A blog about special neighbourhoods, local atmosphere and stellar coffee.

Tenby, a colourful beach haven

The British coastline is dotted with charming havens, and Tenby really encompasses some of the most beautiful aspects of this; long beaches, quaint harbours, pastel coloured houses, ice creams, and curvy cobblestone streets.

Green corner house in Tenby facing the harbour
Blue and white striped sunlounges against a blue cafe
Rooftops facing Tenby harbour
Quiet serene beach in Tenby
Colourful houses on top of a rocky cliff
Tenby harbour overlooked by colourful houses
Palm tree facing Tenby South Beach

There is nothing quite invigorating like little breaks by the seaside. After a hectic few weeks we were dreaming of lazy days by the coast and a little change of scenery. As we only had a weekend, we wanted to stay somewhere fairly close but also feel that we were far from home and the routine. We decided to go camping in Tenby, a picturesque town in Wales known for its soft sandy beaches overlooked by pastel coloured Georgian houses. We enjoyed two blissful days spending time on the beach, eating fish and chips, and wandering around curvy old streets.

Two white houses by the quiet North Beach
Quiet pier in Tenby

Although there are lots of adrenaline-pumping and fun-filled activities in Tenby, we just wanted to take it easy and appreciate the beauty of the town while the autumnal rays of sunshine warmed our faces. If you have more time and feel more adventurous, there are lots of boat trips, excursions and historic sites to check.

An old boat in the harbour
colourful rustic doors by Tenby harbour
A blue restaurant facade
A closeup of blue apartments
A closeup of blue sunchairs


It was a happy surprise that we could find miles long, soft, golden sandy beaches this close from home. The beaches in Tenby are so versatile with intriguing caves, rockpools, smooth areas perfect for sport and picnic, and there is plenty of space for children to run wild. Whether you like your beaches more rough and rural, or prefer those close to all the amenities, you can find it all in Tenby. There are four separate beaches lining the town, each with their own special qualities to suit everyone's needs.

Thoughtprovoking sealevels rising message on the beach
closeup of a palm tree facing the beach
Rows of colourful houses overlooking the beach

Castle Beach encompasses the holiday atmosphere of Tenby. Beloved by children, it was the liveliest with families building sandcastles, exploring tidal caves and enjoying ice creams from the cafe by the beach. The small, golden sand Harbour Beach, located next to the harbour, might not be the most ideal for swimming but works as a perfect spot to munch sandwiches or fresh mackerel from the stalls surrounding it. If you have itchy feet after sitting on the beach, take one of the tours originating from the harbour.

Castle beach on a sunny day
old grey houses overlooking the Castle Beach
Castle Beach on a cloudy day
A sign saying lazy days
A calm picture of a quiet Tenby pier

If your soul longs for quieter waves slightly more away from the hustle and bustle, North Beach would be the optimal choice. It was the closest beach to our campsite and it always felt serene, calm, and ideal for quieter walks. Goscar Rock sits in the middle of the beach and adds that specific majestic touch. South Beach is the most spacious of the four and fairly easy to get to via a pedestrian ramp. Although there were lots of friends and families spending a lazy day or playing sports, it felt spacious, open and peaceful. Surrounded by dramatic rocky cliffs, the coves were coveted places to sit, read and have picnics - or fish and chips like we did. If you want to keep things simple, there is a restaurant and a cafe by the entrance, and the town is just a few minutes’ walk away.

Serene North Beach from high above
Goscar Rock in the middle of North Beach
Panoramic view of St Catherine Island from the South Beach

Tenby Harbour

What makes a seaside town memorable is the harbour. The harbour in Tenby is home to tons of seagulls, fishing nets, small boats and paddleboards. We appreciated that it lacked all the flashiness and instead felt traditional and unostentatious. Tucked between an imposing Castle Hill and a mediaeval stone wall with colourful Georgian houses perched above, the location adds dramatic elements to the otherwise low key harbour. There are a few coffee stalls nearby and plenty of tables and chairs to sit. We recommend grabbing a cup from The Stowaway Coffee Co (Penniless Cove Hill), located in a grade 2 arch surrounding the harbour and spending some time watching the boats, people and seagulls. If you have more time, you can also take a boat to the nearby Caldey Island, a green oasis run by a community of Cistercian monks, about a 20 minute boat ride away.

