With the year’s harvest produce arriving a-plenty in autumn, budding gastronomes who love new foraging discoveries will be spoilt for choice with Pembrokeshire’s range of epicurean hot spots. Besides what the region has to offer on the wilder side, visitors looking to sample some of Pembrokeshire’s finest wines and restaurants won’t be disappointed either…
Bountiful Food & Drink – Cuddfan Feasts are for people who love food and all things wild. Bringing nature and people closer together, Cuddfan – pronounced Cuth-van, and meaning hideaway – specialises in introducing visitors to the flavours and lost ingredients that can be discovered in Pembrokeshire. Located near Haverfordwest, Cuddfan provides a different autumnal dining experience – join like-minded epicureans for a taste of the wild and unusual. A beautiful woodland tipi is the setting for its regular dining experiences. Every Friday and Saturday evening, guests can experience the Feast Over Fire events, a sumptuous four-course dinner cooked over fire, enjoyed in a cosy tipi, priced at £70pp. Or why not try brunch under the trees, accompanied by gentle birdsong, with a hot cuppa in hand? A two-course brunch, complete with Welshcakes and unlimited tea & coffee, is £17.50pp. For dates this autumn, or information about their cottages, the Hen House, or their Meadow and Tree Tent Camping options, visit Cuddfan Feasts
Coastal Foraging not only takes small groups of gourmands, as its name indicates, on coastal foraging expeditions, but also educates them about the coastal environment and about shore life in the inter-tidal zone. Learn how to forage sustainably for wild delicacies and, if weather permits, how to cook some of the discoveries from the day’s find! A selection of courses is available right through to December, from Classic to Special Interest. Courses usually take place within 10 to 20 minutes of Tenby/Saundersfoot.
Wales is home to 30 excellent vineyards, and Pembrokeshire can boast its fair share. Velfrey Vineyard located in the beautiful south Pembrokeshire countryside, occupies a gentle south facing slope of the Lampeter Vale and offers a selection of tours and tastings throughout the season. Besides the quality wine, Velfrey provides scrumptious afternoon teas and Welsh grazing boards, so it’s not all about the wine at Velfrey Vineyard!
Coast Restaurant – Sitting above the golden sands of Coppet Hall beach in Saundersfoot, Coast Restaurant is a haven between land and sea. Reflecting the curve of the beach and the rolling waves it overlooks, the restaurant is a bold statement of modern architecture, complementing its irresistible natural setting. Inviting guests to really embrace the coast experience, chefs use the freshest ingredients, thoughtfully crafted and paired with curated wines and, of course, breath-taking coastal views. For diners looking for a gastro experience to match no other, choose from its daily seven-course tasting menu – available at lunch or dinner. Coast has just been awarded 3 Rosettes in the 2022 AA Hospitality Awards.
Within Pembrokeshire’s fabulous eclectic foodie landscape is a selection of world-class artisan food and drink producers. Pembrokeshire has its very own gin, in the form of Charlotte Clark’s award-wining Pembrokeshire Gin. Also to be sampled are the delights of Still Wild – a vermouth producer, Velfrey Vineyard, with its excellent Welsh sparkling wine, and also several breweries, including Bluestone Brewing, the microbrewery with sustainability at its heart, offering bottled craft beers such as Red of Heaven and Bedrock Blonde. There are also interesting seafood producers such as Andy Woolmer, owner of Atlantic Edge Oysters, which harvests oysters in Angle Bay; all ensure that Pembrokeshire continues to be recognised as a main artisan food producer.
Activities and Wildlife
For walkers who share a love of wildlife, autumn is an amazing time to witness one of Mother Nature’s greatest sights; Pembrokeshire is home to many seals giving birth to their pups. October is the best time to visit, and St Davids is the perfect base from which to enjoy this sight of the natural world. The Treginnis self-guided walk of the St Davids Peninsula, starting nearby in Porthclais Harbour, is a six-mile route taking visitors over Wales’ oldest rocks (laid down some 600 million years ago, during the pre-Cambrian era) and runs past Seal Bay, which duly lives up to its name in autumn, when pups are born on the shore. See National Trust St Davids Trail.
Autumn is a lovely time for hikers and walkers to get out to the countryside – trails are quieter and the weather has cooled down to an ideal walking temperature. Discover Pembrokeshire Walking provides a selection of walking options geared towards the individual, from Guided Walks, Hill Walking Skills and Walking Skills Modules – which provides training in a variety of walking skills. Walks are focused around North Pembrokeshire, away from the beaten track near the coast and the Preseli Hills.
