours, traditional hearty meals and quirky options. It’s ideal if your party contains a mix of adventurous foodies and more conservative eaters.
The kids’ menu contains all the tried and tested favourites. There are plenty of fresh seafood specials, plus burgers and steaks – all cooked to perfection! But there’s also slow braised belly pork with chorizo, mango chicken curry, cauliflower steaks and the famous, must-try duck egg and honeycomb ice cream.
There’s truly something for everyone at The Blue Ball, and the service is always cheerful.
For something a little different
Just because you’re in deepest West Wales doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy global cuisine!
If you like your fish wrapped up in sushi rice rather than batter, or if you just fancy a change, then this is the place for you. Umi serves a fresh and healthy Japanese influenced menu beautifully presented, using local seafood and ingredients. The menu includes donburi bowls, gyoza dumplings, Asian style dirty fries, roll-your-own sushi, and okonomiyaki – Japanese cabbage and bacon pancakes that taste so much better than they sound!
But save room for dessert because the black sesame ice cream is delicious, and the fish-shaped chocolate pancakes are just made for Instagram!
The best fish ‘n chips in Tenby
Let’s be honest, if you’re in Tenby on a traditional seaside holiday, what you really want is good old fashioned British Fish ‘n’ Chips! And you want it to be good. Well, you’re in luck!
Fecci and Sons
Fecci and Sons is a Tenby institution. It serves the best fish ‘n chips in town, and we won’t listen to anyone who says otherwise! The fish is locally sourced, the potatoes are locally grown and cut fresh on-site, and the art of cooking them has been perfected through decades of hard graft and many, many busy summers.
It’s not unusual to see a line snaking its way out the door of Fecci’s at any time of the day. This place is always busy because visitors know the wait will be worth it. Choose to queue up for takeaway and then enjoy your piping hot chips on the beach, or dine in the restaurant if you can grab a table.
Family-run Fecci’s have been around since 1935, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t moved with the times. They offer an excellent gluten-free menu with various options, including fish battered in special rice flour. It’s all cooked in separate fryers with separate utensils to avoid contamination, and there’s even gluten-free condiments.
Then, head to Fecci’s Ice Cream Parlour for a sweet treat dessert.
Address: Lower Frog Street, Tenby, SA70 7HS
Open: Monday to Thursday 11:30 until 21:00, Firday & Saturday 11:30 until 22:00, Sunday 11:30 until 21:00
Best spots for nightlife in Tenby
Many of the best nightlife spots are places we’ve already mentioned as restaurants. Most of Tenby’s nightlife happens in traditional pubs that serve food during the day and then party at night. So Tan & Tap, with its DJ nights and street food, is a popular spot, as is Harbwr Tap & Kitchen. But you should check out these other lively spots.
The Lifeboat Tavern
The Lifeboat Tavern, located in the heart of Tenby near Castle Beach, is renowned for its hearty meals in massive portions, its welcoming atmosphere that ramps up as evening falls, and its raucous live music nights.
This split-level pub has pavement seating out front for people watchers and a beer garden out back that’s sunny in the daytime and heated in the evenings. On the menu, you’ll find plenty of drink deals, local ales and spirits and an extensive menu of colourful cocktails. And ordering them from the boat-shaped bar just adds to the fun.
The Lifeboat Tavern is a great place to hang out on any night of the week. It attracts a younger crowd than many of the other pubs in town, has an inclusive atmosphere and is a must-stop on any pub tour of Tenby.
Address: Tudor Square, Tenby SA70 7AJ
Open: Monday to Saturday 11:00 until 23:00, Sunday 12:00 until 23:00
This is a great little wine bar that serves a mean G&T! Although they’re open in the daytime and do serve food, Bar 10 is definitely more of a bar than a pub. It has a cool lounge-like vibe, and with weekly live music, screens to show sporting events and regular theme nights, there’s generally something going on to get you in the mood for a great night out.
Address: St George’s Street, Tenby, SA70 7JB
Open: Monday to Sunday 12:00 until 22:30
The Twisted Shamrock
Is a town even a town without an Irish bar? Probably not, so it’s lucky that Tenby’s got a good one. Tucked away in Town Wall Arcade, The Twisted Shamrock is a little tricky to find, but it’s well worth the effort. A self-described ‘fun pub’, the twisted Shamrock is the place to go for cheap drinks, jugs of cocktails, great music, and karaoke.
You’ll find screens everywhere showing all the live sports and slot machines to keep you entertained. Plus, if you’re feeling fancy, there’s an upstairs VIP lounge.
Address: Town Wall Arcade, Tenby, SA70 7JE
Open: Sunday to Friday 14:00 until 22:00, Saturday 12:00 until 22:00
If you like your nights out to feel a little exclusive, head to the newcomer on the Tenby bar scene, The Cellar. Run by the owners of Qube restaurant, this underground cocktail bar is for over 21s and only seats 25 people. It’s an intimate spot with a hint of luxury and secrecy about it that you won’t find in Tenby’s other venues.
