With the Easter holidays upon us, new figures from The Great British Tourism Survey released yesterday show that 2013 was a bumper year for tourism in Wales with visitor numbers increasing by 3.4%. This comes at a time when Britain as a whole experienced a downturn of 2.5% compared with 2012.
Expenditure associated with visits to Wales rose by nearly 7% with visitors spending £1.7 billion while on holiday in Wales during 2013. Expenditure on trips to GB as a whole fell by almost 3%.
Together with the pull of Pembrokeshire’s stunning coastline and wonderful, wild Preseli mountains, the number of events held in Pembrokeshire throughout the Summer attract visitors from all over the world.
Along with wonderful plays, concerts, agricultural shows, etc. for the last two years a leg of the spectacular Red Bull Cliff Diving has been held at The Blue Lagoon, Abereiddy. In 2013 some 5,500 spectators had tickets to the two-day event, plus many thousands more watched from vantage points around the coast and from boats below as they witnessed an epic 27-metre cliff diving competition featuring 14 athletes from nine different countries. Although the event has moved to another venue this year, Red Bull have said they hope to be back in Pembrokeshire soon.
Ironman Wales is another event which has been staged in Pembrokeshire for the past three years and returns again in September. The start of the race is at North Beach, Tenby. Athletes swim 3.8K in the Bay before taking on a 180K bike course through the scenic countryside of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, passing numerous castles and iconic landmarks. The medieval town walls and picturesque beachfront provide an impressive backdrop for the marathon through Tenby.
Billed as the UK’s No. 1 Food Festival 2013 by The Independent, Pembrokeshire Fish Week 2014 takes place between 28th June-6th July. Confirmed for this summer’s festival, is a night with Paul Rankin- Celebrity Chef Masterclass; Proms at Pembroke Castle, a time for picnics, prawns and pimms and a festival firework finale, plus headlining at the opening event is chef Bryn Williams.
The week begins at the Open Day on Milford Fish Docks with a great line-up on the music stage, the Tall Ship Irene will be in port, plus some tasty dishes in the ‘Blas-y-tir’ Feast on Fish pop-up restaurant. On Wednesday July 2nd the Torch Theatre, Milford Haven hosts a night with Paul Rankin, guaranteed to be a lively evening of tales, tastes and techniques, get hands on in one of the cookery workshops with S4C’s Tim Maddams.
Other delicious new events for foodies include a Fish Feast at the Harbourmaster, Tapas and live Jazz at the Lavender Café, a Tutored tasting at the St.Brides Spa Hotel, a Druidstone Feast night, with Sea Shanties and Dancing and much more.
Take a fishing trip or an estuary cruise with Broadsword Cruises, or explore with the family in kayaks at Stackpole, finishing the day off with music and fresh crab in the Boathouse cafe.
Join Pembrokeshire Coast National Park as they watch the lives of the seabirds on the stacks, go crab catching, or take a six mile guided walk at Castlemartin range.
New for this year is an illustrated talk, ‘Indian Oceans’ at Haroldston House, an afternoon of family fun in St.David’s and beach fun at Goodwick Harbour.
For a great social night take a picnic and listen to the Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra at PembrokeCastle on Saturday 5th July, then visit SaundersfootHarbour on 6th July – for sea and shore based family activities.
For golfing enthusiasts Tenby Golf Club – Wales oldest Golf club – has just opened a new driving range which is an extension of the Ryder Cup 2010 Legacy Project. There are numerous other superb golf courses in Pembrokeshire; both links and park course, offering a huge variety to players.
With celebrity chef, Will Holland, manning the helm at the new Coast Restaurant on the beach at Coppet Hall which opens this weekend, and other wonderful restaurants and cafes scattered throughout Pembrokeshire ranging from the informal Quayside Café at Lawrenny where you can enjoy crab sandwiches and a glass of wine sitting on the river bank, Picton Castle café offering delicious Spanish tapas, The Shed at Porthgain where you can eat fish yards from where it was caught and Peppercorn, a small bistro in Narberth offering consistently good simple food, to the more formal dining at The Grove, Narberth, foodies are well catered for in the county.
West Wales really has upped its game and the figures reflect this.
If you are visiting West Wales and would like to stay at an informal, farmhouse b and b where the atmosphere is one of spending time with friends in the country, then we would love you to stay with us at Pembrokeshire Farm B and B on 01834 860338 www.pembrokeshirefarmbandb.co.uk firstname.lastname@example.org