The Pembrokeshire coast path, in South Wales, features 186 miles of gorgeous cliffs, hidden bays — and the occasional wonderful pub. I don’t mean that there are lots of pubs and only some of them are wonderful — more that pubs are spaced quite far apart in this part of the world, possibly something to do with widespread Nonconformism and therefore teetotalism. There are exceptions, for example Little Haven has three pubs, and I’ve already written about Solva. They must have been very sinful places.
Anyway, the pubs. The ones that do exist tend to be great because they’re catering for a large area, and a mix of locals and tourists. Pubs like the Griffin Inn in Dale — pictured, although you can’t see in my picture that it’s right next to the sea. The Griffin has four ales in good condition, nice food and an extremely friendly welcome.
Another favourite of mine, although I haven’t been there for a few years, is the Sloop Inn in Porthgain. From what I remember, the ales are good, and the food, although pricey, is excellent, focussing on locally-caught seafood.
The beer selection in the area is getting more interesting. Lots of the pubs are genuine free houses, but even so, Brains has tended to dominate. However, newer Welsh breweries have begun to penetrate the market – eg Tomos Watkin (technically the Hurns Brewing Company), Evan Evans and the Rhymney Brewery.
What makes Pembrokeshire such a good area for walking and drinking is the existence of a number of semi-regular coastal bus services. This means that you can enjoy the National Park without needing a car — which is not the case for a lot of other British beauty spots. Many of the bus stops are even outside pubs. Perfect.
If anoraks and walking boots aren’t your thing, there are loads of other things you can do in the area to work up a thirst, such as surfing, kayaking and coasteering.
You can find more information about the area on the website of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority. Here’s a nice photo blog from a couple who walked the entire coast path in 2007, and they mention some of the pubs they stopped off in. The Good Beer Guide gives you some tips for good pubs, but there are a lot more that aren’t mentioned.