The ‘unspoiled’ UK coastline which has one of the best beaches in the world
I breathed in the salty air as the Frisbee spun across the golden beach under a cloudless sky. That was paradise.
A picture of those pristine sandy beaches – dunes beyond, tufts of grass swaying in the wind – could make anyone believe I was on my own private island.
However, I was in Wales – on the Pembrokeshire coast, at Whitesands Beach near St Davids – and was voted one of the top 20 beaches in the world.
It was only a 25 minute walk from our base, the incredible Penrhiw Priory Cottage, set in ten acres of grounds full of wonderful woodland walks.
The cottage offered enough space for our party of six.
Four of the six oversized bedrooms have soft suede wallpaper and wood paneling, and there are two additional bedrooms in the attached coach house.
In the cavernous lounge there is a wood burning stove which is now dormant but perfect for a winter night.
I also liked the kitchen which had at least two appliances and utensils imaginable.
But if you’re not a big cook, the cottage is linked to the nearby Twr y Felin Hotel and free transfers are available if you want to use the on-site Blas Restaurant. (A word to all the staff – incredibly polite and friendly).
We didn’t have to leave Penrhiw Priory, but Whitesands Beach isn’t the only scenic stretch of coastline nearby.
A 10-minute drive away is the port of Solva, great for crabbing at low tide, while St Davids – Britain’s smallest town with a population of just 1,600 – is a 10-minute walk away and worth a visit for its impressive cathedral.
But once you’ve given the incredible architecture a serious nod and said, “Isn’t it beautiful?” Be sure to check out St Davids’ Bishops Palace next door a few times as well.
It’s now derelict, with all sorts of nooks and crannies, spiral staircases and underground spaces to explore – and the kids loved it, especially the treasure hunt that kept them busy all the time.
There are plenty of cafes and restaurants open in high season in this area but if you are on a budget there are bottles at Penrhiw Priory to take away for the day – we enjoyed a fresh drink on the beach at Whitesands and watched The waves gently pounded the sand.
And while we hardly saw a soul in St Davids during the day – perhaps because we were there off-peak – when I opened the door to The Farmers Arms pub at 6pm on a Friday night I wondered if that was where everyone was had hidden. It was packed.
For quality fish and chips, however, The Shed Bistro in Porthgain is the place to be, serving perfectly cooked local catch.
More of a gin fan? Also busy, St Davids Gin and Kitchen has a fantastic ‘Welsh Tapas’ menu and it would have been rude not to try the St Davids Seaweed Gin and Tonic.
It’s said to go well with seafood, but I can assure you it’s delicious on its own.
So when you load up the car for the drive here, leave room for a bottle or two of gin to take home.
One look at the picture of Whitesands Beach and a sip of gin will take you right back.