From the adventurous sea trade and ancient walls that surround the town, the role played by Tenby in the escape of Henry Tudor through secret tunnels below street level, to Robert Recorde, inventor of the equals sign.
Learn about all these things at Tenby Museum and Art Gallery on Castle Hill, which explores the history of Tenby from the earliest geological times through to the 21st century including early, natural, and maritime history, and has galleries showing both permanent and temporary art displays. There are lots for kids to do, and the museum was long-listed in 2014 for the Daily Telegraph Family Friendly Museum of the Year Award. Here on the hill, you will also find Wales’ national monument to Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband.
Explore things first hand on the Story of Tenby guided walk led by Blue Badge Guide Marion Davies, or take a tour at your own pace by following the blue plaques on houses and buildings of note. Grab yourself an information booklet at the Tourist Information Office, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park centre or bookshops in the town.
At the Tudor Merchant’s house, you can see how a medieval family would have lived in this small but perfectly formed National Trust property. And in the centre of town visit St Mary’s church, the largest medieval parish church in Wales, which is open to the public and bears testimony to Tenby’s successful trading past and enviable medieval wealth.
In the harbour, tiny St Julian’s church is as charming as it is unique, built in the late 19th Century for fishermen to say a prayer before heading out to sea. Can you spot both Tenby’s earliest lifeboat station and also its newest one? The RNLI station is accessible from Castle Hill and gives visitors a good idea of what it has meant to be a lifeboat crew member over the years.
If you fancy getting away from it all, you can also hop across to St Catherine’s and Caldey Islands. The tidal island of St Catherine’s is home to the Victorian fort, built to defend Tenby from an attack by Napoleon III. And no trip to Tenby is complete without a visit to Caldey island owned by a community of Reformed Cistercian monks. Visitors can explore the ancient priory and sample the famous Caldey chocolate, fudge and perfume. Boat trips run regularly from spring to late summer.
And if it’s festivals you’re seeking, Tenby hosts an Arts Festival in September, and in November a Beer Festival and a whole-town-encompassing Blues Festival.