This delightful town with its medieval town walls and charming winding streets has more than four kilometres of golden sandy beaches and can also boast a welcoming charm, a brewery, fabulous seafood and a host of eateries and pubs. Make your move to Tenby – one of the sunniest places in Wales.
Tenby is one of the prettiest seaside towns in Wales with its gaily painted Georgian townhouses overlooking the harbour, its medieval walls and atmospheric ruined castle. It’s a town of some 5,000 people, yet has an impressive cache of 372 listed buildings. When you add to that its acres of sandy beaches, plethora of eating houses, and friendly, buzzy vibe it’s no wonder it’s a hugely desirable place to live.
Tenby’s Welsh name is Dinbych-y-pysgod, literally fortlet of the fish. The town’s history stretches back through the ages. With its strategic position on the far west coast of Britain, its sheltered harbour, protected from both the Atlantic Ocean and the Irish Sea, it was a natural settlement point.
The old town is cradled by splendid medieval walls, which are some of the best-preserved and most historically important in the UK. Grade I listed, these walls encompass a maze of narrow, winding streets housing interesting shops and cafes.
Another testament to Tenby’s strategic importance through the ages is the ‘Palmerston Fort’ located on the tidal St Catherine’s Island. During the Napoleonic Wars a chain of forts was built around the UK at the behest of then Prime Minister Lord Palmerston. Tenby’s fort was completed in 1870. However, the forts were also known as Palmerston’s follies as scepticism abounded as to their usefulness should a French invasion take place.
For walkers and strollers, the spectacular 186-mile Pembrokeshire Coast Path passes through Tenby, and the town makes an appealing stopover on this popular long-distance trail.
If you feel like proving your mettle, the annual Ironman event should suffice. Start off with a sunrise swim on North Beach, followed by a vigorous cycle along the coastal path, culminating in a run through the town centre. For those who like a more sedentary lifestyle, it’s a great spectator sport. And there’s ample opportunity to cheer on the competitors from the safety of the town’s watering holes.
WHERE TO BUY?
The tall, colourful Georgian houses on Bridge Street and Pier Hill cluster around Tenby Harbour, and are mouth-wateringly appealing. Not only are they elegant, airy and spacious, they have beautiful sea views.
As Tenby is compact and walkable, other addresses are almost as desirable, but much more affordable. Take St Mary’s Street, within Tenby’s medieval walls, and a hop to the town centre and shops, and a brief walk to the harbour and beaches. A street-fronted cottage here, with two bedrooms, living room, kitchen and bathroom can be snapped up for around £250,000.
The appealingly named Upper and Lower Frog Streets and Trafalgar Road are popular residential areas close to all the amenities Tenby has to offer.
Properties in Tenby have an average selling price of £293,721, with flats (which make up the majority of sales) fetching on average £221,969. However, an impressive Grade II-listed Georgian townhouse will set you back £1m, while a detached, architect designed residence such as Pixie Grove in Penally, clocks in at £1.2m and the majestic Northcliffe costs £2,800,000.
A first-floor flat with plenty of character on Upper Frog Street will set you back £210,000 (leasehold). Attractive terraced cottages clock in around the £400,000-£450,000 mark.
Boats sail from Tenby to the monastic island of Caldey every 30 minutes from Easter until the end of October. The Cistercian monks of Caldey continue a tradition which began there in Celtic times. More than 1,000 years of prayer and quiet living have made this remote and beautiful island a sanctuary. The monks run a shop on the island where it’s possible to buy products such as Abbots Kitchen handmade chocolate.
The Tudor Merchant’s House conjures up life in late medieval times. The building consists of three storeys; the lower floor was originally used as a shop by the merchant to conduct his business, the first floor provided living quarters for the family and the upper floor the sleeping quarters. The house is comfortable and well-furnished, reflecting the prosperous status of the merchant, who traded in salt, linen, painted cloth, sugar and wine.
It’s worth climbing Castle Hill to see the remains of Tenby Castle. Although little more than the tower survives of this 12th century Norman fortification, the promontory it stands on offers fabulous views over this delightful little town’s seascapes.
The town has an operating railway station, with trains run by Transport for Wales. The A478 connects Tenby with the M4, the main artery to Cardiff, Bristol, and other key destinations. The nearest airport is Cardiff International, situated just outside the capital city in Rhoose.
There are four schools in the area, consisting of three primary schools and one secondary school: Ysgol Hafan-y-Mor, Tenby Church in Wales Primary School, St Teilo’s RC Primary School and Ysgol Greenhill Secondary.
Pupils from St Teilo’s School and Tenby Church in Wales School are automatically enrolled in the Greenhill School, but parents can enrol them into a different school should they wish. Ysgol Hafan y Môr is a Welsh language medium school. Most of the pupils go on to Ysgol y Preseli, a Welsh-medium secondary school in Crymych approximately 24 miles away.
TRY BEFORE YOU BUY
Nautilus is a striking hillside home designed by the architect who created Channel 4’s Grand Designs Lifeboat House in Tenby. The building is shaped so that it complements the curve of the hillside and is perched on a series of steel buttresses so that it appears to float above the landscape.
Panoramic glass windows give stunning views of Tenby, Caldey Island and the beautiful Pembrokeshire Coast from every room. Nautilus is tucked away up a quiet private road, but the delights of Tenby are just a stroll away.
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path – part of the UK’s only coastal national park – is just ten minutes away, and is perfect for a major hike or a leisurely stroll and a pub lunch.
This gorgeous property is available from independent, family-run West Wales Holiday Cottages and provides the perfect escape for an extended family or a group of friends. westwalesholidaycottages.co.uk/nautilus
WHAT YOU CAN GET FOR YOUR MONEY?
STUNNING SEA VIEWS (ASKING PRICE £995,000)
A rare opportunity to purchase a spectacular seafront garden flat, Laston House boats an enviable view over Tenby Harbour, North Beach and Monkstone Point. The property was built in 1811 by Sir William Paxton, and was originally intended to be the location of Tenby’s Assembly Rooms and Sea Water Baths. Original features include high ceilings, large sash windows that allow the light to flood in, and decorative coving. birtandco.co.uk
DELIGHTFUL LISTED TOWNHOUSE (ASKING PRICE £750,000)
Frogmore House on Lower Frog Street is an elegant, Grade II-listed, five-bedroom home built in 1856, with a sunny, secluded south-facing garden. Paragon Beach is just 100 yards away. Currently a generously proportioned family home with a retail space, it could easily be reconfigured to bring the shop area into the home. birtandco.co.uk
COSY COTTAGE WITH PRETTY GARDEN (OFFERS IN THE REGION OF £410,000)
2 Quarry Cottages is a lovingly renovated, three-bedroom mid-terrace house close to the historic town walls. The property dates from the 1860s and retains lots of charming period features. The garden boasts a patio area for dining, flower beds, an apple tree and a lovely timber summerhouse. Steps lead down to the banks of the river Ritec. chandlerrogers.co.uk
RENOVATION PROJECT (ASKING PRICE £600,000)
This lovely period villa would benefit from some TLC to turn it into a stunning, spacious family home. Picton Villas is in a sought-after location as Tenby’s lovely beaches are just a pleasant stroll away. The house has attractive, mature gardens to the front and rear, as well as a huge cellar, a utility room and a veranda. chandlerrogers.co.uk