Tenby Things to Do

  • The Monastery and Post Office on Caldey Island
    The Monastery and Post Office on Caldey...
    by Myfanwe
  • The Lighthouse
    The Lighthouse
    by Myfanwe
  • The Abbey Church
    The Abbey Church
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Best Rated Things to Do in Tenby

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    Tenby Castle

    by Balam Written Feb 16, 2010

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    Tenby has seen many changes since the Normans Arrived in the late 11th Century when impressed by the fertility of the land of Pembrokeshire and realising the strategic importance of Pembroke in any plans of subjugating the region the Town became their headquarters. The Welsh fortress at Nearby Tenby was soon captured and by the mid 12th century a primitive castle had been constructed on Castle Hill, garrisoned by English and French troops. After some skirmishes with the Welsh forces the town was attacked and ransacked in 1187 by welsh troops led by Maelgwyn ap Rhys and again In 1260 when it suffered its last battering at Welsh hands and Llewelyn ap Gruffydd slaughted the garrison and the residents in protest against the Norman occupation of Wales.

    After the destruction of the town the Earls of Pembroke realised that the defences of Tenby were inadequate and as the town played an important part in controlling the south It was decided to increase the towns defences so that the whole town would be secure behind a impregnable wall with towers and gateways and the castle with its cliff top location would form another defensive bulwark.

    Sadly there is not much remaining of The castle but it is still worth visiting just for the magnificent views of the town and cliffs. Hopefully if you visit it will not be Raining or if it is then hopefully not quite as hard as it was when i went.

    Tenby Castle Gateway toeards the Castle Tenby Castle View From Tenby Castle Tenby Castle
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    Chocolate-making monks

    by Spincat Updated Apr 8, 2005

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    Caldey Island is home to monks of the Cistercian order who farm and make chocolate, sweets and perfumes from the wild flowers that grow on the island.

    See my 'Boat trips : birds, seals, monasteries' tip for more about boats to Caldey and the island itself; here, I will concentrate on the shopping possibilties that the comtemplative life offers.

    If you are worried about getting sea-sick, you can, instead of taking the boat, shop on-line for Caldey Island products and do a virtual tour of the place while you are about it: www.caldey-island.co.uk. Otherwise boats run every 15 minutes during the day (not Sundays) from mid May until end September (this depends on the weather and the crowds); available at a kiosk, Tenby harbour entrance.

    There is a shop on the island selling products - the lavender range is lovely. they also sell delicious chocolate, and shortbread, books, CDs and crafts. If you can't get to the island another alternative to the on-line shop is the Caldey Island Shop in Quay Street Tenby.

    caldey island scent
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    St. Marys Church

    by Balam Updated Feb 16, 2010

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    This lovely Parish church in the middle of Tenby has a tower that dates over 700 years and is older than most of the other parts of the present church. Although the Church dates back to at least 1210 there are only some slight traces of a building from that period remaining, and was probably a rebuild of a much earlier church. This early 13th c Church consisted of a small chancel and a nave with a narrow south aisle that survives at the base of the west wall. The Church was extensively rebuilt before the end of the century when the tower and part of the present chancel was erected probably after the town was sacked in the 1260 uprising by the Welsh led by Llewelyn ap Gruffydd.

    When the tower was first constructed it would have looked much different as the spire was added some 200 years later, originally the flat semi fortified 83ft high tower would have provided a belfry and a chapel above the vaulted ground floor, but would have served as a lookout post and as a place of safety if the town was under attack.

    In the 15th c Tenby's prosperity increased and this is reflected in a series of additions to the Parish church which doubled in size in less than a hundred years and started to look much as it does today. The windows were changed in the Victorian period in order to fit in with the recent fashions.

    St. Marys Church St. Marys Church St. Marys Church St. Marys Church St. Marys Church
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    Carew castle - an excursion

    by Spincat Updated Sep 5, 2005

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    A beautiful place. If you visit on a quiet day out of season, as we did, it still has the atmosphere of this old print. I included Carew Castle here as it makes a very good excursion from Tenby.

    Castle history goes back 2000 years, and you can see the ruins of Norman fortifications and of an Elizabethan wing. It overlooks a huge millpond, and you will find C11th Celtic Cross, and a restored tidal mill. The area is is great for walks and picnics.

    Open daily 10 am - 5 pm, March 22nd - End October 2005
    Entry as of Spring 2005-
    Adult Castle & Mill £3.00
    Concessions Castle & Mill £2.00
    Family (2 adult & 3 concessions) Castle & Mill £8.00

    carew castle
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    Boat trips : birds, seals, monasteries

    by Spincat Updated Jan 28, 2008

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    From Tenby you can get regular boat trips to Caldy Island, the home of a 1500 year old Cistercian monastery. Here we saw wild seas, seals bathing off rocks....
    ... and an angry tourist complaining that he'd "come to see monks and he hadn't bloody seen any", like he was in some kind of monastic zoo. We actually did see the monks - one or two were working in the gardens there - but I didn't go into the monastery, as only men can go on the tour.

    Boat trips run in season from the harbour: check out the boards down there for boat times (see picture). Remember that they don't go out in rough weather. The 'season' varies but is usually from Easter to early or mid October, depending on weather, number of tourists around and so on.

    There are also trips out to rocky little islands where you'll wander among indignant seabirds (keep your head covered). Information down at Tenby harbour.

