Where is the Pembrokeshire Coast Path?
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path twists and turns its way through 186 miles (300km) of the most breathtaking coastal scenery in the south of Wales. The trail covers almost every kind of maritime landscape – from rugged cliff tops and sheltered coves to wide-open beaches, winding estuaries, ancient harbours and fishing villages.
Why should you walk the Pembrokeshire Coast Path?
Enjoy some of the best coastal walking in Great Britain while hiking along the dramatic Atlantic coastline in the south of Wales. Visit unspoilt, charming seaside towns within the UK’s only truly coastal National Park – an inspiring realm of seacoast and sky. Discover ‘one of the best places in the world to visit’ according to National Geographic Magazine and ‘one of the most spectacular long-distance routes in Britain’ according to Lonely Planet.
With our tours along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path focusing on the most popular section, from Amroth to Pembroke (56 miles / 90km), the Path takes in some of the most breathtaking scenery, from steep limestone cliffs and undulating red sandstone bays, to volcanic headlands, beaches, estuaries and flooded glacial valleys. Lying almost entirely within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, the trail displays an array of coastal flowers and bird life.
As well as offering walkers spectacular coastal scenery and wildlife, the trail passes through a landscape rich in the history of human occupation and maritime history. Walking the trail reveals Neolithic Cromlechs, Iron Age promontory forts, and massive Norman castles such as those at Pembroke, Tenby and Manorbier.
Take a step back into history and discover the area which was largely forged out of the activities of fishing and farming, as shown by the small coastal settlements and the farmed landscape. Immerse yourself into classic Welsh myth and legend as you traverse through this historically rich trail.
Our Pembrokeshire Coast Path tours along the Southern section, between Amroth and Pembroke, offer some of the best coastal walking Britain has to offer, passing through charming seaside towns and villages such as Saundersfoot, Tenby, and Manorbier, before finishing at the impressive Norman castle in Pembroke.
When is the best time to walk the Pembrokeshire Coast Path?
When booking a hiking holiday, every season has its own charm, but indeed some months are better for hiking than others. It is always important to make yourself aware of the best times to walk any long-distance trails as weather conditions and busyness can greatly impact your overall hiking experience.
Of course, hours of sunshine, probability of rain, wind and temperature depend solely on the respective season in Wales.
Due to the longer daylight hours and more favourable weather conditions we recommend that you visit the Pembrokeshire Coast Path anytime from March through to October. If you are thinking of completing the trail during the other months of the year, there is a high possibility you will be met with adverse weather conditions including ice, snow, or storms, along with shorter days of daylight.
Most of Wales’ rainfall tends to occur in autumn and the early winter months between October and January so if you happen to be visiting during this time, it’s a good idea to be prepared with an umbrella or raincoat and a comfortable pair of waterproof shoes. June to August are the hottest months in Wales. During this time, temperatures can rise up to 20°C. April, May and September are also great months to explore as days during these months are pleasantly warm. Summer also offers more time to enjoy this gorgeous country as the days are longer and darkness doesn’t fall until about 10pm due to Wales’ northerly latitude.
How long does it take to hike the Pembrokeshire Coast Path?
The 56 miles / 90km trail section that we offer usually takes the average adult with reasonable fitness approximately 4 to 8 days to cover the entire long distance walking trail while soaking up your surroundings.
At Hillwalk Tours, we offer gentle and moderate tour grading levels depending on the balance of physical challenge and comfort level that you require. Within these levels, you can choose between 4 to 8-day hiking tours to complete the trail. All you have to decide is how many kilometres / miles you would like to walk per day and we take care of the rest!
Types of Trails
Choosing the right hiking tour for you can be, at times, tricky. It is always important to consider your own physical capability and comfort levels.
For example, at Hillwalk Tours, we have grouped each trail route we offer into three categories depending on personal preference and fitness levels. These are – gentle, moderate, and challenging. Each of these categories, depending on the destination, will include anything from 4 to 13-day itineraries, with customers given the option to add rest days where they see fit.
Our gentle hikes are perfectly suited for those who would consider themselves as a part-time hiker who enjoys taking photos and meeting locals while taking in the spectacular scenery. Our moderate hikes will suit people who are used to regular exercise and appreciate the opportunity of covering plenty of ground each day without going beyond their limits. Finally, our challenging hikes are for hikers who look to set off early in the morning and not stop until they have reached their destination.
