The Best Itinerary for an Adventurous Weekend in Tenby
The Best Itinerary for an Adventurous Weekend in Tenby

The Best Itinerary for an Adventurous Weekend in Tenby

I spent a sunny October weekend in Tenby. This seaside town on the coast of West Wales is perfect for short breaks. This is because Tenby and the surrounding areas pack in lots to do.

There are adventurous coastal walks, beautiful beaches, local history and good food. And you can enjoy all of these activities and attractions without feeling like you’ve rushed through this picturesque part of the country.

Tenby really is the perfect choice for a Welsh getaway that has something for everyone. However, it’s particularly good for outdoor and beach lovers like me.

In this article, I’ll share what I think is the perfect itinerary for a weekend in Tenby. I’ll include all the logistical information you need to know to enjoy my recommendations.

Itinerary for a weekend in Tenby

My itinerary will allow you to have the true Tenby experience but with some adventure thrown in. It’s the perfect way to experience the coastal town.

It may seem like I’ve included a lot of things to do for just a weekend. But all of my recommendations are close to each other, meaning it’s definitely possible to fit everything into 48 hours.

Check out Tenby’s beautiful beaches

Over both days of our weekend in Tenby, we went to all of its beaches and also some in the surrounding areas. Each of Tenby’s pristine beaches is unique and has something special for visitors.

To make the most of the beaches and be able to swim, you’ll want to check out the coastal town when weather conditions are best. The summer months in Wales are usually June to September. Of course, you can swim outside of these times, but it might not be warm enough to go in just a bikini or shorts.

A silhouetted pair of people walking on a beach. The tide is coming in.

Tenby’s beaches can be incredibly busy, especially  during the summer. So, if like me, you enjoy being away from the crowds, then you might want to check out these beaches early in the morning or later in the evening.

You’ll also find lifeboat stations along the coast at Tenby. You can rest assured when enjoying these excellent sandy beaches and their waters. 

Castle beach

We went to Castle Beach on our first day. After arriving at Tenby train station, we headed down to the  beach to kick back after the journey and enjoy some lunch. It’s about a 10-minute walk to Castle Beach from the train station.

Castle beach is Tenby’s smallest sandy beach. At high tide the golden sands mostly disappear under the water. Low tide in Tenby tends to be morning through to late afternoon.

There is rich history at Castle Beach. It gets its name as it sits at the foot of Castle Hill. Tenby Castle once sat mightily atop the hill, but all that remains now is a small tower.

Another of the historic landmarks, directly in front of the beach, is St Catherine’s Island.  This tiny, steep-walled spec of land is home to Palmerston Fort. Although easily reachable by swimming the few metres separating it from Castle beach, St Catherine’s Island is unfortunately closed to the public.

An Island close to a beach. The island is St Catherine's Island and there is a stone fort atop it.

North Beach

Tenby North Beach.

North Beach is a fantastic, wide and deep curving stretch of golden sand. It’s located at the bottom of the tall cliffs marking  the edge of Tenby. It’s roughly five minutes walking from the town centre down to the beach.

There are long flights of steps to quickly descend the cliffs. Or you can take the scenic route avoiding the steps altogether by heading down towards harbour Beach and following the road around to North Beach.

The standout feature of the beach is its giant rock, which can almost be thought of as the heart of Tenby; it’s that well-known.

Harbour Beach

Harbour Beach at Tenby.

Harbour beach is close to Castle Beach – you actually pass it on the way. Although Harbour Beach is technically Tenby’s smallest beach, you definitely won’t be swimming there.

The beach is just a small plot of sand that sits within the walls of Tenby harbour. However, it’s made a name for itself as the quaint spot where people park small boats. It really adds to Tenby’s picturesque appeal.

You can walk along the stone harbour and get a close up of the boats which is pretty cool.  Speaking of boats, you can book a boat excursion at Tenby harbour. Tenby Boat Trips run a few different types of excursions which you can book with them at their harbour office.

That’s about all there is to be said about Tenby’s picturesque harbour.

Tenby south beach

South Beach Tenby.

This is my favourite beach of the three closest to Tenby by a long shot. It doesn’t have any specific points of interest like the rock on North Beach or St Catherine’s Island just off Castle Beach.

But that’s what makes it such a great beach; it’s vast and feels truly untouched. It’s got a light shingle too that gives the sand an amazing texture. And the sand backs onto a seawall topped with long grass.

The best time to check out this beach is at low tide. When the tide is low you can walk the 2-mile stretch of sand from Tenby all the way to Penally. This should take you around 30 minutes.

At Penally you can climb up into the rugged hills. This is another great aspect of the beach as it turns what is a tame walk into something of a mini hike. It only takes 5 minutes to get from the beach to the top of the hills.

However, take it is easy as the tail is technical in parts. There are long, steep, smooth rocks which can be hard to get a footing on. There are sharp, jagged rocks in places too.

Once you get to the top, you’ll have the best views of nearby Caldey Island. The small island lies 1 mile off the coast. It belongs to the monks that inhabit it and the island’s recorded history goes back well over 1,000 years. It can also be visited by boat.

Caldey Island.

Looking back the way you came and you can see the entire seafront of Tenby. It’s a brilliant view, especially at sunset when the light begins to change.

Tenby town centre

Tenby town centre. The church is in the background.

The beautiful beaches are definitely near the top of my recommendations of the best things to do during a weekend in Tenby. However, the centre of Tenby itself is also pretty cool.

Upper Frog Street (which becomes Lower Frog Street) is a great spot. It has a bunch of cool places to eat including restaurants and a chocolatier. We ate pizza at Top Joe’s. The service wasn’t amazing, but the pizza was, so I’d recommend it.

