Picture the scene. On holiday, dreaming of sunny days at the beach, then suddenly you wake to a dripping wet world. It’s tipping down, literally cats and dogs. Pembrokeshire still looks beautiful in the rain, but did anyone pack the umbrella?
You consider your minimally packed suitcase of summer clothes and suncream. Try to block out the noise of the kids who are already announcing they’re bored. It’s only breakfast time!
So what is there to do in Pembrokeshire in the rain?
Step back in time. Keep out of the rain, and explore some local historic buildings
1. St David’s Cathedral, St David’s
St David’s Cathedral is a must-see, a magnificent building set upon the site of an earlier sixth-century monastery built by St David, the patron saint of Wales, in Britain’s smallest city, St David’s. A site of pilgrimage and worship for more than 800 years, this spectacular cathedral continues today as a vibrant, living church offering a place of peace for prayer and devotion. Admire the dramatic architecture, learn about the history, visit St David’s shrine, take a guided tour, attend one of the daily services, listen to the impressive cathedral organ and peals of the bells, and finish off with delicious food and drink in the beautiful space of the Refectory. Look out their ‘Cathedral Explorer’ trails for families which run each Tuesday in the holidays, special services, and summer concerts.
2. Tudor Merchant’s House, Tenby
Discover the oldest house still standing in Tenby, a 15th-century town house called the Tudor Merchant’s House. Donated to the National Trust in 1938 who repaired the building and created a historic house museum, this three storey house is furnished and decorated as it would have been in the year 1500. Step inside the world of a successful merchant and his family, explore his shop and working kitchen on the ground floor, the family living quarters on the first floor, and sleeping quarters on the upper floor. Get a real sense of what family life in Tudor Tenby looked like. Children’s quiz and trail activities available, with family events during the holiday season.
Get wet indoors. When you’re in your cossie in the warm, who cares about the rain outdoors!
3. Blue Lagoon, Canaston Bridge
Visit the Blue Lagoon Water Park near Narberth, for indoor watery family fun. Enjoy the wave machine in the main pool, a rapids river ride, four exciting water flumes, relaxing spa pools, a fun pirate ship, toddler play areas, even a beach, all in a temperature controlled environment. With some of the rides whisking you outdoors, you can enjoy the rain from a warm outdoor pool. A Fish Shack cafe on poolside and lazy sun loungers offer the option to chill out if you choose. All welcome, with 1.1 metre minimum height restriction for the flumes. Watch out for exciting special events throughout the season.
4. Pembrokeshire Leisure Centres
Visit one of Pembrokeshire’s 10 local leisure centres, 6 of which in Haverfordwest, Milford Haven, Fishguard, Crymych, Pembroke, and Tenby have either a 25 metre pool and or a heated learner pool which offer a great way for families to relax and have some fun. Splash about, swim underwater, practice your strokes, or just take it easy and enjoy the sauna. Check their online timetables for available aquatic activities, and to find out all the other fun stuff they have going on during the holidays too.
Explore a gallery. Experience Pembrokeshire art and get creative whilst hiding from the rain
5. Oriel y Parc Gallery & Visitor Centre, St David’s
Visit the Oriel y Parc Gallery & Visitor Centre in St Davids, an innovative building which sits discreetly in its landscape, with state of the art green technologies working hard to provide a comfortable and sustainable environment. The gallery, home to Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales in Pembrokeshire, displays works of art from the national collection, with exhibitions drawing inspiration from Pembrokeshire’s incredible landscapes. Enjoy a regularly changing exhibition programme, meet the latest Artist in Residence, explore the Discovery Room which hosts family friendly art and nature activities, and take a break in the friendly cafe. Regular family events and activities on offer, with a visitor centre on site if you want to know more about the local area.
6. Last Invasion Tapestry Exhibition, Fishguard
Delve into the history of when the British mainland was invaded for the last time in February 1797, and visit the Last Invasion Tapestry in Fishguard. This magnificent 30 metre award winning tapestry was designed and sewn by almost 80 local women, produced to mark the 1997 bicentenary of the event, and is now displayed in a permanent exhibition in all its glory in Fishguard Library. Learn about the history from the storyboards and artefacts that help to recreate the day, and find out more about the making of the tapestry in the audio visual room. If the rain has eased, you can follow the Last Invasion Trail and explore the local area where these events took place.
