Good things come in little packages, which is why I recommend a trip to Britain’s smallest city.
St David’s, tucked away on south west Wales’ rugged Pembrokeshire coast, is barely larger than a village with a population of just 1,600.
It has city status because of its magnificent cathedral, founded by St David 1,500 years ago and originally his resting place before it was ransacked by the Vikings.
A walk through it is a step back in time. Strolling around St David’s with its small coffee bars and independent shops is a relaxing joy. But there are high-energy pursuits too.
Jumping in a speed boat is the perfect way to see Ramsey Island, an important reserve for wildlife including guillemots and seals.
After buying tickets from the Voyages of Discovery office in the city centre, it was a short drive to the RNLI station in St Justinians where our powerful RIB inflatable was waiting. Donning life-jackets, we were soon gliding over the waves.
Ramsey Island is home to the second largest colony of grey seals in Britain. The best time to see them is between September and November when they give birth, but even so we saw plenty of the shy creatures bobbing about the water. The seas here are also home to dolphins, puffins, whales and porpoises, although we weren’t lucky enough to see any.
Back on dry land, we headed to the St Brides Spa Hotel, perched on a cliff in the sleepy town of Saundersfoot, about an hour’s drive east from St David’s.
If you are looking for relaxation then this is the place to be. The spa’s heated outdoor saltwater infinity pool makes you feel like you can swim straight into the sea.
Good food is another hallmark of any trip to Saundersfoot.
Breakfast at St Brides is a real highlight, with a full buffet including pastries and cereals and great cooked options, as well as pancakes and bacon.
Dinner in the hotel’s Cliff restaurant, overlooking Carmarthen Bay, is equally spectacular. I particularly enjoyed the Dover sole.
The hotel also owns two other restaurants in the town, the Mermaid on the Strand overlooking the beach, which is one of the best fish and chip places I’ve been in a long while, and Marina, which also specialises in the British staple.
On our last night we dined at Coast, on Coppet Hall Beach. It opened a year ago and is a foodie mecca for locals. I recommend the scallops and sea bass and the crème brulee was divine.
The friendly staff tipped us off about a hidden passageway through the cliff face back to the hotel.
The next day, it was with heavy hearts that we checked out. But no visit to Wales is complete without a roam around a castle so we visited Pembroke Castle, between St David’s and Saundersfoot, which has the claim of being the birth place of Henry VII.
As we headed home, not even the thought of the long drive could ruin the feeling of calm our long weekend of relaxation had brought.
Rooms at St Brides Spa Hotel, Saundersfoot, are from £160 per night for two sharing, breakfast included. See stbridesspahotel.com or call 01834 812 304
Coast, Coppet Hall Beach, Saundersfoot, call 01834 810800 or see coastsaundersfoot.co.uk.
Source: The Sun, 13 July 2015
St Brides Hill, Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire SA69 9NH