Discover the Unspoiled UK Coastline with One of the Best Beaches in the World
AS THE frisbee arced above the golden beach beneath a cloudless sky, I breathed in the salty air. This was paradise.
A picture of these unspoilt sands — backed by dunes sprouting grassy tufts swaying in the breeze — could fool anyone into thinking I was on my own private island.
Pembrokeshire’s Whitesands Beach is regarded as one of the best on the planetCredit: Shutterstock
I was, however, in Wales — on the Pembrokeshire coast, at Whitesands Beach near St Davids — voted one of the world’s 20 best beaches.
It was just a 25-minute stroll from our base, the incredible Penrhiw Priory cottage, set in ten beautiful acres full of wonderful woodland walks.
The cottage had ample space for our party of six.
Four of the six huge bedrooms feature plush suede wallpaper and wooden panelling, and there are two extra bedrooms in the attached coach house.
A cavernous lounge includes a log-burning stove — dormant now but perfect on a winter’s night.
I also loved the kitchen, with at least two of every appliance and utensil imaginable.
But if you’re not much of a cook, the cottage is affiliated with the nearby Twr y Felin hotel and complimentary transfers are available if you want to use their on-site Blas Restaurant. (A word for all the staff — unfailingly polite and kind beyond words).
We didn’t need to leave Penrhiw Priory but Whitesands Beach isn’t the only picturesque coastline nearby.
A ten-minute drive away is Solva harbour, ripe for crab-collecting at low tide, while St Davids — Britain’s smallest city with only 1,600 residents — is a ten-minute walk and worth a visit for the belting cathedral.
But once you have nodded earnestly at the incredible architecture and said, “Isn’t it beautiful?” a few times, also check out St Davids’ Bishops Palace next door.
It is now derelict, with all sorts of nooks, crannies, spiral staircases and underground rooms to investigate — and the children loved it, especially the treasure-hunt element which kept them fully engaged all the way round.
The incredible Penrhiw Priory cottage is set in ten beautiful acres full of wonderful woodlandCredit: Supplied
There are six huge bedrooms which feature plush suede wallpaper and wooden panellingCredit: Supplied
There are plenty of cafes and restaurants in this area, open in high season, but if you’re on a budget Penrhiw Priory has flasks that you can take out for the day — we enjoyed a fresh tipple on the beach at Whitesands and watched as the waves lapped gently on the sand.
And while we barely saw a soul while out and about in St Davids during the day — maybe because we visited out of peak season — as I swung open the door to The Farmers Arms pub at 6pm on a Friday evening, I wondered whether this was where everyone had been hiding. It was PACKED.
For a top-notch fish and chips, though, The Shed Bistro in Porthgain is the place to go, serving local catch cooked to perfection.
Solva harbour is only a brief ten-minute drive away and is a great place to watch the world go byCredit: Getty
More of a gin fan? The also-bustling St Davids Gin and Kitchen has a fantastic “Welsh tapas” menu and it would have been rude to not try the St Davids seaweed gin and tonic.
It’s meant to go well with seafood but I can assure you it is delicious on its own.
So when you load up the car for the journey here, leave room for a bottle or two of gin to bring home.
One glance at the picture of Whitesands Beach and a sip of the gin will take you straight back.
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