12 family friendly things to do on a rainy day in Pembrokeshire
Picture the scene. On holiday, dreaming of sunny days at the beach, then suddenly you wake to a dripping wet world. It’s tipping down, literally cats and dogs. Pembrokeshire still looks beautiful in the rain, but did anyone pack the umbrella?
You consider your minimally packed suitcase of summer clothes and suncream. Try to block out the noise of the kids who are already announcing they’re bored. It’s only breakfast time!
So what is there to do in Pembrokeshire in the rain?
Step back in time. Keep out of the rain, and explore some local historic buildings
1. St David’s Cathedral, St David’s
St David’s Cathedral is a must-see, a magnificent building set upon the site of an earlier sixth-century monastery built by St David, the patron saint of Wales, in Britain’s smallest city, St David’s. A site of pilgrimage and worship for more than 800 years, this spectacular cathedral continues today as a vibrant, living church offering a place of peace for prayer and devotion. Admire the dramatic architecture, learn about the history, visit St David’s shrine, take a guided tour, attend one of the daily services, listen to the impressive cathedral organ and peals of the bells, and finish off with delicious food and drink in the beautiful space of the Refectory. Look out their ‘Cathedral Explorer’ trails for families which run each Tuesday in the holidays, special services, and summer concerts.
2. Tudor Merchant’s House, Tenby
Discover the oldest house still standing in Tenby, a 15th-century town house called the Tudor Merchant’s House. Donated to the National Trust in 1938 who repaired the building and created a historic house museum, this three storey house is furnished and decorated as it would have been in the year 1500. Step inside the world of a successful merchant and his family, explore his shop and working kitchen on the ground floor, the family living quarters on the first floor, and sleeping quarters on the upper floor. Get a real sense of what family life in Tudor Tenby looked like. Children’s quiz and trail activities available, with family events during the holiday season.
Get wet indoors. When you’re in your cossie in the warm, who cares about the rain outdoors!
3. Blue Lagoon, Canaston Bridge
Visit the Blue Lagoon Water Park near Narberth, for indoor watery family fun. Enjoy the wave machine in the main pool, a rapids river ride, four exciting water flumes, relaxing spa pools, a fun pirate ship, toddler play areas, even a beach, all in a temperature controlled environment. With some of the rides whisking you outdoors, you can enjoy the rain from a warm outdoor pool. A Fish Shack cafe on poolside and lazy sun loungers offer the option to chill out if you choose. All welcome, with 1.1 metre minimum height restriction for the flumes. Watch out for exciting special events throughout the season.
4. Pembrokeshire Leisure Centres
Visit one of Pembrokeshire’s 10 local leisure centres, 6 of which in Haverfordwest, Milford Haven, Fishguard, Crymych, Pembroke, and Tenby have either a 25 metre pool and or a heated learner pool which offer a great way for families to relax and have some fun. Splash about, swim underwater, practice your strokes, or just take it easy and enjoy the sauna. Check their online timetables for available aquatic activities, and to find out all the other fun stuff they have going on during the holidays too.
Explore a gallery. Experience Pembrokeshire art and get creative whilst hiding from the rain
5. Oriel y Parc Gallery & Visitor Centre, St David’s
Visit the Oriel y Parc Gallery & Visitor Centre in St Davids, an innovative building which sits discreetly in its landscape, with state of the art green technologies working hard to provide a comfortable and sustainable environment. The gallery, home to Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales in Pembrokeshire, displays works of art from the national collection, with exhibitions drawing inspiration from Pembrokeshire’s incredible landscapes. Enjoy a regularly changing exhibition programme, meet the latest Artist in Residence, explore the Discovery Room which hosts family friendly art and nature activities, and take a break in the friendly cafe. Regular family events and activities on offer, with a visitor centre on site if you want to know more about the local area.
6. Last Invasion Tapestry Exhibition, Fishguard
Delve into the history of when the British mainland was invaded for the last time in February 1797, and visit the Last Invasion Tapestry in Fishguard. This magnificent 30 metre award winning tapestry was designed and sewn by almost 80 local women, produced to mark the 1997 bicentenary of the event, and is now displayed in a permanent exhibition in all its glory in Fishguard Library. Learn about the history from the storyboards and artefacts that help to recreate the day, and find out more about the making of the tapestry in the audio visual room. If the rain has eased, you can follow the Last Invasion Trail and explore the local area where these events took place.
