There are plenty of lists of Pembrokeshire beaches to be found on the internet, but here are the beaches that we use as a family, are familiar with ourselves, and that we recommend to friends when they visit.

Freshwater East.

Freshwater East is likely to be your number one beach. It's just a six minute car journey away, and there is a sensibly priced (free if you just want a quick walk) council-run pay-and-display car park.   The beach is very clean, though be careful with the stream.  It's a long, sweeping beach, with plenty of space, and it's got a gentle slope that makes it safe for swimming.  There is, however, no lifeguard service here.  

Out of season, especially in the evening or the morning you can find that the beach is all yours.  It becomes more popular in summer, but even on the hottest days there is always enough space to set up camp and enough sea to splash and swim in.  This isn't a surfers' beach - there just aren't the waves here.  The cove points in a south-easterly direction, protecting it from Atlantic rollers .

Behind the beach is a dune system that has footpaths to enable you to walk through them without causing any damage.   A couple of horses are often put to pasture in the dunes but as long as you don't feed them they'll leave you alone.  

There are toilets, including disabled toilets at the entrance to the beach, so it's possible for your family to come here and stay all day long. 

Freshwater West

Freshwater West is completely different.  It's a great place to go for a walk or perhaps watch surfers, but not recommended for swimming.    The huge waves rolling in directly from the Atlantic, plus the tide rips caused by fast moving water make this a beach only suitable for strong-swimming surfers, who know the ways of the sea here. The beach is very wide, and below the high tide mark it's sandy.  The eastern end of the beach is rocky, with good pools to explore;  it's best to use non-slippy footwear.  Behind the beach is an extensive dune system.

If you're on the beach here take care that the tide doesn't sneak in behind you, leaving you cut off on a sandy island.  

Toilets are found in the east car park.  Jonathan's Cafe Môr is a must to visit! Journey time is 18 minutes.


Manorbier beach is another favourite of ours.  It's a popular beach for surfers, but the gentle slope of the sand makes it a relatively safe beach.  Quite often you can watch seals here, teasing the surfers as they bob up and down waiting for their next big wave.  There's also some good rock pools here.  Some car parking is possible on the hill down to area, but there is an extensive car park behind the beach - expect to walk 100 to 150 metres.  There are toilets.   Journey time is 11 minutes.

Angle Bay Beach can be a bit full in summer, especially as there is a caravan site right next to the beach, but the bay is protected from the Atlantic by St Anne's head, opposite, and the beach is sandy and has a gentle, long slope to it.  If you come here then you could consider having a meal or a drink in The Point, especially if the weather is good and you can sit outside.  Also, a walk up to the lifeboat station lets you see across to the Dragon LNG jetties, where you can sometimes see some of the largest ships on the sea. You can't drive up to the lifeboat station, as there isn't a public car park, just one for lifeboat men, so leave your car by The Point.   (Check the Milford Haven Port Authority website for details of arrivals , vessels at berth and departures).  Journey time is 26 minutes.

Barafundle Bay is a great beach for a day out.  The sea is calm and the beach gently sloping, and behind the beach is a system of sand dunes.  Visiting this beach involves a moderate climb, a walk across a field then a descent.  In the past, this has all been enough to keep visitor numbers down; often you'd get the whole beach to yourself.  However, in recent years Barafundle has got itself into 'best beach' lists, including the best in the UK, and 12th best in the world, so now the car park is often very full in summertime.  There is a café next to the car park.  Journey time is 15 minutes.

Broad Haven South

Broad Haven South is a fairly calm beach with a freshwater stream, fed from Bosherston Lily Ponds.  There are two ways to visit.  One is from the cliff-top car park directly above it, walking down some steps, giving you direct access to the sand.

The other way to get there is to  park in Bosherston (£5 to the National Trust), then walking down past the lily ponds.  Parking in Bosh (as it's called locally) makes for a good walk - down one side of the lily ponds, onto the beach, then back up the other side.  If its sunny, then when you get back to the village you can always recuperate with a cup of tea and a slice of cake at The Old World Café.  Journey time to Bosh is 14 minutes.

Secret Beaches

The beaches above are all easy to reach, and on a hot summer's day you'll find other people there.  None of these beaches gets properly crowded, but around the South Pembrokeshire coast there are several hidden sandy beaches, like the one pictured below.  All you need to find them is a good map.

This picture was taken on a Sunday in June at about 2pm.  If you look closely, you'll see three other people on the sand - though there were a few more sunning themselves up against the rocks below.  

You'll always find a rich variety in the rock pools here as no one else ever seems to search through them.  Journey time to this beach is 7 minutes, followed by a 300m walk.

With thanks to Google Maps for journey times.

The Tide

An easy place to find the time of the tides for today is Milford Haven Tide Times;  within ten minutes these times are accurate for all of the above beaches. For planning ahead, Milford Haven Port Authority have data for the full year.