Serene North Beach from high above
Goscar Rock in the middle of North Beach

St Catherine's Island

Nestled by the Castle Beach, St Catherine’s Island is shaped by the shifting tides. Accessible by foot from the beach at low tide, there is an aura of magic and mystery. This is enhanced by the ruins of an old, crumbling fortress standing proudly on top of the craggy cliffs. From the top visitors can admire stunning views of the town and the Pembrokeshire coastline. This tidal island is full of tiny caves, almost like smuggler's coves, making this an ideal place for children to explore all the crooks and crannies.

Old fortress on top of St Catherine Island
A closeup of riocky St Catherine and waves

Tenby Town and Harbourfront

Although visitors mainly flock to Tenby for its sandy beaches, the old town with cobbled streets itself is worth a visit. It was much bigger than we expected. I prefer seaside towns to be on the smaller side, however, Tenby did not feel overwhelming. There are some high street stores, but fortunately independent shops dominate and you can find plenty of quirky little alleyways and quieter winding lanes. We particularly enjoyed walking down streets that lead down to the colourful harbourfront such as The Croft and Crackwell Street. Esplanade feels like a typical windswept seaside thoroughfare with hotels, B&Bs, some restaurants and magnificent views of the South Beach.

Cute blue delikatissen in Tenby
A beautiful shop facade with big bay windows
Row of colourful houses at harbourfront
Cute gift shop with big bay windows
Entrance to a coffee shop on a winding lane

Food and drinks

Seaside holidays are synonymous with indulgence and Tenby is dotted with pubs, restaurants and ice cream parlours. For us, the pull factor usually is the coffee scene, as we simply love sitting in cafes observing the local atmosphere. In Tenby there are tens of cafes to chill and a large majority of them felt quite traditional both in terms of decorations as well as plates. Nothing wrong with that although we often prefer cafes and bakeries with a modern twist for that extra punch.

A tiny hole-in-the-wall, Stowaway Coffee Co (Penniless Cove Hill) was our favourite place to get caffeinated. They serve good quality espresso finished with the right amount of milk. You can also grab tasty pastries and local ice cream to go with your coffee. After a breezy morning walk we had a hearty breakfast at No 25 Cafe (25 High St), a traditional coffee shop with that specific smell of cooked breakfast. Their salmon with scrambled eggs and English breakfast were a standard morning fare, although I am always quite picky and particular about the bread. If that’s your thing too, head to Loafley Bakery and Deli (Upper Frog St). It was recommended by locals, and this is a terrific little find for fresh bread, cakes and picnic hamper treats. In the evening we visited Harbwr Tenby Brewery (Sergeants Lane), which was excellent for a friendly atmosphere and local beers, although the food was a bit let down. Sandbar and Cwlbox (The Mews, Upper Frog St) is the best place for craft beers and street food with that modern take. Also, it goes without saying that when enjoying lazy days by the coast, fish and chips are a must. There are plenty of ‘chippies’ in Tenby to grab some vinegar coated sustenance and sit by the beach.

A arty take away cup from Stowaway Coffee
A solitary ice cream van on a quiet beach
A shiny coffee machine and colourful take away cups
The beautiful facade of Loafley bakery
Fish and chips on a picnic blanket
A blue restaurant facade in Tenby
A winding lane with pubs in central Tenby
Cyclist having drinks outside a pub in Tenby


Whether camping or staying in hotels, we always place high importance on the location. And so, in Tenby it was essential for us that whilst camping and not having any luxuries, we would still be within walking distance from all the hustle and bustle. We chose to stay at Meadow Farm campsite on top of a hill with fantastic panoramic views of the town. We enjoyed its casual, friendly atmosphere and as it is only a 15 minute walk from town, it was a convenient hub to explore the area on foot. We did ‘light camping’, so we had all the meals out instead of cooking them at the campsite. Although there is nothing like a good old fire BBQ, we always love exploring and sampling local cafes and restaurants, so this suited us perfectly.

White water bottle on a picnic blanket
A view of Tenby town taken from Meadow Farm campsite
Close up picture of green plants

Tenby really fulfilled the goal we had for the weekend; relaxation, lazy beach walks and strolls around the cheerful town. We just wish we had had more time to explore the surrounding Pembrokeshire coastline. However, with unspoilt, miles long beaches like this so close to our doorstep it would be silly not to enjoy these more frequently. And, as an added bonus, there is nothing quite like hearing the jolly, friendly Welsh accent again.

Tenby Harbour from high above during dusk
A quiet North Beach and Goscar Rock in the evening
Serene North Beach at dusk
A facade of a gallery in the evening
St Catherine's Island at dusk