According to National Geographic, the Pembrokeshire coastline ranks as the second best in the world… and if anyone knows about these things it’s National Geographic.
A magnet for walkers, nature lovers, foodies and families, this Western part of Wales has become a favourite amongst tourists, and for good reason. Take for example the city of St. David’s – with a population of less than 2,000 it is the smallest city in Britain and one of the prettiest too, with its 12th century cathedral dominating the skyline.
On the other hand the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park with its abundant flora and fauna is a sensory feast. Impossibly beautiful and breathtakingly dramatic, it’s one of those places that’s typifies all the reasons to travel around the UK in the summer time – surely there’s nowhere more beautiful?
For families, Oakwood theme park with its Megafobia rollercoaster is the place to go (proudly tipped as the best ride in Britain according to Visit Wales), and the Victorian seaside town of Tenby is renowned for the health-giving properties of its sea air.
In amongst the reasons to head to Pembrokeshire while the sun is shining however is Lamphey Court Hotel and Spa, a gracious country hotel. Set in beautiful grounds and within two miles of a collection of beaches and secluded coves near Tenby, the Georgian mansion dates back to 1823 and is nestled into the Pembrokeshire National Park.
Accommodation is divided between the original building (complete with confection like white columns and light pouring in through the sash windows) and a collection of courtyard rooms and studios, which all have an equally beautiful but very different vibe, so if you do choose to go then have a proper gander through the pictures to get a better idea of which one’s for you.
Despite the building’s history, the décor is contemporary, and nowhere is that more evident than in the spa and leisure facilities of this country hotel. There’s plenty to keep you entertained, from floodlit tennis courts to the 14-metre pool and herbal sauna, as well as Aromatherapy Associates and Cinq Mondes spa treatments – if you haven’t tried either brand, you’re in for a treat.
When you visit this hotel you absolutely must potter over to Lamphey Bishop’s Palace. Adjacent to the hotel, the palace is a National Trust site and the former retreat of medieval bishops seeking solace away from the everyday demands of Church and State. These days it’s a ruin, but the scale and proportions give you a hint of the decadence it promised these worldly men accustomed to power and status – something to contemplate over a picnic perhaps.
Tenby’s four beaches are also a must, all boasting a variety of environmental awards and beautiful views, perfect for a walk from this Georgian country hotel. From the cove that is Castle Beach it’s possible to walk out to St. Catharine’s island at low tide (just be careful that it doesn’t cut you off while you’re there), and Harbour Beach is a sheltered little spot at the rear of the bay offering a path back to the town and a walkway around to another sunbathing hotspot – North Beach, which welcomes the crowds in the summer months thanks to its large stretch of golden sand and easy access.
Finally, after all that fun the food at Lamphey Court is an experience in its own right. Adhering to the Slow Food Movement, ingredients are locally sourced and the natural production process is interfered with as little as possible – all rather pleasant things to think about when tucking into that Sunday lunch after a bracing swim in the sea.