We returned to the UK from Spain in the week before Christmas. Up until this flight I was absolutely fine. Then disaster struck: On the plane I sat next to the Toxic Twins, coughing and spluttering their way to London. The following day I was rewarded with their generous gift of a streaming cold that would linger for the next two weeks.
Our first stop was Newport, south Wales. Close by is Goldcliff, or Goldcliffe, depending on which map you’re looking at. It’s on the Severn Estuary and on a clear, bright day you can see both Severn Crossing bridges in the distance on the left of the horizon.
Or there again, a bit closer thanks to the telephoto lens on my camera 🙂
A lonely house on the waterline
Barry Island the next day was bitterly cold. We drove there for an afternoon walk in the sea air and lasted a little over 20 minutes before returning to the warmth of our parked car.
Not everyone was put off by the cold. Apparently fishing from inside a tent on the seashore is less bone-chilling than taking a stroll along the waterfront.
And then there was this hungry individual trying to stare me down into handing over any leftover snacks I might have.
From Newport we drove to Milford Haven where we’d rented an apartment on the marina for a week. The roads from south to west Wales get increasingly narrower as the motorway system ends and country lanes become more frequent.
There are a number of cafes and restaurants on the marina so we didn’t have to walk too far for food and drink but given we were in the off season not all were open. This was something we encountered everywhere we visited. A lovely view from our apartment.
Getting to Milford Haven was fine but going from there to the places we visited throughout the week became something of a challenge. Winding country lanes wide enough for one car, bordered by high hedgerows, and with occasional passing places, need a lot of concentration and a degree of luck to avoid meeting an oncoming vehicle mid-way between passing places.
St Davids (no apostrophe s) is the smallest city in the UK. It’s a city because it has a cathedral. It’s also mostly closed in winter. But the cathedral, the burial place of St David, Patron Saint of Wales, was open:
Next to the Cathedral is the Bishop’s Palace. Although a ruin it’s an imposing building and appeared from the outside to be larger than the Cathedral.
Back in the city we found a pub open. Not only was it open but it was offering 50% discount on food the day we were there so lunch was a bargain. And here’s the High Street.
The Cs that always get my attention when we’re traveling are Castles, Churches, and Cathedrals so the following day when we decided to visit Tenby we were, once again, driving through country lanes when I saw a sign for Carew Castle. A quick right turn into the car park and there we were.
And another surprise: no entrance fee because a TV network were in there setting up to film a fantasy series about witches. It was fascinating watching the activity. They were painting sets, setting up props, laying down dirt (which I thought was a little unnecessary given that we were almost paddling through mud).
Outside, this one was completely uninterested in the goings on
And then on to Tenby. St Catherine’s Island is a tidal island off Tenby with a Palmerston fort built in the 1800s to counter a threatened invasion by Emperor Napoleon III. It was open to the public until 2014 but is now closed. As were many of the shops and restaurants, though these were only closed for the winter.
The following day we headed for Haverfordwest and another castle. This one was closer to Milford Haven and looked impressive on top of a hill overlooking the town. Unfortunately looks aren’t everything in this case and we walked up the hill to find an empty shell
Broad Haven is a popular beach close to Haverfordwest and I imagine in the summer it attracts the crowds.
For our final night in Wales we drove east to Cardiff and spent the night in Cardiff bay.
And hopped on the train into the city centre for a little retail therapy on a quiet Sunday afternoon.
It’s now mid-January and we’re packed and ready to return home tomorrow morning.