Alternatively, for hardened hikers who seek more of a challenge, The Pembrokeshire Coast Path, a spectacular 186- mile walk hugging the coastline, features the longest and oldest established section of the Wales Coast Path. Lying almost entirely within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, the trail offers opportunities to see a wide array of birdlife, as well as evidence of human activity from Neolithic times to the present. The whole stretch will take around ten to 15 days, and is quite an undertaking – the ascents and descent are said to be the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest, which is 35,000 feet! However, most visitors take in a short section at a time, so a day’s walk is a nice addition for visitors wanting to combine an activity with an autumn break.
Events & Festivals
Art lovers visiting Pembrokeshire this autumn will be in for a treat, as Milford Haven’s Waterfront Gallery plays host to an exhibition of entries to the prestigious Wales Contemporary Fine Art Competition. Judging for the competition has been taking place over the summer and the winners were announced on 30th September. A special exhibition is now open to the public at the Waterfront Gallery, which is housed in the historic former sail loft that overlooks Milford Marina and is central to the port’s heritage. The exhibition runs until 5th November, prior to moving to London’s OXO Gallery, so it will give visitors to this far western corner of Wales a chance to enjoy the works before they head to the big city. The Wales Contemporary Fine Art Competition was developed by the Waterfront Gallery in association with the Welsh Government in 2019, and is sponsored by the Port of Milford Haven. This year the competition attracted almost 2,000 entries from over 40 countries as far afield as the USA and Japan, as well as from across Wales. It is judged by a distinguished panel including the president of the Royal Academy and the curator of the National Collection at the National Library of Wales. Entry to the exhibition is free and the gallery is open to visit from 10.30 to 16.00, Tuesdays to Saturdays inclusive. See Milford Waterfront.
The thrilling World Rowing Coastal Championships 2022 will take place in Saundersfoot (7-16 October), with a series of exciting races taking place along the picturesque Pembrokeshire coastline. Two exciting formats, spread across two weekends, will see elite international coastal rowers competing in a new beach sprint rowing format, which is tipped to be a future Olympic rowing discipline. For spectators who enjoy a real festival beach atmosphere with high-end rowing, the World Rowing Coastal Championships are definitely one for the diary…
For blues fans with an emotional heart set in Mississippi, The Tenby Blues Festival, Pembrokeshire’s authentic rhythm and blues event, is a must! Taking place over the weekend of 18th-20th November, a jam-packed weekend of original blues will take place, with some 50 acts performed in over 20 venues – from hotels to restaurants, cafés, clubs and bars – providing an amazing atmosphere in one of Pembrokeshire’s loveliest seaside towns. See Tenby Blues.
Places to Stay…
Tŷ Hotel Milford Waterfront opened its doors in the spring. This plush hotel is a stylish addition to the Milford Marina and Waterfront’s transformation. Commanding beautiful views of the Marina and Waterway, the hotel’s restaurant, Dulse, champions the best of Pembrokeshire’s produce, from both land and sea. Funky accommodation provides a stay with a difference. The Shores Apartment comes with an ever-changing panoramic view of Milford Haven, while the four Floatel rooms bob amidst the boats moored at Milford Marina.
The five-star Grove of Narberth, a boutique bolthole with 25 suites and rooms, set in a secluded glade and gardens with views of the Preseli Hills, has recently renovated eight of its bedrooms – the final stage of the hotel’s refurbishment. The Artisan Rooms Restaurant has also been redesigned, making it even more warm, cosy and comfortable. The hotel has also just been delighted to collect three major awards at the 2022 AA Hospitality Awards -The Fernery Restaurant achieved 4 Rosettes, as well as Wine List of the Year for Wales, and the hotel achieved 5 Red Stars. The Grove of Narberth is now one of just 11 UK hotels to hold both 5 Red Stars and 4 Rosettes or above from the AA.
Overlooking the sea, Penally Abbey near Tenby, is a stunning hotel, lovingly restored by the Boissevain family. With 12 beautifully-appointed rooms, all individually decorated, the unique character of this delightful property and its gardens provide an oasis of calm and relaxation for guests. Rhosyn, the hotel’s restaurant, delivers an excellent selection of seasonal dishes that highlight Pembrokeshire’s finest producers, from sea and land. The reward for a blustery coastal walk is a traditional afternoon tea in the cosy sitting room, beside a welcoming roaring log fire.
For a proper cosy and traditional pub, serving excellent home-cooked food with comfy guestrooms, The Trewern Arms Hotel, a picturesque rural 16th century inn located on the banks of the River Nevern in the beautiful village of Nevern, in the Pembrokeshire National Park, ticks the box! Think cosy corners with a roaring log burner, complemented by hearty autumnal dishes. Known for its excellent food, The Trewern Arms prides itself on its excellent locally-sourced produce and its ever-changing seasonal menus.
For information on any of the above, or to research and plan your next Pembrokeshire trip, see Visit Pembrokeshire for ideas and full details.