8 Best Beaches in Pembrokeshire

PEMBROKESHIRE is the most south-westerly county in Wales and thrives on its coastline and incredible natural landscape.

Although it is primarily a fishing and farming county, its beaches are among the best in the UK and attract millions of tourists every year – but where are the best sandy shores to visit?

1. Barafundle Bay

Barafundle Bay is the perfect spot to get away from the modern world and revel in nature's beauty (grob831/Flickr)
Barafundle Bay is the perfect spot to get away from the modern world and revel in nature’s beauty (grob831/Flickr)

Unsurprisingly, top of the list is a National Trust area with the stunning, sandy shores of Barafundle Bay a must-visit for everyone.

Located near Stackpole in the south, Barafundle Bay is a slice of Caribbean paradise on the Welsh coast, with its golden sands and deserted bay making you feel like you just swam ashore on the Bahamas.

The beach acts as the centrepiece to an area of natural beauty, with grassy hills and the incredible blue waters surrounding the remote shore.

Therefore, it is no surprise that it has received plenty of awards, not least being named among the top 12 beaches in the world in 2004 and Good Holiday Guide calling it the best in Britain.

To get to Barafundle Bay Beach, it does require some working, with the nearest car park situated in Stackpole.

You will need to then head down the rocky Pembrokeshire Coast Path, past Stackpole Quay, down to the seashore – it will take an average walker around 15 minutes, but it is not advised for anyone that struggles on their feet.

Yet, it is not just tourists and families that you will see at Barafundle Bay Beach with surfers regularly making use of the waves coming in from the Bristol Channel to get their adrenaline rush.

Beach rating: 10/10

Isolate yourself close to Barafundle Bay at Stackpole Inn with rooms available from just £80 a night.

2. Tenby Beach

Tenby is a beautiful coastal town with four beaches including the Harbour Beach
Tenby is a beautiful coastal town with four beaches including the Harbour Beach

A small harbour town in the south of Pembrokeshire, Tenby is home to one of the most stunning array of beaches that you’ll find in the UK – and even the world.

Tenby doesn’t have one or two beaches – it has four, with the quartet split down the middle by a castle.

To the north of Tenby Castle – which dates back to as early as 1153 – sits North Beach where a giant Goskar rock lays in middle of the beautiful sandy shores.

Harbour Beach is also on that side and like his neighbour, the sand can stretch from around 50m to the shoreline to nearly 200m depending on the tide.

On the other side is Castle Beach where visitors can enjoy incredible views of not only Tenby’s historic landmark, but also St Catherine’s Island – only some 120m out to sea.

Again, filled with golden sands and calming sea, Castle Beach provides some of the best views of any of the four beaches in Tenby.

But then there is arguably the most popular of the quartet – the mile-and-a-half long South Beach with sand dunes and acres of coastline to have spend hours at.

And if you fancy being a bit daring, join the local windsurfers for the thrill of a lifetime.

So if you want days – if not weeks – of fun, enjoy everything that Tenby has to offer, with the town having not just one, but two Blue Flag Beaches.

Beach rating: 9.5/10

Getting to the four beaches in Tenby could not be simpler if you stay at the Royal Lion Hotel that is just a stone’s throw from Harbour Beach – and rooms are available from just £55 a night.

3. Freshwater West Beach

Freshwater West Beach has played home to some iconic movie scenes in the past (Mario Sanchez Prada/Flickr)
Freshwater West Beach has played home to some iconic movie scenes in the past (Mario Sanchez Prada/Flickr)

Freshwater West Beach near Castlemartin is an incredibly expansive – and iconic – beach that is perfect for anyone from families to surfers.

When the tide is out, the sandy shore can stretch well over 200m from the coastal path to the sea and runs nearly a mile around the bay.

With the grassy hills of the Welsh countryside surrounding the beach and untouched rocks gracing its surface, it is an idyllic location to relax and explore on your journey around Pembrokeshire.

Freshwater West Beach is perfect for surfers with strong waves coming from the sea.

Meanwhile, film lovers can explore their favourite – and most heartbreaking – scenes from the big screen, with Freshwater West the location for the French invasion of England in Russell Crowe’s Robin Hood.

It is also where Dobby was buried in the Harry Potter movies and you can even see his ‘grave’ there.

Beach rating: 9/10

Enjoy Freshwater West Beach and then explore the rest of the grassland area by staying at National Trust’s Gupton Farm Campsite from just £14 a night.

