Tenby, Dinbych-y-pysgod,(Little fort of the fishes) is South Pembrokeshire’s largest town, offering splendid Victorian and Georgian architecture set within Tudor town walls. In the heart of the only coastal National Park in Britain, it has an enviable array of beaches and a temperate climate that allows palm trees to thrive.
Perched dramatically on a rocky promontory and boasting blue flag, white sandy beaches, a picturesque harbour with busy boats ferrying people to the monastery island of Caldey or taking out families for fishing trips, lush Mediterranean-style vegetation and charming narrow streets packed with shops, galleries and restaurants. In the summer, the centre of Bridge StreeTenby is transformed into a ‘cafe culture’ centre, with no traffic allowed within the town walls.
Tenby has a fascinating medieval history and as you walk around the ancient cobbled streets, crammed with quaint seaside shops and elegant cafes. they will catch you by surprise when you see how they open up into breathtaking views over the harbour. See the old town wall that used to enclose the town back in the 13th century and discover the mysteries of the town’s past by a visit to Tenby’s “Museum & Art Gallery”. As an ancient building in itself, Tenby’s Museum will excite history enthusiasts, as well as archaeology, as it features a splendid exhibition on the Geology and Archaeology of Pembrokeshire. Owned and managed by the National Trust, a 15th century Tudor Merchant’s House is the oldest in the town. Just off Tudor square, its authentic furniture and fittings recreate the atmosphere of the period and illustrate the manner in which a successful Tudor merchant and his family would have lived. Nelson’s Lady Hamilton had a house here and Robert Recorde (1512 – 1558), a brilliant mathematician and controller of the Royal Mint who invented the equals sign, was born here.
The Arts have always been well represented in Tenby, with artists such as Augustus John (who was born here), Gwen John, Charles Norris, Nina Hamnett,(again born in tenby) Edward Joseph head and Eric Bradforth to name but a few. The Tenby museum has a permanent art gallery with these artists, and more, on display.
Dylan Thomas came to give a reading in “The Coach & Horses” in Upper Frog Street and left his first draft of “Under Milk Wood” on the bar stool after a “few” drinks. Jane Austin is reputed to hve visited in Tenby. George Eliot actually lived in Bridge Street for a while. Beatrix Potter stayed at The Croft and drew pictures of the pond in garden that appeared in “Peter Rabbit”.
This is just a small sample of the luminaries who have come to Tenby and The Tenby Arts Festival is proud to carry on the tradition of music, art, theatre and a kaleidoscope of entertainment every September.