Have fun under cover. When your kids are just bursting with pent-up energy, opt for adventure and fun indoors
7. Folly Farm Adventure Park & Zoo, Narberth
The huge variety of attractions at Folly Farm Adventure Park & Zoo near Narberth offer fun for all the family, and plenty of indoor amusements for those truly rainy days. The Jolly Farm will delight the little ones, with all the favourite farm animals indoors under one roof, and the Vintage Fairground with its wide range of rides has plenty for everyone. Keep them occupied for ages running off some energy on the Carousel Woods indoor adventure playground, whilst you enjoy a break in one of the surrounding cafes. And if there is a break in the rainclouds, then do visit their award winning zoo, with lions, giraffes, penguins and more! Lots of outdoor amusements too, plus look out for their special events across the season.
8. West Wales Karting, Haverfordwest
Try an exciting driving challenge with West Wales Karting ultimate indoor karting experience, based in Haverfordwest. They operate an Arrive & Drive system with sessions for all ages and abilities, full race suits, helmets and gloves provided, minimum age 8 years old. Enjoy a drive around the 300 metre track, with 5 hairpins and varying levels of grip, tackle the huge S bends and feel the speed along a 70 metre straight. With printed time sheets available, see if you can beat your best time! If karting just isn’t your thing, then you can enjoy the thrill of watching everyone else racing from the trackside viewing area. Also competitive events available, minimum age 16 years old.
Discover a castle. Visit the magnificent stone castles dotted around the Pembrokeshire landscape
9. Pembroke Castle, Pembroke
Top of the list should be the spectacular Pembroke Castle, the only castle in Britain to be built over a natural cavern, and the birthplace of Henry V11. Explore this fine example of a castle, discovering its history through the characters you meet, enjoy the fascinating exhibitions, have a guided tour, and even take home a brass rubbing memento. Dodge the raindrops to interact with Britain’s largest piece of artwork, the Great Map of Wales painted in the centre of the castle grounds, and discover the location of all the castles of Wales. Plenty of family activities and events available throughout the season.
10. Carew Castle, Carew
The stunning location of Carew Castle overlooking a 23 acre millpond is a sight not to be missed. With a history spanning 2,000 years, the castle displays the development from a Norman fortification to an Elizabethan country house. Explore the fascinating grounds and inner rooms of the castle, spot the impressive 11th century Celtic cross, visit the only restored tidal mill in Wales and even take a trip across a medieval bridge. Guided tours, and a busy summer activity programme are available.
Have fun in a wetsuit. Never mind the rain, you’ll be getting wet anyway!
11. Family Adventure Day, Preseli Venture, Mathry
Try an exciting Family Adventure Day with Preseli Venture, and experience the exhilaration of sea kayaking and coasteering on the unspoilt National Park coast, or surfing on some of the stunning local beaches. Licensed by the National Trust as the principal operator using their remote coastal properties, they are able to offer adventure activities at many uniquely special National Trust owned Pembrokeshire locations. Explore hidden sea caves, swim through natural cliff arches, discover secret beaches, give cliff jumping a go, and see if you can spot some of the incredible coastal wildlife as you travel along the rugged coastline. Available in the school holidays to family groups, minimum age 9 years old. National Trust members can claim a 10% discount.
12. National Trust Coastal Discovery Wildlife Tour, Preseli Venture, Mathry
Take a wild adventure along the north Pembrokeshire coastline on a National Trust Coastal Discovery Wildlife Tour with Preseli Venture. Led by a National Trust ranger and Preseli Venture guide, these family friendly kayaking and coasteering tours lead you on a trip of exploration and discovery along the best unspoilt and wild areas of this part of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Kayak into sea caves, coasteer beneath sea cliffs, see Atlantic grey seals, spot sea birds, discover rocky shore life and experience the wilder side of Pembrokeshire. All specialist kit is provided, with changing facilities available on site, before transportation down to the chosen venue by minibus. Open to all, with minimum age 9 years old, these specialist tours run from April through to September.
For more activities and attractions on your stay in Pembrokeshire, visit www.visitpembrokeshire.com
The United Kingdom is renowned for having rather temperamental weather, and that is why when arranging a holiday to Wales, it is important to always think about what the weather might do. Pembrokeshire is a beautiful region come rain or shine, and can the perfect location to really enjoy what Wales has to offer, with it being perfect for couples and families alike. However, because we can’t always count on the sun to shine, we have got some indoor activities which are located only a short distance from out holiday cottages in Pembrokeshire, which are ideal for when the weather turns sour.
