The Pembrokeshire Coast Path meanders for 186 miles along towering cliffs and golden beaches, but there are achievable circular walks that explore the best of the scenery. Here are our favourite Pembrokeshire Coast Walks.

By: Mark | Last Updated: 17 Apr 2024 | Jump to Comments & Questions

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Of all the National Parks in the UK, the Pembrokeshire Coast Path is one of our favourites.

The spectacular 186-mile National Trail winds its way along the far southwest coast of Wales passing beautiful beaches, coastal cliffs, and charming fishing villages.

For us, the Pembrokeshire Coast has some of the finest scenery in the UK.

The entire route goes from Amroth in the south to St Dogmaels in the north and takes around 10 to 15 days to complete. But, we’ve put together some of the best sections of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path on 7 achievable day hikes.

All of them use the National Path at some point but also head inland to form a circuit allowing you to experience the highlights of this dramatic coast in a day.

Each of the walks require different levels of fitness which we have indicated below. Some are mostly flat, while others involve more challenging ascents. All of them include a pitstop in an atmospheric pub or a well-positioned cafe.

We have included detailed maps for each hike which you can download and take with you, the best things to see and do along the trail, plus where to stay.

To help you plan your trip to Wales, read: best things to do in Pembrokeshire.

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PEMBROKESHIRE WALKS MAP

All our Pembrokeshire Coastal walks are included on the below map, however, each of the specific routes are shown on the maps linked under each walk.

How to use this map / Click on the top left of the map to display the list of locations, then click on the locations to display further information. Click on the top right corner of the map to open a larger version in a new tab or the star to save to your Google Maps.  


1 – STACKPOLE AND BARAFUNDLE CIRCULAR WALK

The coastal section of the Stackpole & Barafundel walk roams over magnificent headlands with views stretching down past rugged cliffs to the surging ocean below.

Along the way, it visits a tiny harbour, a dramatic deep blue pool, and Barafundle beach – one of the best in the UK.

Inland, the trail meanders through the Stackpole Estate and its famous Lily Ponds. In June and July, beautiful white flowers float on the man-made lake and if you are extremely lucky you may see an otter darting in and out of the banks.

TRAIL CONDITIONS

Except for a couple of very short climbs to ascend the cliffs, the walk is mainly flat and not difficult. You could finish it in just under 3 hours, but it’s much better to take your time.

FACILITIES

Bring your swimming gear because the Barafundle beach is beautiful. We highly recommend an end-of-walk pint at the charming St. Govan’s Country Inn.

There’s a National Trust café and toilets at Stackpole Quay and more toilets at Bosherston car park.

WHERE TO START?

Stackpole Quay is a smallish car park with the only access down a narrow lane. It’s easier to park in Bosherston and start the walk from there.

ROUTE DETAILS

Difficulty – Easy to Medium | distance – 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) | time – 3 hours 15 minutes | start – Bosherston National Trust Car Park | direction – Anti-clockwise.

MAP

Map of the Stackpole & Barafundle walk

2 – MARLOES PENINSULA CIRCULAR WALK

There are three great reasons to do this walk.

Firstly, the scenery on the southern side of the Marloes Peninsula is some of the finest on the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path. Streaky grey slate forces its way through sandy beaches and swelling seas, forming sharp triangles of rock jutting through the golden sand and blue-green waters.

Secondly, the lovely narrow path clings to the cliff top as it meanders along the edge of the headland and cuts through swathes of yellow gorse, swaying bracken, and seasonal flowers.

Thirdly, it’s wonderful for wildlife. From May to July, you may see puffins, guillemots, and razorbills fishing for food. Seals can be seen all year round but come ashore to give birth in October. Periodically porpoises can be spotted in the waves.

Boats to Skomer Island leave from Martin’s Haven Harbour, which you pass on this walk. It’s great for bird watchers, but you’ll need to book in advance.

TRAIL CONDITIONS

The walk takes a little over 3 hours and involves a couple of short climbs, but is relatively easy.

PUBS & FACILITIES

Grab lunch at the excellent National Trust Runwayskiln café, a short walk from the Marloes Sands car park. There are public toilets next door.

WHERE TO START?

Begin the walk at the National Trust Car Park at Marloes Sands and head anti-clockwise following the route on the map linked below.

ROUTE DETAILS

Difficulty – Medium | Distance – 10.75 kilometres (6.7 miles) | Time – 3 hours 30 minutes | Start – Marloes Sands National Trust Car Park | Direction – Anti-clockwise.

