Friday, 20 March 2015

Pembrokeshire in Wales, UK: The beautiful Welsh countryside

This travel post is written by Debs G from Owls Well, who has a travel blog at Owl Fly Away. She visits Pembrokeshire in Wales, UK very often with her petite travellers J (6 years) and Little E (3 years) and it's one of her family's favourite places in all the world. This latest trip is from June 2013 - and it's a lovely holiday suitable for singles, couples and families of all ages who love walking along scenic coastal paths and beach holidays.

So, Whitesands Bay on the Pembrokeshire Coast in Wales has all the wonderful family-friendly features that you would expect from a beach with such a descriptive name:
  • A wide expanse of white sand with wheelchair/stroller access - check
  • Lovely waves for surfers - check
  • Rocky areas at the side for rockpooling - check
  • Lifeguard patrol during summer - check
  • Cafe serving hot food and decent toilet facilities - check
  • The coveted Blue Flag award for superior water quality - check
The view of White Sands from Carn Llidi
The view of White Sands from Carn Llidi
But we won't be talking about the beach today.

The Pembrokeshire Coastal Path is one of the most beautiful hiking paths in the UK and some of the most scenic views are only accessible on foot. If you are travelling with teenagers, it may be worth planning a walking holiday of the Welsh countryside. If, like myself, you are travelling with tiny tots in tow, a good place to go for a nice walk along the rugged coastline is Carn Llidi, which is the large rocky outcrop dominating Whitesands Bay.

Walking along the wide road from Whitesands Bay
Walking along the wide road from Whitesands Bay

To get to Pembrokeshire, take a flight to either Cardiff or London. We usually fly to Heathrow International Airport and rent a car. From Heathrow Airport, it's a 4-5 hour drive straight down the motorway, all the way to the tip of the Pembrokeshire coast, the city of St David's. (If you like, you can choose to break the journey at Bristol or Bath on the way there, if you think your kids won't be able to tolerate a long drive).

Hitching a ride on Grandpa
Hitching a ride on Grandpa for the steep climb

The walking path up to the base of Carn Llidi is large and wide and is a gentle and easy climb for preschoolers. There are a couple of steep bits, though, so although it is possible to get a stroller or wheelchair up here, it may be a hard slog especially if your pushchair is heavy.

Across the fields
Across the fields, unending views of Ramsay Sound and Ramsay Island

The path soon flattens out again as it wraps around the base of Carn Llidi. From here you can see for miles across the Welsh countryside and over the coastline as well.

You can see the mist creeping in

On the day that we visited, we picked what we thought would be a bright and sunny day to have a picnic at the top of Carn Llidi. For the most part, we were able to enjoy gorgeous views over the bright blue waters of Ramsay Sound, to Ramsay Island. Unfortunately, the sea mist came rolling in like a fluffy white blanket, and soon everything was obscured from view.

Intrepid explorers in the mist
Intrepid explorers in the mist

You may think that the sea mist would be a terrible thing, but really, it gave the whole place an otherworldly atmosphere, which is very appropriate seeing as Carn Llidi is also the site of a number of megalithic burial chambers and stone hut circles, which are all great fun to explore. J really had fun climbing over all the rocks and pretending to be an archeologist exploring a cloud kingdom.

Sleepy Little E

The sea mist dampens noise, so everything went very quiet and still, which made Little E feel very, very sleepy. I brought a carrier along with me, so it was no trouble at all to hitch her onto my back so that she could snuggle up to me for a short nap!

Enjoying a cheese and ham sandwich and a KitKat

It's possible to do a circular walk around the base of Carn Llidi which will afford you wide views across the fields and farms, and the city of St David's with its distinctive cathedral in the distance. However, we decided to scamper up the side of Carn Llidi instead, following a well marked path to the top of it. Carn Llidi is 595ft and at the summit on a clear day you can see far beyond the Ramsay Sound, all the way to the Wicklow Hills of Ireland!

We found ourselves some rocks to perch on, and that's where we had our picnic - on the top of Carn Llidi, surrounded by the sea mist which blew around us in swirls, sometimes revealing the countryside for a glorious moment, sometimes obscuring our view entirely. By this time, both the kids were starting to wilt, so we headed back down to Whitesands Bay afterwards to reward ourselves with ice creams!

Check out the rest of my Pembrokeshire itinerary here.

What wonderful terrain, off the beaten track, surrounded by rugged nature, for our city kids to explore! Thanks for this guest post, Debs. 

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