With regards to our Pembrokeshire Coast Path trail, we offer both gentle and moderate hikes. Each of these hiking categories cover the following average hiking distance and time each day:
Gentle: 14-16km or 9-10 miles and between 4-6 hours per day
Moderate: 17-19km or 10.5-12 miles and between 4-7 hours per day
Challenging: 25-32km or 15-20 miles and between 6-9 hours per day
Hillwalk Tours Guide Notes
If you decide to walk the trail with Hillwalk Tours, you will receive a detailed walking pack once you have fully booked your hiking holiday. This walking pack will include detailed Ordnance Survey (OS) maps and unique route notes and walking directions written and constantly updated by our route development team. By personally walking each trail and creating our own detailed route notes, it allows us to provide more itineraries, route options and alternatives than what you will typically find across generic guidebooks. It also includes GPS tracks meaning you will never have to worry about getting lost.
Starting and Finishing Point
Starting in Amroth, the path follows along a stunning beach and then climbs into the wooded cliff top, from where it follows up and down along cliffs and beaches, passing the lovely seaside resort of Saundersfoot before descending once again at the charming, colourful harbour town of Tenby. From the golden sandy beaches of Tenby, the path climbs to the clifftops once more and offers stunning views, passing the little beach at Skrinkle Haven with it’s famous ‘church doors’ natural feature in the cliffs. The trail continues to hug the cliffs before detouring inland around the Royal Military Range at Manorbier to discover the King’s Quoit Cromlech – a Neolithic burial chamber.
From Manorbier beach the trail climbs back up to the cliff tops and passes magical secluded coves and lovely beaches including the beautiful Barafundle beach – often named the best beach in Wales – before reaching Broadhaven South beach. Take in a breath of the fresh sea air when you stop to take a snap that would make anyone jealous. The shorter option of this route leads through the rolling dunes and past the famous lily ponds of Bosherston.
The slightly longer option continues along golden beaches and passes through the rugged military range, towards St. Govan’s Chapel, a spectacular hidden gem engraved into the cliff face. You won’t want to miss the scenes, when the trail continues towards Angle. Explore the magnificent views over Milfort Haven, one of the deepest natural harbours in the world.
On the final stretch of the trail learn all about the history of the industrial activity that took place centuries before, before finishing off at the impressive and mystical Pembroke Castle.
Sample Pembrokeshire Coast Path Itineraries
The following are examples of Hillwalk Tours Gentle, Moderate and Challenging itineraries of hiking the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.
Day 1: Arrival in Tenby
Day 2: Tenby – Manorbier (12km or 7.5miles)
Day 3: Manorbier – Bosherston (16km or 9.9miles)
Day 4: Departure from Bosherston
Day 1: Arrival in Lydstep
Day 2: Lydstep – Bosherston (21km – 13miles)
Day 3: Bosherston – Freshwater West (16km – 9.9miles)
Day 4: Freshwater West – Angle (14km – 8.7miles)
Day 5: Angle – Pembroke (19km – 11.8miles)
Day 6: Departure from Pembroke
Day 1: Arrival in Amroth
Day 2: Amroth – Manorbier (25km – 15.5miles)
Day 3: Manorbier – Freshwater West (32km – 19.9miles)
Day 4: Freshwater West – Pembroke (33km – 20.5miles)
Day 5: Departure from Pembroke
Hillwalk Tours Map
Pembrokeshire Coast Path Terrain
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path is well signposted throughout. You will see the distinctive acorn symbol on stiles, gates, signposts, and lampposts through towns. This is the symbol used by all the English and Welsh National Trails. Although there are several routes you can take through towns and villages, the official route is signed with white acorn waymarks sometimes stuck high up on lampposts and other street furniture.
If you are ever in doubt, you can also check the Hillwalk Tours turn by turn directions and route notes including GPS coordinates. We also supply all you need to know about local information and history as you pass, along with trail alternatives and other activities.
Want to learn more about how to read a map? Check out this blog post.
The walking on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path is generally not too strenuous. The paths often follow close to the cliff edge leading down to the beach and back up again and are well maintained and signposted.
Some sections are a bit more rugged and exposed, and walkers will need a head for heights, however anyone with reasonable fitness should not have any problem following the trail. The section between Amroth and Manorbier passes through several seaside towns, after which the trail becomes a little more remote, before reaching the more industrialized section between Angle and Pembroke However, this section still feels quite remote, passing mostly through farmlands and forestry and away from roads.