Have fun under cover. When your kids are just bursting with pent-up energy, opt for adventure and fun indoors
7. Folly Farm Adventure Park & Zoo, Narberth
The huge variety of attractions at Folly Farm Adventure Park & Zoo near Narberth offer fun for all the family, and plenty of indoor amusements for those truly rainy days. The Jolly Farm will delight the little ones, with all the favourite farm animals indoors under one roof, and the Vintage Fairground with its wide range of rides has plenty for everyone. Keep them occupied for ages running off some energy on the Carousel Woods indoor adventure playground, whilst you enjoy a break in one of the surrounding cafes. And if there is a break in the rainclouds, then do visit their award winning zoo, with lions, giraffes, penguins and more! Lots of outdoor amusements too, plus look out for their special events across the season.
8. West Wales Karting, Haverfordwest
Try an exciting driving challenge with West Wales Karting ultimate indoor karting experience, based in Haverfordwest. They operate an Arrive & Drive system with sessions for all ages and abilities, full race suits, helmets and gloves provided, minimum age 8 years old. Enjoy a drive around the 300 metre track, with 5 hairpins and varying levels of grip, tackle the huge S bends and feel the speed along a 70 metre straight. With printed time sheets available, see if you can beat your best time! If karting just isn’t your thing, then you can enjoy the thrill of watching everyone else racing from the trackside viewing area. Also competitive events available, minimum age 16 years old.
Discover a castle. Visit the magnificent stone castles dotted around the Pembrokeshire landscape
9. Pembroke Castle, Pembroke
Top of the list should be the spectacular Pembroke Castle, the only castle in Britain to be built over a natural cavern, and the birthplace of Henry V11. Explore this fine example of a castle, discovering its history through the characters you meet, enjoy the fascinating exhibitions, have a guided tour, and even take home a brass rubbing memento. Dodge the raindrops to interact with Britain’s largest piece of artwork, the Great Map of Wales painted in the centre of the castle grounds, and discover the location of all the castles of Wales. Plenty of family activities and events available throughout the season.
10. Carew Castle, Carew
The stunning location of Carew Castle overlooking a 23 acre millpond is a sight not to be missed. With a history spanning 2,000 years, the castle displays the development from a Norman fortification to an Elizabethan country house. Explore the fascinating grounds and inner rooms of the castle, spot the impressive 11th century Celtic cross, visit the only restored tidal mill in Wales and even take a trip across a medieval bridge. Guided tours, and a busy summer activity programme are available.
Have fun in a wetsuit. Never mind the rain, you’ll be getting wet anyway!
11. Family Adventure Day, Preseli Venture, Mathry
Try an exciting Family Adventure Day with Preseli Venture, and experience the exhilaration of sea kayaking and coasteering on the unspoilt National Park coast, or surfing on some of the stunning local beaches. Licensed by the National Trust as the principal operator using their remote coastal properties, they are able to offer adventure activities at many uniquely special National Trust owned Pembrokeshire locations. Explore hidden sea caves, swim through natural cliff arches, discover secret beaches, give cliff jumping a go, and see if you can spot some of the incredible coastal wildlife as you travel along the rugged coastline. Available in the school holidays to family groups, minimum age 9 years old. National Trust members can claim a 10% discount.
12. National Trust Coastal Discovery Wildlife Tour, Preseli Venture, Mathry
Take a wild adventure along the north Pembrokeshire coastline on a National Trust Coastal Discovery Wildlife Tour with Preseli Venture. Led by a National Trust ranger and Preseli Venture guide, these family friendly kayaking and coasteering tours lead you on a trip of exploration and discovery along the best unspoilt and wild areas of this part of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Kayak into sea caves, coasteer beneath sea cliffs, see Atlantic grey seals, spot sea birds, discover rocky shore life and experience the wilder side of Pembrokeshire. All specialist kit is provided, with changing facilities available on site, before transportation down to the chosen venue by minibus. Open to all, with minimum age 9 years old, these specialist tours run from April through to September.
For more activities and attractions on your stay in Pembrokeshire, visit www.visitpembrokeshire.com