Oh Britain, you dark horse. Every time I think I’m done with you; that I’ve seen all there could possibly be, you go ahead and surprise me. Isn’t it amazing how your home city or country can have that impact?
If you’re thinking that’s not possible, I challenge you to go for a road trip or a weekend away. They say it’s not about the destination, but the journey. However, last weekend’s adventure tells me otherwise. It’s about both in equal measures. Six hours of driving brought me an ever-changing view that genuinely (hand on heart) made me say ‘wow’. Just look at that gorgeous British sunset.
In fact, I have somewhere that I’d recommend. Pembrokeshire in Wales is outright stunning. It simply takes your breath away. Now that spring has sprung, smiling daffodils line the lanes, waving in the winds. The crowns of the neighbourly snowdrops peek out from the blanket of moss. The buds on the young trees stand to attention, ready for their debut. Cloudless blue skies dotted with gliding birds and fading aeroplane tracks, and quaint green countryside fill the landscape. It’s not a bad view, at all.
Tucked down a winding one-track lane, between Fishguard and St.David’s, lies Preseli Venture. It’s a cute eco-lodge activity centre. It’s really special as it is right in the heart of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park – the only coastal National Park in the whole of the UK. What that means for you is 180 miles of mind-blowing, picture-perfect coastal path to explore. It’s serene; you’ll not see anyone for a whole hour, and even then you’ll only spy the odd dog walker. Yet walking along the cliff ledges and peering down from great heights into the plunging turquoise waters is exhilarating. Perhaps not as exciting as actually launching yourself from the rocky edges into the watery caves, but more about coasteering later this week.
Walking along the coastal path from Trefin to Preseli Venture, it’s not just the breathtaking Aber Mawr Beach near the end of your walk that captures your attention. En route, each corner you turn you’re greeted with a different view; pebbled shores, craggy caves that would be fit for pirates, and picturesque floral edged coves. The cliffs and stones that make up your pathway are pretty impressive too, as the Pembrokeshire rocks are over 300 million years old.
The walk from Trefin to Preseli Venture is one of lodges’ self-guided hikes. It will take you seven miles along the coastline. The nearing end of the trek will also take you through a beautiful woodland area, full of twisting and arching trees, wild flowers and inquisitive robins. The last stretch will really test your stamina as you’ll climb a winding lane up to the lodge. However, the waving daffodils, feral farm cats and noisy cows will cheer you on, urging you to finish the hike with a wide grin on your face.
The name is inspired by the Preseli Hills, which is where the Bluestones originate that built part of Stonehenge. If that doesn’t intrigue you, then I’m sure the appeal of a mezzanine private bedroom (complete with an adorable skylight) will do. The lodge can host up to forty guests and houses a variety of room options, from the private duos to the larger group bedrooms. Rest assured though, you’ll never be put into the group rooms unless you’re with that group of fellow lodgers.
The lodge is endearing; sat around the warming fire pit in the courtyard, stars and full moon glowing in the navy sky, and marshmallows in hand, it’s hard not to love it. The bedrooms are quirky and basic; forget glossy walls and fluffy duvets. That’s not to say the rooms are missing comfort or cleanliness; toasty blankets and under-floor heating keep you warm. However, your stay is just more about getting back to the countryside and enjoying the outdoors (rather than simply sitting in your room).
The central hub of the lodge is naturally where the food is served up. You can expect homemade and heart-warming tasty meals – exactly what you need after a three-hour hike, or a morning of coasteering. The bar is also welcomed by many guests, particularly as the prices are very kind to your purse. Comfy sofas, a free football table, and the 50p pool table also bring the lodgers in during the evenings. Though after a half-day in the Irish Sea, the wood burning stove is one of the more popular gathering points.
Preseli Venture also has some very friendly animal neighbours; Freddy the dog is absolutely spoilt with cuddles– he has clearly perfected his cute ‘love me’ face. The cows also stride into your view, vying for your attention as you sit on the, erm, cow patterned sofa…! The star of the show is the beautiful white horse just behind the lodge. She acts coy at first, but give her a few minutes and her ladylike composure will be forgotten as she demands food of any sort.
Bucket List Activities
Besides the glorious hikes and treks along the Pembrokeshire coastline, you can also enjoy some epic watersports. Preseli Venture (Pembrokeshire’s only 5-star activity centre) offers sea-kayaking, coasteering (scrambling and jumping off cliffs and coves, into the Irish Sea), as well as surfing. I’ll tell you more about the sports later this week, as rightly so, they deserve their own blog post. However, if you’re curious about a weekend break like this, I’d suggest you check out the Adrenaline Adventure Cocktail Weekend on their website. It includes a two-night stay in the lodge, all of your meals, and three half-day activities.
If you’ve been meaning to get out and about in the UK, then a road trip to Pembrokeshire could be just the ticket. However, there are loads of lovely spots. Where would you recommend? X
I was a guest of Preseli Venture.