(This article was originally written for The National Student)

Deadlines, revision, exam preparation; whatever it is, we all have something that is probably stressing us out right now. IMG_1143And while it isn’t good advice to run away from your problems, sometimes just a short break is all we need to refresh our well being and feel ready to get on with it all again.

If leaving reality behind for 48 hours sounds all too appealing to you, and you dream of reconnecting with nature, taking long walks, and breathing in spectacular sea views, an escape to Manorbier (South Wales) is exactly what you need.

Camp under the stars, without risking the rain!

The YHA Manorbier is the perfect place to stay for many reasons, such as its location (right next to the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path), and its great value prices (student budget friendly!), not to mention the fact that YHA is an inspiring charity that donates all of its profits back into helping young people.

The best reason, however, is the fact that the YHA Manorbier is home to three adorable wooden cabins known as ‘camping pods.’ Complete with bedding, electricity, heating, and the most delightful sea view, the camping pods are comfy and calm; staying in one is just like camping, only much cosier, away from the wind and the rain! Plus, each pod comes with its own little decking, where you can take advantage of the fact that Manorbier has little to no light pollution, meaning that a breath-taking amount of stars are visible in the night sky. This really is the perfect place to just turn off your phone, as well as any stressful thoughts, and enjoy the peace and quiet of your tranquil weekend getaway.

Amble along Pembrokeshire’s Coastal Path

The Pembrokeshire Coast Path is a long and winding hiking trail that follows 186 miles of Pembrokeshire’s coastline, and some of its most wonderful sections can be found in Manorbier and the surrounding area! It is recommended that the majority of your 48 hour escape itinerary is focused around exploring this path, and all of the brilliant things that it leads to. Here are some examples…

  • Explore Manorbier Castle

Its spectacular location by the beach and its beautifully kept walled gardens alone are enough to make Manorbier Castle well worth the visit. Then add in this 12th century construction’s fascinating history, and you’ll leave with your mind swimming in tales of pirates, smugglers, and undiscovered secret passageways that lead to the sea.

  • Discover Lydstep Caverns

With pirates in mind, you can’t walk by Manorbier on the Coastal Path without taking a little detour down to Lydstep caverns. After venturing your way over the rocks (and past what seems to be a graveyard for ruined flip-flops) you will find yourself in a secluded cove surrounded by rocky caverns with a well-known history of being used by pirates to hide their smuggled goods. One passer-by shared with us that she used to hide Quality Streets in the caves, and her children were ecstatic upon finding the chocolates, as they were young enough to believe that pirates had left them!

  • Visit Church Doors Beach

Caves and caverns aren’t the only interesting rock formations that you can discover along the Coastal Path; at Church Doors Beach you will find a huge ‘door’ that has been carved into the towering cliff by the formidable force of the sea- it’s impressive to say the least!

Why stop at Manorbier and Lydstep when exploring the Coastal Path? Let yourself get carried away and follow the winding paths and the breath-taking views all the way to the charming seaside town of Tenby. With its city walls and ice-cream coloured buildings, you can take in the sights from one of Tenby’s stunning beaches as a well-deserved treat after your 5 mile walk! From there, there’s also the option to take a boat trip along the coast or to Caldey Island, where you can observe seals, whales, and puffins!

Don’t forget to re-fuel!

You can’t do all that walking and not think about food and drink; here are some of the places that are best for refuelling your energy…

  • YHA Manorbier’s Bar & Restaurant Yummy, good value food is always a great option, especially recommended are their cooked breakfasts.
  • The Castle Inn Recently refurbished, this pub is a great place for meeting friendly locals, especially if you are brave enough to have a go at their Sunday night pub quiz! (And they do a really fab lasagne)
  • Manorbier Castle Café Have lunch here for some of the best sandwiches of your life, while taking in the views of the beautiful castle gardens.
  • The Buccaneer Inn With ‘the sunniest beer garden in Tenby’ this place is perfect for enjoying a delicious meal (so many great house specials to choose from!), and perhaps a craft-beer or two from Harbwr, Tenby’s local brewery. (Chocolate orange stout, anyone?)

(A few top tips)

Here are a few bits of advice to help you get the most out of your stay (and to make sure that you don’t make some of the same mistakes I did!)

  • Don’t arrive on a SundayIMG_1137

Worth remembering, if you are arriving by train, is that you will have to take a bus from the teeny station to your accommodation. So, don’t arrive on a Sunday because buses don’t run then and you will find yourself with a bit of a trek to do (don’t ask me how I know!)

  • Use a luggage transfer service

You may decide to leave your walk to Tenby until your last day, so you can travel straight home from Tenby station, rather than heading back to Manorbier (it’s a great way to do it!) But if you are like me and you just can’t pack light (no matter how hard you try) you won’t want to haul your big bag all the way along the Coastal Path from Manorbier to Tenby. Using a service like luggagetransfers.co.uk is so straightforward and it makes getting from A to B a whole lot easier.

  • Check tide timesIMG_1457

Scheduling visits to beaches (especially those that are only accessible at low tide like Church Doors) means you should take care to search and pay special attention to the tide times each day; never underestimate the sea.  (And make sure to check you haven’t mixed up the times for high and low tide like I may have done… oops!)

  • Be prepared for rain (this is Wales we are talking about!)

You may just get lucky like me, and spend your weekend away enjoying glorious sunshine. However, it is definitely worth remembering Wales’ reputation for rain- be sure to keep an eye on the forecast, and pack a waterproof just in case!

(Sponsored by YHA)

3 thoughts on “Escape from reality: 48 hours in South Wales

  1. Thanks for putting this gem on my radar, Kia 🙂 I’ve spent countless summer holidays and weekends in North Wales, but have never ventured further south than Abergavenny – looks like I’m missing out! Couldn’t agree more with your last tip – you never know when the heavens are going to open in Wales, even if the forecast predicts sunshine. Good luck for any upcoming exams/ essays!

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