Situated on the western edge of Carmarthen Bay, the pretty walled town of Tenby offers easy access by train, and attracts visitors from around the world. Amongst its four gloriously sandy beaches, the Sunday Times picked Castle Beach as the best in the UK.
The 13th century Norman castle and walls give Tenby an old-world charm that encourages visitors to explore its twisting, narrow alleyways, medieval pubs and quaint boutique stores showcasing local crafts. It’s widely acknowledged as being ‘’The Jewel in Pembrokeshire's crown’’, and with the picture-perfect harbour, and pretty sugared almond coloured cottages, even on a rainy day, Tenby is gorgeous.
1. Visit Tenby’s Museum and Art Gallery
The oldest independent museum in Wales, Tenby Museum and Art Gallery was opened in 1878, and is now home to a vast collection of biological, geological and maritime artefacts. This collection continues to grow and develop, promoting the history of Tenby and its inhabitants.
The two art galleries, one featuring a permanent exhibition, has works by artists that include Meirion Jones, Gwen and Augustus John, John Uzzell Edwards, and for fans of the contemporary, Nicky Wire of the Welsh band, Manic Street Preachers.
Found artefacts include items from the Precambrian period, through to the Roman era, an exhibition relating to Welsh cinema, and one focusing on Tenby’s pirate past. One of the most famous pirates was local man Bartholomew Roberts, later known as Black Bart. Also giving Hollywood’s Jack Sparrow a run for his money was the infamous Henry Morgan - giving his name to a popular brand of rum.
While rum may have been a favourite with the Tenby pirates, a cup of tea and slice of cake from the on-site cafe goes down better on a rainy day.
- Award winning attraction
- Entry from £4.95
- Tenby’s Museum and Art Gallery Website
2. Experience Living History at the Tudor Merchant’s House
Constructed from local stone in the 1500s, the Tudor Merchant’s House would have been one of the finest, most expensive buildings in Tenby, with the owner trading in goods brought into the harbour from around the globe.
With three stories, the upper floor would have housed the bedrooms, middle the living quarters of the merchant and his family, while the lower floor was an open-fronted shop selling wool and cloth, vinegar and spices. By trading these items through the port, the more affluent inhabitants of Tenby could have enjoyed access to products from across the world.
The Grade I listed building is now owned and managed by the National Trust, and offers a fascinating glimpse into life in the Tudor times. The interior is furnished with replica Tudor pieces, the garden planted with traditional herbs for use in the kitchen, and the shop stocked with authentic products.
With numerous events throughout the year, and knowledgeable guides depicting life in Tudor Tenby, this step back in time is a fantastic way to enjoy learning.
- Experience life in the 15th-century
- Entry from £3.25
- Tudor Merchant’s House Website
3. Learn About Tenby Lifeboat Station
There has been a lifeboat station at Tenby since 1852, and currently, there are two lifeboats stationed in the town's harbour. Hayden Miller is a Tamar-class boat, named after the farmer who left money to the RNLI in his will - £3 million to be precise. The other lifeboat, the Georgina Taylor, is a D-class inshore lifeboat.
Housed in a high tech slipway station, there’s a viewing gallery for watching the lifeboat launch, and visitors are welcomed by the station staff who are happy to explain what goes on, and what it takes to fight the waves and save lives. Visitors can have a good look at the boats, explore the lifeboat station and enjoy the RNLI’s best visitor experience.
- Perfect for families
- Learn about the RNLI’s life saving work
- Tenby Lifeboat Station