Please wait, the site is loading...

Travel

Staycation: Westhills coastal cottages, Pembrokeshire

by Leah Hyslop
Staycation: Westhills coastal cottages, Pembrokeshire
Image: Alamy

Food director Leah Hyslop braves some classic British weather during a self-catering getaway on the rugged Welsh coastline...

It’s 8am and I am standing on a remote Welsh beach in a downpour with a man who is trying to make me eat seaweed. Given that my preferred holiday is somewhere hot and sandy with no alarm clock, you might think this is an inauspicious start to my break in Pembrokeshire. But I’ve rarely felt so cheerful.

The man, you see, is Jonathan Williams, owner of a popular food van called Café Môr on Freshwater West beach. He’s also a seaweed expert. Laver seaweed is traditionally used in Wales to make laverbread, a sort of seaweed purée, but Jonathan loves the salty green stuff so much he includes it in everything from brownies to ketchup. ‘We’ve harvested seaweed on this coast for hundreds of years – the little shacks you see scattered on the beaches were once used to dry it,’ he explains. As the tide rolls in, I hop about the rock pools, discovering new flavours, like gutweed – bright green and tender – and rock samphire, which is peppery, woody and tastes like thyme.

 

Leah and Craig
Leah and Craig

The chance to go seaweed foraging has come through holiday rental firm Coastal Cottages, whose ‘coastal concierge’ service means that a good meal, or unusual experience, is never far away; if you want someone to come to teach you yoga or cook you dinner in your house, it will be arranged. I’m recreating family holidays of yesteryear by staying with my parents and two sisters – plus my husband, Craig – at Westhills, a pretty cottage in Lydstep with enormous grounds. There’s also a rope swing with such lovely views of the sea that even my parents have a go.

Lovers of rugged coastlines and crashing waves will find much to love in Pembrokeshire, with its picture-perfect fishing villages dotted along the coast. First stop is Tenby, famous for its brightly painted houses, and where Roald Dahl spent his childhood holidays. On the weekend I visit, the annual food festival is on; my sisters and I have great fun bobbing about in our rain macs, stuffing ourselves on gourmet mac and cheese, Moroccan lamb flatbreads and local fudge. If you’re more of a fine-dining fan, head Westhills is set in ‘enormous’ grounds to Plantagenet House, an historic inn perched at the top of cobbled steps leading down to the harbour. The most popular tables are in the hearth of the medieval chimney, an astonishing structure that soars 40 feet above our heads.

Westhills - set in ‘enormous’ grounds
Westhills - set in ‘enormous’ grounds

Almost everywhere you look, there are independent producers creating delicious foods. My friendly concierge sets me on the trail of Tenby Brewing Co – two local lads crafting unique lagers and ales. Rob and James’s success has led them to open SandBar, where you can nibble halloumi fries alongside a pint of Pancakes Not Included (stout with smoked maple syrup) or Son Of A Beach, a session ale with tropical notes.

Then, after a wander round the National Trust’s beautiful Bosherston Lily Ponds (at their best in June and July), we stumble upon the quaint Bubbleton Farm Shop. Here, you can feed pigs and chickens and stock up on local treats such as Welsh cakes. We head back to our cottage with a bag of Pembrokeshire new potatoes, still muddy from the earth, which we roast and devour with butter and salt – simple food at its best. It may rain a lot in Pembrokeshire, but I come home feeling bright and sunny. And, strangely enough, with a taste for seaweed.

How to book:

Four nights at Westhills, sleeping seven people in three bedrooms, start from £469; coastalcottages. co.uk. Pembrokeshire Street Food Festival takes place in June. 

Don`t miss

We value your privacy

We use cookies to help give you the best experience on our site and to allow us and third parties to customise the marketing content you see across websites and social media. For more information see our cookie policy.

Cookie Preference Centre

Learn more about what each cookie category does and choose your settings (toggle right to opt in or left to opt out). Cookie policy


Strictly Necessary

These technologies are needed to enable our websites and apps to run and to keep it secure.

Sainsbury's Magazine

These technologies tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Cookie name Duration
PHPSESSID Until the browsing session ends
device_view 1 month
recentlyViewedRecipes 1 year
subscription-{popup-version-date}-PopupClosed 12 days

Vimeo

Enables Vimeo videos on the site

Cookie name Duration
_derived_epik 1 year

Constant Commerce

Enables shopping tools for recipe ingredients

Cookie name Duration
cc_a_h 10 years
cc_a_s Until the browsing session ends

DoubleClick

DoubleClick Digital Marketing (DDM) is an integrated ad-technology platform that enables us to more effectively create, manage and grow high-impact digital marketing campaigns.

Cookie name Duration
DSID 10 days
IDE 1 year
RUL 11 months

Performance/Analytics

These technologies tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Google

Google Analytics tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Cookie name Duration
__gads 13 months
_ga 28 months
_gat 1 minute
_gid 1 day
1P_JAR 1 month
ANID 10 days
CONSENT 18 years
NID 6 months
__Secure-3PAPISID 2 years
__Secure-3PSID 2 years
__Secure-3PSIDCC 1 year

Marketing/Targeting

These technologies help us decide which products, services and offers may be relevant for you. We use this data to customise the marketing content you see on websites, apps and social media. They also help us understand the performance of our marketing activities. These cookies are set by us or our carefully-selected third parties.

Pinterest

Pinterest conversion tracking gathers conversion insights and builds audiences to target based on actions our visitors have taken on the site.

Cookie name Duration
_pinterest_ct_rt 1 year
_pinterest_ct_ua 1 year
_pin_unauth 1 year

Outbrain

These technologies tell us how customers use our sites and apps and provide information to help us improve the website, apps and your browsing experience.

Cookie name Duration
outbrain_cid_fetch 5 minutes
adrl 5 weeks
apnxs 6 weeks
criteo 2 months
obuid 6 months

Twitter

Twitter conversion tracking enables us to measure our return on ad spend by tracking the actions people take after viewing or engaging with our ads on Twitter.

Cookie name Duration
personalization_id 2 years
muc 2 years
ads_prefs 5 years
auth_token 5 years
dnt 5 years
guest_id 2 years
twid 5 years