MAP

Map of the Marloes Peninsula Walk

3 – SOLVA & THE GRIBBIN HEADLAND CIRCULAR WALK

This short but glorious circular walk is perfect if you want a quick taste of all that is great about the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

The walk begins in Lower Solva, a colourful village at the end of a deep-cut inlet. At high tide, its brightly painted houses shimmer as boats bob cheerily in the harbour.

The path begins by heading up to the Gribbin peninsula, providing fine views of the town, then drops to a tiny cove and rises again to head along the coast. For the next kilometre, you pass dramatic rock formations and secret beaches before heading inland.

After crossing some fields and passing an ancient burial chamber, the trail heads into a lovely wooded glen that drops to a bridge over a babbling brook.

On a warm day, shade from swaying trees brings relaxing relief before a short steep climb back over the Gribbin headland and into Lower Solva.

TRAIL CONDITIONS

Although this walk is only 2.5 miles long, there are three steep climbs up and over the headlands of around 60 to 70-metres each.

FACILITIES

The walk starts and ends in Solva which has plenty of cafes and public toilets. We recommend ending the walk with Welshcakes from MamGu.

ROUTE DETAILS

Difficulty – Easy to Medium | distance – 4 kilometres (2.5 miles) | time – 1 hour 30 minutes | start – Lower Solva Car Park | direction – Anti-clockwise.

MAP

Map of Solva & The Gribbin Headland walk. Please note: If you are using Ordnance Survey Maps, the path markings are wrong around St Elvis Farm. The owners have redirected the route, so please refer to our map.

4 – TREGINNIS CIRCULAR WALK

This is a lovely circular walk around the Treginnis Headland that covers almost the entire southern half of the St Davids Head peninsula. The coastal cliffs are not as high and the beaches perhaps not quite as pretty as other walks, but it is the diversity that makes it special.

In just over 4 hours you pass St Justinian’s boathouses; numerous coves tucked into headlands; the giant gash of Porthlysgi Bay and the charming harbour of Porthclais.

After passing the rocky coast around St Nons, the trail heads inland to the town of St Davids. Take a detour to the magnificent cathedral where wealth poured in after Pope Calixtus II declared two pilgrimages to St Davids is equal to one to Rome, and three to Jerusalem.

The only downside is that you need to complete 3 kilometres of the walk down a country lane walking between St Davids and St Justinians. While the craggy hillock-strewn fields are attractive, at times you need to stand on the verge to allow the traffic to pass.

FACILITIES

There’s a National Trust café and toilets and Porthclais and plenty of facilities in the city of St. Davids, which makes an excellent base for exploring the area.

WHERE TO START?

You can start the walk from St Justinians, Porthclais (National Trust) or Merrivale (St Davids) car parks. If you don’t fancy the hike along the roads from St Davids to St. Justinians, take the 403 Celtic Coaster bus. See links for timetables at the end of this guide.

ROUTE DETAILS

Difficulty – Medium | distance – 14.25 kilometres (8.9 miles) | time – 4 hours 30 minutes | start – St Justinian’s, Porthclais or Merrivale Car Park | direction – Anti-clockwise

MAP

Map of the Tregennis Peninsula walk

5 – WHITESANDS & CARN LLIDI CIRCULAR WALK

This circular walk is for anyone who likes it wild and rugged. There are no cute harbours or pretty villages, just miles and miles of gorse, rock, and heather. It’s a lonely place where the crowds disappear and the tails seem to stretch on forever.

There are a few interesting quirks along the way: the remains of a Celtic Chapel; a long-lost ancient fort; ruined burial chambers and the dolmen of Coetan Arthur.

But the highlight is the summit of Carn Llidi. This dramatic buttressed craggy feature provides far-reaching views.

WHERE TO START?

The walk begins and ends at Whitesands Beach, a sweeping stretch of powdery white sands. End the day with a refreshing swim, watch the surfers rule the waves or simply chill out in a deckchair.

FACILITIES

Whitesands Beach is great for families. There’s a café, toilets and on summer days you can rent deckchairs, windbreaks, surfboards, and wetsuits.

Parking is £5 for the day (in cash) and does get busy in peak season, although the attendant often opens overflow parking in the nearby fields.

ROUTE DETAILS

Difficulty – Medium | distance – 6.75 kilometres (4.2 miles) | time – 2 hours 15 minutes | start – Whitesands Car Park | direction – Clockwise

MAP

Map of WHhitesands & Carn Llidi walk

6 – PORTHGAIN & ABEREIDDY WALK

In our opinion, this is the most interesting short walk on the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path.

