Tenby

Tenby

Regularly featured in top ten lists of resorts in Wales, Tenby is one of the most popular in the UK.  And it’s easy to see why.

It’s got pretty much everything you’d want from a seaside town and consistently wins awards for it’s beaches.  As an example, The Sunday Times rated Tenby’s Castle Beach the best beach in the UK in 2019.

Originally called Dinbych y Pysgod, the fortified town was built by the Normans.  You can still see lots of evidence of the town’s early history today but only one small tower of the castle remains.

This destination guide is intended to help you plan a visit.  And we recommend you do!

How to get to Tenby

Tenby is in Pembrokeshire, as far west as you can go in Wales.  Way beyond the Western end of the M4 it’s also on the West Wales railway line.

Road

As a popular tourist destination in South Pembrokeshire, Tenby is well signposted but this map and these directions may help.

From the East – Cardiff/Swansea
  • Take the M4 West to it’s end at Pont Abraham services
  • Take the A48 to Carmarthen from this roundabout, and
  • at Carmarthen take the A40 for St. Clears.
  • At the St. Clears roundabout take the first exit for the A477, sign posted Tenby. 
  • Keep on this road until you get to Kilgetty. 
  • At the Kilgetty roundabout take the first exit (A478) towards Tenby.   
  • At New Hedges go straight through the roundabout and and stay on this road until you reach Tenby.
  • Tenby is approximately 18 miles from St. Clears (a drive of approximately 26 minutes).
From the North – Aberystwyth
  • Take the A487 to Cardigan and then the A478 towards Crymych.
  • Keep on the A478 until you get to what is known locally as Penblewyn Roundabout.
  • At the roundabout take the second exit (straight ahead) to Narberth.
  • Tenby is well sign posted from Narberth.  Stay on the one way system until the bottom of the hill and bear left towards Templeton, Folly Farm Park before getting to Begelly/Kilgetty. 
  • Pass straight through two roundabouts (still staying on the A478).   
  • At New Hedges, again, go straight through the roundabout and you will reach Tenby.
  • Tenby is approximately 6 miles from Kilgetty (a drive of approximately 12 minutes).

Rail

Tenby has its own small train station and is on the Pembroke Dock branch of the West Wales railway line operated by Transport for Wales Rail.  Most trains services from Cardiff and Swansea heading West will go to Carmarthen.  At Carmarthen you will need to make sure that the train goes to Tenby (on the Pembroke Dock line) as the line splits at Whitland taking some trains to Haverfordwest and Milford Haven.

Bus

National Express operate services from Cardiff to Tenby which can take up to 3 hours.

Getting around Tenby

Getting around Tenby

The centre of Tenby is fairly compact which makes it a great place to explore on foot.  We think this is the best way to explore any travel destination.

There are plenty of car parks available in the centre but none are free.  The most convenient for the beaches and town centre are:-

  • North Beach car park off Narberth Road (A478).  Map reference SN 13265 01141
  • South Beach car park (upper) off South Cliff Street. Map reference SN 13190 00228
  • South Beach car park (lower) off Battery Road.  Map reference SN 12993 00183
  • Tenby Multi-Storey car park, Upper Park Road.  The car park is next to the Tourist Information Centre and Sainsburys.  Map reference SN 13192 00415

Charges apply at all of the above. 

The main train station is located near the town on Station Road.  It is a short flat walk to the seafront of approximately 500 yards along Warren Street.

You can also take a boat trip to Caldey Island from the harbour, which runs every hour, weather permitting.  Boats (operated by local boatmen) run from Tenby Harbour to the island between Easter to October.  Sailings run every 30 minutes between 10.30 and 15.00, weather permitting.  The Island is closed on Sundays. 

Where to stay in Tenby

There is an abundance of accommodation in and around Tenby including independent seafront hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs, self-catering accommodation and caravan parks with full facilities and entertainment.

A great place to start your search is on booking.com.  Even if you decide to book direct it gives you a good idea of what’s available where and when.

When to visit Tenby

Tenby is actually somewhere you can (and we do) visit at any time of the year.  We particularly like it in the lead up to Christmas.

It’s quieter between November and March if you like it that way, but that does mean less choice of places to eat.

It’s busy in the summer months, particularly the school holidays. And by busy we mean packed to the rafters!

Personally, our absolute favourite time to visit is September. The weather is usually good in Pembrokeshire then but it’s a little cooler for walking and certainly less crowded.

We do enjoy visiting in the Summer but tend to do so in May or June. We find less need to wrap up against the elements then.  People seem happier and there also tends to be more going on then.  That, along with the pleasant weather makes for a more enjoyable time.  We get to see the sights without getting wet.  And eat and drink al-fresco.  What’s not to like about that? 

Things to do around Tenby

There are so many things to do in and around Tenby that we couldn’t possibly cover them all here.  We have written a separate post dedicated specifically to them and will be writing another about the beaches.  But for now here’s just a small taster.

Relax on the beach

But which one?  Tenby has four!  We’re dedicating entire posts to them but for now they are:

  • North Beach
  • South Beach
  • Castle Beach, and;
  • Harbour Beach

Visit a lifeboat station

Make sure it’s the right one though!  The original (with the red roof) is privately owned and was converted into a home several years ago.

The new one stands proudly beside it and is home to the Tenby RNLI.  It’s open for viewing although times vary and is, in our opinion, a pretty fascinating place to visit.

Conquer a Castle (hill)

Yes, on top of everything else, Tenby has it’s own castle!  Well, what’s left of it anyway.  Which is just one tower now.  But it’s incredibly well preserved and maintained and those views……

Talking of castles, you could…..

Take a circular drive around 3 other castles

There are 3 other castles within short driving distances from Tenby and you can get around them all within an hour.  If you don’t stop that is.  But you will want to stop.  So pencil in a half or even a full day and follow our Castles near Tenby circular drive route.

Eat and Drink

There are so many places to eat and drink in Tenby that you’ll find it difficult to choose.  Cafes, bistros, fast food and fine dining restaurants.  It’s got them all.

We can’t give recommendations because things change and everyone’s tastes differ.  Suffice it to say that you will not have difficulty finding something to suit you.  Possibly because of the competition here you will be spoilt for choice.

Other Info

Tenby Tourist Information Centre is located next to the multi-storey car park. There is also a Visitor Centre run by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park by Five Arches, the main gateway into the old town.

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22 thoughts on “Tenby”

  1. Tenby looks like the perfect balance of charm and great sea air. Interesting about the lifeboat station!

    Was wondering if there was a castle. There’s sort of one. But the views from the castle are incredible!

  2. I have so many childhood memories from here as we did our karate week away training in the sea on the beach! Such a relaxed place that you can unwind in, great sea views and tower. Your photos make me want to go back hopefully this year.

  3. What a charming little town! I love that it has such a pretty shoreline and a castle. I really want to explore Wales once the world reopens!

  4. I have very fond memories if a visit to Tenby about 35 years ago! We are actually hoping to visit again in our motorhome later this year. Will keep this post on file for that visit 😊

  5. Beautiful and serene place to visit. Love countryside charms and the breath of fresh air. It is so different from the cosmopolitan ambience that I live in.

  6. I’m so glad they changed the name. I’d never be able to pronounce where I was going when I come otherwise. You sell Tenby well to us, remote but with lots of castles and beaches. Perfect.

  7. Tenby looks like a nice place for us to visit in off season since we prefer less crowds. I would like to tour the life boat station too. I think we would enjoy seeing all the castles around the area too also!

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