Tenby Accommodation, Beach and Castle Guide
Tenby - Dinbych Y Pysgod - Little Fort of Fishes - as it’s known in Welsh.
The picture postcard town of Tenby is in south Pembrokeshire and has a long history as a resort. In the 12th century the Normans built a castle on the promontory, unfortunately there is little left to see today. The town museum is built into part of the old wall and houses exhibitions of local history since the tenth century, both maritime and social, as well as archaeology, geology and natural history. The museum also has a pirate cell, as well as a local family history researcher, who can tell you if you have any ancestors from the town! During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries the Welsh sacked the town three times, finally by Prince Llewellyn in 1260, this led to the castle being fortified and the construction of the ramparts.
Delightful, old fashioned seaside resort
Georgian and Victorian houses painted in pretty pastel shades frame the harbour, which is both a working harbour and a pleasure harbour. The arches alongside the harbour house fishmongers, which sell the catch of the day.
Tenby is now a delightful and old-fashioned seaside resort, which has charming little lanes and crooked streets that wind from the harbour through the medieval town, with its many art galleries, craft shops and cafeterias. Only one of the three original gateways and seven of the original twelve towers still remain. The twenty foot high wall along South Parade was first built in the 13thC and then added to in the 15thC by the then Earl of Pembroke and uncle of the future king Henry VII, Jasper Tudor. In the 16thC the wall was further fortified as the town was considered a potential target for the Spanish Armada.
Tenby is surrounded by two immaculate and large beaches: the north beach, a stretch of golden sand that looks back towards the harbour; and the south beach, a quieter spot than the north beach and less commercialised, with far reaching views over St Catherine’s island. Access to the island is limited to low tide, and the ruin at the top of the island is one of Lord Palmerston’s forts. The fort was constructed in 1869 to protect the coast from attack from the French. The French never attacked and the fort, along with a string of others along the coast of southern Britain became known as one of Palmerston’s follies.
The castle stood on a promontory almost surrounded by sea, putting it in a good defensive position. Though not a great deal of the castle remains its situation gives rise to speculation regarding its history. The ruins of the town wall and the Five Arches and, nearby, the stone referring to a medieval structure built to defend against the Spanish Armada are intriguing.
Pembrokeshire Coastal path
Tenby also provides a lively stop off point on the Pembrokeshire Coast National Path, as well as being the departure point for a visit to the unique Caldey Island. The charming seaside town of Saundersfoot is just a couple of miles away.
Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015