It begins in the intriguing village of Porthgain which was a prosperous industrial harbour in the early 1900s. Today the remnants of its industrial past stand as stark reminders of a bygone age.

From Porthgain the trail climbs up some steps and follows the coastal trail south, passing magnificent scenery dotted with old quarries and ruined slate buildings. After half an hour you reach the secret beach of Traeth Llyfn, our favourite on the Pembrokeshire Coast.

Another 15 minutes further brings you to the Blue Lagoon which is a great spot for a quick dip or some rather thrilling leaping from the slate buildings that line its edge.

After about an hour, the path arrives at Abereiddy, where you will find another beach, car park (£4 for the day) and toilets. You can head back inland across the fields to make the walk circular, but for this particular walk, it’s probably better to return along the coast the way you came.

WHERE TO START?

Start the walk in the village of Porthgain which has free parking.

FACILITIES

End the hike with a drink at the Sloop Inn in Porthgain. Established in 1743, the pub is packed with memorabilia harking back to the village’s industrial and fishing past.

There are toilets at both the Abereiddy car park and in Porthgain.

ROUTE DETAILS

Difficulty – Easy to Medium | distance – 6.5 kilometres (4 miles) | time – 2 hours | start – Porthgain Village (Free) | direction – Anti-clockwise

MAP

Map of the Abereiddy & Porthgain walk

7 – STRUMBLE HEAD CIRCULAR WALK

This is the hardest of our circular walks on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, mainly for the amount of ascent and descent. It requires some puff, but it’s well worth the effort. The hike offers tremendous views around undulating coastal cliffs and two great points of interest.

At the far end of the peninsula, the walk includes great views of the Strumble Head Lighthouse on St Michaels Island.

It then climbs to the summit of Garn Fawr, the highest point on the Pembrokeshire Coast. An Iron Age fort at the summit makes excellent use of the hill’s natural lines, linking the rocky outcrops with stone walls.

The views from here over a patchwork of green fields is one of the best on the coast.

The area is less visited than around Tenby and St Davids, but the views and hiking are just as good, if not better.

FACILITIES

There are no facilities on route so bring snacks and water.

TRAIL CONDITIONS

The route we have chosen is 10 kilometres, but if you want more of a challenge, it’s easy to add more distance. Just head further east along the headland before returning to the car park under Garn Fawr (free).

ROUTE DETAILS

Difficulty – Medium to Challenging | distance – 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) | time – 3 hours 15 minutes | start – Garn Fawr Car Park | direction – Clockwise

MAP

Map of Strumble Head walk

HOW TO GET AROUND THE PEMBROKESHIRE COAST

BY CAR

The best way to get to these circular Pembrokeshire Coast walks is to drive. It’s a maximum of just over a 1-hour drive between any of them and it’s the perfect inclusion on a Wales road trip.

The most convenient car parks are marked on the maps under each walk. All are either free, have an attendant that takes cash or card, or have machines that take credit card.

The National Trust owns a lot of the property along the Pembrokeshire Coast. Being a member allows you to park in their car parks for free (saving you roughly £4 per park).

BY BUS

There is a series of shuttle buses that run different sections of the Pembrokeshire Coast. The buses run 7 days a week from May to September and make the entire 186 miles of the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path accessible.

Here is the full list of coastal buses.

Some of the most useful buses for the walks in this guide are:

  • The 387 Coastal Cruiser connects the town of Pembroke with Stackpole and Bosherston (covering walk 1).
  • The 400 Puffin Shuttle runs from St Davids to Marloes via Lower Solva (covering walks 2 & 3).
  • The 403 Celtic Coaster connects the various places of interest around St Davids’s Head peninsula (covering walks 4 & 5).
  • The 404 Strumble Shuttle runs from St Davids to Newport via Porthgain and Strumble Head (covering walks 6 & 7).

WHERE TO STAY ON THE PEMBROKESHIRE COAST

If you are planning on doing several of these day walks, and you intend on using public transport, St Davids is a great place to base yourself.

The bus routes in and out of town connect to many of the walks and there are plenty of handy facilities to equip yourself for the day.

If you are driving then you have a lot more freedom. Anywhere near the coast between Tenby to Fishguard will have you located no more than a 70-minute drive from each of the walks.

Ideally, split your stay in half and spend a few days in the Tenby / Stackpole area and a few days around St Davids.

You can find our favourite places to stay in our guide to the best hotels, huts & B&B’s in Pembrokeshire.

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MORE PEMBROKESHIRE GUIDES TO PLAN YOUR TRIP

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