Shimmering beaches of pristine white sand? By the mile. Craggy cliff paths to explore? More than you can handle. Ruined castles? Ones that changed the course of history. Cosy pubs? Cute cafés? They’re open. Baby seals? What – you don’t love baby seals?
Snaking along the South Wales coastline, from Tenby, round Pembroke Castle and St David’s Head, past Strumble Head Lighthouse and up almost to Cardigan, the Pembrokeshire National Park is the only coastal one in the UK.
We stayed in the beautiful North coast village of Tefin (Trev-een).Ty Draw, which sleeps four, was a Tardis-like cottage that managed to effortlessly combine a traditional cosy living room (complete with easy-to-light woodburner) with an immaculate, modern kitchen and bathroom in the extension.
In the village, like most along this bit of coast, there was a charming cafe and a welcoming pub.
From late summer to late autumn you’re guaranteed to spot their young, sleeping in their white furry coats. We counted dozens. Armed with binoculars, we also spotted a pod of porpoises and a circling falcon.
An hour’s walk (dependent on seal-spotting stops) brought us to picturesque Porthgain.
The village was scarred with its past glory as a mining harbour; historic buildings still clinging to the hillside in faded defiance. These days it’s better known as a place to get good grub, either from the friendly Sloop Inn, serving hearty dinners, or The Shed, famous for local fish and chips.
Further on we discovered the Blue Lagoon: an disused slate mine flooded with impossibly blue water. When the sun shines you could be in Capri. Every outcrop of rock was crying out to be a picnic spot while the skies were clement. Come the drizzle, every little cafe or pub beckoned us in.
At the westerly tip of the peninsular, Britain’s smallest city: St David’s, boasts a population under 2,000 and a cathedral they could practically all fit into.
It’s the best place on the coast to book puffin-, whale- or dolphin-watching boat tours, and to get ice cream at Gianni’s, who have a flavour choice to rival Naples’ finest.
If you’re thinking Pembrokeshire is not a place you’ve heard people talk about, don’t be fooled. They just don’t want you to catch on. Pembrokeshire is like Cornwall, except without the crowds. Wouldn’t you be tempted to keep that secret? I certainly was.
Where to stay: Quality Cottages has an excellent selection of holiday properties to let in Pembrokeshire. Ty Draw at Trefin, which sleeps four, can be rented from £485 per week. www.qualitycottages.co.uk 01348 837871
06:00, 27 Dec 2015 By Octavia Lillywhite