We all have our favourite seaside destinations in Britain. A family, ‘bucket and spade’ holiday is built into our psyche, likes pubs and the Queen. For some it is Cornwall and others Norfolk. There is sometimes a genetic pull to Scotland or the Lake District but Wales is often dropped off the list even when “googling” popular websites like Owners Direct or Holidaylettings.

One has to search a bit harder for this little pocket of Britain. This is good and bad. Good, if you want to escape the city and dive into a rural retreat without the crowds and bad for business in Wales that sorely needs a bit of a boost.

Coastline near Barafundle
Coastline near Barafundle
 

The jewel that I came upon thanks to Jane, my step-mother, is Manorbier. It is five miles from the charming seaside town of Tenby, all multi coloured Georgian houses, sitting on a cliff surrounded by golden sandy beaches on three sides.

Manorbier (prounounced manor- beer) is a village by the sea in Pembrokeshire. It has a castle, a beach, cliff-tops and rural walks, a shop, a pub, a café which serves freshly cooked soups and delicious meals, like Welsh Cawl, and a charm so instant, we loved it at first sight. We stayed in Jane’s delightful Carew Cottage , we walk in the morning, lunch in the café and explore in the afternoon, perfect for breaks from the city.

Coastline near Barafundle The landscape along the coast is stunning and full to the brim with archeological interest and ancient history. On a favourite but vertiginous walk along the coast east of Manorbier, we walk past an ancient burial site, a huge crop of stone under which my small son can hide. We look down on dramatic crevices through the cliff, like slices of cheese, down to the swirling seawater below.

We have seen dolphins near Skrinkle Haven and otters at Bosherton. We like to visit the National Trust area of Barafundle Bay, a beautiful beach located a half hour walk from the Stackpole Boat House café and car park and walk towards Broad Haven, another spectacular beach. This beach can also be approached from Bosherton via the beautiful lily ponds, to a large open beach with rocks to climb, dunes to hide in, sea to swim and surf in and a stream to build a dam across.

Lily ponds at Bosherton
Lily ponds at Bosherton
 

A visit to Aunty Vi’s Old Tea Room in Bosherton is a step into another era. You can have egg on toast, beans on toast or cheese on toast with a large slice of Victoria sponge cake and a cup of tea. Lily ponds at Bosherton. And the castles are a treat. Manorbier Castle is an 11th century castle, spooky and delightful, with pretty gardens in the centre. Pembroke Castle is full of treasure and interesting historical facts such as being the birth-place of Henry VII and hosts jousts and medieval re-enactments, so popular these days. There is also Carew Castle and the tudor house in Tenby.

Carew Cottage, Manorbier , which sleeps 8, is available to rent for February half term (15- 22 Feb 2014) for £555, during March until 12 April 2014 for £650. Call Jane to book direct on 01666 826571 or Sarah on 020 8743 6098. 

The Way Back Home

by Cecily Rose (age 8)

Inspired to write a poem by the poet Dylan Thomas who lived nearby

The green of the grass

The red of the rose

Are glittering as we pass

The sun sets

and gently reflects

On the blue and green of the sea

The toadstools are standing

The birds are all landing

As we fight through the leaves of the darkening wood

We walk down the lane

And I stroke the mane

Of our beautiful chestnut horse

And we walk through the door and return

To the warmth of the hearth at home.