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SHORE TO SATISFY; STEVE WOLLASTON gives airports a miss and finds the Pembrokeshire coast is more than a match for foreign holiday destinations.

SOMETIMES we can be guilty of obsessing over chasing the sun in far-off resorts for the best price possible. Costa this, and Canary Island that...

But I was reminded recently that sometimes you can have just as good a holiday on your own doorstep.

It took just five days in Pembrokeshire to convince me that I don't need an airport, an all-inclusive wristband or a pool shaped like a palm tree to have fun. Sometimes all that is needed is a quaint little cottage on the coast, beaches nearby, and a host of fascinating places to visit within close proximity.

I took my wife and daughter to the beautiful, remote village of Trefin, just a stone's throw from the tiny cathedral city of St Davids.

We needed a break, somewhere to recharge our batteries, forget about motorways and escape the hustle and bustle of city life and school runs.

With green fields as far as the eye can see and stunning coastal walks, this part of Wales is just the ticket.

Trefin is home to roughly 130 people, one of whom is former Catatonia singer Cerys Matthews, who got married in the village.

Whilst I didn't bump into her in the local Ship Inn pub, I did have an amiable encounter with pleasant locals and a great steak.

We stayed in a lovely little cottage named 'Bwthyn Alarch' in the heart of the village. It dates back to at least the 17th century and had fantastic rustic wooden beams that formed part of a memorable kitchen.

The cottage feel was complemented with a luxurious hot-tub and a cosy wood burner.

And if you got too comfy in the cottage at night, all you needed to do was walk less than a mile to the old village mill ruins to witness a jaw-dropping sunset.

I was lucky enough to see a seal pup basking in the last of the sun as it dipped below the cove.

Trefin is an ideal base to explore from, well situated for a number of tourist hotspots. First we headed south to Pembroke to visit the city castle, built in 1093 and birthplace to Henry VII. It's a wonderful example of medieval history and architecture, and superb tour guides are on hand to walk you through centuries of history.

A short drive from here was the incredibly picturesque Barafundle Bay, a National Trust beach so remote you feel like you are in another age.

We visited a number of beaches in the South Wales area and all of them were wonderful in their own right, Whitesands beach, for example, was just 10 minutes from Trefin and plays host to the National Surfing Championships. Great fun for my daughter on her bodyboard.

Trips to Fishguard, Newport and St Davids are a must, each offering a slice of Welsh coastal living that has to be experienced to be appreciated.

St Davids is the smallest city in Britain - roughly the size of a small village - but the cathedral at the centre of the city takes your breath away.

For a complete change of pace from beaches, headland walks and cathedrals, we indulged one of our favourite family hobbies: theme parks.

We took the short 45-minute ride from Trefin to Oakwood Theme Park, situated in Pembroke right next door to BlueStone Resort.

Oakwood is a relatively small theme park but offers everything from gentle boat rides to big white-knuckle rides.

The highlight for me was encountering a steel tobogan slide I had been on previously as a child 30 years ago, I had forgotten all about it.

Then there's also the behemoth wooden rollercoaster 'MegaFobia', a firm contender for the best ride in the country.

And that's the magic of this wonderful part of the country.

There is so much to see and do, so much activity, so much beauty, all waiting to be discovered.

NEED TO KNOW | STEVE WOLLASTON stayed in Pembrokeshire as a guest of Coast and Country Holidays. Bwthyn Alarch at Trefin, near St Davids, which sleeps four, is priced from PS390 per week. Call 01239 821 910 or visit www.welsh-cottages.co.uk. For information about visiting Pembroke Castle call 01646 684585 or see www.pembroke-castle.co.uk | More things to see and do can be found at pembrokeshire.com
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Aug 13, 2016
Words:714
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