Sights & Attractions
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park
The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park is one of the smallest of the UK’s National Parks. The park boasts a range of stunning landscapes and magnificent coastal views. The superb coastline is backed by hills, estuaries, valleys and woodlands that allow you to discover something different at every step.
Skrinkle Haven Beach
Skrinkle Haven beach sits between Old Castle Head and Lydstep Point and is located to the south-east of pretty Manorbier Village. On the east side of the beach you will find the pretty Church Doors beach. This consists of a cove with several caves in the form of arches that are said to look like church doors.
Air Defence Range Manorbier
This was a Royal Air Force airfield near Manorbier, Pembrokeshire. The site was first used in 1933 as a mixed civilian/military airfield. Now known as the Air Defence Range Manorbier, it is currently used by the Ministry of Defence as a testing range for high-velocity missiles.
King’s Quoit Cromlech
The mythical tomb is located above Manorbier Bay with views across to Manorbier Castle. This is an unusual site, as the capstone is supported by the sloping hillside on one end and only partly by three small upright stones. This is known as ‘sub-megalithic’, that is, only part of the capstone is supported by upright stones while part rests on the earth or living rock.
Barafundle beach has been voted multiple times as one of the best beaches in the UK and the world; often likened to a Caribbean beach! This magnificent beach is isolated, so you can expect to find no facilities there, meaning that, anything you decide to bring with you, you must also bring back.
Bosherston Lakes is a linked system of three man-made lakes created in the 18th century. The Lakes, often known as ‘the Lily Ponds’, are famous for their display of water lilies, which cover the surface of the water in early summer. The Lakes form part of a National Nature Reserve and a 340-acre Site of Special Scientific Interest.
St. Govan’s Chapel
A tiny hermit’s cell built into the cliff at St Govan’s, near Bosherston. St Govan’s chapel, once famed for its healing powers, draws hundreds of visitors each year. Wedged almost impossibly in between the sea and cliff top, this 800 year old sanctuary is a place to fire the imagination and touch history. FYI, count the steps down and up again – legend has it that the number is never the same!
Milford Haven Harbour
Milford Haven has one of the deepest natural harbours in the world. The harbour is a leading UK port handling over 30 million tonnes of cargo each year.
Pembroke Castle has a long and fascinating history. In 1093, Arnulf de Montgomery built the first castle on the site standing at the end of the promontory. A century later, the castle was given to William Marshal, who became one of the most powerful men in 12th-century Britain. He rebuilt Pembroke Castle in stone, creating most of the structure that remains today. The castle is open to the public and is the largest privately owned castle in Wales.
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path boasts a wealth of wildlife throughout. The wildlife that can be spotted on the trail include, seabirds, falcons, rare choughs, puffins, seals, porpoises and dolphins. Occasionally, you might spot basking sharks, minke whales and extraordinarily, killer whales! Other wildlife that can be spotted include bats, orcas, blue sharks, jellyfish, and turtles.
History of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path not only brings you through spectacular landscapes but also takes you on a journey through time. From Neolithic cromlechs and 5th century churches, to old harbour quays and amazing golden beaches, the Coast Path is a walk through history that has been shaped by the sea.
Completion of the path took 17 years, and this work included more than 100 footbridges and 479 stiles, and the cutting of thousands of steps. The trail itself opened on the 16th of May 1970. It was the first National Trail in Wales and 75% lies within designated conservation sites and 85% within the boundaries of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. When opened, the length of the path was 180 miles (290 km), but over the years there have been a number of Footpath Diversion Orders which have extended it to its current length of 186 miles (299 km).
The Normans built massive castles, such as those at Pembroke, Tenby and Manorbier, which are seen along the trail. Today, these castles are reminders that Pembrokeshire once played a key role in major events.
Did you know?
Henry Tudor (Henry VII), father of Henry VIII, was born in Pembroke Castle in 1457.
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path Pop Culture
Film and TV
His Dark Materials (2019)
A fantasy drama from the BBC based on a trilogy of books with the same name. The show follows a young girl named Lyra Belacqua and her daemon Pantalamon as they embark on a dangerous journey to uncover the truth behind a mysterious substance called ‘The Dust’. With scenes filmed in Wales and in particular the aforementioned St. Govans Chapel.
