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  • Writer's pictureMegan Jarrett

Tenby, Wales: Colorful Houses, Beautiful Beaches, Rainy Days

In the seaside town of Tenby, Wales, the hidden gem of the city lives in the Waybourne Guest House. Inn owner Tracey and her husband Steve run a charming bed and breakfast just around the corner from the train station. We didn’t expect for the time spent around the breakfast table to be some of our favorite memories of our weekend getaway, yet looking back, we laughed harder around that table than anywhere else.

When Jordan was preparing to move over the to Bristol, we decided we should get our first trip planned so we had something to look forward to. The trip was also my birthday gift from Jordan since we weren't able to celebrate in July while he was still in the States. With all the uncertainty surrounding travel during COVID, we decided to keep it simple and made our first country to visit close to home: Wales.

When looking at towns to visit, Tenby stood out because of it's beautiful beaches, seaside shops, and colorful houses. It's also easily accessible by train, which was important to us since we were not planning to rent a car. While there are a couple hotels in town, the Bed and Breakfasts and small inns seemed to have much better reviews, so we booked local instead of at a chain. Plus, they have so much more character.

We set out from Bristol Temple Meads train station on Friday afternoon. We worked only in the morning so we could make it into town by dinnertime, knowing that the train ride was about four hours long. It was our first real trip on the train for fun (not just for work), and we were looking forward to it. We loaded up a tote bag with snacks and drinks — which you can conveniently just walk onto the train — a deck of cards, and some books and set off.

We arrived into Tenby on the train early Friday evening and weren’t quite sure what to expect from the small beach town. Tenby is a summer holiday destination, but going in early September meant we caught the tale end of the season — barely. We planned to try a few restaurants and breweries, but we were mostly going to see where the weekend took us unscheduled.

When we travel, we often look to Google, TripAdvisor, Instagram, and other review sites to help guide us toward tasty food, clean lodging, and fun activities. As a small, few-bedroom guest house, there aren’t many Google reviews for the Weybourne Guest House to go off of, especially with COVID having stalled the travel industry for so long. But, with an impressive 4.9 stars on Google, we decided to make the Weybourne Guest House our home base for the weekend.

As we took the short two minute walk from the small train station up the sleepy street, we hoped our room would be ready. The rain had started and we were hungry from skipping lunch and relying on the peanuts and Pringles we brought onto the train to fuel us.

When we buzzed the intercom next to the striking blue door, we were greeted by a welcoming inn owner, Tracey. Traveling with COVID restrictions still in place in Wales, Tracey walked through all the precautions such as keeping a mask on as we moved about the common spaces and staff not being able to enter a room once it’s been occupied by guests.

As the last guests in for the evening, we were quickly handed our keys, shown how to get back in the front door since the house was about to get locked up for the night, and given a couple of recommendations for dinner. Tracey also reminded us that breakfast was available from 8-10 am. At the time, we weren’t sure if we’d go down for breakfast or instead find a coffee shop in town. Little did we know, breakfast would be one of the best treats of the weekend.

As we made our way up the narrow stairwell, we noticed old books lining the shelves on the wall and colorful wallpaper from floor to ceiling. The B&B felt like it was frozen in time; though, I’m not sure exactly what period it’s in still. It only enhanced the place’s eclectic charm.

After dropping off the bags in our third floor room, we set out in search of dinner. We initially stopped by Harbwr Brewery Tap & Kitchen after reading about their live music playing in the evening and patio overlooking the water, but they were full for the night. Next door, we found The Fat Seagull, a restaurant that Tracey recommended when we checked in. The place was filled with folks who seemed to be mostly locals, and it was run by a family — husband, wife, two sons — at least in part. It was a real family affair.

Passing gigantic bowls of seafood linguine as we made our way to the back of the restaurant, our mouths were watering by time we sat down. The menu was an interesting mix of primarily seafood and one of their more popular dishes: Dirty Fries. Jordan opted for a seafood linguine while I went for the Dirty Fries, which were essentially a plate of french fries loaded up with cheese, gravy, green onion, and chicken. Unsurprisingly, I barely made a dent into the heap of carbs before being completely stuffed.

After dinner, we decided to do some exploring. It was still wet outside, but the downpour had let up, thankfully. Just around the corner, we discovered the outdoor Hawbwr Tenby Harbour Brewery, which offers their local brews, served to customers outside on the patio or inside on the second floor.

We opted to head upstairs since there was a chill in the air and the tables and chairs were still damp from the earlier rain. As usual, we pulled out the deck of cards and began a game of rummy — our go-to card game when it's just the two of us. As the score continued splitting further and further after just a few rounds, we wrapped up our game and headed back to the Weybourne. Given that we came at the end of the season, things closed down pretty early in the town.

On Saturday morning, we couldn't decide if we should head out and find a coffee shop or take advantage of the free breakfast downstairs. We weren't particularly hungry, but we're always interested in learning more from locals so we thought it might be fun to stop by breakfast, at least for a cup of coffee. And boy, were we glad we did.

