Tuesday, 21 May 2024

Beautiful UK village ‘protected from world’ full of history and miles of beaches

Wales: Huge shark spotted near Tenby North beach

Wales is full of surprises, beautiful spots, scenic trails, and vast nature reserves.

Tenby, in the south of the country, is often named as one of the land’s prettiest settlements.

A small harbour town, its beauty is almost as vast as its history, something that spans thousands of years.

It is home to miles and miles of sandy beaches, and the legendary Pembrokeshire Coastal Path, not to mention a string of 13th-century medieval town walls.

These things all add up to make Tenby one of Britain’s most unique settlements, a town enveloped in itself, both nostalgic and modern in equal measures.

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It is “lovingly protected from the outside world”, according to TripAdvisor, hemmed in by its medieval stone walls which have attracted visitors from all over.

This year, Tenby came out trumps once again after it was named on the Telegraph’s list of ‘best seaside towns’ in Britain.

While it came in eighth in the UK in general, beating the likes of Southend-On-Sea, Blackpool and Weston-Super-Mare, and topped the list for Wales as a whole.

History is piled on top of itself across the town. The Five Arches barbican gate, built in the 13th century, hints at historic fears of outside invasion.

Today, it stands as a former shell of itself, once accompanied by three similar structures that were removed in 1781, 1797, and finally 1811.

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Historians say there may well have been 24 such gates, all protecting the little seaside town with the region’s most strategic position.

Then there’s the 15th-century St Mary’s Church, an odd structure located at the heart of the town, part of the Diocese of Saint David’s within the Church in Wales.

However, this church is older than it seems, some 200 years older, and still maintains some of its 13th-century features. The chancel’s wagon roof and panelled ceiling has 75 bosses carried in a variety of intricate designs, all completed in the 1200s.

The House of Tudor owes its existence to the church, it being the hiding place of King Henry VII from his enraged predecessor Richard III.

Visitors can see this history for themselves in the National Trust’s Tudor Merchant’s House, a 15th-century Grade I-listed townhouse built entirely from stone originally used by a merchant for his business.

There’s plenty more history in Tenby, but for most, the opportunity for outdoor activities is the biggest pull.

The beach is stunning, with some three miles of unspoiled coastline ripe for walking or sunbathing, that’s largely free for dogs to roam across.

With plenty of places to wine and dine, Tenby has become a haven for tourists, but still just about manages to keep its quaint atmosphere.

The town isn’t without its problems, however. As with swathes of Pembrokeshire, Tenby has in recent years been blighted by the issue of second-home ownership.

Locals previously reported being priced out of their lifelong homes and unable to source food from supermarkets that close in the off-season.

Reacting to what has become a problem across the country, the Welsh government this year introduce a so-called second homes tax, taking a tougher stance on those who leave their properties empty for most of the year.

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