Me Before You (2016)
The film starring Sam Claflin and Emilia Clarke is set in Pembrokeshire. Filming took place all along Main Street in the town, within Pembroke Castle itself and along the millpond. The film features stunning aerial shots of Pembroke Castle.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1&2 (2011)
The famous Harry Potter franchise took itself over to Freshwater West to film scenes for their ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’ films. Freshwater West beach was chosen as the filming location for Shell Cottage which was ‘on the outskirts of Tinworth in Cornwall’. In the films, this is where Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour live. It’s also where Dobby transports Harry and his friends from Malfoy Manor to safety.
Moby Dick (1956)
Film crews took over Fishguard and Cemaes Bay for the filming of the movie adaptation of Herman Melville’s 1851 novel of the same name.
The Lion, The Witch, & the Wardrobe (1988)
This film was shot in Manorbier Castle. It was used in such scenes as, Cair Pavarel Castle Parade, when Edmund enters the White Witch’s Castle and when Maugrim allows Edmund into the Castle.
Robin Hood (2010)
Like the Harry Potter films, this film was shot in Freshwater West Beach. The film stars Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett and Max von Sydow.
Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)
Filming took place at Cathedral Rock in the Lake District and Marloes Sands in Pembrokeshire, Wales. This is where they filmed Kristen Stewart as Snow White, Chris Hemsworth as the huntsman and their rallied troops during an epic battle.
A Final Regret (2020)
A murder mystery novel set in Pembrokeshire, released by author Jeff Warren. Much of the action of ‘A Final Regret’ takes place in the fictitious village of Madoc’s Haven, but the story includes various real locations such as – St David’s, Haverfordwest, Solva and Milford Haven.
Food and Drink
Below are just some of the food and drink synonymous with the country of Wales that should be tried while walking the Pembrokeshire Coast Path:
It was originally known as Welsh rabbit, even though it never included rabbit as an ingredient. This is, quite simply, the world’s finest cheese on toast.
The Glamorgan Sausage, is a meat free sausage which combines the intense flavoured Glamorgan cheese, leeks, seasoning, mustard, herbs and breadcrumbs. The Glamorgan cheese used in these ‘sausages’ doesn’t exist anymore so they use an intense, crumbly white cheese from Caerphilly instead.
The Bara Brith is a Welsh classic. It is a traditional fruit cake with a unique flavour.
Traditional Welsh Lamb Cawl (Lamb & Vegetable Stew) is often seen as being the national dish of Wales.
Conwy muscles are renowned for their striking colour, but even more so for the rich flavour of their meat.
Laverbread is made from Laver seaweed, which is found along the west coast of the UK. Its high iodine levels create a striking taste, one of which you can closely compare to oysters or olives.
Tatws Pum Munud (Welsh Stew)
Tatws Pum Munud, which literally translates to ‘five minute potatoes’, has its roots embedded deep in Welsh heritage. Traditionally, the stew is made from smoked bacon, potatoes, stock, and then several choices of typically Welsh root vegetables, such as carrots, onions, and peas.
The Welsh cake is possibly as traditional as it comes. A cross between a scone, a biscuit and a pancake, these sultana-filled treats have been a favourite amongst the population of Wales for generations.
Penderyn is a Welsh whisky distillery, producing the first commercially available whisky made in Wales. Penderyn is a single malt whisky produced in several expressions.
Is the Pembrokeshire Coast Path Vegan Friendly
The vegan diet has become more and more popular throughout Europe in recent years, and you will find that there are plenty of vegan options available in most eateries. Each of the accommodation we work with at Hillwalk Tours have given us their guarantee that vegan breakfasts will be catered for once they have been informed. That being said, some of the more rural locations of the trail may have limited options so we advise bringing certain items such as plant-based milk, nut butters or protein powders if you so choose.
In addition, the following apps show restaurants which offer vegetarian and/or vegan opions:
There are various other UK trails available to you once you have completed the Pembrokeshire Coast Path. Here are some nearby hiking tours we offer:
Pembrokeshire Coast Path Tips and FAQs
Probably one of the most common questions asked when walking the Pembrokeshire Coast Path or any trail for that matter is – what will I pack? Once you have fully booked your Hillwalk Tours hiking holiday, you will receive a detailed ‘recommended equipment’ list inside your Walking Pack. For those who are still unsure of what to bring, here are some of the things we advise you bring with you along the trail:
– Waterproof Clothing
– Fleece and other warm clothing
– Base Layer
– Light, comfortable Trousers
– Wicking Socks
– Suitable Hiking Boots
– Hat and Gloves
– First Aid Kit and Foil Blanket
– Whistle and Torch
– Insect Repellent
– Mobile Phone
– Plug Adapter/Converter
For more on what to pack – check out these packing musts.