There’s also a nice art gallery showing off  local photographers’ work. I stopped a couple of times to check this out.

Another cool thing about Tenby town centre is its historic buildings, especially the medieval town walls. These date back to the 13th century but are still in pretty good nick. The walls run along South Parade Street and are listed, recognised as some of the best-preserved medieval town walls in the UK.

Tenby Castle

If the medieval walls tickle your fancy then you have to pay a quick visit to Tenby Castle. The Norman castle was built in the 12th century and you can easily get to it from Castle Beach, or  by coming from the opposite direction, both by paved paths.

It’s a short walk up the hill to the small tower. It’s hard to imagine what the castle must’ve looked like now that there is so little of it left. But from the commanding position atop the hill you get the impression that it must have been a formidable building.

You also get nice views onto St Catherine’s island and neither side of the hill to North Beach and South Beach.

Eat overlooking the beach

North Beach Rock Tenby seen through a window.

All this exploring during your weekend in Tenby means that you’re going to have to eat at some point.   I highly recommend having a meal, or a coffee, or both at one of Tenby’s restaurants or cafes overlooking North Beach. I’m talking about The Croft, High Street and Crackwell Street.  

Some of the cafes on Crackwell Street are literally on the cliff edge above the beach. They have balconies overhanging the beach where you can sit and enjoy your food. In my opinion it’s the best spot in Tenby to eat thanks to these views.  

We had breakfast on our second day at Caffé Vista. We managed to nab a spot on its balcony. There were fantastic views from the café onto North Beach rock and over the sea.

Caffé Vista is a great place to eat. Our breakfast was tasty and being on Crackwell Street means it’s only two or so minutes walking from the town centre.

Pembrokeshire coast path

The views of Monkstone Beach from the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.

While the beautiful beaches are high on my itinerary for your weekend in Tenby, topping it is the Pembrokeshire coast path. Walking the Wales Coast Path is one of the best things to do in Wales and sections of the path don’t get much better than Tenby and its surrounding area.  

This section of the Wales Coast Path has some of the best coastal views in Wales (in my opinion) and some of the most beautiful Welsh coastline. I most recommend the trail between Tenby and Saundersfoot.

A small beach cove.

It takes about 2 h to do this walk. The terrain is varied including grass fields, muddy, narrow track and rocks. You also journey from tree tunnels to open beaches. There are steep descents and climbs too. I’d say this walk is doable by most, if not all people. Just make sure to take plenty of water.

Tenby itself is the start point of this section. Leave Tenby via The Croft and then join Waterwynch Lane. At the end of Waterwynch Lane, you’ll leave paved roads behind and begin to enjoy the true ruggedness of the coastal path.

Monkstone Beach

About an hour along the coastal path from Tenby to Saundersfoot is Monkstone Beach. This is my favourite beach in the general Tenby area. If I had to recommend one beach for your weekend in Tenby, it would be this one.

It’s a sandy beach with a shingle and is carved out of some Jurassic-looking, extremely scenic cliffs. The beach is pretty isolated and not easy to get down to from the coast path either.

There is a long, steep set of steps that you must navigate to get down to sea level. This, along with the fact that it’s a trek to get there, means that Monkstone beach is the perfect place to enjoy a Tenby beach without many people around.

If you’re walking this section of the Pembrokeshire coast path in warmer weather then pack your swimming shorts. Monkstone beach is the perfect place to go for a dip and cool off before reaching Saundersfoot.

Where to stay for a weekend in Tenby

Bushes in the foreground and Tenby in the background. The sea is between the bushes and Tenby and there are boats floating in it.

The ideal place to stay for a weekend in Tenby is near the beachfront. This will give you quick access to the beach and the best views from your accommodation. However, this will obviously be the priciest option.

We stayed in an Airbnb away from the tourist parts of Tenby. A local lady had a spare room in her house and that suited us perfectly. Between the two of us it was a good deal.

It might even be cheaper as a solo traveler to stay in an Airbnb in Tenby than a hotel. This will depend on the time of year though.

If you want to camp, then Meadow Farm Campsite is in a great spot just off the Pembrokeshire coast path. It’s a bit of a walk out from the town centre, about 20 minutes, but great for nature.

Unfortunately, as far I know there are no hostels in Tenby, so camping is your most affordable option.

How to get to Tenby for your weekend

Alan on Tenby South Beach crouched taking a photo. Caldey Island is in the background.

Getting to Tenby is fairly easy. It’s well serviced by trains and Tenby station is located about a 10-minute walk from the town centre. From Cardiff it takes roughly 2h 30m on the train.

If you’re relying on public transport, then make sure to check that buses are running between Tenby and the surrounding areas. When we were there in October, we walked to Saundersfoot along the Wales Coast Path on the Sunday.

Google Maps told us there was a bus back to Tenby which we needed to take.  However, that service actually stops running during the winter and we ended up having to pay for a taxi back to make our train.

If you’re driving to Tenby, then you’ll be on the road for 2 h – 3 h if coming from Cardiff. You’ll take the M4 as far as Swansea and then the A48 and A477.

Where to park your car in Tenby

Drivers will need somewhere to park in Tenby. Luckily there are quite a few car parks dotted around the town operated by Pembrokeshire County Council. The most convenient car park will depend on where you’re staying.

Check out the council’s website for car parking rates.

More adventure travel advice on A World Over

Let me know if you use my itinerary to plan a weekend in Tenby. I want to make my content as useful as possible for readers, so leaving feedback in the comments is always good for me.

For more adventure travel ideas, including South Wales, then check out the A World Over blog.

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