Family attractions & things to do in Pembrokeshire
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What to do in Pembrokeshire
There's plenty to see and do for all ages. Young children will enjoy either the outdoor Jubilee, a fantastic children's play area or the indoor Ocean Commotion. Just outside the town there's the Folly Farm Adventure Park, there's Europe's largest indoor vintage funfair and The Silent World aquarium (suitable for children of all ages). Older children will love the Oakwood Theme Park, with over 30 rides and attractions and there's also the Blue Lagoon Waterpark, quad biking, laser shooting, pitch and putt, go carts, archery facilities and the Manor House Wildlife Park in St Florence, all within easy reach of the town.
For the adults (and children, of course!) there are plenty of shops, delicatessens and food shops, as well as cafés, restaurants and pubs offering a host of different cuisines. Or perhaps you might like a short trip across the sea to the Caldy Island Monastery.
To see a town dominated by a fantastic Norman Castle, then a visit to the historic town of Pembroke - King Henry VII was born in the castle there - is a must. It is often said that a visit to Pembrokeshire cannot be considered complete without a visit to Pembroke Castle. There is no doubt that it is one of the most magnificent stone-built Norman castles in Wales and amongst one of the finest of its type in the UK. It makes a superb day out.
Pembroke itself simply oozes history, dating back as it does, well over a Millennium. It's the sort of town where you can either browse some of the numerous small craft, gift and specialist shops, pop into the museum, visit the daily indoor market, head out to the water-sports centre, follow the historic town trail, wander along the banks of the River Cleddau, or just take a picnic and do absolutely nothing!
And activities are not just limited to day time. The evening sees some fine restaurants serving dishes from around the world, there are numerous tradition pubs, or, if you are feeling really energetic, you'll find a welcome at one of the town's friendly night-clubs, where you can dance away until the early hours.
The great outdoors is one of the premier draws to Pembrokeshire. Walking is a very popular pastime in the county, attracting visitors from around the world. In particular, they come to sample part the 186 mile long Pembrokeshire Coast Path, taking in the superb bays and incredible headlands as it passes through the only coastal National Park in the UK. Given National Park status back in 1952, it joins Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons as one of the three designated Parks in Wales.
There is an enormous range of water sports on offer throughout the county -no doubt encouraged by having water on three sides of Pembrokeshire! There are numerous welcoming marinas and harbour villages along the coastline offering facilities for sailing, kayaking, windsurfing, fishing, swimming and even diving. The passing gulf stream gives that little extra temperature to the water.
Horse riding has also become very popular over the years, and has proven to be a captivating way to explore the Pembrokeshire countryside. The stables and riding schools throughout the region can cater for whatever skill level you have reached, and are quite unfazed by the novice horse rider.
One aspect often overlooked about Pembrokeshire is the number of island off its coast. People will immediately think of Caldey Island off the coast at Tenby, but there, there are several other very well known islands.
Skomer off the south west coast for example, is not only a National Nature Reserve and a Site of Special Scientific Interest but also a Special Protection Area, an Ancient Monument and is surrounded by a Marine Nature Reserve. In fact it's quite unique! It has a huge seabird population, including 10,000 breeding pairs of Atlantic Puffins and some 128,000 breeding pairs of Guillemots, Razorbills, Manx Shearwater and more. There are also magnificent Peregrine Falcons, Common Kestrels, and Short-eared Owls. And as if not enough, the island coastline and surrounding seas are home to Harbour Porpoises, Grey Seals, Slow-worms, the mystifying Glow-worm, Common Toads, and the unique Skomer Vole. A nature-lovers delight.
Also worth mentioning is Grassholm, a small uninhabited island further west from Skomer and the third-most important site in the world for gannets - 12% of the world's population and the most western point of Wales.
While Pembrokeshire has a number of museums dotted throughout the county where visitors can learn about local history, art and technology, the Pembrokeshire Motor Museum at Keeston, between Haverfordwest and St David's is quite unique. It houses a fine collection of vintage, veteran and classic cars and an equally fine collection of model cars. However, what is unique for this museum is their auto jumble and spare parts section offering new and second hand parts for sale.
Lovers of theme parks will adore the Oakwood Theme Park at Canaston Bridge in Narberth. This park is home to the world-famous Megafobia, voted the best wooden roller coaster in the world for four years running. However, there are over 30 attractions, making Oakwood Theme Park one of Wales' leading tourist attractions with a listing as one of the top ten theme parks in the UK.
Also worth mentioning is Heatherton Activity Sports Park near Tenby, open all year round, including the winter, and suitable for children of all ages! There are many exciting and challenging activities to try including go-karts, a driving range, robot wars (similar to that seen on TV), a maize maze (dedicated to Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles), bumper boats, archery, a challenging 18-hole pitch and putt course, paintballing and pistol shooting and more.
And for those wanting a more relaxing time, Pembrokeshire is of course well known for the 50 or more sandy beaches between St Dogmaels in the north and Amroth in the south of the county - many of which are amongst the best in Britain with more Green Coast awards, Seaside awards or Blue Flags than you can count!
Finally, it must be mentioned that when it comes to eating out, you'll have no difficulty in finding food to your taste in Pembrokeshire. It makes no difference whether you like your food plain or prefer something a little more adventurous. With the sea on three sides, food from there is plentiful, whether traditional fish and chips, or gourmet prepared sea bass. And of course, food doesn't just stop at seafood! There's wonderful steaks, home reared Welsh lamb, fresh vegetables, delicious local and regional breads and cakes, and of course the traditional and properly made Welsh rarebit coated with locally produced cheeses.