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Monday, 9 October 2017

One Week in Wales: Day Four

porthclais, wales, travel
Image: Lorna Holland
Missed day three? Catch up here before continuing on to day four!

After the hectic goings-on of the previous day, it was no surprise that we slept like logs, tucked up safely away from the elements in our B&B for the night. This was just as well, really, as day four dawned grey, cloudy, and full of rain. In fact, the rain continued without stopping all day, making us even more glad about our decision to forego further camping attempts for the rest of the trip.

Following a delicious breakfast provided by our charming, helpful hosts, we set off for the day's activities, heading further along the coast towards St David's.

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Having visited this part of Pembrokeshire just a few years ago with my family, I was keen to show my boyfriend the highlights I recalled from my previous trip. To that end, after a little searching, a phone call to my mum and the help of Google Maps, we headed down the narrow road to St Justinian, a small inlet overlooking (on a clear day) Ramsey Island. There is precious little here save for coastal walks, stunning views, peace, tranquillity, and the two lifeboat stations. The last time I visited, the new station was still only partially-built, so getting the chance to see it completed in all its glory was particularly nice.

After a short walk further round the headland and back, we headed back to the car and down to our second stop of the day - Porthclais.

Porthclais is a tiny, secluded and sheltered inlet port and harbour just along the coast from St David's. Harking back to the 12th century, it was originally used to import goods to the city but now falls under the care of the National Trust, providing mainly fishing and tourism. It's the perfect peaceful spot for another coastal walk away from the crowds, and in nicer weather and better health, I have no doubts that the coast path linking St Justinian and Porthclais would have made for a great walk.

the-farmers-arms, pub-sign, st-davids, wales
Image: Lorna Holland
With lunchtime approaching and the day wearing on, we decided to complete our day's objective and head into St David's itself. Britain's smallest city made a big impact on me during my (also very wet) first visit, so I had hyped up the visit so much beforehand that I worried reality wouldn't live up to the thought.

As it happened, luckily the city made as big an impression on him as it did on me. After seeking a brief respite from the unrelenting rain in a cafe for lunch, we explored the town, the shops and an interesting art exhibition before deciding to check out the cathedral and Bishop's Palace.

St David's cathedral is easily the highlight of the city. Steeped in history and offering a bountiful display of stunning architecture, culture and religion, we took a tour of the cathedral to soak up the atmosphere and really get to grips with the history of the city. By the time we finished, time was getting on and we were starting to feel pretty cold and wet, so we skipped a similar tour of the grandiose Bishop's Palace, settling for some photographs of the ruins instead.

st-davids, wales, cathedral
Image: Lorna Holland
Back to the car, we drove around the headland and further round the coast, following the route I remembered from my last visit. Our hastily-booked lodgings for the night were in a period farmhouse on more National Trust land, overlooking the surfer's haven of Newgale and its infamous beach. Only the hardiest of surfers were braving the waves in this weather, though, so the village was almost deserted as we headed back up the hill towards our evening's home.

Staying in Southwood Farm B&B was a real experience. As soon as we stepped inside it felt like we were entering a time warp, with creaking floors, authentic decor and furniture and fittings to match. The farmhouse dates back to 1822, and with the wind and rain lashing down outside, it wasn't too much of a stretch to imagine ourselves entering a period novel. The staff were friendly and the room was comfortable and pleasant - this was truly a B&B to remember.

As we were situated pretty much in the middle of nowhere, dining options for the night were scarce. We decided to head towards Haverfordwest, stopping to inquire about dinner in a pub we located on the way to no avail. With time ticking on, we found ourselves entering Haverfordwest itself, struggling to locate a car park (the town has a horrible one-way system which we strongly don't recommend) and failing miserably to find a decent eatery that was actually open. Do Welsh people not go out for dinner? With the town centre drawing blanks, we ended up at a handy chain restaurant on the outskirts of the town. Not exactly local food, but it was food nonetheless.

Finally full up, we headed back to the farmhouse to prepare for the next day's adventures, hoping day five would bring back the warm weather once again.

Are you enjoying the series so far? Keep checking back to catch the next instalment!

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