The cocktail list is the reason to visit. We’re talking premium ingredients, extravagant garnishes, exquisitely balanced flavours, and plenty of showmanship from the mixologists.
Strangely, the best nightclub in the area – Sands – is not located in lively Tenby but in quieter, more laid-back Saundersfoot, 5.3km away. It’ll take you ten minutes to drive there and cost roughly £10 to £12 in a taxi although they occasionally run a free shuttle bus from Tenby which will save you the taxi fare.
It’s worth taking the trip out of town since Sands is a little classier than Tenby’s Prince of Wales and attracts a slightly older clientele. You’ll find them serving tasty cocktails, chilled bottles of fizz, and pumping out a mix of rock, retro, pop, and house tunes. They’re open till late on Saturday nights and the occasional Wednesday and Friday night too, so check their Facebook page to see if they’re ready to party when you are. Keep an eye on their socials for information about their theme nights, drinks offers and free entry deals too.
Address: Milford Street, Saundersfoot SA69 9EN
Open: Saturday 23:00 until 04:00
Tenby’s five beautiful beaches
Tenby’s beautiful beaches have been attracting tourists to this corner of West Wales since the early 19th-century, and their appeal is still powerful.
You’ll generally hear that there are three beaches to choose from, but there are actually five, each with its own distinct character, different amenities and attractions. From north to south, here they are:
Tenby North Beach
This is Tenby’s busiest, most popular, and probably, most photographed beach. It’s a beautiful east-facing cove with a backdrop of cliffs to the north, the pale pastel houses of Tenby town to the south and the rugged chunk of Goskar Rock looming up in the centre.
Backed by the sloping esplanade, this beach is easily accessible from the town. This, plus its Blue Flag status and lifeguard service, make it a favourite with families.
You’ll find cafes, restaurants, shops, toilets, deckchair hire and watersports schools directly behind the sand, ensuring you have everything you need for a fabulous day at the beach. Head to the north end for the quietest spots and to explore the rockpools.
This is one of Tenby’s often overlooked beaches, but the pretty little sandy cove is one of our favourites. Sheltered by the harbour walls and super close to the town centre, it makes an excellent spot for a picnic lunch on windy days. Nearby cafes and seafood restaurants mean you can grab sandwiches or a packet of salty chips to enjoy, while a gentle slope gives easy access to the beach.
There are toilets on hand, and the bustling fishing harbour will ensure there’s no shortage of activity to watch – at high tide at least. At low tide, the beached boats are a strange sight but one that kids will love.
Although there are no lifeguards here, the enclosed space and shallow water make it an ideal spot to keep an eye on your little paddlers.
Vying for the post of most photographed spot in Tenby is Castle Beach with its atmospheric backdrop of castle ruins atop the Hill. This, plus the boats leaving from the floating slipway and the fort-topped tidal island of St Catherine’s, make this a fascinating place for little explorers.
A lifeguard is on duty throughout the summer, and this is another Tenby beach to have earned Blue Flag status for its cleanliness and safety. You’ll find an excellent cafe, toilets, watersports and deckchair hire on the sloping slipway to the beach, and all the town’s amenities are nearby. The museum, gallery and cafes on Castle Hill are also close to hand.
Keep an eye on the sea here because it can cover the sand entirely at high tide.
We don’t like to play favourites, but South Beach is pretty special. At 3km long, it is Tenby’s longest beach and has more space to spread out than North Beach. As a result, it often feels much quieter despite being equally popular. It’s a more gentle beach with no rugged cliffs backing it but sand dunes and the groomed greens of Tenby Golf Course instead.
You’ll find a cafe, ice cream van, beach bar and restaurant, toilets, lifeguards, and a watersports school at the north end. The further south you walk, the quieter the beach becomes until it’s just you and the dunes and the sea birds. When you turn to walk back, you’ll be met with stunning views of Tenby in all its colourful glory.
Lastly, there’s Penally Beach, which you’ll reach without realising it if you walk all the way along South Beach. As a general rule, when the sand turns to shingle, and it looks like you could reach out and touch Caldey Island, you’ve reached Penally Beach.
Ok so it’s technically in Penally not Tenby but it’s reachable by foot – 20 minutes from the start of South Beach. It’s a beautiful, unspoilt spot worth visiting if you fancy some peace and quiet. However, you won’t find any facilities, lifeguards or cafes here so if you plan to spend the day, carry supplies.
Festivals and events
Big Retreat Festival
For an uplifting weekend focused on nature and wellbeing, head to Lawrenny, a 30-minute drive from Tenby. This beautiful river peninsula in the heart of the Pembrokeshire Coastal Park hosts The Big Retreat Festival, three days of inspiring performances, experiences and workshops. Attendees can try out SUP boarding, yoga, wild swimming, foraging, and fire walking. They can sample delicious local food and drink, listen to excellent live music and educational talks, plus there’s plenty of activities for little festival-goers.
