ANDY COOPER heads to a coastal corner of Wales and comes away impressed with his experience in Pembrokeshire.

I think I must have last visited Pembrokeshire nearly 50 years ago which is a slightly bizarre statistic, given that I have lived around 30 miles south of the region for the past 30+ years.

But, of course, standing ‘in the way’ is the small matter of the Bristol Channel, meaning one can’t just ‘pop’ to west Wales. So when the invite came from Visit Pembrokeshire to come and stay, it was time to update my travelling CV.

Our first stop-off having completed the long drive from home in Devon was at the rather wonderful Llys Meddyg Hotel, nestled under Carningli (Mountain of the Angels) on the Nevern estuary, within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

Founded in 2003 by Ed and Louise Sykes, Llys Meddyg Hotel ( is situated in a Georgian townhouse which offers just eight rooms with elegant furnishings including touches such as Welsh blankets, Conscious skincare products and artwork by some of Wales’ most celebrated creatives.

The menu at Llys Meddyg champions foraged ingredients from Welsh shores, hedgerows and the hotel’s own kitchen garden alongside seasonal fresh ingredients from passionate local producers. In fact, guests can also book on a seasonal foraging experience with owner Ed.

The hotel’s latest venture is the Smoke Shed, which was created to celebrate the lost art of the smokery…it’s been a triumph, with Ed’s smoked salmon receiving an ‘outstanding’ two-star award at the Great Taste Awards.

Certainly when we dined in the wonderfully atmospheric Cellar Bar, starting with a relaxing cocktail at the funky bar, it was a night to remember, for both the quality of the food – and the attentive service from the team. Rooms are from £150 for bed and breakfast per couple.

After a stirring breakfast in the morning, we were tempted to try and burn off some of the calories by setting off on an adventure cycle courtesy of the e-bikes which the hotel can offer, via sister company Hidden Routes ( Taster sessions cost £30 for a 90-minute ride.

As it was, we had a small excuse not to jump on the bikes as our agenda for our first full day in Pembrokeshire had us planning lots of stop-offs

The first of these was Lower Town Fishguard, a picturesque village with a cluster of quayside cottages and which was once an important trading port. It was also the location for Dylan Thomas’s most famous play Under Milk Wood. An utterly charming spot.

Next was the in-the-middle-of-nowhere but fascinating Melin Tregwynt woollen mill, renowned for its Welsh woollen blankets and throws. You can watch the mill in action, visit the shop and there’s also a cafe using local Welsh produce.

Standing spectacularly looking out to see is Strumble Head and Strumble Lighthouse, on the north west tip of Pembrokeshire, west of Fishguard. An old coastguard lookout nearby serves as a wildlife lookout and a few miles east of the lighthouse along the coast path is Carregwastad Point, where French soldiers landed in 1797 and marks the last invasion of the British mainland.

From there I would suggest you head for the historic and atmospheric coastal village of Porthgain, which was once a harbour exporting stone and slate from a nearby quarry. Now very popular with visitors, The Shed Bistro and The Sloop Inn are great places to eat and there are some lovely art galleries.

From here, follow the road to Abereiddy, a small village where you’ll find The Blue Lagoon – a man-made wonder hewn into the cove below the rocks – and then onto Abercastle, a pretty cove popular with divers and is ideal for kayakers.

All this touring around works up a thirst and so to slake that we called in at St Davids Old Farmhouse Brewery (, where owners Mark and Emma Evans are passionate about farming sustainably. Their microbrewery opened in 2020 using water from their own well to produce award-winning beers. I can confirm those awards were not undeserved – very moreish beer! And if you want to stay on the site of a brewery – and, let’s face it, who doesn’t – they also have holiday cottages.

After such a packed out day of sightseeing we needed some serious rest and recuperation and where better to achieve that than at the Twr y Felin Hotel on the outskirts of St Davids.

The hotel is a former windmill and Wales’ first contemporary art hotel, with spectacular paintings adorning the walls as far as the eye can see – quite the head-turner. We dined in the hotel’s award-winning Blas Restaurant, and it was not hard to see why the place gets so many plaudits – we enjoyed a first class meal making the very most of local produce. B&B at Twr y Felin starts from around £180 per night for two sharing.

Suitably relaxed and replenished the following morning after a peaceful night’s sleep in our lovely room and a hearty breakfast, we headed into St Davids to explore. Britain’s smallest city certainly lives up to that billing…I must admit we were a little surprised at just how small it was. But that is part of the charm, as is the wonderful, eponymous Cathedral which stands grandly at the centre of it all. You can see why this city just oozes history and legend, backed up by our visit to the highly informative Oriel y Parc gallery visitor centre (

Whilst ambling around St Davids, we made it our business to stop by and meet John and Julia from the Really Wild Emporium in their shop. Now, this is a rather special place. Rescuing a somewhat dilapidated building a few years back, they have made this both an amazing shop and a first class cafe and restaurant.

Upstairs there is a product range of sustainable good and produce which makes looking after the planet fun and then downstairs you get to eat magnificent food, which was certainly the case when we returned in the evening for the tasting menu. A truly memorable experience.

Talking to the couple, it is clear how passionate they are about making the most of nature’s larder to bring health benefits and provide food. They are both foraging specialists too, offering classes. And this year they opening up new accommodation on the top floor of their building.

The following morning we left St Davids early and headed for the utterly charming coastal village of Solva. There’s a lovely walk from the car park to the Gribin, where you get a wonderful view of the harbour and coast.

Then it was on to meet Scott Chalmers from Wild Water Sauna at Nolton Haven beach. Wildwater Sauna offers a wood-fired mobile sauna experience which pitches up at various locations along the Pembrokeshire coastline. Prices are £15 per hour for a communal sauna or £85 for a private sauna for up to six people. I am told it only really works if you immerse yourself in the sea as part of the experience….I think bracing is the word, but also lots of fun too with plenty of memories to be made.

Talking of immersion, as I sat in the outside thermal pool of the St Brides Hotel a few hours later, gazing down on to Saundersfoot beach below, it did feel like a fitting end to a wonderful break discovering the best that Pembrokeshire has to offer. Sitting in the bubbles, having just enjoyed a treatment in the spa, was the definition of blissed out!

St Brides Spa Hotel is a 34-bedroom hotel and cliff top restaurant overlooking Saundersfoot bay and harbour. There also have six two-bedroom apartments as well as the spa, thermal suite and hydro pool. Truly a luxe spot in a lovely location. B&B stays are from £200 per night for a non-sea view room, whilst front-facing sea view rooms start from £340 per night. Rates include a complimentary bookable 90-minute session in the thermal suite and hydrotherapy pool.

And just down from the hotel is the new development at Saundersfoot Harbour, which has transformed the area as a venue for arts, events and water activities and include The Marine Centre of Excellence, Coastal Schooner and Events Deck.

As it was our final night and in search of adventure, we eschewed what looked to be a first class dining experience at the hotel and headed to The Rib & Oyster at nearby Kilgetty, where the presence of so many locals packed into the place told us we had come to the right spot for a good meal. What started out as a fish and meat counter run by local fisherman Gavin Davies has turned into a tiny restaurant specialising in local meat and fish. The steak was very memotable!

And thus ended our Pembrokeshire adventure on a high note…but there were so many of those. This is a region of our coastline which is magical and memorable in equal measure and I suggest you place it on your itinerary sooner, rather than later.