UK breaks: Porthgain to Strumble Head

Picturesque fishing harbours and sublimely rugged cliffs

UK breaks: Porthgain to Strumble Head Coastal path near Strumble Head - © Pembrokeshire County Council, Tourism Department
By Caroline McGinn

Dramatic scenery and the soft south-western air- Pembrokeshire is often described as Cornwall without the crowds.

This description is blissfully accurate, as you can discover deserted coves and picnickable promontories for yourself even at high season. Spring here is glorious and the stretch of coast between Porthgain and Strumble Head takes you from picturesque fishing harbours up to sublimely rugged cliffs that take your breath away.

To recover your equilibrium (and lose it again) the best pubs on the stretch between St David’s and Fishguard are at Mathry and Porthgain. London prices have unfortunately reached The Sloop but Cerys Matthews’s local is still a fine institution with decent gastropub grub and convivial decking overlooking the village green.

A few pints and a square meal might just get you as far Strumble Head, where the National Trust coast path turns jagged and purple, with heather, gorse and wicked-looking black rocks. Anyone wishing to pray that the boats will avoid them will do so very pleasantly in one of the numerous old village churches. The more secular (and the schoolboys-at-heart) may content themselves with a trip to the headland’s art deco fortress of a lighthouse.

Where to eat

The Shed Bistro

The village harbour is, remarkably, a working one, and local fisherman help supply The Shed (go on a Monday for the best fish and chips you’ve ever had).

Pothgain, Haverfordwest, SA62 5BN (01834 831158, www.theshedporthgain.co.uk). Evening meals start from 7.00pm, booking is advised. A fillet of cod is £6.50 and large chips are £1.90.

Where to stay

Pembrokeshire Country Cottages

Great Redford, Princes Gate, Narberth, Pembrokeshire, Wales, SA67 8TD (01834 860035, www.pembrokeshirecountrycottages.co.uk). The selection of self-catering cottages start from £180 a week.

Getting there

Nearest train station

Fishguard Harbour station is served by the West Wales line, which is an 11.7 mile drive away from Porthgain. Visit www.nationalrail.co.uk for more information.

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