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Terrific times in Tenby

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[gallery] Paul Naylor finds a picturesque seaside town which is pretty hard to beat

As picturesque seaside resorts go, the harbour town and seaside resort of Tenby is pretty hard to beat. It has some of Pembrokeshire's most beautiful beaches, viewed from many of its hotels. The town itself is home to a variety of restaurants, shops, cafes and pubs, linked by cobbled streets.

Until quite recently Tenby was known as "Little England beyond Wales" and the town remains a rather anglicised part of Wales today. Having visited on a number of occasions I can see why it earned that name. I have always said that it reminds me of Cornwall or Devon.

From the early 19th century, Tenby became a fashionable holiday destination for both the Welsh and the English, with fantastic beaches stretching to the north, west, and south of the town.

Walk along Tenby's South Beach toward Giltar Point and the start of the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path and you will get a fantastic view of Caldey Island.

The island is well worth a visit and tours from the harbour run regularly throughout the holiday season, weather permitting.

The trip to Caldey in itself is an adventure, taking approximately 20 minutes, but once there, visitors can enjoy a unique atmosphere.

Caldey has been inhabited for many centuries by various orders of monks, currently the Cistercian Order, living in the beautiful abbey, found just a few minutes walk from the landing stage.

There is a variety of churches on the island ranging from the abbey church where the monks conduct their seven daily services.

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Explore a little further and you will discover the old priory with its limestone church. The little Norman church of St David's can also be found.

On the cliff overlooking Priory Beach you will find Caldey Calvary and the Watchtower Chapel. Take a walk to the far side of the island and you can walk to the lighthouse to enjoy spectacular views. A marked cliff path allows you to explore the island and perhaps see the Atlantic grey seals and other wildlife.

Don't miss the chocolate factory and Abbey gift shop selling perfume and shortbread baked in the Monastery – and of course chocolate.

In addition to the Caldey Island trip, cruises can take you on various excursions including fishing adventures or a more leisurely search for the plentiful wildlife off the South West coast of Wales. Tenby can be a serene, attractive destination sure to charm you, and those in search of spending time by the beach are spoilt for choice, but Tenby can also offer plenty to do for the more active holidaymakers.

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Head over to North Beach and you will find Tenby Water Sports. Here, you can venture on a jetski safari to Caldey Island and beyond. Squeeze the throttle and feel the top-of-the-range ski come alive. It is said to be one of the most thrilling ways to get out on the water.

On a recent visit I took to the waves in a kayak, hired from the company, which is ideal for sheltered waters, allowing you to paddle into caves and explore the coast.

For a bit more of a thrill, banana boats, Do-nuts, and crazy sofa rides are also available. Life preserves are provided for all activities from Tenby Water Sports.

Of course, not everyone wants to rush out to sea. Tenby is perfect for both young and old, with or without children. There is something for everyone to enjoy.

If you fancy something rather unusual, might I recommend a visit to St Catherine's Island and Fort?

The restoration and regeneration of the fort – which can be accessed by foot when the tide is out – is ongoing.

The latest opening times can be found on the attraction's Facebook page. The island and main gun rooms of the fort are open to visitors most weekends subject to tide and weather and every day during peak season and holidays. Further areas of the fort will be opened for tours subject to the completion of initial safety works.

Being a tidal island, access to the attraction is limited to three hours after high tide and lasts for a period of approximately six hours. I last visited the fort around eight months ago and found it a must-see. Informative guides spoke of its previous use as a military fort, and rather curiously, a zoo.

Whatever you decide to do in Tenby, you are sure of a fantastic and memorable stay.

Fact File

For hotels and other accommodation, see www.walestouristsonline.co.uk

For details on water sport hire visit www.tenbywatersports.co.uk

To discover more about the fort, see www.tenbyisland.co.uk

Caldey Island and various attractions can be visited from the harbour. See www.tenbyboattrips.co.uk and www.caldey-island.com for details.

Visit www.visittenby.co.uk for more general information on the area.

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