Pembrokeshire Street Food Festival
For three days in June, the entrance to Tenby South Beach is flooded with mouth watering aromas, and the sizzling of exotic delicacies as the Pembrokeshire Street Food Festival takes over.
Local, national and international stalls provide something for everyone, from carnivores to seafood lovers to vegans. Experimental foodies, picky little eaters and those with a sweet tooth will find something to delight them here. And to go with it, you’ll find craft beers, local gins, specialty coffee, cocktails, mocktails and more. The gorgeous sea view and pumping summer tunes really help kick up the festival atmosphere.
Long Course Weekend
For one weekend in July, thousands of athletes descend on West Wales to prove their endurance and skills at the Long Course Weekend. Three days of running, swimming, and cycling events in the beautiful Pembrokeshire countryside. The weekend kicks off on the Friday with The Wales Swim, 2.4 miles of open water swimming off Tenby North Beach.
Hop on a train from Tenby to beautiful Manorbier just ten minutes along the coast and find yourself in festival central. In July, this tiny coastal town hosts Westival, a three-day underground music festival in an intimate setting, showcasing house, dance, afro, techno, and world music. Camping and glamping onsite is available.
If you miss the Pembrokeshire Long Course Weekend, don’t worry. You’ll have another chance to prove yourself in September with Ironman Wales. This race also kicks off with a 2.4-mile swim off Tenby North Beach, followed by a 112-mile cycle through Pembrokeshire Coastal Park and ends with a marathon that concludes in Tenby’s Mediaeval centre.
The Ironman Wales course is one of the hardest in the world, but the fans that come to cheer it on are some of the best. The atmosphere of support and celebration in Tenby always makes this event extra special!
Tenby Arts Festival
For 30 years, Tenby Arts Festival has been delighting visitors with an end of summer showcase of all things artistic. In previous years the lineup has included Tenby’s Male Voice Choir, jazz and classical musicians, poets, writers and dancers. Plus workshops and talks on all things artistic, town-wide competitive window decorating and sandcastle building contests. It’s always been an enjoyable family-friendly festival and a great way to see out the summer.
Tenby Blues Festival
One of Tenby’s most beloved festivals, Tenby Blues Fest sees musicians and fans from all over the world flocking to town. Around 50 acts perform Blues in all its forms in over 20 venues across the three-day weekend.
And the best part? Most of it is free. Around six main stage events are ticketed while the rest of the festival is free to all comers. This friendly, award-winning event is designed to be inclusive and welcoming to music lovers of all ages and skills.
12 Tenby activities kids will love
Tenby was built for kids! Well no, it was built for Welsh fishermen and Victorian spa-goers, but there’s plenty for kids to enjoy nonetheless! So here are a few of our favourite ways to keep the kids entertained even when it’s not beach weather.
- The Tenby Museum is a great place to take kids whether they’re history lovers or not. It’s thoughtfully designed with families in mind, and offers free children’s admission and a family fun pack to download before entry. It’s a perfect rainy day activity. They can enjoy a pirate exhibit, dress up as ancient pirates and get put in the stocks. Or maybe they’d rather be intrepid explorers from prehistoric times? Or a plague doctor? Either way, get the cameras out for plenty of photos.
- For kids who like things a little spooky, why not take the Tenby Ghost Walk? Tour some of Tenby’s most ancient and mysterious sites and learn about everything from ghosts to fairies to witches from local paranormal expert and tour guide, Marion Davies.
- Go old school with a trip to the Tenby arcades! Claw grabbers, penny cascades, and all the video games you could want!
- Visit one of the many theme, adventure, wildlife or water parks in the surrounding area.
- Go rock pooling at Castle Beach and North Beach and see how many crabs you can catch!
- Watch the fishing boats returning to the harbour with the day’s catch. And watch the tide going out of the harbour, leaving the colourful fishing boats high and dry on the sand.
- Keep your eyes on the water for dolphin sightings, or grab a seat on a boat tour out into the bay where you might see seals too!
- Explore the ancient castle ruins on Castle Hill.
- Visit Carew Castle for a mediaeval day, ghost walk or a horrid histories tour.
- Wait for the tide to go out on Castle Beach so you can run across the sand and explore St Catherine’s tidal island. Visit the 19th-century hilltop Napoleonic fort and hear about its history.
- Take watersports lessons from the watersports centres on North and South Beach. Try SUP boarding, kayaking, windsurfing, wing foiling, surfing and monster boarding! That’s a massive 18ft SUP board big enough for the whole family to head out on at once!
- Go coasteering! This extreme coastal adventuring sport originated in Pembrokeshire and it’s an awesome day out for the whole family. It combines all the adrenaline of extreme sports and the fun of ocean swimming with the chance to explore amazing natural landscapes and watch for wildlife. Check out Tenby Adventure, who can safely (coast) steer you through this activity and might also persuade you to try rock climbing, snorkelling or kayaking.
So what are you waiting for?
☀️ Book a holiday cottage in Tenby and start planning how many of our Tenby highlights and attractions you can manage in one trip!