Our 7-Day tours include 5 days of hiking. The first and last days of all our hiking tours are travel days used to transfer to/from the town where your hike will begin/end. If you would like to hike for 7 days, simply select one of our 9-Day tours.
A single supplement is an additional charge for walkers booking single accommodation (a room for one person). The total tour price per person requesting a single room is the price per person plus the single supplement. The supplement covers the extra costs associated with accommodating a single person in their own room.
It is not possible to bring your dog on Hillwalk Tours hiking holidays. Unfortunately, the majority of our accommodation providers do not accept pets of any kind.
No, on all our Wales hiking tours, your luggage will be transported to your next accommodation each day as you walk and will arrive before 4pm. A maximum weight limit of 20 kg per person applies to this luggage transfer service.
You will be staying in traditional Welsh Bed & Breakfasts (B&B’s) and Country Inns during your hiking trip. To ensure your comfort, each B&B and Inn you will stay in has been personally checked by a member of the Hillwalk Tours team. You can expect a warm welcome, en-suite facilities (where available) and a hearty breakfast each morning. For more details on the accommodation you will be staying in, see the Accommodation section for each tour.
– Route notes (prepared by a member the Hillwalk Tours team who has walked every step of your tour)
– Detailed hiking map(s)
– Waterproof map-case
– A sneak-peak at where you will be staying
– Our tips on the most interesting attractions to visit along the trail
– A look at fascinating local history
– A guide to the best places to eat and drink
– Mountain safety information, emergency contact details & the country code
We believe that the beauty of the Welsh countryside should be enjoyed by everyone. With this in mind, we designed our hiking tours to cater for practically all levels of fitness. Our range of ‘Gentle’, ‘Moderate’ and ‘Challenging’ hikes in most regions allows you to decide how far you wish to walk each day. So, whether you are a novice walker or an experienced hiker, we have the tour to suit you.
Euros are not accepted anywhere in Wales – the currency used is the Pound Sterling (£).
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path Image Gallery
Hillwalk Tours is an award-winning walking tour operator which specialise in self-guided walking holidays in Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales and along the Camino de Santiago in Spain. Our goal is to create happy experiences for all of our customers, suppliers & staff.
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Leave No Trace
We like to walk in nature and since you are reading this – we believe you do too! It is important to ensure that our impact on the environment is limited so that hikers can enjoy the same view after us. The rule applies: when you leave, make sure that nature looks the same as when you arrived or simply put “leave no trace.” As more and more people take to the great outdoors, our collective mark on the environment increases.
What does this mean in reality? Of course, do not leave any rubbish or waste behind. Do not collect stones, flowers, or other “souvenirs”. Don’t carve your name on a tree or break branches… I think you get the drift. It is imperative for walkers to play their part in making sure litter, damage to vegetation and all forms of pollution are limited.
Noise can also be a form of pollution. Whoever walks through a forest talking and laughing loudly, for example, ruins the peace and quiet of other walkers, who can no longer hear the birds. The same goes for cell phones that suddenly start ringing. Keep the volume down and respect your surroundings. Ultimately, the point is to ensure that as many people as possible can enjoy walking through nature. So that applies to you, but also to those who tread the path after you.
Hillwalk Tours proudly supports sustainable tourism and loves the countryside as it is – wild, peaceful and clean. We are proud to support the “Leave No Trace” initiative that aims to preserve the natural beauty of each nations countryside where we offer hiking holidays. We try to create happy experiences for our accommodation too, and the restaurants, shops and taxi companies that serve our walkers. These are often small businesses located in isolated areas that have been left behind by urban migration and a lack of investment in rural regions. Their warm hospitality and friendly welcomes epitomise the magic of a Hillwalk Tour and we’re dedicated to helping keep these rural communities alive.
The Benefits of Hiking
In recent years, walking and hiking outdoors has been widely reported to have numerous physical and mental health benefits. The following are examples of some of these benefits:
Improve strength and fitness
- Weight loss
- Muscle gain
- Improve metabolism
- Improve digestion
- Better quality sleep
- Increase in Vitamin D
- Improve discipline
- Sense of achievement
- Living in the present moment
Hiking Equipment List
For a more in-depth list of recommended hiking equipment list, click here.