Dubbed “The New Cornwall” by The Western Mail and with Barafundle, one of its spectacular beaches, taking Country Life’s award for the best picnic spot in the UK and being listed in the top 5 beaches in the world and with Tenby winning the best beach in Europe award in 2014, Pembrokeshire is fast becoming Britain ’s newest property hotspot.
Pembrokeshire has the UK’s only Coastal National Park with 186 miles of magnificent coast path and offers something for everyone from secluded tree lined rivers to windswept moorland; from ancient woodlands to rugged hills, pretty villages and magical islands. Iron Age forts, Norman castles and Standing Stones are reminders of the County’s place in history. The islands and coastal waters, warmed by the Gulf Stream, provide a haven for wildlife and birds such as Puffins and Manx Shearwaters with whales, porpoises, dolphins, seals and sunfish regularly being spotted. With a strong sense of community, the area takes its carbon footprint seriously and promotes local Farmers’ Markets, Fairtrade and alternative energy sources.
Narberth is a small, yet lively and attractive town in the rural heart of Pembrokeshire. Overlooked by its Norman castle, Narberth is a shopper’s dream with a plethora of fascinating, individual shops including delicatessens, galleries, antiques shops, clothes and present shops alongside cafes and restaurants. The Queen’s Hall in Narberth High Street is the community venue for concerts, drama, art exhibitions, conferences, and markets among other cultural and social events. The acclaimed culinary capital of West Wales, Narberth holds an annual food festival in September which attracts chefs from all over the UK. And he region is becoming a gourmet’s paradise with the town being twinned with Ludlow for its food festival and locally produced meat, fish and cheese winning worldwide awards.
St. Davids, Britain’s smallest city is surrounded by the beautiful Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. The stunning cathedral, built on the site of St. David’s 6th century monastery, has been a site of pilgrimage and worship for many hundreds of years. The new £3,000,000 art gallery opened in the summer of 2008. Ramsey Island, an RSPB reserve, lies a mile off shore and Whitesands Bay, a mile long sandy beach, is a renowned surfers’ paradise.
Tenby is Pembrokeshire’s largest resort, yet there’s nothing remotely big or brash about its personality. Pastel-shaded Georgian houses huddle around the old quay of this medieval walled town, with its maze of narrow alleyways and 3 top-quality Blue Flag sandy beaches. Saundersfoot, Tenby’s little sister, lies 3.5 miles along the coast.
Ceredigion (formerly Cardiganshire) is one of the largest counties in Wales, but one of the least populated with spectacular coastal and countryside scenery. It is largely undiscovered, with a wealth of large country mansions and unspoilt farmhouses. The beautiful seaside town of Aberystwyth is home to the university voted among the top five places in the world for student satisfaction, according to a worldwide survey, and to the National Library of Wales; whilst 9 miles north of Cardigan the mile long stretch of sand at Penbryn beach was the location for the James Bond film, “Die Another Day”.
Aberaeron is a charming Georgian fishing port reputedly designed by the great classic architect, John Nash. In July it hosts the Cardigan Bay Food Festival and in August the Festival of Welsh Ponies and Cobs is a superb spectacle. Aberaeron lies 16 miles south of Aberystwyth.
With its picturesque houses, pubs and restaurants clinging to the side of the hill and its sheltered harbour and safe beaches, New Quay is a bustling and vibrant town where sailing, fishing, water sports and relaxation, are among the main attractions. The film about the life of Dylan Thomas, The Edge of Love starring Dienna Miller and Keira Knightley was shot here.
Carmarthenshire is the third largest county in Wales with a population of around 180,000 and borders both Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion. With its fertile land and agricultural produce, it is known as “The Garden of Wales”. It is home to both the National Botanic Gardens of Wales and Laugharne, where the poet Dylan Thomas spent his most productive years. With its Ffos Las racecourse, Carmarthenshire is a honeypot for small racing yards. Carmarthen town boosts the superb £74m St Catherine’s Walk shopping centre which opened in 2010 and there are further plans to develop the riverside area of the town.
Laugharne is an ancient township steeped in history situated on the estuary of theRiver Taf. What was once a busy port, is now a paradise for writers, artists, walkers, sailors, fishermen and bird watchers. Overlooking the estuary stands its Norman Castle and the town has a mixture of small cottages and large Georgian houses. The LaugharneLiterary Festival, held annually, attracts participants and audiences from all over the world. Perhaps Laugharne’s most notable resident was Dylan Thomas who had a long affinity with Laugharne, spending the last four years of his life in the Boathouse which is now a heritage centre dedicated to him. It is said that his renowned play for voices, “Under Milk Wood”, was based on Laugharne and its inhabitants. Dylan is buried in St. Martin’s new church. Another local author was Richard Hughes, who wrote “High Winds in Jamaica” whilst living in Castle House.
Llandeilo still retains its old world charm with its narrow streets, its attractive historic buildings and lovely old stone bridge over theRiver Towy. It is a bustling market town with superb individual shops and excellent services. There are numerous nearby attractions such as Carreg Cennen Castle, Dinefwr castle and Park, Dryslwyn Castle, The National Botanic Gardens of Wales and Aberglasney and it lies just 13 miles from Llandovery, with its famous public school, and 15 minutes drive from the M4.
Both Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion’s property markets offer exceptional value for money and are very attractive to people who wish to move here and buy a smallholding to enjoy a better quality of life.
Gower, just a short drive from Swansea. The Gower Peninsula is both beautiful and unspoilt with many historic features located over an area that measures just sixteen miles by seven miles wide. Gower was designated as the UK’s first area of outstanding natural beauty in 1956 and little has changed since then.
The Gower Peninsula starts at Mumbles and extends westwards. It’s famous for its beautiful coastline and beaches from vast Rhossili Bay to tiny, secluded Pwll Du and is a favourite destination for walkers and surfers. Inland you’ll find sheltered woodland and rolling grasslands; country pubs and fine food. It lies within easy reach of Swansea and the M4.
With good transport links to Cardiff and London via the M4 or train and with ferries to Ireland from Fishguard and Pembroke Dock, West Wales is easily accessible and offers the perfect location for either a main or second home.
The area has one of the lowest crime rates in the UK, community spirit and old fashioned values abound and there is a good choice of both private schools, such as Llandovery College and The Castle School, and state schools, universities and colleges.