If you have left it too late to book a fabulous fortnight away to somewhere hot and beachy, then why not consider having a few weekend breaks in the UK this summer instead?
We think that perhaps a couple of hundred miles is about as far as we would like to drive after a hard week at work, so chose Tenby as our top European destination last weekend.
We are both self-confessed lovers of Wales and would probably always chose the Welsh mountains and beaches over Cornwall-particularly during the busy summer holiday period.
However, although Inspector Morsel has a bit of previous history with the seaside town of Tenby, I had never visited before and I was not disappointed. We had planned for this to be a motorbike excursion, but the threat of hideous but typical summer holiday weather put us off so we opted for the car instead.
Tenby Harbour is gorgeous-pretty ice cream coloured buildings, bobbing boats, fabulous beaches and a really good selection of gorgeous eateries. We stayed in a B&B very near to the sea front. It was OK and a very typical, traditional set up. The landlady was friendly and welcoming but if you are hoping for a lie in then forget it as breakfast is served strictly between 8 and 8.30am-even on Sunday!
If artisan bread baskets, eggs benedict, granola and copious amounts of piping hot, good coffee are what you are after then this would NOT be the B&B for you! The full English breakfast was OK but although I was asked on arrival if I was a vegetarian (and therefore given the hope that there would be veggie options) there were none-and as someone who avoids bread most of the time I was hoping to at least indulge in some thick sliced, homemade granary toast with good, local butter and thick cut marmalade but was presented with supermarket value white sliced bread instead…luckily the small selection of fresh fruit and yoghurt came to my rescue and Inspector Morsel did quite enjoy his fry up!
Our comfortable room was very small but spotless and had a massive shower room and we both slept like logs. The reviews on Trip Advisor are pretty good and I guess for £150 for two of us for two nights including ‘breakfast’ it wasn’t bad-other people seemed to be happy although the serving of tinned plum tomatoes caused a bit of consternation for one family from Ukraine on the Sunday morning! We won’t go back, but all those Trip Advisor reviews praising the breakfasts can’t all be wrong I guess!
The location of the B&B was really convenient for the harbour and the town, and we didn’t use the car all weekend. However, there was no parking at all so ended up paying about £20 to park in the public car park but that is the payoff from having accommodation in such a good location.
Where did we go?
We took a boat trip to Caldey Island-a beautiful oasis of calm and tranquillity that is inhabited by Cistercian monks. We walked miles and saw grey seals, lots of bird life and enjoyed a simple lunch at the café before the obligatory gift shop visit and boat trip back to the mainland. It is truly a beautiful place to visit.
We also visited the local Tenby museum and art gallery which is filled with fascinating facts and archaeological finds that give you a real insight into the town and the people who live there.
What did we eat?
We found the most amazing restaurant tucked away down a side street and ended up having two evening meals there because it was just so good. I couldn’t keep Inspector Morsel away!
Plantagenet House is hidden away in Quay Hill that leads down to the harbour and is next door to the Tudor Merchants House-Tenby’s oldest building that has some parts dating back to the 10th century. The interior is a fabulous and eclectic mix of artefacts, art work and furniture that shouldn’t work but just does-and brilliantly. There is also a magnificent Flemish chimney which owners Barney and Nye had to partly dismantle and rebuild-numbering each brick as they went.
Friendly staff and a truly amazing menu meant that we had two very memorable meals here. Inspector Morsel insisted we went back for a second supper because he had been fantasising about the oysters and lemon sole stuffed with local crab meat-he was delighted when I relented!
As well as a spectacular selection of local sea food dishes, the vegetarian and vegan options are superb. I had the risotto on the first night and the coconut and tofu curry on the second and both were hot, fragrant and utterly delicious-the portions are so big that despite my best intentions I couldn’t bring myself to order cheese or a pudding so next time I will be employing the starter and a pudding method!
It is easy to see why Plantagenet House has been awarded the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence for three years running.
Where did we drink?
Avoiding anything that screamed ‘Two jaeger bombs for a fiver!” or “Buy one pint get one free!” we found ourselves at the Tenby Harbour Brewery which again was hidden down a little alley way. Tenby Harbour’s first ever brewery is tucked away in Sergeant’s Lane, just above the harbour, a state-of-the-art 5-barrel brewery is housed in a sympathetically converted eighteenth century warehouse– now packed with character and charm.
All of Harbwr’s ales can currently be purchased within the brewery itself, in the neighbouring pubs, The Buccaneer and The Hope & Anchor and specialised distributors.
Why should you go there?
Tenby is lovely. Friendly people, beautiful beaches and incredible coastline, walks, pubs and restaurants. We found lovely sea front gardens to sit in, excellent coffee and cakes and the whole place was spotless. We spoke to a couple of local police officers who were engaged in Operation Lion-a local policing operation to make sure everyone stays safe and has a good time. We saw Tenby by day and by night and the town takes on a different personality after dark like so many towns do. Tenby has great potential with lovely shops, cafes and countryside, but there is always the danger that it could turn into the next Newquay.
So visit soon and I guarantee you will come back feeling relaxed, invigorated and inspired.