This year I decided amongst many other things I wanted to make more of an effort to just say yes to things, along with exploring more of the UK. So when I was offered a week away in Wales I jumped at the chance. A week ago I packed up my car in rainy Leicestershire and started my journey down to Pembrokeshire to meet my family for a lazy week away.
My first stop en route was Cardiff. Whenever I get the opportunity I stop by Cardiff to see my friends from University. The majority of them still live in Cardiff or south of home so it is not always the easiest to catch up with them all. Seeing as I was heading past this seemed like the perfect excuse to stop over, have a bit of dinner with them and squeeze in a quick catch up.
After a fab evening chatting away and being spoilt as always by Amy with 100 cups of tea, suddenly 07:30 Wednesday morning arrived and I was back on the road with this latest episode of The High Low for company. The drive from Cardiff to Freshwater East where we were staying took another 2 ish hours, arriving just after 9 am in time for breakfast.
The day of my departure I found out in the most traumatising circumstances that the beautiful house which had been booked was, in fact, a digital detox home. This meant no wifi and very limited/ almost next to no signal. I had romanticised a writers retreat. I had visions of endless blogging, I had planned to catch up on tv series and I was going to get on top of all the Todhpurs work I had to do whilst staring out to sea. That dream was quickly shattered and promptly 6 books were thrown into my bag for my weeks entertainment.
We booked to stay at the most amazing house in Freshwater East, it is an Airbnb listing available here. The house can sleep around 10 if some don’t mind bunking up on bunk beds. Every room was so well equipped and as soon as I got into the idea of not using my phone I fell in love with our little home for the week.
The balcony stretched around the back of the house giving us the most amazing views of the bay and a perfect sunbathing spot me and my sister took full advantage of. The kitchen had everything we needed despite only using it once to cook dinner and a massive open planned lounge we used every night to watch Love Island, of course. The house is flawless and I would fully recommend it to anyone looking for a getaway in Pembrokeshire. It even had its own little trail from the garden down to the bay, although the hill coming home is a bit of a killer. The only one drawback to this house, not mentioning the wifi and the signal, is it not being dog-friendly. All the beaches and pubs we went to were all dog-friendly, I felt sad Dougal wasn’t with me because he would have loved it but I can understand why some Airbnb’s don’t like dogs there.
Aware there was no phone to keep me company we left the house mid-morning on Wednesday to head to Barafundle Bay. Barafundle Bay is a remote sandy bay part of the Stockpole Estate managed by the National Trust. I have had Barafundle Bay on my list of things to do for so long, but I was not prepared to love it as much as I did. We were very fortunate for a dramatic change in the weather. As we arrived the sun came out and the temperature really began to climb. Shorts and flip flops on, we made the walk over the footpath to the secluded little cove. Being school term time the beach was really quiet, which was perfect for the photos. The water was crystal clear, turquoise as if I was on some remote Caribbean island, I have seen photos of UK beaches looking this nice but I had never been to one so picturesque so we were straight in there. My sister and her friend braving the swim a lot more than me who when packing for a week in Wales thought there was no need to pack a swim kit so swam in my shorts and bra and then had to sit in the car in my pants like a child on the way home. We didn’t spend as much time at the Bay as we should of in hindsight. I wish we had packed food etc and stayed there for the afternoon, or wandered on further along the coast trail but after a swim, we made our way back to the National Trust Cafe for lunch. When leaving Barafundle Bay we took a little trip into Pembroke. We had good intentions of taking a wander around the town and looking at the castle but after a busy morning, I was ready for a little sleep (because I am a child still apparently) instead choosing to go back to the house and slept and sunbathed the afternoon away.
As I was only there for a few days I didn’t explore the local pubs and restaurants that well. Wednesday night we wandered up to the pub Freshwater inn on our road for pub food and free wifi. It was just basic pub food but the view of the bay was lovely and the Wifi meant that none of us had to speak to each other whilst we waited for food. We ate breakfast at the house each day.
On Thursday we made our way over to White Sands Beach. It took about an hour to reach from our house because of the winding Welsh roads but it was worth it for the view. Whitesands is a popular surfer beach so it was a little windier than the bays we had visited. We took a walk here, soaked in the views and then made our way to St David’s (tiny) city centre. St David’s is the smallest City in the UK as it is home to a quite spectacular cathedral which apparently is the final resting place of St David, Wales Patron Saint. This was my favourite populated area of Pembrokeshire. I am not a religious person, nor do I love Churches or Cathedral’s but from an architectural perspective, this was rather an incredible view. The views of the Welsh countryside with sea views and the buildings was idyllic. There was a local market taking place, the sun was shining. I felt engulfed by gratitude (strong I know) to be exploring a little corner of the UK. Before this trip, I would have expected to travel halfway around the world to see views as nice. Hungry, after not doing much, we stopped at the most obvious pub in front of us called the Bishops inn which boasted a big beer garden in the sun which we took full advantage of, enjoying fish and chips as close to the sea as I was going to get. There were a lot of food options in St David’s which I wish we could have had more time to explore. After a long afternoon, we took a drive back to our house where we planned to go for a swim at the bay near us, again another nap happened and a few 100 pages of our books so we decided to postpone until Friday morning and continued our lazy afternoon/evening reading and snacking. It was exactly what I had been hoping this holiday would combine.
Friday morning arrived and it was time to pack up the house and head home. We decided despite the five-hour drive which loomed ahead of us to make the most of our time in Wales. My sister and I woke early and took the steep walk down to the Bay for an early morning swim. Early morning dog walkers looked at us in bewilderment as we stripped off to swim in freezing cold water. Hannah again doing a much better job at swimming than me. I just didn’t enjoy the rapid inability to feel my feet. We had been so lucky with the weather since I arrived, three days of back to back sunshine and Friday wasn’t letting us down. Despite the water being on the chilly side, it was still clear as we waded out for our little morning swim and took a soggy, barefooted walk back up the most brutal hill back to the house for breakfast. On the way home, we decided to stop by Tenby as I had not seen it yet. Tenby took me by complete surprise. I didn’t like it as much as St David’s as I am not a fan of UK Seaside Towns but I have to admit Tenby had charm in abundance which most UK Seaside towns lack. The beach stretched for miles, with the whitest sand and again the clearest water. We took a slow wander along the beach, up through the town in search for ice cream, which I am sure we would have found if I had looked harder but I think the distance between Tendy and home was in the forefront of our minds so we abandoned the ice cream and sadly made our way home.
I have wanted to visit this part of Wales for so long so this was such an amazing week. Looking back I wish I had got more walking in and spent longer there I just couldn’t get the time off work earlier in the week. Next time I visit I would explore the towns a little more, visit more places to eat and definitely take Dougal with me as everywhere we went were so welcoming of dogs. Despite coming back with my sisters cold, it was the perfect few days of exploring and relaxing. So happy I said yes to this trip. For more photos of the week visit this page.