4. Whitesands Bay

Whitesands Bay is a thrillseeker's haven with the strong waves making it perfect for surfers (Mark Morton/Flickr)
Whitesands Bay is a thrillseeker’s haven with the strong waves making it perfect for surfers (Mark Morton/Flickr)

Much like Freshwater West Beach, Whitesands Bay is extremely popular for surfing with countless thrill seekers heading to St Davids shoreline every year.

Whitesands Bay’s deep coastline between the sea and the grassy landscape provides plenty of respite from the strong waves if you are looking to just relax.

It is advised that for those looking for an adrenaline rush – whether you are a surfer, canoeist or bodyboarder – head to the north part of the beach for the best waves, while those keen to chill and revel in the Pembrokeshire’s beauty should go to the southern end.

Although it appears to be in middle of nowhere, there is a cafe nearby and Whitesands Camping site overlooks the beach and ocean.

Beach rating: 8/10

5. Newgale Beach

Newgale Beach is two miles long and owes its existence to a giant storm (Matthew Gilder/Flickr)
Newgale Beach is two miles long and owes its existence to a giant storm (Matthew Gilder/Flickr)

Newgale Beach in the west of Pembrokeshire has an interesting history having been formed by a storm in 1859.

Now, it is a two-mile long sandy haven for tourists and locals alike all year round.

Located on the edge of National Trust’s Southwood Estate, Newgale Beach is perfect for all kinds of people – from adrenaline junkies to families and explorers.

Not only can you go surfing on the waves coming in from St Brides Bay, but also kitesurfing for an extra thrill – there are tutors on hand to teach you, so don’t worry if it is your first time.

With acres of sand, young children have the opportunity to run around and build as many sandcastles as they wish, while the parents relax and inhale the cool sea breeze.

But if you want to add a little something extra to your day out at the beach, there are caves in the south that you can walk through and explore some of Pembrokeshire’s sheltered bays.

Beach rating: 8/10

Stay directly opposite Newgale Beach at The Duke of Edinburgh Inn with rooms available from just £95 a night – and you just have to go downstairs for food.

6. Saundersfoot Beach

Saundersfoot Beach is just three miles from Tenby's quartet, with its own wide expanse from families to enjoy (Ed Webster/Flickr)
Saundersfoot Beach is just three miles from Tenby’s quartet, with its own wide expanse from families to enjoy (Ed Webster/Flickr)

Saundersfoot Beach, just up the coast from Tenby, has its own incredible shoreline to compete, with the 800m-long, 350m-deep haven a delight for all who visit.

From the harbour, you will can see the sandy shores, sea and vibrantly green trees in one picture.

During low tide, the harbour is seldom used with only a little stream running across the beach.

It can get busy with Saundersfoot a popular tourist destination in Pembrokeshire – but it is a beautiful spot to spend a family holiday.

Beach rating: 7.5/10

Enjoy the glorious views of Saundersfoot Beach and its incredible surroundings by staying Swn Y Tonnau Sea Front Apartment from £133 a night –

7. Manorbier Beach

Manorbier Beach is a little pocket of paradise in Pembrokeshire with incredible backdrops of the Welsh hills and the local castle (UncleBucko/Flickr)
Manorbier Beach is a little pocket of paradise in Pembrokeshire with incredible backdrops of the Welsh hills and the local castle (UncleBucko/Flickr)

Much smaller than most of the other beaches on this list, but not lacking in beauty – Manorbier Beach stretches around 150 metres across the enclosed bay.

With sizeable grassy hills on both sides, the beach gives the impression of being away from the modern world.

On the north side of the beach, a stream runs down from the amazing Manorbier Castle near to the village.

Although anyone can go to the beach, it is a surfing favourite in Pembrokeshire with many flocking here to catch the big waves.

Beach rating: 7/10

Stay just half a mile from Manorbier Beach at Castlemead Restaurant & Rooms from just £123 a night – and you are just mere footsteps from the village’s other landmark.

8. Broad Haven Beach

Broad Haven's coastline is glorious - but just hope the tide is out (Harshil Shah/Flickr)
Broad Haven’s coastline is glorious – but just hope the tide is out (Harshil Shah/Flickr)

At the south of the Brides Bay coastline is Broad Haven Beach, which can be a glorious spot during low tide – but not so fun when it is in.

At its best, Broad Haven Beach is a massive expanse of sand with space of up to 200m from stony wall to the sea – plenty of room for everyone to enjoy the seaside.

There are little caves to explore while the water is calm enough for children to play in comfortably.

Beach rating: 6/10

Stay just across the road from Broad Haven Beach at the beautiful Anchor Guest House from just £60 a night.

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