Tenby South Wales

What We Packed – Walking & Beach Holiday in Wales, UK

The Trip

Tenby, Wales, UKOn this trip we're heading to Tenby in south Wales for a five night summer break for two people. With the UK in the middle of a July heatwave, we're expecting warm weather although the upcoming weather forecast predicts rain showers over the next few days (typical!) and temperatures a little cooler on the Welsh coast.

If temperatures are comfortable we'd like to do some walking and explore the fabulous Pembrokeshire coastline. If it's really hot we're likely to laze around on the beach. If it's wet… we'll be looking for indoor attractions! As such we're going to have to pack for all these possibilities – not unusual for a holiday in the UK. We'll be eating out in the evenings, but in a UK seaside resort this is likely to be fairly casual.

The key to packing for all this, as always, is to take items that can be mixed, matched and layered as necessary. We're travelling by car so have no particular restrictions on case size or shape and can easily throw in any extras, along with holiday ‘equipment' such as deck chairs, rugs and not forgetting the bucket and spade ;). We'll also have the back-up of being able to buy anything we miss, as the shops will be the same as at home.

The Packing

I'm still keen to pack light, though, as it's just so much easier to manage all your stuff.

On a very hot day, we will each travel in:

  • Smart-casual shorts
  • Strappy vest (for me)
  • T-shirt (for him)
  • Comfy sandals (for wear at the beach or in town, and mine are smart enough for evenings too)
  • Sunglasses

What I packed:

For me:

  • 5 x underwear and a selection of socks/sockettes (socks stuffed inside shoes)
  • 1 pair of comfy trainers for country walking
  • Light sleepwear
  • 3 vests
  • 3 t-shirts (2 could be worn as casual evening wear)
  • 1 tunic
  • 1 smarter evening top
  • 1 skirt (suitable for day or casual evening wear)
  • 1 pair leggings (will go under the tunic or skirt if it gets chilly)
  • 1 pair of ‘cargo' style trousers
  • 1 hooded sweatshirt
  • My One Arm Wonderwrap (for a smart evening layer, or extra warmth at any time)
  • Swimwear
  • 1 set of jewellery
  • 2 pouches of make-up and toiletries, decanted into small bottles
  • 1 pouch of non-liquid toiletries e.g. hair brushes, razor, microfibre flannel (can be used to remove make-up), first aid supplies

For him:

  • 5 x underwear and a selection of socks/sockettes (socks stuffed inside shoes)
  • 1 pair of smart comfy trainers for country walking and evening wear
  • 2 casual t-shirts
  • 2 smarter collared polo shirts
  • 3 smarter evening shirts (2 short-sleeved, 1 long-sleeved)
  • 1 pair of ‘Rohan' style walking trousers with detachable legs (can be worn as shorts or trousers)
  • 1 pair of smart jeans
  • 1 lightweight pullover
  • Swimwear

Clothes rolled and ready to packWith everything laid out on the bed, it looks like a lot of stuff!! I begin to doubt it will all go in the bag, but once I've rolled things into ‘parcels' – lay each item flat (or a pile of two or three similar items), fold in half, then roll up into sausages – it starts to look more manageable. With the exception of the two jumpers I can fit everything into the wheeled backpack, with the toiletries slotted in a front pocket.

The bag packedWe will also take two smaller rucksacks containing:

  • 2 fold-up waterproof jackets
  • 2 jumpers
  • 2 sun hats
  • 1 large microfibre towel for the beach, with beach towel clips
  • Books/puzzles/games
  • Binoculars
  • Camera
  • Phones, gadgets and solar powered charger
  • Foldable water bottle

The Journey

Tenby South BeachWe had amazingly good weather; warm, sometimes hot, and sunny with the only rain hitting us on the final evening – the waterproofs were required! But our activities consisted of two hot lazy days on the beach, followed by two slightly cooler days walking the coast paths. Evenings were spent eating out in very casual restaurants or pubs.

As such, there were quite a few clothes we didn't wear or need. A spare pair of trousers each weren't necessary as we lived in shorts. Spending time at the beach in swimwear means you get a lot more wear out of t-shirts so we didn't need so many of those. And for evenings the smarter shirts weren't really necessary either. We didn't need the jumpers at all, and I carried my One Arm Wonderwrap every night as a lightweight cover-up which was perfect. Having said all that… the weather conditions could easily have changed at any time (this is the UK after all!) and we would have worn the warmer attire, so I would still pack these options in future.

Tenby town in the dayA few observations… The whole beach holiday atmosphere meant we dressed more casually than we might do at home, and we re-wore things more often.

Regular swimwear was fine for the beach and even swimming in the sea, however a number of people (particularly with children) still opted for an all-in-one wet suit to keep out the chill in the water. These would be essential to swim at less warmer times of the year – really any time outside of July and August in the UK.

The microfibre towel worked brilliantly for the beach. It dried out quickly so you didn't have to worry about packing it up wet, and this was a particular bonus as we stayed in a B&B room where there wasn't much space to dry things – even getting the bathroom towels dry was difficult and I hadn't even considered this before. I also used the towel after rinsing out swimwear in the evenings – laying them on the towel seemed to speed up the drying process.

Views from the Pembrokeshire coast pathIf you're likely to do any walking, absolutely make sure you have the right footwear. The coastline views are stunning but some of the walking up and down the cliff paths is challenging and steep, with very uneven ground. Sturdy trainers or walking shoes are perfect in dry conditions (as we had) but for anything wetter then full walking boots would be better. Either way you need good grip and ankle support; don't attempt it in smart or flimsy shoes – at best you will ruin your shoes, at worst suffer an injury. Lower leg fractures are apparently very common amongst people wearing the wrong footwear, and amazingly we did see people on the paths wearing flip-flops.

Also on the coast paths there are large stretches between the towns, so if the weather turns you may be some distance from shelter. Always go prepared with a light backpack carrying a waterproof, drinks and snacks, and a mobile phone for emergencies.

We stayed at the Hammonds Park guest house on the outskirts of Tenby. It had good-sized rooms, plenty of car parking and fabulous breakfasts! It was within a short walking distance of the town centre (10-15 mins), albeit uphill on the way back – good for walking off those holiday pounds, but best done in comfy flat shoes.