The entertainment started before we even made it to our seats. We were immediately drawn in by the banter coming out of the kitchen. You could hear the husband and wife duo working together in the kitchen, both feeding and entertaining the guests already down in the dining room. The husband Steve came out to seat us; Tracey quickly reminded him he seated us at the wrong table and laughing, he moved us over a table.

After bringing us pots of tea and coffee, they took our order. The menu was pretty simple, your basic breakfast staples: toast, eggs, sausage baps, a full English breakfast, and so on. We got our order in and began enjoying the banter that the couple kept up throughout the morning. Stories about finding past guests locked outside, having to hide friends into the boiler room when guests came in late, and all sorts of adventurous tales were told. Truly, we could barely stop laughing long enough to take a few bites of our meal.

At breakfast, we met a couple of women who knew the owners and were in town for the weekend, too. They told us their plan for the day was to head to Caldey Island, which is an island run by monks about 20 minutes off the coast. We'd come across the island when researching what to do in Tenby so we let them know we may see them later when we eventually made out way away from the breakfast entertainment to start exploring in the daylight.

We spent the morning walking around the town, taking in views of the famous bright colored houses, beaches, and old ships sitting in the sand, long left behind by the receding tide. After walking about, we decided to take a look at the excursions lined up for the day. We stumbled upon cheap tickets for the boat to Caudey Island and decided we'd give it a chance.

After about a 15-20 minute boat ride, you make it to the island. When the boat docks, there isn't much to look at but trees and a single paved pathway leading into the depths of the island. From the map, we learned that if we kept following the path, we'd make it through town, past some little shops in the city, up to an old farm, and make it to the infamous fudge and chocolate shop on the island.

We took out time strolling through the town, stopping in a couple gift shops and even the post office, which doubles as a small museum. Eventually, we made it to the old farm and began exploring some old stone buildings. As we're walking through what used to be an old monk dormitory or storeroom, we passed a wooden door and Jordan heard a knock coming from the other side. Intrigued, he knocked back.

Moments later, we hear a thump and then a burst of laughter. Rounding over to the room next door, we run into a couple who was probably in their forties smiling and laughing as they made their way out of the old sanctuary. Seeing us laughing too, they asked if we were the ones who knocked. When we said yes, they explained that the wife had knocked, not realizing that there was an open room on the other side, and when she heard a knock back, she got so startled she bumped her head. They were laughing so hard they were quickly trying to make their way out of the old sanctuary without making more of a scene. We left a prayer card for our friend's father who was battling cancer and also made our way out of the sanctuary in search of the chocolate and fudge.

After securing a mixture of sweets from the shop, we took a stroll up through some of the pastures. Cows and horses were fenced in around us and it was one of the most peace parts of the island, so removed from the footpath the rest of the island's visitors were eagerly exploring. After enjoying the views, we made our way back to the dock to catch the next boat back to the mainland, passing our breakfast companions on the way. It was a fun day trip, but if the weather was warmer, we probably would have stayed in Tenby and instead enjoyed the beaches.

By time we got back to the town, we were ready for lunch. We gave Harbwr Brewery Tap & Kitchen another chance and were able to get a table to enjoy fish and chips and a pint before continuing on with our exploring.

We'd researched a couple of breweries in town that looked fun so we made the long walk down to Tenby Brewing Company. We expected that, like most breweries we're used to, they would have a seating area where you can enjoy a drink and play cards. Unfortunately, they only had a small storefront and their outdoor seating was not open until much later when catering and live music was scheduled.

Defeated after our long walk, we decided to head back uphill a few miles to the town. About five minutes into our walk back, we decided to go ask if they'd let us just hang out in that outdoor area while the catering was setting up. And fortunately, they did! So our long walk was at least a bit worth it.

We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the town, popping into places that looked interesting as we walked by. Jordan found a local gallery where he was able to buy some framed photography of the shoreline and colorful houses. We ate a delicious dinner and even managed to find some live music that night which we were able to enjoy among a crowd of what appeared to be mostly locals.

Going to bed that night, we were eager to wake up again the next morning and see if breakfast came with a show again the next day. And luckily for us, it did. Steve and Tracy continued to entertain the guests, who we now felt like we knew fairly well, through a drawn out breakfast seating the next day, only reconfirming how glad we were that we chose the local B&B over a chain in town. After over and hour at the breakfast table, we knew we needed to pry ourselves away from the table if we wanted to accomplish anything on our last day in town before our afternoon train.

We walked about town a bit more, exploring as the rain came and went. We spent most of our day walking the beach, dipping our toes in the water, and making our way down the full coastline. We enjoy honeycomb ice cream, a new favorite that we hope makes it over to the States when we return, and ended our trip with Jordan's first afternoon tea, served by the Giltar Hotel and overlook the water.

As our afternoon came to a close and we made our way back to the Weybourne to get our bags and head back to the train, we stumbled upon a church fundraiser that was selling local artwork to raise money. I was able to find a painting of the coastline to bring back to Bristol with me, too.

As we boarded the train back to Bristol, snacks and cards in hand, we couldn't help but smile thinking about our time in Tenby. Especially the unforgettable stories told around the breakfast table each morning.

Google Maps List for some of our Locations Scouted in Tenby:


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