St Davids Cathedral
This magnificent structure sits in the smallest city in Britain, St Davids. This cathedral was built by no other than St David himself, the patron saint of Wales. Built in 1180, it was a site of pilgrimage and worship for more than 800 years. Today, this spectacular building is as vibrant and beautiful as it has ever been. Step inside and admire the architecture and learn about the history, as well as visiting St Davids shrine. Take a guided tour, or attend a daily service and listen to the impressive sounds of the church organs.
This castle is the only one to be built over a natural cavern and was the birthplace of Henry Vll. You can explore this castle whilst discovering the history though the characters you meet, as well as enjoying the fascination exhibitions. This attraction is perfect if you are looking to dodge the raindrops and want to dive deeper into the history of Wales.
Blue Lagoon Water Park
Don’t get caught in the rain, but enjoy a day of intentionally getting wet at the Blue Lagoon Water Park, which is located in Narberth, southwest Wales. The main feature is a wave pool, which has an amazing six different wave patterns, which break onto a sloping beach. They also have eight water geysers which bubble away near the beach. One of our favourites is the lazy river, which will take you on a ride through the facility. With an abundance of rides and onsite eateries, it is the perfect place to spend the day, and fun for all ages.
Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo
Located in Narberth, this adventure park and zoo offers fun for all ages and has a number of indoor activities in case the rain decides to make an appearance. For the little ones, the Folly Farm will keep them entertained as they have all of our favourite farm animals under one roof! You will also be able to find a vintage fairground, which has plenty of rides to keep everyone busy. There are surrounding cafes so you can have a lovely bite to eat to restore some energy. If the rain decides to stop, head outside to see their award winning zoo, with penguins, giraffes, rhinos and much more!
West Wales Karting
Seeking all adrenaline junkies, West Wales Karting may be the perfect place for you! Have the ultimate indoor karting experience, which is suitable for all ages and abilities. Enjoy a fun-filled drive around their 300-metre track and see who comes out on top. If this isn’t your thing, you can still enjoy watching from the viewing area.
Tudor Merchant’s House
Located in Tenby, this impressive house is the oldest house still standing in Tenby. Built in the 15th century, this townhouse was donated to the National Trust in 1938. They then went on to restore it and have now created a historic house museum. It has been decorated so that when you step through the doors, it is like living in 1500. Step inside the home of a successful merchant and his family, take the time to explore the working kitchen, shop and bedrooms.
What trip to Wales would be without a castle of two? Carew Castle is set in a stunning location which overlooks a 23-acre millpond, and it is a sight which should not be missed. This castle has a history which spans 2,000 years, and the castle displays the development from a Norman fortification to an Elizabethan country house. If it is raining, it is still worth wandering around the stunning grounds and then head indoors to see inner rooms of the castle. Visit the only restored tidal mill in Wales, and take a walk along a medieval bridge. Again, this attraction has something for everyone, and we know you won’t be disappointed.
Pembrokeshire leisure centres
Pembrokeshire is home to 10 leisure centres, six of which are in Milford Haven, Fishguard, Pembroke, Tenby, Crymych and Haverfordwest have either a 25-metre pool and/or a heated learner pool which is great for families to relax in. Splash about, get your kids moving or just take it easy and unwind in the sauna.
Last Invasion Tapestry Exhibition
Located in Fishguard, the Last Invasion Tapestry Exhibition is a magnificent attraction. Go and see what happened when the British mainland was invaded for the last time in February 1797. This story is told by the 30-metre award winning tapestry which was produced to mark the 1997 bicentenary of the event.
Oriel y Parc Gallery & Visitor Centre
The Oriel y Parc Gallery & Visitor Centre in St Davids is an inventive building which sits discreetly in its landscape, with state of the art green technologies working hard to provide a sustainable environment. The gallery displays art from the national collection and has exhibitions which draws inspiration from the beautiful landscapes of Pembrokeshire. Take a break in the family-friendly café and really enjoy this beautiful location.
So, there we have it, some fantastic things to do when you can’t count on the sunshine. If you are looking to stay in the Pembrokeshire area, you can find some great holiday cottages to use as your base whilst you visit.