    The boat trip stalls at Tenby harbour Spincat on the Caldey boat
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    The Town Walls

    by Balam Written Feb 16, 2010

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    The Town walls of Tenby are really well preserved and our stay in the Royal Lion Hotel left us in an ideal position to walk around the walls as it is built upon what would once have been the largest gate to the Town, The North Gate. So by going out of the Bars Stage Door exit you are on Little Frog St which contains some of the oldest buildings in the town. You can pick the wall up at the bottom of little Frog St or from various points around the town and follow them around. They are certainly worth looking at. It must have looked more like a massive castle from a distance and would certainly have been formidable.

    Construction of the walls was begun around 1264 and when in 1328 King Edward III granted Tenby the right to tax all goods entering the town for a period of 7 years to help with the construction and maintenance of wall defences extra towers were built into the Curtain wall and the Outer barbican Tower was constructed (Now known as the Five Arches) over the West Gate.
    The walls were then increased again when in 1457 the mayor and burgesses of the town were made wholly responsible for the upkeep of the walls and defences of the town and so the lower wall sections were increased to 6 feet thickness and heightened considerably with parapet walks being added to aid in any defence. In order to further strengthen the town’s defences a ditch was dug outside the landward walls that was some 30 ft wide. (In the area that is now south parade and St Florence Parade.

    In 1588 when the Spanish Armada was threatening Britain the wall to the south of the West Gate was demolished and rebuilt.
    More changes were made over the years mostly with the two large gates that led through the walls The largest gate was The North gate but it's arch and the walls over it had been removed by 1707 and then on the 19th of June 1781 a council order stating 'that part of the gateway' by projecting into the street is a great nuisance and ought to be removed. 'It is hereby unanimously agreed that the said gateway be taken down'. And so the largest gateway was demolished. (Now the site of the Royal Lion Hotel)

    The Town Walls Barbican Tower over the West Gate The Town Walls West Gate and 5 Arches The Town Walls
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    Go to the Beach!!!

    by Myfanwe Written Aug 29, 2006

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    With four different beaches to choose from you really are spoilt here. The sand and sea are spotlessly clean too. The beaches are close to the town so popping into town for a spot of lunch isn't a problem. Three of the beaches, North Beach, Harbour Beach and Castle Beach are very close to the town. South Beach will involve a walk at low tide or a car journey to reach it.

    North Beach North Beach & Gaskar rock Harbour Beach Castle beach with Caldey Island in the distance. St Catherines fort from Castle Beach
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    Walk along the South Beach

    by Spincat Updated Sep 5, 2005

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    The South Beach is an amazing stretch of sand. You start out walking under cliffs of perfect rock pools, caves and barnacles - the perfect rock pools, caves and barnacles of childhood memory!

    Above you is a Victorian esplanade that eventually gives out to dunes and a rocky headland ........still a long way in front of you.

    There are 2 beaches at Tenby: North beach and South beach, with a tiny spit of headland between them.

    Tenby south beach
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    The Tudor Merchants House

    by Myfanwe Written Feb 19, 2010

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    The Tudor Merchant's House looks like a great place to visit while in Tenby. It was closed while we were there so we could only view the exterier. The property is owned by the National trust and depicts life for the Tudor Merchant and his family some 500 years ago.

    The House is open between 22-Mar - 31-Oct-10

    Admission Prices: adult £3, child £1.50, family £7.50

    Tudor Merchant House
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    Tenby Museum & Art Gallery

    by Spincat Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The museum is in a lovely setting on Castle Hill in part of the ruins of a C13th castle. Very well designed displays of the local geology, archaeology and social history of the area, and has activities for children.

    There is also an excellent art gallery with a permanent display of works by Gwen John, David Jones and others as well as special exhibitions.

    Opening hours: Winter: 10.00 am to 5.00 pm Monday to Friday (last admission 4.30); Summer: 10.00 am to 5.00 pm every day. Will be closed over Christmas Holidays; check website for other Bank Holiday closures

    tenby
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    The Harbour Beach

    by HORSCHECK Written Feb 7, 2004

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    The Harbour Beach is the smallest but most central located beach of Tenby. It is sheltered at the rear by the Castle Hill and offers a nice view to the town centre with St. Mary's church. It is home to the Sailing Club and the Fishermen's Chapel.

    The Harbour Beach
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    The harbour

    by HORSCHECK Written Feb 4, 2004

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    Tenby has a nice little harbour with colourful fishing and excursion boats and a lifeboat station. When the tide is out of the harbour, many boats lay on the sandy ground. During the day the harbour is the departure point for the excursion boats to Caldey Island (Ynys Pyr).

    Tenby harbour
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    The South Beach

    by HORSCHECK Written Feb 6, 2004

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    The South Beach is much longer than the North Beach. Both are the main beaches of Tenby. As the South Beach is more exposed to the wind it offers good conditions for windsurfing. Caldey Island can be seen from the South Beach.

    The South Beach
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    The North Beach

    by HORSCHECK Written Feb 4, 2004

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    The North Beach is one of Tenby's main beaches. It is dominated by the famous Goskar Rock at its centre. There is a nice promenade between the sandy beach and the town. During the summer weekends the North beach an be quite crowded.

    Goskar Rock at the North Beach
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    St. Catherine's and Caldey Island

    by HORSCHECK Written Feb 8, 2004

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    Two islands can be seen from Tenby. The small St. Catherine's island used to be a defense fort and later a zoo. Nowadays the fort is in decay and the island is not accessible.
    Caldey Island is a beautiful monastery place where various monks have lived for about 1500 years.Today it is owned by the Reformed Cistercian Order.

    St. Catherine's Island
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