Pembrokshire is definitely changing - thankfully not yet full of Londoners like Cornwall and the Cotswolds but decent restaurants, art galleries improved pubs and home decoration shops are appearing - a change for the better.
Places to eat
The Stackpole Inn in Stackpole Village was awarded best pub in Wales a few years ago - it is still good - I had excellent whitebait last year - drink Fellinfoel Double Dragon bitter - the best pint of this brew I have sampled.
The Quayside at Lawrenny is a perennial favourite - drive past the pub and the yacht club - arrive early as always busy - try the crab - puddings outstanding and are now available to pre-order to take away. Order elderflower by the jug. There are some interesting log cabins on the grass which I presume can be rented and enjoy a spectacular location.
I had lunch at the National Trust tea room at Colby Gardens in the Summer of 2009 - very good home cooked Welsh food - Picton Castle has a similar arrangement although not NT. The NT tea room at Stackpole is up to the usual standards with the largest slices of fresh cream Victoria Sponge I have encountered.
Slebech - pronounced 'Slebechh' not 'sleebeck' is a country house still inhabited by the family, 'the Park' is a retaurant that opened a couple of years ago. I had lunch for one adult and two children in August 2010 for £33. I prefer the Quayside in Lawrenny. However , the fascinating ruined church that was associated with the knights of St John is worth a visit - this is also accessible on foot via Blackpool Mill.
Dale Sea Safari
This is a 2 hour expedition in a speed boat around the islands of Skomer and Skolkholm with a very good guide. My children loved seeing the seals - the varities of birds were less intriguing unless that way inclined. Puffins inhabit these islands at certain times and dolphins are occasionally glimpsed. Waterproofs are supplied. Check sailing times as they can leave from Dale or Marloes and specify the speed boat not the fishing boat. The shop has an excellent supply of puffin related items. Loos available.
Sea Fishing from Dale
Summer 2010 - cost 32 for an adult and two children - great fun - rods are provided and you get to take home your catch - usually mackerel. The short trip is about two hours and pre-booking with Andy is necessary - tel 07768935681.
Military History and museums
The Napoleonic gun tower in Pembroke dock is worth seeing and contains a good local collection of militaria devoted to the dockyard. In 2009, the flying boat museum opened within the old dockyard - you will need to drive through the security gates but dont be put off. The museum is staffed by enthusiastic locals who are hoping to raise a Sunderland from the Haven. An excellent publication on disused airfields within Pembrokshire can act as a guide to the RAF and Fleet Air Arm heritage. I would strongly advise a visit to the restored control tower at Carew - weekends only, but an excellent RAF museum. Lastly when walking the Angle peninsula, look out for the restored gun emplacement facing the Haven which I believe is now a private home.
If you have an interest in local history, pick up a copy of Pembrokshire Life.
Head north from Narbeth on the A478. Take a picnic and eat in the Preseli Hills - a bleak but beautiful and windswept place, rockier than the Brecon Beacons. The burial chamber at Pentre Ifan near Newport is worth a visit as is Cilgerran Castle south of Cardigan - Cardigan itself is not worth the detourbut I would stop at St Dogmaels abbey. I walked from Goodwick to Strumble Head on the North Coast of the County some years ago - very wild coastline and tricky to access but worthwhile. A stone marks the site of the last invasion of the UK in the 1700s by the French.
A long circular walk around Llys-y-Fan? is a good way to spend a few hours - thereafter visit Scolton Manor on the B4329 - a restored country house with parkland and an excellent hands-on science museum. I always try and stop at Melin Tregwynt north of the A487 betwen St Davids and Fishguard - north of Granston - this working mill produces top-end blankets , throws etc and supply numerous smart hotels. En route visit the gallery of Linda Norris in Maenclochnog SA66 7LB for serious art enthusiasts - prints start at about 135 - originals 950 upwards.
Spend a couple of hours exploring St Davids - parking can be difficult - time your visit for early in the morning if possible.
For riders, a couple of hours based from Nolton Stables is a worthwhile excursion. Between Broadhaven on the Western coast and the A487- a very efficient set-up for exhilerating galloping on Druidstone Haven beach- £40 per rider. The hack out takes a while but a great experience. A cameraman will print digital photographs which are also emailed for £10. Glebe House opposite the stables - 01437 710360 offers luxury en suite b and b.
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